In the shadow of Passu Cones

A Tale of Mountains, Culture, and Adventure

In a world that often seems fast-paced and detached, where everyone is either living in the past or the future. 
But missing to live in the present.
I know a place where all the rush to be somewhere, to do something, vanishes away.
A culturally rich historic place, gateway of Asia for the rest of the world. 
A wide open valley surrounded by 5 mighty glaciers.
Passu, The Jewel of Gojal & Hunza.
I see a lot of people stopping only for a picture near the “Welcome to Passu” view point or somewhere in between the road.
It is a place to stay to for weeks and months not just to click a picture. Thinking why?
In this blog I will try to share why Passu is a magical valley.
Just as you cross the Attabad lake, you could see something taking over the whole canvas of your view.
The majestic Tupopdon (Passu Cones). 
Considering it is 26 KMs away!
So far away but Still I feel the overwhelming presence of Passu cones every time i cross the Attabad tunnels.
Back in 2018, A guy traveled to Gojal and sat his eyes on the Tupopdon for the very first time. 
He could not turn his head away. It felt like Passu cones had grasp his soul.
That time the boy didn’t know anyone in Passu or knew where to stay. 
So he used to come from Karimabad Hunza all the way to Passu in morning and talked to this mountain without saying a single word from his mouth till sun set.
Whenever he decided to head back, the Passu cones whispered to him “Stay a bit more”.
The mountain since then had answered to many questions the guy had whom none can answer.
The magic of this valley on some of the people but let’s explore why YOU should visit Passu and things you can do in Passu.
If you are looking for a perfectly remote, calm and who love to experience nature at raw, Passu is the place for you. 
Where you could feel the winds blowing, the trees waving. Every day you could see different color shades on passu cones. 
The rich culture of passu is yet another reason to stay at this place.
During my visit to Passu in 2019, I came across a guy over dinner one night. 
Never met this guy in my life but I grew a feeling that we had a same type of energy. 
He’s someone who embodies a different way of life. 
A life that is intimately intertwined with the mountains, a life of authenticity, and a life of finding solace in the embrace of nature.
Meet Shahanwaz from Passu.

Born in Passu then moved to Islamabad for 16 years. Away from the basic lifestyle to a life with more luxuries and less handi work.
But then something triggered inside of him which made him return to the nature’s way of living.
so I asked him a few questions, revealing the profound impact of a nomadic lifestyle on the human spirit.

Basit: Why did you decide to come back to Passu when you were living in Islamabad?

Shahanwaz: I came back because I had my family back here in Passu, but that was not it. My heart was also back in Passu with the mountains.
Basit: I understand about the parents things but what is it in the mountains that you came back I asked.
Shahanwaz: Just the mountains themselves are enough for me because in city, the life goes by very quickly. 
Here, I can live in the present moment. I don’t have to rush every moment of my life. I like to live like a king of my life.
Basit: You came back from Islamabad leaving behind a stable city life to a less preferred way of living in the world.
Shahanwaz: I don’t think so I chose a less stable way of life. 
Growing my own crops, I can create my own home, craft anything I need. Even if the world’s system collapse, not only I will be able survive but thrive. 
I think I am more independent and there will be only few changes in my life
Plus I have everything here that I need.
Which left me in a moment of realization that yeah, he is right about that. 
The current way of living has left us so much more dependent on the system. 
Hardly any of us know the basic human way of life anymore now.
As personally I love to experience different cultures and traditions, I asked him another question. 
Is there any tradition or any specific festival that you love about Wakhi people as being one yourself?
Shahanwaz: One of Wakhi people’s core values of life is to go wit the flow of nature. 
We believe that everything around us work together to feed us and keep us alive. 
The mountains, the glaciers, rivers, springs, this soil, the animals and the plants. Everything has a spirit. 
We do not harm the nature.
So to answer, I love everything about Wakhi culture.
And let’s not forget all the festivals and the delicious food of Wakhi people.
I have experienced their delicious food in their various festivals and hospitality but I learnt something new about the Wakhi people that night.
About their core value of life.
No wonder Passu feels so calm. 
The Wakhi people are so aligned with the nature’s values that nature itself gives back the positive energy I crave for in the world.
What it is so magical about Passu that just gets me every time I am here I always thought. 
The final piece of my prolong question was answered.
If you love stargazing, Go for a walk on the road after 11PM in Passu
Do you know Passu hosts a only girls football tournament, which was highlighted by National Geographic also, Along with many other sports tournaments in Passu.
So that was a little bit of what you can experience in Passu.

How to get you there?

It is reachable by traveling on the Karakoram highway, one of the best thing about passu. 
It is a remote place with such beauty yet easily reachable by bus, car, bike or the local transport from Gilgit or Aliabad.
NOW, let us see what you can explore while your time in Passu if you are feeling a little bit adventurous.

Passu Glacier: 

If it is a hot day in Passu, one of the places I go is the Passu glacier.
There are basically two ways by which you can get to the immense Passu glacier.

Shisper Hotel Passu:

Approachable by: Half way by bike or 4×4, Hiking
Trek time: 15-20 minutes where the road ends
Cellular Reachability: None
One way way is from Passu village, near Shisper view hotel. 
The locals have constructed a road recently which leads straight to the snout of the Passu glacier. 
It is hardly 10mins walk from where the road ends to the giant mouth of the glacier.

Borith Lake Route:

Approachable by: Trekking, Hiking
Trek time: 30 – 45 minutes from shahdabad view point
Cellular Reachability: None
The second route is from borith lake which leads straight to the middle of this giant glacier. 
Continue the road straight from Borith lake till you reach Shahabad view point.

You can park your vehicle here. The trek starts from the view point. 

It is a beginner level trek so even children can walk on it. It is a well paved trek by the local community.
You will see many 7000 meter mountains surrounding you as you walk to the glacier.
You will see different colored rocks on your way.

 Always have a guide or a local to guide you on a glacier. Do not attempt to cross the glacier on your own.
You can reach out to me, If you want to ice climb the long walls of Passu glacier 

Rock climb the famous wall of Tupopdon (Passu Cones):

Approachable by: 4×4, bike, Hiking
Trek time: 10 minutes drive from KKH
Cellular Reachability: Medium

Do you know you can actually climb the walls of Passu cones? 

Whether you are an expert rock climber or a novice, experiencing a climb on the great Passu cones is no doubt an amazing experience.

The locals have pitched the wall for up to 50 meters.
So you don’t have to worry even if you fall down, you will be roped with a harness.
So feel free and secure to experience this.


Approachable by: Trekking
Trek time: 8-9 hours from Passu village
Cellular Reachability: None

The pasture just below the Pari ghous mountain. 
If you want the best view of 7000 meter peaks like Batura, Ultar, Shisper in Passu.
A place where you stay for eternity. 
Let the picture below speak for itself but of course pictures never do justice to the real beauty.
The trek starts from Khuramabad village in Passu. 
You will have to cross the Passu suspension bridge which is quite an adventure itself.
The trek is laid out at most of the places so all you have to care for is your pace and breathing.
Try not to exhaust yourself and keep your pace steady. 
It takes a day to reach to this place but once you are there, you will be proud of yourself to push yourself to witness such beauty of nature. 
You will be welcomed by one of the best panoramic views of your life.

Yhunz Valley:

Approachable by: Trekking, Hiking
Trek time: 45 minutes – 1 hour from Janabad village in Passu
Cellular Reachability: None
The way to Yhunz valley starts from Janabad settlement in Passu. 
Continue on the road straight from the abandoned petrol pump in Passu. 
You will see a paved road on the left side as you cross Passu tourist Lodge hotel if you are facing towards Sost.
The trek is not so much difficult. Just keep your pace slow and steady. 
It just takes around 45-60 mins to reach this beautiful place.
It is a valley deeply carved in the mountains from where you can get a panaromic view of Passu cones and surroundings.
Not just this but you will witnessing the 5th largest glacier on earth outside polar regions. 
The mighty Batura glacier.
It is 57 KM long!
Oh and I almost forgot! There is a house called Samar house not ‘summer house’ where you can stay the night, cook and get shelter for free!
Everyone in Passu is super polite and nice. 
All you have to do is get a permission from the local community in Passu to use the summer house.


Approachable by: Trekking

Trek time: 5 hours from Borith lake
Cellular Reachability: None

A place of meditation where you feel small because you are the smallest thing there. 
Patundas, where you are standing high and you see could see some of the highest mountains in the world. 
You will feel like you are standing on a table. 
On your right is the mighty Batura glacier. 
On your left is the Passu glacier, Passu peak, the Batura massif.
On your back are the maginificient Passu cones. 
You would also get a crazy view of Shisper peak, only if Shisper allows you to witness her beauty.
You would see cows and cattle running around, enjoying a good summer day.
To reach this place where hardly any outsider goes, The trek starts from borith lake to the blue glacier of Passu.
It is highly recommended to have a guide while crossing this glacier, its no easy feat. 
You can easily lose track of your path in the high walls of Passu glacier.
Once you cross the Passu glacier, there is a camping site. 
You can camp at the meadow and continue to climb towards Patundas meadows the next day.
Or you can head straight to the Patundas meadows if you are in good physical state.


Approachable by: Trekking, Hiking
Trek time: 9 hours
Cellular Reachability: None
The destinations that we talked about till now are all amazing, beautiful and very less known by the people. 
But if you truly want to have a mind blowing experience, Yashperth is the place. 
This is where the real magic happens.
Do you remember the way to the Yhunz valley? 
Now you gotta follow the gigantic Batura glacier all the way. 
You will have to cross batura glacier once to reach Yashperth, so having a guide with you is highly suggested.

The trek is not so much tough, the key here again is steady pace.
If you have someone from the local community, you will have no problem in staying there. 
Locals have shephered houses where you can cook and stay the night. 
They are really cozy and warm even when its chilly outside.
All of these destinations have an amazing sunrise and sunset.
Feel free to reach out to me for any the above places or any other where you like to go 😉
Btw do you remember Shahanwaz from above ?
He has covered almost 54 KMs of the Batura glacier! If you are planning to visit Yashperth. 
He’s the perfect person to travel with if you are a nature lover by heart.

What clothes to pack?

There are five glaciers surrounding the valley of Passu, so the weather can be chilly at night even in summers. But scorching hot in day time as well.
So pack layered clothing for both type of weather.

What else to do in Passu ?

From sunrise to sunrise Passu will surprise you with its colors. 
The shapes in the clouds, the rising of moon and hiding behind the mountains again, gusts of wind, the beautiful multi shaded sunset on Passu cones, enjoying a bonfire in the cold nights of Passu. Experience the complete rawness of nature.
Let’s not forget about their colorful and fun festivals like Taghum in the start of spring to celebrate and pray for a more agricultural yield.
Another festival that you can enjoy is Shaneer, it is held in the month of June.
I see a lot of travelers coming to the northern areas to enjoy the serene and peace. 
But most of them are in such a rush that they don’t even try to find the peace and calmness this place has to offer to your body, mind and soul.

Passu has been home to backpackers coming from all the over world for many years now. 

Because no matter where you pitch your camp, its just mind blowing! 
Passu is BIG, so enjoy a new view from your camp every day 🤩
I am seeing some amazing people moving to Passu. 
One of them is Raja Ali who felt and absorbed what Passu has to offer. 
He owns a place where you can do various activities from meditation, yoga, painting or just lay down to enjoy one of the best view of Passu cones. 

Also to help you ask questions which you never were able to form and not just the questions but who knows you might also get the answers.
He calls his place “Yaksha”. A place for spirituality and creativity.
A paradise for all who are seeking something in their lives.
Let’s keep Passu clean, try to find something to dump your your trash or cigarette buds but not out in the open. It is a beautiful place let’s keep it as it is
I have experienced all four weathers in Passu and let me share this with you. The winter is harsh in Passu but there is no other place I would spend my winters other than Passu.
Enjoying the warm, cozy wooden and stones houses with a fire to keep me warm.
Plus, let’s not forget about the Yaks of Passu.
Spend a week or two living in Passu not like visiting it for a few hours. Passu takes a bit of time to wrap its magic around you. 
Experience it.

Feeling inspired to explore Passu? Curious to learn more about Passu from the locals? 🌍✨
🌐 Dive Deeper into Passu Culture: Engage with the vibrant culture of Passu! Follow me on instagram for immersive stories, local traditions, and updates on Passu events.
🌄 Plan Your Passu Adventure: Ready to make Passu your next destination? Plan your trip with our detailed guide and local recommendations here.
🤔 Got More Questions? Let’s Chat: Drop a comment or reach out to me directly for any season or trekking query.
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