The higher you rise, the mystifying it gets. While standing at the corner of a hilltop, a grassland bordered by a dense alpine forest whose fragrance suffusing in the air, and the shining sun giving me enough warmth to bear the icy gusts of the wind that are whipping at my face.
Under the spell and wonderstruck by the aerial views of slopes, valleys, streams and a breathtaking view of huge snow covered Mountain ‘Nanga Parbat’; I was powerless to think of any other thing but to mesmerize me with the immense beauty and the sheer size of the killer mountain whose peak was touching the sky. This magical place was Fairy Meadows. It is in the heart of glamorous Gilgit-Baltistan and located at the base of 8125 meters high Nanga Parbat which is the ninth highest mountain in the world and second highest in Pakistan after K2.
A road journey from Lahore on the eighth wonder of the world, Karakoram Highway took us two days to reach Raikot Bridge with a night stay at Bisham PTDC motel. The traveling from Bisham to Chillas is very exhausting and time does not seem to pass by. Even after traveling for hours the destination does not come early. A moment comes when you start thinking that there would be no Chillas, and when you are on the very verge of losing patience, it shows up. This part of the journey is not at all pleasant. This is a journey which seriously tests your patience; your mental will to travel and your physical strength. This is no true for traveling freaks.
Jeeps are available at Raikot Bridge round the clock and can carry Six passengers in one go to Fairy Meadows point or Tattu village (another name for Fairy Meadows). The track is one of the most dangerous yet beautiful and perfectly safe. It is wide enough for a single jeep, but the traffic moves in both directions. I was afraid that what would happen if there appear a jeep from the other end, and it happened. The drivers are skilled enough and know how to deal with it, something they do it many times a day, but it is scary as hell for the first timer like me. It took us two and a half hour to reach Tattu village.
The trek to Fairy Meadows from Tattu village takes around 1.5 to 2 hours. However, it depends on your physical fitness and stamina. It took me 4 hours and 10 minutes to reach the top. The start of the trek is a tricky one, but once you know how frequently you are going to take steps and learn to control your breath, you are going to nail it. Never go for shortcuts as they drain your energy for the rest of the climb, and the steeps are slippery. The last hour is not difficult; except the two points where the path becomes quite curvy and slippery due to waterfalls, soil mountains, and small pellet stones.
The whole effort becomes worthwhile once you see the lush green meadows with a serene view of huge Nanga Parbat covered in snow. The view of the peak being kissed by the sunlight was second to none.
The whole universe was in front of me, I put my backpack aside, laid down in the meadows with my eyes closed and the smile on my face. I was living the finest moment of my life which I still cherish every day.
The night was chillingly cold and to make it more memorable, we had the bonfire and a musical night to cherish our stay. The resort offered wooden cottages equipped with all necessities one can expect in the remotest part of the country. We preferred to stay in camps and wrapped ourselves inside sleeping bags, cozy enough
to keep us warm and safe from the wrath of cold.
After having breakfast the next morning, we had the option to go to the base camp of Nanga Parbat, which is almost a 2 hours of a peaceful trek through the alpine jungle. The return journey to the Fairy Meadows is just as entertaining.
The afternoon walk in the meadows and horse riding gives the chance to explore the wondrous land of the fairies. The small lakes, the pastures offer a tranquil view of the Fairy Meadows and Nanga Parbat.
Words cannot describe everything and talk about my experience takes me back to where I was on that day when I fell in love with the beauty of Nanga Parbat. I can still see the earth meeting the sky and the night full of stars. I am there lying on the lush green grass and the gusts of cold breeze whipping at my face.