12 April 2014

Minimarg, Astore, Gilgit baltistan, Pakistan

Out of all the places I have been to in my trekking and outdoor life, If I have quoted above verse for any place it is Minimarg. A heaven on earth it definitely is specially during the season when flowers are on full blossom. Minimarg is the remote valley bordering Line of Control between India and Pakistan. Unfortunately, this is a restricted area because of its sensitivity and close proximity to LOC and cannot be ventured without specially military permission.

How to Reach There?

The only road access to Minimarg is via 4000 meters high Burzil Pass. This area remains disconnected from rest of the world for 7-8 months because of the snowfall. All army or any emergency civil transportation is done through helicopters. From Astore, the jeep road can take 4-5 hours via Chilam and Burzil top. Burzil pass used to be the old caravan route between Gilgit and Kashmir till the independence of Pakistan. 

Best season to visit this area is July and August. The whole area is heavily forested and lush green. Locals are friendly and speak Shina language. Their houses are built completely from wood. Minimarg is the headquarter for one of Pakistan’s military brigade and this area remained pretty active during the Indo-Pak Kargil war.

Domel and Chota Deosai

Domel is a small village at approximately 10 kilometers from Minimarg accessible through a jeep road. A small trek that can be done from Domel is that to Chota Deosai.

Although there is a jeepable road that goes up to Chota Deosai and onwards to Gultari, it has been damaged due to landslide and is no more in use. At the place of landslide, a difficult patch has to be crossed through careful steps.

Chota Deosai is the gateway to main Deosai from this side and one can go further towards Sheosar lake and Barapani.