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How to Plan A Trip To Yasin Valley Ghizer Gilgit Baltistan

by mikeharray12
Yasin Valley

 

Yasin Valley runs west from Gilgit city, Gupis Junction, to Shandur road.

Entering Yasin Valley. Meeting of two rivers, Yasin and Phander.

Information about Ghizer

Ghizer District includes

 

 

  • Ghizer Valley
  • Shandur,
  • Gahkuch,
  • Gupis,
  • Yasin,
  • Ishkomen
  • Puniyal

Right now, I will only cover the travel details of Yasin Valley within the Ghizer District.

Yasin Valley Map

Road to Yasin Valley (Islamabad)

Yasin Valley: History

It is almost impossible to cross this valley from Afghanistan or Tajikistan because it is so close to the border.

The Yasin Valley Plains are believed to have been battlegrounds where ancient armies fought for this important route into central Asia.

The colonial British encouraged conflict among the various Chitral royals about the valley. Dogra armies were sent to take over and eventually took control of the valley.

 

Yasin boasts many mountain passes linking to Chitral. This is why it’s not surprising that the Mehtars from Chitral used to dominate Yasin Valley.

Yasin valley, Burial Place for Older Persons

Yasin Valley – Various Mountain Passes

  • Darkut Pass (4267 meters) connects Yasin and Wakhan Corridor.
  • Broghil Pass at 3 798 meters connects Yasin, Broghil and Wakhan
  • Thoi Pass is located at 4690 meters and connects Yasin to Yarkhun Chitral
  • Assumber Pass connects Yasin and Ishkomen
  • Attar Pass, 4700m above the Darkot Village connects to Ishkoman also
  • Nazbar Town in Yasin, at 5000 m high, has Mountain Passes that connect it to Mastuj Chitral. Onwards to Broghil
Lalak Jan Sharheed at Hunder

Road condition between Islamabad and Yasin Valley

The road was in poor shape before. Lalak Jan Shaheed Nishan e Haidar gave his life for the cause of this road. The government constructed a new single track road to Hundur in Valley.

Only the last hour to Darkot are still under repair.

Distance and Time from Gilgit to Yasin Valley

It takes approximately four hours to cover the distance of 150 km from Gilgit, Pakistan, to Yasin.

Bridge To Yasin Valley

The bridge across the Gilgit river towards Yasin Valley

This portion of river only has one bridge. This bridge was constructed by the Chinese. The British Colonials constructed the last bridge in 1925.

 

Between the two extremes, Pakistanis were chilling and waiting for divine assistance.

Yasin Khas main Village

Distance and Time from Islamabad To Gilgit

It takes 12 hours driving from Islamabad towards Gilgit, crossing the Babusar Pass (a total of 512km). This means that you can leave Islamabad at 3:00 am to avoid unnecessary delays and traffic jams in Balakot, Mansehra and other cities.

Distance and Time from Islamabad To Yasin Valley

It is not possible for you to drive from Islamabad or Yasin to Yasin Valley. There are 650km between the two cities and it would take you 16 hours.

It is nearly impossible to drive continuously for 16 hours without taking a break.

Besham has an alternative route that is too bumpy. The alternate road takes about 15 hours from Islamabad to Gilgit.

 

 

It can get quite cold.

Weather in Yasin Valley

Also, it can get cold very quickly.

Yasin Valley experiences a low temperature all year. Even during the peak summer season, May to October, it stays below 30 0C. Sometimes the weather drops to 15 0 Celsius in rainy season so you will need to bring a jacket or warm clothing.

The temperature drops below 10 Celsius in October and it becomes unbearable. To stay warm, you need to use a lot of fuel and firewood.

Make sure you check the weather forecast before you depart for Gilgit. Even in summer, snow can cause traffic jams for several days.

Yasin: Old lady from Yasin

Gilgit Night Stay

We stayed the night at Douryo Inn Gilgit Ph. We were very pleased with the service at 03417854770. Hot water was available and food was prepared in a clean, hygienic manner.

The next morning, we drove eastwards towards Yasin Valley from Gilgit City.

Once we reached the larger bridge with load members in yellow painted yellow (near Gupis), our direction was straight into the valley.

Yasin Valley Trout Fish

Our first stop was fresh river trout farm Ph. 03129717417. It tasted good because of the small amount of spices that were used.

 

After a few hours in the haze, the temperature dropped and we were forced to put on our jackets and parkas.

I was told that snow could fall in the valley as soon as it rains for a few more days.

View from Bojayote peak

Bojayote View Point Yasin Valley

Next we stopped at Bojayote’s viewpoint in Yasin. After climbing up the endless stream and farm-fed freshwater streams, we had a stunning view of Yasin Valley that curves Eastwards with a flowing river.

The Rajas of old are believed to have been present here to watch the Valley and those who passed through.

 

 

Bojayote viewpoint is 10 minutes walk

Map of Yasin Valley Tracks, Lakes, & Routes

Festival House Yasin Valley

Yasin Valley Tukhumrezi Festival home

Next, we visited the Shiribadad Raja’s palace residence which is still in its original form

Legend has it that this raja ate infant children from the milk of women’s goats before he developed a penchant for eating them.

The Raja’s atrocities proved too much for the locals so they gathered one summer night and lit up their torch to burn the evil raja.

Everybody celebrates this moment at the dawn of spring in a festival called Tukhumrezi Festival

Bullet holes still remain on the wooden stool from a Dogra Army musket fired to subdue loyalists in rebellion against British control.

Ruins in Muduri Fort

Forts of Yasin Valley

MUDURI FORTYASIN-VALLEY

Next was Muduri Fortress, where Dogra forces executed a massacre in 1863. As a punishment for rebelling people, 16 Yasin women were forcibly removed by the Dogra Army.

British rulers gave support to the Hindu Dogra army.

Muduri fort’s ruins are built upon a piece of solid rock approximately 500 feet high, rising directly from the riverbed below.

It was impossible to get into the fort from the rear or the front.

This fort was practically impenetrable since the besieged soldiers would receive their rations from the mountain streams or farms inside the fort.

The Trojan technique was employed by the Dogra commander, who disguised himself to be local militia and stuck an herb local to Yasin onto all his troops. They massacred the entire fortress and allowed the guard to let them in.

Trek to 7 Lakes

MUDOORI TREK OF 7 BLUE LAKES

Start from Mudoori Fort to Makuli meadows. The trail then passes through 7 bluewater lakes.

Yasin Fort

YASIN FORT

We then walked to Mudoru Fort.

FOrt on the backside

CHUMARKHAN FAT

Next, we stopped at the Chumarkhan Fort, which literally translates to Iron fort. It was so difficult that the administration of the fort had to pipe water through two precarious peaks.

Polo Match in Yasin Valley

Yasin Town hosted a polo game between two local teams. The playoff was to decide the winner of the Annual Shandur Festival. It is usually held the first week in July.

The game was brutal and there were no helmets or guards. It’s not surprising that all the polo players I met had broken limbs as well as multiple stitches on their foreheads.

Tomb of the Dead

Ghizer’s Tomb of Death in Yasin Valley

Also, Yasin has two tombs where the remains of the dead are still present. One is partially destroyed and one is unaffected.

In the olden days, the locals would embalm the dead inside a circular arrangement. The tomb would have multiple floors and rise tower-like.

The remains of dead children would be placed on shelves.

According to one person who was the first man to open such an ancient tomb, the dead were said to have huge bone structures and their teeth remained white as pearl.

They were lying in a very peaceful position, looking at one another.

I wish the government would let archeologists study these ancient tombs, and teach us about the ways of the people who lived there.

View of village

Hotel in Yasin Valley

Since this was not enough for a day, we rested at Fort Hotel Yasin to recuperate. 03554222333 was run by the Colonel, who appeared younger than me despite having a large age.

This is what a tranquil environment, good company, and clean food can do for aging.

Darkot village – distance

Ghizer is the land price

My next question was “How much is land here?” They answered that it cost upwards Rs 20 per Kanal.

These sparse communities were able to use every blade of grass.

Yasin Valley medicinal herbs

Kahveer is a flower with medicinal properties that can be used to treat men and their manhood.

Yasin Valley Fruit Farms

We entered a Cherry farm belonging to a friend and had a delicious meal.

 

Old twisted apricot tree

Weapons Arsenal

Each family has its own collection of modern weapons, as they are all descendants of war veterans. Ask around and you will be able to find anything, including sniper rifles and AK-47s.

Hiking towards glaciers

Darkot Village

After a big breakfast in the morning, we set off to the Yasin Valley end. Darkot is pronounced “Darkut”. Darkot literally means “the Fort of Passes”.

 

View from Darkot Village

Passes at Darkot Village

  • Pass to Afghanistan
  • Pass to Ishkoman
  • Pass to Tajikistan

Barandaas megaliths

Further ahead at Barandaas Sangam point you’ll find the ancient Shamashan Ghat, which is a site of creation. 

The megalith stones still have the funeral pyre shape.

Here, Hindus lived before Buddhists in the 1 st centuries AD.

Camel Shaped stone

HINDU SWASTIKA ROCK CRAVINGS OF YASIN

The evidence of Hindu worship in Yasin is clear from the upper castes. This includes traditional Hindu symbols like the Swastika and the cross. 

BARANDAAS TREATMENTS

A local from Brandaas told me that a Caucasian female appeared alone at this site in 2018 with her electronic devices and was looking for anything on the ridge immediately above the old cremation grounds.

 

House of man-eater

BARANDAAS’ MAN-EATER

A legend exists about a man-eater that Badakhshan saints tamed. Mirza Katchat was named after the beast.

It took 2.5 hours on a bumpy route to Yasin and Darkot.

Darkot waterfalls

Darkot waterfalls

You could call it the Valley of Falls, as it is home to huge waterfalls at 300-foot heights.

Sometimes, I couldn’t decide which way to look because the whole route was so tempting.

Darkot Village ( Farangi)

Darkot kills Firangi

After injuring me entrails on bumpy roads, it was possible to reach the “firangi” quarters within Darkot village. In 1860, John Hayward, British colonial Officer to Britain, was assassinated here by his henchmen. He was spying against Russia for Britain.

Some say that Dogra rulers from Kashmir murdered him because he exposed their atrocities on Yasini, particularly the massacre of Mudoori.

 

Glacier and the lake

Gamobar Glacier at Darkot

The area is so remote that you rarely see anyone outside of the cattle grazing in community pastures.

Khaltar Lake of Darkot is high up

Darkot has a lake at high altitude on top of a mountain called the Khaltar. I didn’t go because I am afraid of heights and wouldn’t mind seeing another pasture.

But, I believe the grass is a carpet and that flowers only bloom once a year. The lake is as transparent as glass.

This is where the road ended. I turned around.

The road to Umalsat has been well-made.

From Darkot, I drove to Gilgit within 4 hours and stayed over night.

 

The Babusar Road opened after 11 AM and I was among the first to speed to Islamabad.

I blew my all-terrain, radial tire while cutting across a path of stony. My 4×4 inspection bill now stands at Rs 170,000.

View from Muduri Fort’s top

Yasin Valley Trip Excursion

The total cost is as follows

  • Diesel Islamabad to Darkot Yasin Valley & back Rs 45000
  • Gilgit accommodation Rs 8000 + 8000
  • Yasin Hotel Accommodation – Rs 7000
  • Food Rs. 5000
  • Essential purchases Rs. 4000 (Salajeet Honey Apricot Products, Tomoru herbal tea).
  • Water Rs 1500
  • SCOM mobile SIM Rs.1000 (only SCOM functions here, so get one in Gilgit).
  • Total Rs 78000 for a four-day trip
Meadow in Darkot

Many Questions on Yasin

HOW TO GET THERE

Rent a 4×4 vehicle or drive there. It is impossible to get there by car.

BEST TIME to VISIT?

Yasin’s best season is May-September

WHAT DOES “YASIN” MEAN?

Yasin is a more recent name, which derives its name from the Arabic letters Yasin and Sin. This translates to Prophet Muhammad as he appears in the Quran.

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