An ethnic blend of Uyghurs, Tajiks, Kyrgyz, Uzbeks, and Han Chinese, some things in the Old Town of Kashgar haven’t changed since medieval times....
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Camp 1 - Grahan
Kasol to Grahan Date: May 5 2014 Feet: 6500ft to 7700ft Kms: 9 kms Time taken: 8:30AM to 3:00PM Difficulty: Easy to Medium Terrain: The big day is your 4th day at Kasol. This is the day you start your first hike. I had fallen ill the previous night (bad stomach – apparently some people cannot handle the minerals in Himalayan Water) and ran out of energy within the first couple of hours of the trek. Though you cover good number of kms, this trek is relatively easy. You walk through forests with Parvati River on your side almost for the entire journey. The entire stretch is green with scenic walkways, plateaus for good breaks, pahadis with their herd of sheep and cows, beautiful burass red flowers to make the whole stretch magical. Towards to end, you will meet Pahadi children who call you Candy Man as they know you have Mango Bites in your bag (given by YHAI). So, we spent time sharing our candies with them, taking some pictures and trying to ensure they did not litter the place with candy wrappers. Experience: Most people found this stretch relatively simple. I, was on a trip of my own with some bad health but Zoheb supported me throughout, waiting for me and ensuring I don’t take too many breaks. Sometimes, it becomes very important to have THAT one person who motivates you and stays with you. Towards the end, we had no guide and had to figure out the route ourselves but YHAI has red arrows on enough number of rocks which makes “getting lost” a little difficult. We reached the camp site at around 3PM and immediately put our feet in a stream near-by. You can’t stay there for long as the water is COLDDDDD. But, this small dip in Parvati was extremely refreshing. Grahan Camp: The only camp which is close to a village. After this, there are no human settlements. Loved the view from the tent. We had enough time to walk around the camp area and look around. This lady selling maggi had kept the place warm for us with fire. Next morning we had piddus – a local delicacy with burass chutney and I swear I think it fixed my tummy :) A green camp with snowclad mountains in the background, Grahan was a great start to Sar Pass.
Exotic. Mysterious. A pulsating maze of colors, sights and smells, more Middle Eastern than Chinese. How do you begin to describe this mesmerizing 3000 year old oasis and trading mecca along the Silk Road?? An ethnic blend of Uyghurs, Tajiks, Kyrgyz, Uzbeks, and Han Chinese, some things in the Old Town of Kashgar haven’t changed since medieval times. Every narrow lane beckons you to explore the bazaars full of shimmering silk, knives, jewelry and carpets all moving to the rhythmic beat of metalworkers, cobblers, and weavers producing quality wares by hand; trades passed from generation to generation.