Chunda Valley

Chunda Valley


About a two hour drive away from Skardu lies a hidden piece of heaven. It’s called Chunda Valley, and it is as picture perfect as a Windows desktop wallpaper.

Our driver, Ali, was a cheerful young fellow who loved his jeep, but wasn’t afraid to test its limits. Picking us up from our hotel, he was quick to break the ice as he skidded to a stop next to a tree, and climbed up to the top of his jeep. Peering through the sunroof, I soon realized what he was doing – he was picking fresh apricots from the tree and brushing them against his shirt, before deeming them fit enough for us to eat. He popped a few in his mouth encouragingly, as if to attest to the safety and deliciousness of the fruit. He was right. It was the juiciest, sweetest apricots that I’d had in my life.


  In no time, we all were up on the roof of the jeep, plucking fresh apricots off of the tree. It must have made the neighbours curious, because a little while later, a man appeared and told us there were more fresh apricots in his garden.  Not wanting to miss out on this excellent opportunity, we clambered down and navigated our way through a boundary wall made of stones and bushes. Abid Hussain, the kind village man who invited us to his garden, was waiting for us patiently, his little daughter clinging to his leg like a little monkey.

Abid was happy to have guests over.  He showed us his beautiful garden where he grew various crops like potatoes and wheat. Fruit trees lined the outer edge of his field, and there were little friendly goats playfully bleating and skipping around at the sight of unknown people.  A giant hay stack the size of a small room stood in the centre of the field, with people standing up top. They were quickly trying to cover the haystack with a plastic sheet to prevent the oncoming rain from destroying it.

The village exuded a wonderful sense of peace. As little droplets of rain started to fall, we walked along with Abid, asking dozens of questions that he was happy to answer. He said that Chunda valley was a 5 minute walk from his house, and that we should take a short-cut through his garden.

So we did.

Following him across his garden and through narrow alleyways built with mud and stone, we walked towards Chunda. The scenery suddenly opened up, and we saw acres and acres of lush green fields on one side, and a beautiful traditional village on the other.  A small stream trickled prettily along the pathway. We spotted a few cows, which Ali told us were called ‘Zo’ in the local language, Shina.

As we turned around the bend and climbed up, my jaw dropped open at the sight in front of me. There it was, Chunda valley, the most stunning sight I’d seen in a while. Acres and acres of green fields, covered in small yellow flowers, surrounded on all four sides with gigantic mountains.

I walked right into the fields, grazing my hands across the sea of flowers. The clouds parted, and the sun shone brightly on everything, making the fields sparkle. The grey-blue mountains on the side stood magnificently on all sides. We were told that if climbed over these mountains, we  would end up in Deosai Plains, the highest and largest plateau in Pakistan.

With this stunning scenery before us, there was no other choice but to bask in its glory for as long as possible. We flopped in the grass, sang songs, and tried the sour-tasting berries that we saw in the bushes there. Ali told us that these berries have great medicinal value, and that they were even used for curing cancer.

 We tried flying a drone to capture everything, but our flight attempt failed due to Chunda Valley’s close proximity to the Skardu airport. We watched Abid Hussains’ little daughter giggle with delight, as we showed her our phones and let her play with the camera function for as long as she liked. We took deep breathes and inhaled the fresh mountain air that us city folks long for the entire year.


This was Chunda valley. A magical piece of land, with the power to rejuvenate even the most tired of souls. The therapeutic effect of Chunda lingered on long after we had come back. The yellow flowers, the green grass, the towering mountains, and the happy giggles of Abid’s daughter are forever etched in my heart.




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