Bandipoor, Ahm Sherif and Buth/Butu
Bandipura Travel Blog› entry 20 of 36 › view all entries
May 7th, 2008 – by: vvicy1
Arriving at Ahm Sharif was a suprise, I don't think many tourists have been that way for a long time. Everyone was staring, but it was so friendly there and the children were great. We found the path at the base of the mountain and thought the climb to village of Buth/Butu was an hour - I joked saying that if we ran we could make it in half an hour - that was until I saw the mountain ahead of us! The climb actually was an hour and a half, and gruelling at best at the start, but easened up a little when we reached the forest.
We got to Buth quite late in the afternoon, and were halted by the army. We were advised it was safe to visit the Tomb of Moses, but not to climb back down the mountain as it is not safe at night. When we asked why, we were informed that the Pakistan control line was only 7Km away, and that many militants hid in these mountains, which is why hardly anyone visits the area. So we made our way to the tomb, on the way to Mount Nebo.
When we got there we met a man called Nazir, who told us that his family had been guarding the tomb for centuries. His grandfathers' picture is actually in the book 'Jesus Lived In India' - we were invited to spend the night with his family, due to safety reasons.
We had a bright early rise in the morning, with a breakfast of maize rotis and chai made with goats milk. After another visit to the Major in the army camp we were cleared to visit the village for 2 hours, but not to go into the mountains or forest, which kind of spoiled our plans to climb Mount Nebo (Niltoop) which was also 7Km away. So we made our way to a waterfall and small stream - it is a truly beautiful village and area, unspoilt by tourism, the villagers told me a road was being planned for next year - so I guess many changes are on the way. At present there is not even a shop in the village, and electricity supply is unreliable.
At lunch we climbed back down the mountain after being released by the army (heavy artillery rumbled through the mountains), where we spent some time at the local school and drinking Kawwa. The children and local people were very curious but friendly, and delighted to practice the English they had been learning at school. From there we caught a bus back to Bandipoor - where we stopped for chai and samosas, and witnessed a militants rally throught the streets - people fighting to free Kashmir, so it can be an independant state. From there we caught the local bus back to Sringagar (3hrs).
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