Our destination was this Trarkhel, Azad Kashmir. You can check this link to read in detail about the place. Let me take a chance to share with you the scenes that you can come across along the way during winter.
We took this road to reach there. Mostly the road is carpeted and but at this time full of now but snow is soon removed as this is only way of transportation of goods to the city.
Along way there came this place with a river winding through the hilly area. You can feel, if a big snake is going somewhere. O do not be scared, it’s a beautiful river of Jehlum and it actually defines the boundary between Azad Kashmir and Pakistan. On one side is Azad Kashmir on other bank is Pakistan. The bridge connecting to banks is called Azad Pattan.
You will also come across some fresh water streams while crossing Azad Pattan Area. The water of the streams is very fresh and many people sit around and relax for some time while on their way to different areas of District Poonch or District Sudhnoti.
Along the way you can see people removing snow from the roofs of the mud houses in a very old and traditional way. I do not know, why the have not changed the old method to remove snow.
I think the view of the valley from height is breath taking. Isn’t it???
Finally some sun. This is a house. Normally you will see houses of same shape and design with little change in style. Houses are spacious from inside. Heavy snow also breaks some weak branches as you can see in adjacent picture. Houses are not joined but always you will see that they are spread on the hill with some land surrounding them. This land belongs to house owner and they use it for different purposes and some make beautiful lawns with wonderful and colorful flowers and apple trees.
How beautiful this baby pine tree is looking . Almost all the trees are covered with snow at this time. You will see variety of trees along the way. Depending upon the altitude from sea level. On tops there are Pine and Cider trees and down there is a lot of Eucalyptus. There are also bushes and thorny shrubs with beautiful flowers. Before all the sides of the roads and mountains were covered with forest but as the population is increasing mostly forest is cut down and it is also changing the weather. Forest department is everywhere but I am not much sure what they do all year. They seem active just when they plant trees in spring and afterwards no care for the plants and they soon die. I hope Forest department will really show some effort and stop the illegal cutting of trees from forest by locals or anyone else. I feel it is our responsibility to hand down a green Kashmir to our kids. I feel very sad when I see forest fire or see people cutting woods. But no one to stop them.
Spring is knocking at the doors and people from different places bring their goats, lambs, cows and buffaloes for grazing.
This is a beautiful sight of the evening. In winter the weather and the sun does really wonders. It surprises you with beautiful colors. One can not stop from praising the Allah for beautiful colors that prevail the sky in winder. Beauty of Kashmir is because of the trees that cover it’s mountains. At they leave pleasant effect on weather and I can not stop myself for remembering the sound of air when it plays with needle like leaves of pine. It plays with them and screams as it passes from them and gets cut or pinched. This is what I used to believe in my childhood.
You can think to leave some foot prints on snow. But soon they will be gone. I love to eat snow, specially with sugar. My mouth is watering can not forget the taste of natural snow. Playing with snow at this time is really fun. You will see people out of their homes, covered with heavy cloths and making snowman and throwing it on one another.
Trees are not that happy to carry the weight of snow and try to get rid of it as soon as possible, some new plants get buried under the snow and desperate to come out and breath in fresh air, not so happy with chilling and freezing weather.
Here we can have a sight of historical place I would say as the trees in cluster were planted under rule of Mahraja in Kashmir. As he used to rest on this small hill along his way to Jammu & Kashmir and he ordered to plant these Deodar threes at this spot. He is gone but the think he left still benefits people and gives them happiness. Below you can see the same scene during summer. This place is famous for these trees. They are 22 in number and as you can see in picture you might be thinking it’s one tree but it is not! You can also some traditional colorful houses nearby.
You will also see fog as when it is fog, people say that weather will be clear soon after it will disappear.
This is the vehicle for local transport and this is a piece of very traditional art form of Pakistan. You will be wondering as you may not have seen such vehicle. So to break your surprise, we call it princess of hills. It is a bus, decorated like a bride. We also call it rocket bus. As when the drives runs it on circling roads with high music on, you do not know, where you are going and how. You will see it all time jam packed, even people will be on it’s roof and hanging from sides. Obviously we did not take the risk to sit on it but during my childhood it was one thing, I loved to ride on.
I hope you will like these pictures taken along the way from Islamabad to Trarkhel.