Stock up for Phunder, Buddha rock carving at Kargah,
13th July 2000
During our late night discussions we had decided that we would rest at Gilgit for a day before proceeding on to Phunder. Everyone was tired and Phander was uncharted territory for us, who knows what lay in store, and we all needed that extra level of energy just in case it was required.
The local newspaper was interested in an interview with the kids so they had their day planned. The elders wanted to visit the statue of Buddha at the Kargah nallah for a picnic. We set out towards the kargah, which was a short distance away. The road winds through the Gilgit bazaar and then carries on through the suburbs. It then suddenly cuts to the right and is more of a gravel track through the fields. The nallah is a few minutes drive and the left fork at the bridge takes you to the parking area. It is then a good ten minutes walk up to the statue. The Kargah nallah is a mid sized stream with fast flowing crystal clear water splashing against the rocks to froth up immolating soap suds. We parked the 4×4’s in the parking area next to the roadside. Carrying the packed lunch of sandwiches and tea we walked along the small path upstream to a clearing where the bank was flat and set out the picnic table. The statue of the Buddha is carved out on the mountain to the right of the stream, it stands etched out of the rock a good twenty feet tall and looks down at those who come to visit with calm serene eyes. The picnic was a great success with Shamu and Gull taking dives in the river to cool themselves, actually Gull slipped and what fun, wet herself to the bones in that freezing cold water, that’s the way to do it anyway.
We drove back to the town and took the river route to the PTDC motel. This route is quite picturesque with the river flowing next to the road. At the PTDC motel, the kids were back from the interview, all exited about the newspaper editor and the question and answer session. We played cricket on the back lawn of the PTDC, Fahad, Asad, Shamu, Abid, Khalid, Nick, Sikander, Yaseen, Sharheryar and myself, and it was great fun, the back lawn of the motel is ideal for cricket.
Dinner that night was late in the evening. After freshening up we walked to the hotel on the riverbank to order food. They had a table laid out for us on the balcony of the first floor. As soon as the food was served the moon appeared to the left amongst the clouds. I have never seen such an exquisite sight before, the light of the shining moon in the dark sky was like a painting in shades of silver and black, the distant shadow of the mountains gave it a spectacular aura, the delicate hue of the trees, and the dramatic sketches of the clouds amidst the moon were changing every minute as the clouds moved. The chill in the night gave it that spooky Halloween feeling.
As we walked back to the PTDC motel we reminisced about our past trips, and I think it was Amjad who laughed the most his deep throaty voice echoing in the valley.. That night I was glad I had brought the kids, this experience they were going through would stick in their minds forever. Tomorrow the four wheeling would start and the uncharted ground for us would begin, I was looking forward to the drive up to Gupis.