by Samara Ali
Charting through the valleys of Hunza, Swat, Kashmir, and as far as Chitral has been a norm in this region. However, a lot still remains veiled in the shadows of the valleys across Pakistan. So here are the top 5 most mysterious facts about the northern areas of Pakistan that you need to know.
The Himalayas are dotted with beautiful lakes and snow-capped mountains, but one folklore has stalked the glacial peaks for centuries – the mysteries of Shangri-La. The Shangri-La is described to be a mystical valley that cropped up first as a fictitious utopia in the 1933 novel Lost Horizon by the British author James Hilton. Ever since the wisp of such a tale, Shangri-La has been an enigma for travelers across the world as they explore the wonders of the Northern Areas of Pakistan.
Apricot cakes and hospitality are just one of the facets of the Kalash tribe in Chitral. Another is the shroud of mystery attached with the ancestry of this hospitable tribe of the valley. Legend has it that 5 soldiers of the legions of Alexander the Great settled in Chitral, making them the progeny of the Kalash tribe.
According to the folklore of Chitral, Halmasti is a wolf-like creature the size of a horse, and a sighting of this creature is spewed as a bad omen. To this day, various truck and jeep drivers have reported the sighting of a Halmasti before experiencing grave accidents in the remote regions of the valley.
Hunza serves as a resting place for weary but courageous travelers descending the Hindu Kush mountains into the Vale of Kashmir. However, it is also home to the rare and nearly-extinct Ibex and Markhors, that lurk in the cold corners of the valley as the sun sets into the brazen, snow-capped mountains.
Quite recently, a giant marble cross was unearthed in Kovardo, between the Karakoram range and Skardu. This cross might be the largest ever found in the subcontinent and has ripened the excitement in the debate among Christian scholars that the advent of Christianity in the region has been earlier than once thought.
So…ready to backpack your next trip to the north to unravel these mysteries?