Barhing - chaksawari- Sarsawa -Nerian - Rawalakot - Toli Pir - Hajira - Tata Pani - Bhimber - Barhing
I have recenty moved to pakistan from europe. I have lived all of my life in europe. I am a IT Infrastrcture analyst, i mainly worked as a contractor for major blue chip companies in europe.
Last year i decided when the current work contract ends, i will move to pakistan to get grips with our dada and pardada's land, as our grandad has now passed away, also dad was pushing me to go pakistan and see just for once our land and family. So with all the preassure from dad and family, and also my own desire to see pakistan i decided to come back home and settle for a year or so and see where things end up, so when current work contract ended i decided to move back to pakistan, more specifically in southern Azad Kashmir and northen Punjab border.
Before leaving my adopted country in europe, i had decided on a tour around pakistan, when reaching pakistan. i had no idea where the tour would be or what mode of transport i would be using for this tour, however back of my mind i wanted to tour around pakistan on bike, as most of my life i have driven cars, jeeps and SUV.
I had very little experience on bikes, little meaning i had european bike licence, however i had not driven any bike in europe (due to pressure from my beloved mother- who is still living abroad and still will not let me ride a bike.
I have been in pakistan for a almost 3 months now, and i have just completed my 1st bike tour on a Honda CG 125 euro II.
My first mission was buy a motor bike, everybody was pushing me to buy 70cc, but i had already learned and passed my test on a 250cc in europe. so i decided on buying a 125honda. my 2nd mission was to learn to ride a motor bike (keeping in mind i had passed my motor bike test in 1998 and had not touched a motor bike since.... this took me near on 5 weeks, to get my hand and feet stable on Honda CG125 ( where we live, roads are not like europe!!!). while learning to ride the bike i was also learning the road signs and laws. Allhamdulillah within 5 weeks i was already going to Gujrat and jhelum on my motor bike alone.
Few cousins from my village agreed to a tour after eid inshallah. So during the month of Ramadan we decided to tour AJK, it was decided that the 1st tour would be short and sweet. So while sitting one evening (after taraweeh prayers)on the pul (bridge) near the village, that the tour will be 3 days and 2 nights and we will only travel in Azad Kashmir (we have relatives working in AJK Police) so few cousins decided to stay in AJK for saftey reasons. i on the other hand did not mind at all, as i knew it will take me just one long trip on motor bike and once i complete that trip i will be ready to travel on my own if necessary, as i will get the experience and training i require on this trip.
It was decided that we will leave on the 3rd day of Eid, this would be best due to less rush. So below is what the tour ended up. i have not listed all the places. however i will list them as i i go along. so please bear with me.
Day 1: 20th july 2015 - Barhing to Nerian
Day 2: 21st july 2015 - Nerian - Banjosa lake - Rawalakot
Day 3: 22nd july 2015 - Rawalakot - Toli Pir Montain - Rawalakot
Day 4: 23rd july 2015 - Rawalakot - Hajira - Tata Pani - Kotli
Day 5: 24th july 2015 - Kotli - Chaksawari - Bhimber - Barhing
8 men travelling on 4 Honda CG125.
Group leader had informed all 8 to meet up at 6am and the purana toll (old check post and toll).
As some of you will be aware, things do not always go to plan...!! myself and group leader Saqi showed up at 5.45am... we waited until 6.10am, we tried many times to call the rest... no answer and some mobiles were switched off... really not happy with the time keeping of the lads... however after a few tries i managed to get through on Noni's mobile..... he informed me they got home around 2am as they had be playing in a night cricket tournament... !!! i informed the squad leader of the situation... he said ok, he cursed the lot and said lets go back to village and rest and regroup at meeting point 10.30am.
NOT A GOOD START....!! who the hell playes cricket at 2am ... apparently pakistani's play all night long...!!!! GREEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAT.
So i went home unloaded my bag and parked my bike, my aunty was sitting on her bed reading the Quran, she said... beta, app ka tour the bohat jaldi katham ho gai hai...to which i replied aunty jaan, yeah to trailer tha, film to abhi baki hai....she laughed and carried on with the recitiation, and i went to bed and re alaramed the mobile for 9.30am, the time now was 6.40am.
I get a call from my cousin Usman at around 6:50am i am in bed, all i heard was swearing and ranting on the phone... kanjaar ho sab, muj ko peechai chor gai ho... !! i just replied i am in bed call me around 9.30 and hung up and slept until around 9.20 when Usman came into my room and woke me up... he was in a lively mood, bright eyes and bushy tail ( i suppose happy at the fact the he had not been left behind)... what shall i pack for the journey... half asleep i gave him a list and informed him to meet at point at 10am. as soon as he left i got out of bed and started to get ready... aunty made breakfast (lassi and desi roti), i had full lassi and small amount of desi roti.. left all packed up and headed for the meeting point.... much to my surprise, i could see 3 bikes as i approached. All the lads were present ready and packed... at this point i had learnt that out of the 8 travelling only 2 had done tours other 6 (inc me) were on our first time tours, khair Inshallah all should be ok.
We left Barhing and headed for bhimber ( main cantt town) to pick up some supplies and fill motor bike tanks. time now was around 10:45am.
Reached Bhimber PSO on koti mor and filled our tanks... 11.00am. 600 rupees full tank (i already had fuel in tank), after refueling we headed totwards main bazaar to get some supplies, squad leader rode off to pick up a helmet from a friend. We picked up our supplies and headed straight for Mirpur chowk in bhimber. Time now was around 11.30am, All fuled up, regrouped at chowk and headed towards kasgumma and towards chaksawari (2nd pit stop).
Reached chaksawari at around 2.00pm - weather was hot, and i mean HOT... squad leader Saqi... pulled into a a shaded area near shops. we all turned in and parked our bikes.. in a very friendly manner.... he used language which i can not write on this forum to address the lads (excluding me)... as i was present at the meeting point at the agreed time. He made some very valid points.. stating you IDIOTS we would not be this HOT and bothered and sweating now (temp was 34 degrees), if we had left at 6am we would be half way though and almost up to the highlands where it is much cooler even during the day...he was right as we found out in due course. As he was the squad leader, we all had agreed to give 1000 rupess each to him and he would pay for all food and drink and accommodations thoughout the tour.
I payed for the drinks(cost me 280 rupess) and handed over my 1000 rupess to Saqi, soon after the grilling and than jokes and jokes and more jokes, drinks downed and all refreshed we headed towards Kotli, also known as the city of mosques.
We had crossed Plaak bridge and headed towrds the highlands of kotli 70km away and as we climbed 2 hills and headed toawrds 3rd, before we entered kotli we took another drinks breaks this time up in the montain forest area (we were approx 3000 above sea level), which was much cooler. Drinks break completed headed towards Kotli, as we rode towards Kotli for about 15 mins, it stated to rain lightly, Saqi (lead bike) pulled his bike into some shops with shaded area, we all pulled our bikes and parked, decided to wait for the rain to calm down, as by now the rain was comming there was no tomorrow. Saqi was right to stop and wait for the rain to calm down, riding in mountain broken pit roads is not a good idea.
This unplanned break lasted for about 30mins, when the rain calmed down we moved on again reaching kotli city. This is where i called my friend who lives in sarsawa ( town just outside Kotli) on the road to Nerian. I informed him i was in town and heading towards his village, he asked of my exact location and informed me he will meet me on the main road.
We passed 3-4 villages and reached Sarsawa and low and behold i spotted him in his pajro 4x4, he spotted me and pulled up. Squad leader had already said no more pits stops, so i after a juppi shuppi on the main road with Pola (my friend from Europe), i said we had limited time and we have to move on... he staarting effing n blidning at me... he said his grandad was waiting for me at his house, he had infomed his grandad that i was coming to his... his grandad and my grandad were best Gigri yaars from the 50s when they went to europe together, they lived and worked together and moved their familes to Europe together. I informed Saqi of the situation and requested we visit Baba for atleast 5-10 mins, say salaam and than we move on... Saqi agreed. i jumped into the Pajro with Pola and we all went to the his house... on arrival we were met with baba sitting on his charpai in his varanda waiting with a stick in his hand. He gave me 2-3 ligt hits, called me a few names and asked why i had not called him as i was in paksitan for 2-3 months now.
The boys were pleasently surpised with the protocal they received from baba G and his family... i was already familiar with the family, as we have been and are living like one family in europe. There were 2 security guards with AK's on the main gate and i counted 6 around the the house and roof with AK's - baba G explained this was due to dushmani... Baba, Pola and i chatted for about 45 mins while the family served samosa, pakora, chicken tikka boti and byrani and bakrah ghost with roti and kheer and drinks and kashmiri pink chai to end the session. All this took approx an hour or so ( saqi not too pleased at the timing- however felt hounered with the protocol), chit chat and food consumed bellies full again, we took ejazat from baba, Pola n family and moved on towards Nerian futher up the mountain, taking 2 breaks along the way and reached Nerain at around 9.45pm...........NEXT CHAPTER COMING SOON...