Thursday, April 4, 2019

Pamir Serai, Chapursan Valley, 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.

A vertiginous astonishment

The fading of the last sun rays awakens, in an unknown vertigo, an overcrowded space, a multiple and inconceivable luminosity. Darkness is like replaced by sand where each grain is glittering. The viewer, then, tells himself the anthropic light pollution deprives him, everywhere else, of such a vision. Even, in the Atlantic Ocean or in the Mediterranean Sea, even far off the shores, it is impossible to access this revelation because of the evaporation.

Zoodkhun, à lheure ou les étoiles s'allument
Zood Khun, western ridges - Sun lights did not totally disappear, however sky is so pure
that numerous stars can already be seen at 08:15 PM, early August

A glittering infinite thanks to a crystal clear air

Voie lactée à Zoodkhun, vallée de Chapursan
Zood Khun,milky way at 10:30 PM, early August
In Zood Khun, the pure atmosphere is frequently too dry to be veiled with an imperceptible mist, that an arid soil would, nevertheless, be hardly able to provide. At an altitude close to 3,500m, the rarefied air does not prevent the radiations of the stars as it happens in lower lands.

The village is so far away from any urban center and from the Karakoram Highway (KKH) that no artificial light might pollute the sky. During nights with no winds, no dust tarnishes the crystal clear firmament. Thus, the eye, if it avoids being distracted by the regular falling stars, distinguishes an almost contiguous multitude of colored glitters.

Behind these ones, other gleams extend towards an obvious infinite. Although its measure defies all imagination.

All these observations can be made from the courtyard of Pamir Serai, the guest house of Alam Jan Dario family.

Pamir Trails, trekking and tours in Chapursan Valley

If you want to access a specific point of view, if you want to trek or to attend some tours during day light between your night sky photo sessions, just ask Pamir Trails and visit its webite.

Bernard Grua, Nantes, Bretagne, France (Facebook page: Bernard Grua Photography)

Other articles of Bernard Grua about the same topics

Browse Upper Hunza landscapes and villages photo album

Pakistan: Haute vallée de la Hunza

Browse  Wakhi people from Upper Hunza photo album

Pakistan: Wakhis du Gojal, haute vallée de la Hunza

Where to stay in Chapursan Valley

Pamir Serai guest houses are the traditional homestay of Zoodkhun and Baba Ghundi for external visitors. They are run by the internationaly famous Alam Jan Dario’s family.
Sky Bridge Motel & Resorts opened in 2018. It is run by Fahim U. Baig in Zoodkhun.
Hilltop Guest House is run by Haider Badakhshoni in Reshit. 


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