The summer is a cruel season in Pakistan. It brings with it the scorching sun and burning hot winds. The plains become so hot that animals take refuge under shady trees. Due to the extreme summer, people want to run away from their busy lives to get a taste of winter. This is only possible if you travel north. Pakistan has many beautiful places, but the northern areas are blessed by great natural beauty, like pine trees and waters falls. They are so beautiful, and the weather is so appealing, that they have now become tourist spots.
Last week, from May 24 to May 26, our annual company trip was arranged for our Lahore service center. The tour was north bound to the Thandiani/Nathia Gali/Murree hills, away from the heat of Lahore.
Day 1 The journey started at 12:45 AM on Saturday from our Lahore service center. After travelling on the Grand Trunk road connecting Lahore to Rawalpindi, we stopped for breakfast at Hassan Abdal, a place 40 kilometers northwest of Rawalpindi. Our next stop was Abbottabad. We purchased chicken meat for a barbecue from an Abbottabad local bazar to fire up and enjoy later on the Thandiani hilltop. Afterwards, a few kilometers from Abbottabad, we reached the Kalapani Waterfall where we stopped for about an hour get our first contact with melted glacier water flowing fast from the mountains. After relishing in a refreshing swim, we moved up toward the top of Thandiani. The ascent was full of twists and turns; hence the journey was quite different from that in the plains. The weather at Thandiani was excellent and the lush green scenery added to the beauty of the place. We relaxed for some time and then explored the beauty of Thandiani. The aroma of the barbecue fascinated everyone even more. In a nutshell, we really had a wonderful time at Thandiani. Our next destination was a hotel on Murree Mall Road. We reached the hotel, relaxed for a while, and went out for dinner.
Day 2 The next day was a day of hiking. Our target was to reach the top of Mushkpuri, the second highest hill of Galiyat, located in the wonderful Hills of Nathia Gali. It is approximately 9,452 feet (2,800 meters) above sea level. We started trekking from Donga Gali. The slope on this route is very steep which makes it a challenging trek of the hours, with magnificent scenery all the way to the top. There is a small pond at the top of Mushkpuri, which shows the beautiful reflection of the trees and sky. The sight of the Kashmir valley from the top of Mushkpuri was very amazing. After a tiring but exciting trek, we came down to Nathia Gali and had a delightful dinner. With tired bodies, we went back to our hotel in Murree.
Day 3 This day started a bit late because we were very tired from the previous day’s trekking activity. The guys ran a few errands and did some shopping for their families on Mall Road, and after that we left for Rawal Lake View Park in Islamabad. We rode paddleboats in the lake and visited a beautiful bird aviary in the park. After having a wonderful time we went to a famous restaurant known for its “pulao”, a dish made with rice.
At last, we returned to Lahore after spending 3 amazing days in the northern areas of Pakistan, but the beautiful memories of this visit will last in our minds for a long time.