Adventure Club & Hiking – FAIRY MEADOWS & TREKKING TO THE BASE CAMP OF NANGA PARBAT
Saturday, 10 June 2023
Nanga Parbat (8126m) is the second highest mountain peak of Pakistan and ninth highest in the world. Its base camp is one the most beautiful and most assessable base camps of any 8000-meter peak in the world. Fairy Meadows, named by German mountaineers is an alpine pasture at an elevation of 3300 feet from sea level and offers excellent view of Nanga Parbat and other high peaks.
On this 5 days’ adventure trip planned in collaboration with Sustainable Tourism Foundation, we will take you to the Fairy Meadows side of Nanga Parbat. This area offers excellent trekking opportunities with lush green meadows, pine covered slopes and superb views of Nanga Parbat and other high peaks. June is the best time to visit this place. It is a lifetime opportunity for adventure and nature lovers. On this trail, porters will carry the heavy luggage while you hike carrying your day pack to the Fairy Meadows camping site (an easy to moderate hike of about 3 hrs.).
Day 1: Departure from Islamabad at 05:00 a.m. for Chilas. Travel in an air conditioned transport and cover distance in about 12 hrs. with break for lunch and refreshments. Overnight stay and dinner at hotel in Chilas.
Day 2: Early Breakfast at hotel. Leave for Roikot Bridge (about 1 ½ hrs. drive). Roikot to Jhel travel on 4x4 jeeps (1 ½ hrs. thrilling jeep ride). Trek from Jhel to Fairy Meadows (3 to 4 hrs.). Overnight stay and dinner at Fairy Meadows. Night stay in huts/tents at Fairy Meadows.
Day 3: Day hiking excursion to explore the Bial Camp and Nanga Parbat base camp (8 to 9 hrs. both ways) Those who are not interested to go on a long hike can stay back at Fairy Meadows and explore area around camping site and enjoy nature walk, photography and spend time at leisure. Overnight stay in wooden night stay in huts/tents at Fairy Meadows. Dinner with Bonfire.
Day 4: Breakfast at camping site. Enjoy morning hours to do photography, explore area towards Fantori or relax in the beautiful mountain environment. After lunch trek back to Jhel (easy to moderate downhill trekking of about 2 ½ hrs.). Jhel to Raikot bridge travel by 4x4 jeeps in 1 ½ hrs. Raikot to Chilas by van in another 1 ½ hrs.). Overnight stay at hotel in Chilas.
Day 5: Early morning breakfast and departure for Islamabad. Travel on KKH via Dasu, Besham, Thakot, Mansehra and Abbottabad. En-route stop for lunch and afternoon tea. Reach Islamabad at around 9:00 p.m. End of trip.
Cycling - A RIDE To DAMAN-E-KOH & MONAL
Sunday, 28 May 2023
Daman-e-Koh is a viewing point and hill top garden north of Islamabad and located in the middle of the Margalla Hills. Its name is a conjunction of two Persian words, which together means foot hills. It is about 2400 ft from sea level and almost 500 ft from the city of Islamabad.
Monal is located on Pir Sohawa Road at an altitude of 3,500 feet (1,100 m), Monal climb has become of the iconic climbs for Cycling in Islamabad.
Both are a popular destination for the residents as well as the visitors to the capital. Monkeys are a common sight along the road side, attracted by the food given by tourists.
The ride is Medium and Tough ride. We will ultimately ride to Monal but for those who want to keep it easy can join the ride initially till Damn-e-Koh. Those returning during the ride please inform the coordinators.
Adventure Club /Photography/Trips: WEEKEND IN SHOGRAN, KAGHAN VALLEY
Friday, 26 May 2023
Friday 26th to Sunday 28th.
Shogran, one of the most beautiful plateaus in Kaghan Valley is situated 219 km from Islamabad. It takes about five hours to reach here via Mansehra, Balakot and Kawai. Surrounded by thick pine forests and with an altitude of 2,362m, the early summer climate of Shogran is pleasantly cold in May. From Shogran you have a breathtaking view of Kaghan Valley’s snow covered peaks such as Musa Ka Musalla (4,419m), Makra (3,885m) and Malika Parbat (5,290m). We have planned two options within the same trip.
For participants that are interested in easy walks Shogran and day excursion trip to Sari Paya by Jeep.
For hardcore hikers who will climb Makra Mountain from Paya.
On Friday morning we will drive in a van to Shogran with couple of photo/refreshment stops en route. Shogran will be our base station where we will stay for two nights in a comfortable hotel. Afternoon will be free to walk around Shogran to enjoy the beautiful mountain scenery.
On Saturday, we will go by 4x4 jeep to Sari and Paya. Group members interested in Option-I will walk around the place and enjoy the beautiful panoramic views of mountains from the ridge of Paya, Paya at 3,079 is a lush green meadow with spectacular view of Malika Parbat and other snow covered mountains of Kaghan Valley. This group will come back to Shogran by 4x4 jeeps in the afternoon will be free for rest and recreation.
The hikers group (availing option-II) will go to Paya by 4x4 jeep and climb Makra Mountain (3,885m). They will return to Shogran in late afternoon and spend the night at the hotel.
On Sunday, morning will be free for rest and recreation in Shogran till 11.am. We will leave for Islamabad at around 11.30 am and reach Islamabad in the afternoon with a lunch stop at Abbottabad.
Film Club – TASTE OF CHERRY (1997) - Iran
Tuesday, 23 May 2023
Duration: 1 hr 35 min
Director: Abbas Kiarostami
Screenplay: Abbas Kiarostami
Cast: Homayoun Ershadi, Abdolrahman Bagheri, Afshin Khorshid Bakhtiari, Safar Ali Moradi, Mir Hossein Noori, Elham Imani, Ahmad Ansari
Award: Cannes Film Festival - Palme d'Or
This is a film with a meditative beat to it as the story unfolds in a deliberately slow but piercing manner. It is a simple, serene and occasionally humourous film about a subject that is complex, emotional but usually treated with solemnity!
An affluent man (Homayoun Ershadi) drives around the outskirts of Tehran in a Ranger Rover looking for a stranger to whom he offers a fee to perform a shocking function. The driver interviews a security guard who gathers and sells plastic bags, a timid Kurdish soldier, an Afghan seminarian who quotes from the Quran, and finally an old Turkish taxidermist. Initially it is not made clear what the driver wants done and gradually we discover what his requirement is. The men talk and in the talking, as well as in the eloquent silences, life takes on precious appeal.
The film's leisurely shots of the driver's car twisting through the wastelands outside Tehran, crisscrossing a barren industrial landscape of construction sites and shanty towns initially has a harsh effect which gradually segues to a landscape that becomes green with foliage and which takes on a soothing effect reflecting the various moods of the driver as we get totally caught up in the protagonist's psychological and ethical dilemma.
Hiking - Nartopa Rockpools Hike
Sunday, 21 May 2023
We are going to explore some beautiful rock pools in the lovely Talhaar valley.
We will assemble at the Japanese Playland parking area and pool cars to drive to Talhar Village, Islamabad. The cars will be parked near the bridge and from there it will be around 7km hike along the water stream to some amazingly beautiful water pools. Our plan is to spend some time there, have a picnic and return. Total walking time is about 3 hours. Wear sturdy shoes and bring water. Also bring snacks accordingly for the picnic.
Hike Rating - Moderate (Long Walk along the water stream)
Special Programme: Comparative Cultures/Art - TRANSBORDER FEMINIST ART
Saturday, 20 May 2023
'The way in which international media frames certain ideas affects public perception , and relates to the struggle to deal effectively with a diversity of experiences and perspectives of Muslim women across borders...'
Toronto based visual artist and curator Iman Aziz Bhatti will share her experiences on how Muslim Pakistani women represent their identity and culture across borders through contemporary art, theory and criticism; and how visual arts is giving them agency to represent themselves while challenging the normalization of stereotypical ideas and realities put forward by media.
Iman Azizi Bhatti graduated in Fine Art and in Criticism and Curatorial Practice from Ontario College of Art & Design University. Her practice explores themes of identity, gender roles, orientalism and resistance to emphasize how exposure to images shapes perception, particularly that of South Asian women.
Gardening / Botanical Walks - A VERY SPECIAL VISIT: SAMARKAND HOUSE- CHARRA PANI ( NEAR MURREE)
Sunday, 14 May 2023
Our hosts have very graciously opened up their home specially for ASG- this a rare opportunity to join us on what promises to be an inspiring visit to one of the most unique hillside residences in Pakistan!
Best described by our host Lauren Mueenuddin as a "Meeting of minds"...the Samarkand House- in Charra Pani- was built in the 1960s by the Mueenuddin family. Today, the family hopes its heritage can provide us with a view into how older generations built homes keeping nature in mind!
Nestled between old pine trees and terraced onto a hillside, the home provides a breathtaking view of Rawal lake, mature avocado trees, a tennis court, natural spring water pools, and a heartwarming charm.
We will meet at the Serena outside parking area at 12:30 pm on Sunday 14th of May. From there we will drive in a convoy to Samarkand House. It is a one-hour drive on the old Murree road from Serena Hotel.
Our hosts will serve us a cup of tea but do bring along a picnic/refreshments if you like. Wear sturdy walking shoes (and a walking stick if needed) for traipsing up and down the numerous walking paths, and perhaps a hat for warding off the sun!
Literature- JAVIER MORO- ON WRITING NARRATIVE FICTION
Friday, 12 May 2023
Javier Moro, is a highly acclaimed Spanish author . Several of his books are set in the subcontintent (Five Past Midnight in Bhopal, Passion India etc.). Amonst his well- known books is 'The Red Sari'- a biography of Sonia Gandhi- The conversation tonight will feature insights on the writer's subjects, method and writing career, which almost began in Pakistan !
Javier Moro is the nephew of Dominique LaPierre, co author of Freedom at Midnight, who initiated him into the craft of narrative non fiction.
Cuisine - A TASTE OF TRADITIONAL 'SINDHI' CUISINE
Saturday, 6 May 2023
A rare opportunity - delicacies from the province of Sindh!
Sindhi cuisine -dating from the ancient 7000 year old civilization of Moen-Jo-Daro- has been influenced by Central Asian, Iranian & Mughal food traditions. Sindhi people are famous for their traditional food and hospitality.Todays menu will include: Koki - flat wheat bread stuffed with chopped onion, green chilies and coriander leaves; Sai bhaji: A vegetable dish with spinach, potato, tomato, carrots served with rice; Karhiji bhaji - prepared with lotus stem and vegetables; Saiyal Machi - a signature Sindhi dish of fish cooked in spices and pomegranate seeds; Sola - rice prepared in fish, meat or chicken with dil (soya), coriander leaves, green chilies, turmeric which gives it a unique taste and originates from the historic Thatta district. Dessert included is Malpura- sweet fried pancake topped with khoya and almonds... and to wash all this down, the famous delicious Thadhal - a drink made from almonds will be served!
Adventure Club/Archaeology: 'TAKHT E BAHI'- BUDDHIST MONASTERY:A WORLD HERITAGE SITE
Saturday, 29 April 2023
Takht-e-Bahi Buddhist monastery is one of the most impressive and well preserved pieces of Gandhara architecture in Pakistan. It is situated 14 km northwest of Mardan on the road to Swat (2 ½ hour drive from Islamabad). The reputation of Takht-e-Bahi, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is based partially on the extraordinarily good state of preservation and partially on its glorious location. The site itself is located on the northern flanks of a rocky spur rising 150 meters (500 ft) above the plains.
On a clear day you can see across the plains as far as Peshawar on one side, and the Malakand pass and the Swat hills on the other. The monastery and stupas were founded in the 1st. Century AD and abandoned in the 7th century AD. You may also enjoy the famous local cuisine of “Chapli Kabab” and tandoori nan from one of the famous kabab shops in Takht-e-Bahi bazaar.
Departure from Islamabad at 08:00 a.m.
Travel on Islamabad-Peshawar Motorway.
Short stay on the way for toilet break and buy water or snacks (if needed).
Take road to Mardan.
Arrival at Takht-e-Bahi
Visit historical site of Takht-e-Bahi along with local guide
Return to main road and stop at local restaurant.
Enjoy lunch of “Chapli Kabab” and tandoori nan. (You may also bring your own pack lunch as well.
Departure for Islamabad 3:30 pm
Arrival at Islamabad at around 6:30 pm.
For pictures of past programmes, click over to our "memories" page.