December Issue 2015
The Past is Present
The Princess of Hope looks out over her sandy kingdom.
We almost expected to see Tom Cruise climbing these cliffs a la Mission: Impossible 2.
Kund Malir is 145 km from Zero Point on the Makran Coastal Highway. For now the waters are clean but locals complain that visiting groups will soon mar its pristine beauty.
Religious trinkets are sold in a stall outside the entrance to the Hingol National Park. The seller filled the air with the sound of his conch, creating a melancholic feel.
Walking along the trail between the mountains in Hingol National Park.
Small shrines like these greet us all along the trail, their bright colours adding vibrancy to the rocky landscape.
Colourful banners adorn the route.
A Hindu mystic mesmerises the group with ancient tales of Hindu kings and princesses.
The Jai Mata Di Shrine looks over visitors at the Hingol National Park.
The group gathered at 4 a.m. Families, young men and women, wired on adrenaline at the early morning hour, looking forward to the day ahead. Everyone clambered on to the bus, snacks were passed around for the long ride ahead, and we were off. The Globetrotters – a small group of young men – had arranged the trip for us.
Our first stop was for breakfast. A loud bell at the truck stop signalled our arrival and as the group seated themselves around marble-topped tables, plates of parathas and omelettes appeared in front of us. Rounded out with sticky sweet doodh patti, the meal was enough to keep the group going for the rest of the ride.
Reaching the stepped sandy formations around the Princess of Hope, we almost felt that we were in a Western movie and any moment cowboys would ride around the next strut. The landscape was tinged with a longing for the river that ran along it but was now only a dry trench. We hiked up the steep climb, the ascent so slippery due to the sand that we were forced to hold on to each other, but the climb brought the group closer together.
Our next stop was the Kund Malir Beach, and like all water bodies that bring joy, time spent along the coastline was obviously all the #instagramgoals. This is where we were going to have lunch but the karahi wasn’t ready and people were getting angry. The small makeshift restaurant was not the cleanest place and a lack of clean running water added to our hygiene woes. At this point it was 2.30 p.m. and many of us were tired from all the sun and sand.
But we still had our last stop left: the Hingol National Park. A light fall sun peeked out from behind the large, rock mountains drenching the plants between them in a dazzling light. As we made our way along the trail, bright orange flags tied to trees marked the wishes, hopes and dreams of those that had visited before. Foliage that had grown around the streams created pockets of serenity between the mountains. A Hindu mystic enticed us into his lair, regaling us with stories of the proud king Hingol who had wreaked havoc upon the land and after whom the Hingol National Park is named.
As five o’ clock neared, it was time to start our journey back to Karachi, where the roads went from being empty to full of traffic. It was 10 at night by the time we neared our meet-up spot along Rashid Minhas Road, an hour after the estimated arrival time. The day had been well spent, in the company of friends and no cell phone signals to fill the void.