Welcome to nature’s masterpiece
I once heard someone tell their friend,
“The northern areas of Pakistan are truly heaven on earth.”
Hundred percent, I said to myself in my head.
Places like Swat, Naran, Kaghan, Shangla and Skardu instantly take one’s breath away, the second one lays eyes on the abundant natural beauty, the rich flora and fauna on offer and the snow-capped mountains of the Himalayas that surround these magnificent places.
It is a paradise and dreamland for tourists. Replete with hotels, motels, cottages and holiday homes, the northern areas are the ideal getaway for those wanting to go on a family holiday and celebrate a honeymoon.
For those wanting an adventure, the snowy slopes of the mountains, dotted with vast glaciers, are perfect for skiing, snowboarding, ice-sledding and other outdoor sports suited to the environment.
One can feel the excitement and experience the shivers on the drive to these locations. Narrow, one-lane roads (most of the times dirt tracks) built on the edges of mountains with picturesque forests and rivers down below; it is like being on the Kingda Ka, the world’s tallest steel roller coaster with the longest drop located at Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey, US.
Not to mention, the Himalayas being a mountain climber’s ultimate challenge.
Over the decades, climbers from all over the world have thronged at the base of ‘The Third Pole’ — a name given to the Hindukush-Himalayan region as it stores more snow and ice than anywhere else in the world outside the polar regions. Multiple and distinguished climbers have scaled the wondrous, dangerous peaks to stand on top of the earth.
Unfortunately, places like Swat over the years, have been battered by brutal militants who are intolerant to foreigners and to Pakistanis as well, for being hell-bent on imposing their harsh and strict laws.
Fewer and fewer now contemplate on taking a vacation to these tourist hotspots.
It is a shame that locals of the area who depend on tourists during the peak season to earn a livelihood have to suffer because of such a barbaric mindset.
Equally, holidaymakers miss out on the opportunity to experience the rich, beautiful cultures that have flourished and survived for centuries in the region and are truly worth cherishing.
Read more by Frayan here.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.