Rush Lake is a wonderful and high altitude alpine lake of Pakistan which lies in the majestic mountain range of Karakorum and truly is the pearl of this magnificent paradise on earth. Just on the footsteps of Rush Pari Peak, the Rush Lake of Pakistan is located in the Nagar Valley, Gilgit Baltistan about 15 k.m north of Miar Peak and the famous Golden Peak. What is the most notable feature of this pearl of Karakorum that it is surrounded by the mountain peaks having the altitudes of 7,000 meters above sea level. The trek which leads toward Rush Lake is filled with the astonishing views of Spantik, Malubiting, Miar Peak, Phuparash Peak and Ultar Sar. These august peaks are the source of another natural wonder which is known as Hopar Glacier and thus these all wonders including the Rush Lake of Pakistan make this whole area a fantastic and grandiose piece of heaven.
Rush Lake of Pakistan – Image: Mosarrat Ali Khan
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Have you heard about the only ski resort of Pakistan? This is located in a famous hill station of Swat valley in the great Karakorum Range. This area was highlighted by the Austrian ambassador in 1962 for establishing of a ski resort. Malam Jabba is situated 314 km from Islamabad and 51 km from Saidu Sharif Airport. Malam Jabba is surrounded by the incredible scenic views. This is truly a fairytale land filled with lush green meadows and amazing slopes. The fragrance of pine trees which are thickly grown here adds to the beauty of this area. The mighty peaks of the Hindu Kush Mountains create a magical atmosphere in Malam Jabba.
Malam Jabba - A wonderful ski resort
A few years before, this wonder land was occupied by the extremist militants who blew up the ski resort. Before this, the Malam Jabba Ski Resort was hosting the annual skiing competition in which the top teams from every part of the country used to participate. However, in 2009 the Pakistan Army reoccupied this region and established the writ of the government. The rehabilitation and reconstruction work was started and the ski resort was equipped with modern facilities including roller/ice-skating rinks, chair lifts, skiing platforms, telephones and snow clearing equipment. The ski slope of the Malam Jabba Ski Resort is of about 800 m with the highest point of the slope 2804 m (9200 ft) above sea level.
Our countdown on the world highest mountains takes us on world no.11, which is located in Pakistan. Gasherbrum 1, the hidden beauty is located on the Pakistan-China border at the northeastern end of the Baltoro Glacier. Gasherbrum 1 is actually a part of a great massif having the elevation of 26,509 feet (8,080 m.).
Gasherbrum 1 - The Hidden Peak
The was first climb over Gasherbrum 1 was executed by Pete Schoening and Andy Kauffman who were the member of an American expedition led by Nicholas B. Clinch, on July 5, 1958. The massif on which Gasherbrum 1 is located is also known as Gasherbrummassif which is a part of Karakorum range of the great Himalaya. Gasherbrum 1 is a Balti word comes from “rgasha” (beautiful) + “brum” (mountain) in Balti, hence it actually means “beautiful mountain.”
The Golden Look of the Hidden Peak ( Gasherbrm 1 - K5 )
Gasherbrum 1, the hidden beauty was declared as K5 by T.G. Montgomery in 1856 which means the 5th peak of theKarakoram. Gasherbrum 1 is no doubt the most beautiful eight thousander, which is sometimes called as “Shining Wall” or “Hidden Beauty”. The peak was also the venue of the world’s first 8,000 meter climb in pure Alpine Style. The most appropriate rout to climb Gasherbrum 1 is from the western side and all routes here leads to “The Japanese Couloir”, which is located on top of the north-west face.
Shandur Top, the roof of the world is one of the entrance to the splendid valley of Chitral in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. Shandur Top is world renowned pass which is located about 3740 meters above sea level exactly in the midway between Chitral and Gilgit and commonly known as “ The Roof of the World”. Covered with high snowy mountains in winter and lush green meadows in summer Shandur Top is particularly known for its traditional Shandur Polo Festival which is held annually in the month of July.
Shandur-top-fields-view. Photo by Imtanan Ali
Shandur Top is the meeting point of Hindukash , Pamir and Karakoram ranges. It can be reached via air or by transport. Subject to good weather conditions daily flights are available from Peshawar and Islamabad to go to Chitral and then this fantastic spot can be reached by jeeps. From Chitral and Gilgit the land route is adoptable by 4×4 jeeps but both the ways are full of marvelous sceneries of nature. The famous Shandur Lake is a big lake and is the habitat for waterfowl species. This lake and other beautiful streams situated in this piece of heaven are also the home of the delightful Trout fish. The native language of Shandur Top is Khowar.
Shandur-Lake-view Photo : Imtanan Ali
In 1936, a traditional polo tournament was initiated in Shandur Top. Polo “ The royal sport” which is also considered as the king of all sports and remained as the favorite game of the royal elites. Since then every year in July, Polo is played in its original form on Shandur Top and a grand polo tournament takes place yearly which is world famous as Shandur Polo Festival. This colorful event full of regional folk music and dances , camping and other entertainments makes the chilled environment of Shandur lifetime memorable. The top teams of Gilgit and Chitral participate in this polo contest. Every team consists of six players with three or four reserve players and it seems a warlike encounter between the sides. All contestants play without helmets and also demonstrate their tartar blood. The players also roar at each other and it is important to mention that this freestyle polo is played without specific rules. The polo stick also works as a dagger, which can be used to whip or hook the opponent horse. The team which scores nine goals, wins the game. The tournament lasts for three days and the final is played on 9th of July.
This fabulous festival is organized by the Gilgit-BaltistanTourism Department at Shandur Top , the roof of the world and thousands of local and foreign visitors attend this tournament. After the ending of festival the tourists start other activities like visiting the beautiful valleys of Chitral Mastuj, Boni, Kalash and on Gilgit-Baltistan side Phunder, Gupis, Yasin & Ishkoman valleys and similarly Gakuch Gilgit, Hunza and Skardu which are the centers of centuries old cultures and customs.