The enchanting silence that welcomes your ears as you perch upon the summit of a snow-covered hilltop. gazing around beholding the view, that entrancing feeling is beyond the scope of human imagination. A perfect moment awash with the purity of the wild, you stand transfixed witnessing the miracles of nature. hoping against hope that minutes stretch into hours, hours transform into days, and you remain seated in your new home. That all good things must come to an end and all journeys lead to new beginnings. This fleeting display of emotions encapsulates the crux of my experience, my indelible sojourn to Tolipir hilltop in Rawalakot in Azad Kashmir.
The makings of any successful trip are in the nitty-gritty details often overlooked by inattentive planners. These tiny aspects ranging from the bus ride to the hotel stay are actually significant in character and make all the difference in creating a wholesome experience. The extent of comfort I was able to enjoy couched in a resting position in the coaster bus helping us on our way. Can be delineated by the fact that 10 hours on the road went by in a flash. Drowsy eyes and deflated spirits were frequently rejuvenated by stops at roadside tea stalls.
Despite the efforts at relaxing the nerves, there still lingered an anxious sensation of the unknown that awaited us in anticipation. This is where the company that surrounds you matters. In the testing times outside the safe zone of your home, as you journey through uncharted territories. This is where the people around you make it easy for the passage of time. Likeminded folks, veterans of many such trips chimed in with jokes and anecdotes to navigate the pathway. The uneasy feeling that accompanies mounting to a region of high altitude posed a challenge. Nevertheless, I was able to sustain my composure in the face of gripping nausea. Fighting off the creeping acrophobia by elevating my spirits.
The early apprehensions quickly faded away as we drew closer and closer to our promised destination. Leaving behind the drab plains, lush green landscapes greeted us much to our gratification. Docking our bus near the hotel, we trekked our way through the rough and slippery terrain to the meadows. While the chilly air was dry, heaps of snow filled the landmass. One step into the ground and the boots would sink into the snow. Prodding forward little by little, I managed to succumb the obstacles of the rugged land as I reached the peak of my climb.
Distanced from the hustle
That triumphant feeling which accompanies the end of a successful trek is unable to be explained. I smiled victoriously, wiping the sweat from my brows as I immersed myself in that cherished moment. Plugging in my earphones hooked to an ambient track, the mind wandered off to another place as the echoing music and the surrounding snow-covered peaks oozed serene vibes.
Distanced from the hustle and bustle of the city, I felt proud to witness the alluring space around me. This right here, this magnificent outlook defined the beauty of my country. Rich in captivating tourist spots abundant across the northern areas, Pakistan is home to each of these beautiful venues.
Overlooking the breathtaking sights, one could just wonder why this treasure remains unknown to the international audience. This is where one realizes the importance of initiatives and events such as the Pakistan Tourism Summit. Aspiring to revive tourism in the country in light of the vastly improved security situation. It is heartening to see Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government making this a top priority.
The wave of optimism and change has spread through this sector of the economy too as many influential bloggers and travelogue writers have extended their support.
One can only predict that the influx of foreigners vacationing in such attractive locations will also give them a chance to witness the renowned hospitality of the natives of the place. Our hosts left no stone unturned in an attempt to satisfy our needs.
To embrace the essence of the local culture, they even organized a special bonfire in the middle of the night. I can never forget that scene as all of us crouched amidst the light drizzle nudging our backs as we faced our hosts entertaining us with the folk tales and traditional songs of the place. More than being just an avenue of amusement. This turned out to be a necessary history lesson for all of us and a chance to familiarize ourselves with the diversity that Pakistan possesses.
On the day of our departure, one final adventure awaited us. This time, we made our way to the heavenly Banjosa Lake situated a few hundred meters from the guest house.