Murree, Nathia Gali and Bhurban in Pakistan

I had the opportunity whilst in Pakistan, to explore north of the capital into the hills overlooking Kashmir, the contested lands under the protection of artillery and the jaw dropping back drop of the mountains. My good friend Saqib had come down from Karachi to see me, so we organised to head up to this beautiful province with our cameras at the ready.

We woke early to meet our driver and headed out in the mornings mist. Islamabad was dusty, murky and a bit damp but our destination was a stark contrast. Snow had fallen the night before in the hills and we were looking forward to some snow capped peaks and dramatic rolling hills.

I have had the fortune of experiencing a few places on this earth that have made my heart stop for just a moment. But they all pale in comparison to the views we encountered in Murree.

When stopping in Murree at their viewpoint we were drafted into interviews by the Pakistani national news channel Geo to comment on the snow for their weather show. Amazingly my interview (in poorly performed urdu) was aired. Much to the amusement of our guard, which I discovered upon returning that night!

We trundled on into Nathia Gali, not sure if the snow would hinder our path. Fortunately our driver was quite cautious and we made it quite far into Ayubia National Park. The monkeys were a pleasure to watch as they bounded around in the snow and fought amongst themselves in the trees. From here we could see the whole of Kashmir as it lay before is. Miles and miles of tumulus hills, overshadowed by the monolith snow capped peaks in the deep north.

We stopped for tea and then made it back down to Murree with time spare for lunch and a visit to the Pearl Continental Hotel in Bhurban for some dessert and a stroll.

An amazing day in the cold, with views that I will never forget. A main highlight of my trip to Pakistan and maybe even a main highlight of my travelling career to date!

Next up will be a post on Lahore which I should get done with this week some time!

-U.Mirza

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