Wednesday, April 17, 2019

At the knot of past empires: Zoodkhun, a Wakhi village in the high northern mountains of Pakistan

Ligne de crêtes fermant l'ouest de la vallée de Chapursan
Zood Khun, the village at the end of Chapursan Valley

At the top of Upper Hunza in an area called Gojal, Zood Khun stretches in Chapursan Valley. Staying almost at the highest limit where vegetation of mountain oasis grows up, it is a village having numerous characteristics in common with other Wakhi settlements of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and, likely, China (though, not directly observed in this last country). However, its isolation at the very end of a narrow dirt road, coming from Sost, and its altitude of 3,300 m, make it, sometimes, different in term of tradition resilience, scenery, available resources and way of life. The following description will try to show this specificity as to project it into a more general background. May some readers decide to visit this interesting place, to discover its peaceful beauty, and to enjoy the cordial hospitality of its friendly inhabitants.

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Thursday, April 4, 2019

Chapursan, where Zoodkhun nights unveil the universe

Voie lactée à Zoodkhun, Vallée de Chapursan
Zood Khun, mountain in front of Pamir Serai at 10:30 PM, early August

Remote and isolated Zoodkhun, the high mountain village of Gojal in Gilgit Baltistan, is a remarkable place to observe and to photography night skies. This article is the translation of the French one published by Bernard Grua, from France, on his travel blog: “Chapursan, quand la nuit de Zoodkhun dévoile l’univers”.
Zoodkhun, les rayons du soleil descende dans la vallée de Chapursan
Zood Khun, western ridges, light going down to the Valley at 05:45, early August

The gate to another endless world

In the Upper Hunza, on the borders of Central Asia, at the end of the narrow Chapursan Valley, Zood Khun is surrounded by the high ranges of Karakoram, Hindu Kush and Pamir. There, by the end of twilight, the observer does not feel himself in a wide space encircled by the lower edges of a celestial vault. He gets nearly the sensation of being in an almost closed environment. However, he soon understands his first impression was wrong. While, looking up, it seems to him, in the contrary, that the real world is not on the planet where he stands. This one would be only a tiny cell. For the night is neither black nor blue. It is not "one." It is not a lid. It does not exist. It's a different day. The day of a gigantic and brilliant universe.