Sunflower fields, multi colored wooden guest houses with slanted roofs, clouds affixed on the mountains, some hovering around the houses, so near that you could almost touch them, children peeking from behind closed doors, chimneys blowing smoke as evening tea boiled in the kitchen.
While visiting the northern side, Kashmir has to be on the list of your Must-Go places in Pakistan. Kashmir, commonly known as Jannat-e-Nazir (View of Heaven) is a land of lush green valleys, lofty mountains and captivating patterns of the gushy Neelum River that flows throughout the region. Within the Kashmir region, there are quite a few places popular with tourists but the one place that touched my heart deep and transported my soul into a totally different dimension has to be ARANG KEL
It’s a village accessible partially by a chair lift and partially by trek from Kel. Buses travel frequently in good weather between Kel and Sharda / Muzaffarabad Road. If you’re afraid to use the vibrant colored, high elevated chair lift to cover half your distance in just 5 mins, then you can even follow the trails, that will roughly take 3 hours for you to reach Arang Kel. Otherwise, using the chairlift takes about 50 mins in total to arrive at the village.
It’s a densely green hill station and rains can be expected anytime and that’s exactly what happened during our trek. Right in the middle of our narrow route up the village, we met rain and the track, being nothing more than a trail in the mud got slippery and difficult.
We were greeted warmly by this beautiful girl sitting there, Noor, who was a human depiction of the beauty we were yet to experience at this place.
After the quick downpour stopped and we walked in, we found this place exactly the way we had seen it in pictures. Like a piece of art by a great artist and indeed that was the case here.
Sunflower fields, multi colored wooden guest houses with slanted roofs, clouds affixed on the mountains and some hovering around the houses, so near that you could almost touch them, children peeking from behind closed doors, chimneys blowing smoke as evening tea boiled in the kitchen, a distant rush of flowing streams, far off hazy peaks and change of breeze indicating the intense cold ready to creep its way into the night.
It was all like a beautiful scenery.
Here, the cold gets colder and nights become silent and darker than ever. Bonfires are necessary to enjoy the meal outside in peace and to not miss the chance of watching the gazillion star studded sky! – it’s spectacular
Dance around the bonfire, eat ravenously and enjoy fully but be sure to keep your volumes under control as families reside nearby who wake up much earlier than sunrise and will most likely show distaste at your shenanigans the next morning.
Mornings are cheerful and bright here. Young girls of all ages flock about the fields heading for the open air schools. They do have an indoor space but they prefer to study outside when the Sun is nice and warm.
Education here is only provided till grade 8 and they have to head down to Kel, for furthers studies if anyone is interested.
Women are often found washing pots and clothes by the water stream and children playing around or showing tourists the way around. They are generally very warm people and love telling their stories to others. They will often exchange numbers with you and hope to stay in touch if they ever visit the big city.
“Raw” is the one word that pops up in my head whenever I think of Arang Kel. It’s this raw earthy beauty, untouched by outside world that makes it so mysterious and heavenly.
You can also watch my latest vlog on Arang Kel and take a tour in the heavens with me 🙂
Click the video below:
Have you been to Arang Kel? If yes, please share your experience in the comments below.