Author Archives: hindukushtrails


Kunar trout

In August the snow trout usually leaves the Chitral river and slips upstream into the clear Ayun Gol. This is an excellent time for fishing and a 3 kg trout is common a 6 kg not rare. Best time is in the morning when it takes to the edges to feed the bigger ones though still keep to the deeper pools in the center. Evenings do bring a good catch too but you might find quite a few keen guys out there. This was an hours catch below our house in Ayun.



The Boroghil Festival

Boroghil-Festival-Hindukush-TrailsAt the furthest corner of Chitral  opening the gate to the Wakhan corridor lies Boroghil. This plateau at around 3500m is the meeting point of various tribes of Central Asia like the Wakhi Sirikuli ,Tajik and the Kirghiz . These nomad tribes  of the highlands have much in common and  gather here to revive their ancient traditions.  Promoting their tribal festival  will help preserve their culture and give a positive image of  Pakistan to the global  community. We at Hindukush Trails    ( )  are willing to put our expertise and efforts to bring a festival over here at par with Shandur over the coming years.

A good effort is being made by Chitral Scouts to promote this festival in 2014. A meeting was held in chitral to organize this festival from 22 to 24 Aug 2014 and  we appreciate the effort.. Hindukush Trails has suggested the following

The Boroghil Festival  can be developed into one of the only festival of its kind where various tribes like the Wakhi Sirikuli ,Tajik and the Kirghiz tribes of Central Asia  gather to revive their common traditions.  This has the potential to bringing a new chapter into Khyber Pakhtoon Khawa if people concerned with tourism are involved in the activities. We at Hindukush Trails are willing to put our expertise and efforts to bring this at par with Shandur over the years. It would be pointless to have a football or a volleyball match at this plateau  as who would  slog to see that, what needs to be promoted is Yak polo where Yak teams from Boroghil, Chikar, Ishkuman, Chapursan and Gojal Shimshal compete along with team from Wakhan and Tajikastan. The dates of the festival has to be fixed from 01 to 03 August each year so that people can plan well ahead of time. A list of suggestions was put forward to the officials and hopefully the advise would be taken. Please join us in putting some sense into this activity before it falls prey into becoming an unattractive event.

Dorah Pass 4300m & Lake Dufferin

dorah pass

Dorah Pass, also called Durah Pass 4300 m high, connects Chitral Khyber Pakhtunkhawa Pakistan with Badakshan province of Afghanistan . It is located along the Durand Line border deep in the Hindu Kush mountain range. Situated at the foot of the pass is Lake Dufferin, also known locally as Hawz-i Dorah. The lake is roughly 23⁄4 miles long by over 1/4 miles broad. 

Dorah Pass became important during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan because the Soviets were unable to stop the flow of arms and men back and forth across the pass. Almost the entire Munji-speaking population of Afghanistan fled across the border to Chitral during the War in Afghanistan. Amongst them was the famous Ahmed Shah Masood the Lion of Pangsher who stayed in Chitral for a considerable time.

The pass descends onto the Dufferin Lake , Ishkashim and the Wakhan Corridor refered to as “ The roof of the World “. It is one of the four major passes to exit Chitral, the others are Boroghil Pass near the Kurambar lake, the Shandur Pass where the annual polo matches between Chitral and Gilgit are played and the Lowari pass into Dir.

These photographs are from a exploratory trip in 2004 when the young Ammar ul mulk 13 years old, Mekail ul Mulk 11 years accompanied by their cousins Junaid and Asad ul Mulk trekked over the Dorah pass 14000 ft to Lake Dufferin on a trout fishing trip.

The turquoise blue lake is named after Lord Dufferin Viceroy of India in 1884. Lord Dufferin handled the Panjdeh Incident of 1885 in Afghanistan, in which Russian forces encroached into Afghan territory around the Panjdeh oasis. Britain and Russia had for decades been engaged in a virtual cold war in Central Asia and India, known as the Great Game, and the Panjdeh incident threatened to precipitate a full-blown conflict. Dufferin negotiated a settlement in which Russia kept Panjdeh but relinquished the furthest territories it had taken in its advance.


Great Game

The Great Game

“ For 50 years the British had struggled north through the mountains subduing the people of one valley, allying themselves with the people of the next, establishing hill forts, killing and being killed: all for the sake of pushing the frontier north and keeping the Bear at arm’s length. Yet when , in 1895 the border was finally settled, the British officer in charge of its demarcation could write: it is a matter of indifference to all exactly where the line is drawn. While of the Russians, who for half a century had been such bogeymen, he could write, They are grand chaps…. I cannot conclude without acknowledging both the excellence of their mapping and the warmth of their hospitality… I have nothing but the most pleasant memories of our alliance in the field, It is certainly pleasant to record that when the players in the Great Game at last met face to face, they became the best of friends , saying here we were received with the most courteous of hospitality, and the foundation there and then laid for that feeling of good fellowship between the two camps which never afterwards was broken, a great deal of vodka was drunk that night “
In the north on the Wakhan corridor the Pamirs merge into the Hindukush , where they are still being born, still thrusting up at the rate of something like two-and-a-half inches a year. Yet in the very moment of their birth, they are dying, for the ranges to the southeast are rising even faster and each year are blocking off more and more of their already inadequate rainfall, converting their already barren slopes to desert. This is one of the bleakest and least-known corners of the world , remote, mysterious and at one time, dubbed ‘the third pole’. The Pamir mountains, which Afghans refer to as the ‘Roof of the World,” extend into Tajikistan, China and the Karakorums. In Wakhan these mountains are rounded domes, divided by high, wide valleys which are very nearly as desolate as the peaks that surround them.
Criss-crossing the frontiers Hindukush Trails explored the wakhan corridor in the early nineties when the Russians were leaving. This was a time when no explorers were in the area, except for old maps of the Great Game there was nothing new available and on a piece of paper we drew our own maps and explored from Sarhad to Ishpetkis over Qarabil 4600m , Perigundy 4918m to Khuch Guz Banaras . Then crossing the chalap river right up to the end of the corridor to Aq su , turning at the Qarajol sha river down to Bozai gumbaz and wakjir river on to irshad Owin 4925m Or along the Oxus river crossing the Lashkargah , Alisu and many small rivers to the source of Victoria lake retracing over shawar pass 4892m and Qarabill 4600m to Sarhad and back to Gaz Khon .Criss crossing the desolate Wakhan corridor many times we encountered only Marco polo sheep and ibex and the nomads. Our explorations started from the Boroghil pass or the Kan Khun pass the Dorah pass or through Gazikistan and Nuksan pass on adventures shared at times with a few friends like Frith Mier , or Dr Hirai Go or Nick Danziger or wandering on our own.

100 + Attempts: Mountaineering Expeditions Pakistan

Pakistan has had a successful mountaineering seasons on the 8000m peaks in the Karakorum in 2007

In all there were 83 Expeditions to various permit peaks in Pakistan with 799 members on these expeditions. Noticeable was the changing trend with many expeditions attempting more than one peak during their stay. In 2007

    • Fourteen Expeditions attempted two peaks
    • One Expedition attempted three peaks
    • One Expedition attempted four peaks


These extra attempts were besides the 83 expeditions in total, crossing 100 figure for the seasons attempts.

It was a successful year on K2 (8611m) with 50 % of the 16 expedition successful in summiting it and a new route was created on the west wall by a Russian expedition led by Nickolay Totmjanin .

Nanga Parbat (8125 m) the killer mountain was without any casualties at all . All 5 expeditions were successful on it and a late winter expedition is now due.

On Broad peak( 8047m) it was the Golden Jublee year with 25 expeditions attempting it, 19 of them successful. First climbed by the Austrians in1957 it was the Austrian again now led by Gerfried Göschl ( of the Rainer mountaineers family ) that befittingly summited Broad Peak to celebrate the anniversary.

On the Gasherbrums it was all together a mix bag . On G1 (8068 m) with 6 out of the 10 expeditions successfully summiting but on G 11(8035 m) only 1 out of the 14 expedition made it to the summit. Earlier in the season an avalanche had made the route difficult and with late season snow , expeditions found conditions very difficult. Interestingly from the Chinese side the first ever climb on G11 was made successfully by an Italian expedition.

While expedition on 7000m plus barring Spantik (7027 m) where 10 out of 11 expeditions were successful, most of the 7000m summits were elusive with few success stories.

International Womens Day Celebration

Embroidered Textile Pieces from Chitral on display in Islamabad

ISLAMABAD: A unique exhibition of 23 embroidered textile pieces depicting universality of women’s lives across the globe at the National Art Gallery here on Sunday evening.

The exhibition, “Gup Shup, the domestic, the narrative and cups of Chai”, illustrating the ebb and flow in everyday life of women in Chitral was part of the International Women’s Day celebrations. The objective of the exhibition is to provide space to female artisans of Chitral.

The minister of information , inaugurating the exhibition praised the compositions stitched on the textile specimens, describing each piece as ‘electic, aesthetic frame’ done by common Chitrali women artists that gave the impression as if they had received influences of post-modern art.

She passed an order that the women artists should be taken on a tour of art galleries for improving their art and also to get berth in commercial centres of Karachi and Lahore so as to bring them a ‘monetary reward’.

Exhibition organiser Rolla Khadduri said on the occasion that the aim was to provide sharp contrast to the way Pakistan, especially Pakistani women, had been represented abroad recently, denying the common fact of universality of women lives across the world.

These textile pieces also seem to make a statement to the effect that although there were variations within cultures, women concerns and emotions remained the same across the world.

Each textile piece has a story centring round folksy home wisdom and everyday experience in women’s lives; as for example the textile piece Pot Swap done by Zaibun and family focuses on exchange of dishes between neighbours during Ramazan.

A wall hanging called I want to be pilot woven by three women artisans – Nasreen, Musarrat and Faham – depicts a women’s urge to be an aviator.

Textile pieces such as Mehndi and Harvest on display speak of the worries and happiness of life and dreams of marriages. A post-script says that the mother of the bride never applied Mehndi on her daughter’s palm because she is busy crying for her daughter who would be leaving her. The harhshness of Chitaki weather is shown on two art work Mantlepiece and Calendar which relate important happening in Chitrali weather according to months.

An overseas NGO, ‘Polly and Me, collaborated in mounting the exhibition, joint work of “Cath Braid, an Australian fashion designer” as well as “Rolla Khaduri, a Lebanese lady“. Braid has been here for over six years and Khadduri for more than four years in Pakistan.

Cath and Rolla designed a series of self-financed workshop between March and November last year training about 400 women workers in two embroidery centres in the isolated mountain area of Chitral, which remains cut-off for at least a quarter of the year from the rest of the country.

The two ladies wish to take this travelling exhibition to Australia, the United Emirates as well as the United Kingdom.-Curtesy Jonaid Iqbal Dawn