High in the mountains, near the base of Makra peak on the border of Pakistan and Kashmir, lies the tiny hamlet of Shogran. Flanked by high altitude pine forests and crowned by the summer pasture region of Siri Paya, Shogran was my first real introduction to Pakistani people. Up there we met Pakistanis on holidays, stall holders selling tea to day trippers, a wonderful falconer named Rustam and Gujjar nomads who had migrated higher into the mountains for the summer to feed their stock.
Beyond Shogran, on the road to Gilgit, lies Naran, a pretty tourist town with a lively bazaar, snow capped mountains, raging rivers and the stunning lake of Saif-Ul-Maluk.
TEA BY THE ROADSIDE
Between Naran and Shogran we stopped for tea at a series of ramshackle wooden huts on the side of the road. There I met some of the friendliest and photogenic elderly men that I met in all of Pakistan!
Not far from the small town of Gilgit lies the beautiful Naltar Valley. It is home to incredible mountain peaks, glaciers, iridescent mountain lakes and lovely children.
THE ROAD WORKERS OF THE NALTAR
While we were walking in the upper reaches of the Naltar Valley, we came across a group of guys hurling rocks to build a mountain road that was winding its way high above the tree line. Surprised to see me as a tourist, they instantly invited me to a late breakfast of fried parathas and tea.
Then, on our journey between Gilgit and Skardu, over the Deosai Plateau, we met this man.
Around thirty kilometres from Skardu, at a cultural junction of Tibet and Pakistan, lies Shigar, a beautiful village on the edge of the Shyok River, not far from where it flows into the mighty Indus River. Shigar is home to two beautiful Tibetan Buddhist mosques, each of which are around 700 years old - Amburiq and Khilingrong.
THE SUZUKI DRIVERS OF RAWALPINDI
Our journey in Pakistan ended with a surprise visit to a parking lot for the beautifully painted Suzukis that act as taxis on the streets of Rawalpindi.