Monday, 9 February 2015

Diamond in the rough, Ghorak

The problem with living in Pakistan is we have limited options for traveling within budget. Adventure traveling becomes trickier than a normal road trip. Some of my friends were craving to go out of the city life and experience something different. Since I am always up for traveling I became part of the plan. After discussing several options we opted to take a group tour to Ghorak. We consulted Royal Tourism (Check their Facebook Page, link share in the end) and booked a tour with them and our problem of a sasta and tikkau (cheap and convenient) trip was solved there and then. 

The tour started at 1 in the morning (actually 1:30 cause our group was late and the tour group was very sweet to wait for us) Saturday. My first stop was at Sewhan Shareef for breakfast. Beady eyed tired from the road journey in bus I was extremely excited to get off from the bus and explore the small highway restaurant. A picture here and there, tummy full of hot breakfast and I was all set to go to Ghorak.

At Johi (a small town) the group switched from bus to jeeps. So far I wasn't able see the road because of night but after breakfast when the light had seeped in the horizon I could see properly where we were. To be honest it was slightly disappointing for me. All I could see was rocky dusty road with wheat fields on one side. I have been to rural areas many times so this wasn't exciting for me at all. The road went on with nothing else but barren hills in distance. 

Very slowly the road started to incline and before I knew our jeep was in first gear and with all its might trying to climb higher on the steep road. Sharp twists and turns, steep rocky road and cold wind completely changed my perspective about the barren hills. They had a strange beauty which green mountains of Himalayas don't offer. The beauty was not of peace but had vibe of adventure around it. A thrill, an adrenaline rush which one doesn't find easily.

After 12 hours journey from Karachi the group finally reached to (much discussed among us friends) Ghorak. I have always been fan of mountains but this northern jagged side of Kirthar range took my breath away. The raw untouched beauty, archs and layers of rock, muted sunlight and chilly weather all combined to make the scenario perfect for me. 
To watch the sunset I climbed up another hill where I could enjoy a better view which was the camping site for some as well (I opted for a room instead of camp and yes I enjoy comfort of a bed instead of sleeping bag). Huffing and puffing I completed my short yet difficult trek and what a welcoming sight greeted my eyes. Words really cannot describe the untouched beauty of hills of Ghorak. It was like all of our life we praise the rose but never appreciate thorns for their beauty. Because without the thorns the rose would never be complete. 

Sunset at Ghorak was something out of a painting. Horizon splashed with colors of dusk, gold and orange, reds blending with blues and the rocks absorbing last rays of the day. The temperature dropped drastically and I was freezing. I went back towards my rest house rested for a bit and then started the most magical time of life. Stargazing.
Lying on cotton mattress underneath millions of sparkling stars nothing but darkness around on chilly night. The moon came out pretty late giving me plenty of time to gaze clusters of stars. I was shivering and counting all the shooting stars, mesmerized by the beauty of night and listening to music. For a minute or two all that I could think of was if the world can be so flawless what heaven would be like.

After two hours session of star gazing session I went for dinner and then back up where I went to watch the sunset. There the group which I went with had organized a small bonfire. We sat around it and started sharing stories. Some shared their work life while others talked about other adventures that they have done in their lives. The temperature was below
freezing point at that time yet we all were having a great time underneath the starlit sky.
After midnight I came back to my room and rested. Unfortunately I missed the sunrise because I was extremely tired and couldn't get up on time for it. We had our breakfast and headed back for Karachi around 10:30am.

Overall hats off to our tour group for organizing the trip as I faced no security or food related issues. The tour was pretty much on time and well managed. The slight difficulty that I faced was of no electricity at the rest house (some major transformer issue, can't do anything about it #WeLiveInPakistan) and extremely cold water in the taps. I am supremely pissed off at the government officials for no proper garbage disposal facility there.

If you are planning a trip to Ghork some of the must things that you should take along with are a torch light, hard sole joggers, portable speakers (I tell you music makes everything better), a power bank (you never know the electricity situation there), energy bars, hand sanitizer, wet tissues, a scarf (it's a must in jeep to protect one from all the dust), first aid, dark sunglasses and a comforter. You can get all the snacks from the canteen there so don't stock eatables for the rest house. Pack light, do not I repeat DO NOT take a week worth's of clothes just for a weekend. Take plenty of rest before the journey starts and be mentally prepared that the journey is going to be long (but totally worth it).

Tour organized by Royal Tourism Pakistan: 

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