Chitral (By Shamsuddin ChitralLaunched the Kosht-Phasti-Susoom Trekking from Kosht bridge by 09:36 pm. Went to visit the home-based museum of material heritage that Mr. Habibullah Sb of Noghor Mori, Kosht, has set up. He was kind enough to extend warm reception, had a chat for a while before he opened the museum for visit and photography. The museum is stocked with the precious material heritage of the Kho culture ranging from 100 to 500 years. It is a valuable repository that could play a significant role in theorizing the indigenous Kho culture for researchers, anthropologists, and ethnographers in the right direction. It has also much fascination to attract tourists to the area.
Ethnology has evolved in the Chitral region as a museum discipline for over two or three decades with the establishment of Chitral museum and Kalasha Dur in Chitral town and Bumborate valleys, respectively. But in recent years, some home-based ethnological museums have also been set up by people having a special interest in the field such as Habib Sb of Kosht and Yaftali Sb of Laspur valley.
What I felt by having a look at the precious cultural assets in the museum is: it requires a professional curator and an extended premise. The current space is limited. The Ministry of Culture, Sports, Tourism, Archaeology & Youth Affairs can provide technical help to properly catalog the valuable cultural articles in the museum, get them appropriately displayed besides preparing notes against each article for the visiting guests.
Embarked on travel from Noghor Moli, Kosht, Mulkow valley, by 11:10 am. The travel across village Kosht to the south was enjoyable. Had an interaction with some locals at Kosht polo ground, which, in its widened shape looks more dignified.
As I started traveling south, I gained height and felt myself at the center stage of the majestic and colorful mountains at equal distance from all sides. Took good pictures and enjoyed the scenic beauty everywhere. The crops and trees along the route have turned deep green, hence the scenes are more photogenic in full spring than ever.
Used the Shonjoor Ann route for Gohkir and crossed it near the famous Shonjoor Ann mobile tower. The migratory birds have arrived here. I noticed skylarks singing and wheeling on the sky. Bees and butterflies are also everywhere. Flowers such as Marguerite daisy, Alpine Cornflower, Snow Glory, Taraxacum spp (dandelion), Wild Poppy, and Wild Tulip are in full blossom, giving a beautiful look to the landscape.
Reached Gombor (Teli village), rested at the shop of Mr. Sher Muhammad for a while, and took tea with him. Along the way in Gohkir, I crossed the villages of Sholiri, Bindo Gol, Dokandeh, Shahkop, Kahchi, Magasarandeh, Boxhandeh, Nogh Pheli before reaching Misharandeh, Lone by 5:15 pm.
For the night, I stayed at the residence of Mr. Fazl-ur-Rehman, a socio-political activist, and a person of good demeanor. He is an informative person with a command of local politics and speaks with more clarity. Located atop the hill without a boundary wall, his house offers the best panoramic view of the village. It is an ideal guest house for tourists with a beautiful camping site with old apricot trees. Had gossip till the late at night before going to sleep.
May 15, 2021, by 09:12 am, left Lone for Phasti via village Riri. Whilst traveling across the Lono Drish, I had the kind company of Sana Ahmed Sb, a notable from village Ramol, Riri. He was kind enough to invite me to his house for tea. It is a good family ready to welcome guests. Interestingly, he turned out to be a sitar player, and we produced good sitar music turned by turned before I departed for Phasti via the pasture of Riri, Lot Owir.
Earlier I had decided to travel via Phoroshon pass but it was snow-bound, therefore, I opted for the second route through Riri. Two of the young guys joined showing me the route to Kotowo Ghari, where I met some young guys who had camped there overnight. They had a fine-tuned Chitrali sitar with them, which I enjoyed playing for sometimes before leaving for Poriantek (Riri Pass) by 02:50 pm. From this point, the villages of Barinis, Shahchar, Jogoomi, Pryeet, Mroi, and Koghozi are visible. All the villages look fascinating from the height.
As I reached a village in the lower Phasti, I found young boys playing football. Went closer to them and asked about any social activist and community leader of the village. They unanimously told me the name of Rehmat Ghaffar. I inquired about his house, which is located high up on the hill. When I reached the house, I found one of Rehmat sb’s sons and asked him to provide me accommodation for the night, which he happily did.
Phasti is a beautiful village comprising 80 households. There is no electricity, people use solar energy for lighting and charging their mobiles. There is only one primary school and no hospital available here. In absence of a middle or high school, it is quite difficult for girls to get an education. It is worth noting that the villagers can not afford to send their daughters to other villages or cities because of poverty. This means in absence of educational facilities, girls of the Phasti village do not get an education beyond the primary level.
May 17, 2021: when I got up at 06:53, the Phasti village looked amazing in the early morning sunshine. After having breakfast, and thanking Mr. Rehmat for the hospitality, I left for village Susoom of the Lot Koh valley. On the way, I came across people who were plowing. Initially, I was frightened to see the snow, but as I proceeded to what is called Gosteno Tek, it turned out to be not much difficult. On the snowline, I enjoyed the songs of snowcocks, which flew over my head in six places. Near the top, the cloud thickened, the air chilled and it became sensational. It also hail-stormed. The travel on the Parsan side was comparatively easy, albeit the snow was heavy there too. Once I cleared the snow the sail was smooth.
In the Parsan valley, I came across few people who were repairing a channel. They offered me a cup of tea. Along the channel, I proceeded to village Susoom crossing the villages of Madashil, Orolagh, and Petagram. All these villages of Karimabad valley, present a fascinating look in early spring. The people of all ages here are hospitable by default. I reached the residence of Muhammad Yaqoob Sb in village Susoom by 06:00 pm. He received me warmly and extended exemplary hospitality arranging everything himself. Provided me a tidy room, clean bedding, and delicious food. After a long and adventurous trek, I enjoyed staying at his residence. Yaqoob Sb is a person much respected for his extensive voluntary service for the communities for so many years. His good manners coupled with his care and service for others have earned him a good reputation in the social circle across the region. He has also been a polo player and actively participated in polo tournaments in Chitral polo ground and other areas.
On May 18, 2021, traveled from Susoom to Chitral town with Yaqoob Sb in his private vehicle.
I must thank all the respected people who went the extra mile in taking care of me during the adventurous trekking from Kosht to Susoom via village Phase. Thank you all!