Yasen the valley of lakes – and hospitality

Weekly Bang-e-Sahar Saturday, April 26—-May 2 ,2008
THE beautiful valley of Yasen is situated 135km to the north of Gilgit. It has a population of 55,000 and spreads over 7436 square-km. To the north of Yasen are the Central Asian countries and plains of Pamir, while to the west is Goopech, north-west Chitral (Chhitrar) and to the south is Pooyaal. During Raja Sulaiman Shah’s regime, Yasen stretched from Chaqansarai
(Afghanistan) to Gor in district Diamer and from Chitral’s Barenis to Astor and Baltistan. This area was more than 65,000 square-km before 1860. The Barenis of Chitral, Koh-Ghizer, Goopechh and Ishhqamen were integral parts of Yasen but the British in revenge of Lt-Col George Hayward’s murder in Yasen divided Mastuj, Koh-Ghizer and Ishhqamen into small states. After defeating Soolaiman Shah, his nephew Gohar Aman became ruler of Yasen. He fought several wars with the Dogras of Kashmir and defeated them repeatedly. He annihilated the Sikh invaders of Kashmir in 1852 at Bop Sing Padi (gorge) near Gilgit town, at the place where the Bagorote River joins Gilgit River. But in 1863 after the death of Gohar Aman the Sikhs succeeded and conquered Yasen with the help of the people of their local allies. During the ruining of the fort of Moodoori the Dogras of Kashmir joined by people from Gilgit, Nagir, Astore and Kohistan massacred the people of Yasen. They did not spare even infants and women, as a revenge for their losses at Bop Sing Padi and in different wars. The throne of Yasen was handed over to Raja Azmat Shah, the son of great Raja Sulaiman Shah of Yasen. But Azmat Shah escaped via Asoomber to Ishhqamen and reached Gilgit before the Dogra forces’ retreat. The reason of invitation to the Dogra of Kashmir was the constant aggression of Yasen against the rulers of Pooyaal, Gilgit, Nagir, Astore and other areas of Gor, Chilas and Dangari.
The people of Yasen defended their motherland against the invaders from Russia, China and Afghanistan besides Chitral and other neighboring states. The Russian fort Qalmaqe Khn at Bahrkohiti is the evidence of Russian presence and expulsion from the state. The fort of Bahrikhn at the last corner of Thaoos to the north was being used for the war between Yasen and China in 735 AD. The engraved Chinese script on a stone across the Moohrkye Bridge testifies the Chinese invasion. In Yasen near Naazbar river had a place
called Phiti Das the boulder, it has engraving of animals and men of pre-historic era.
There is a cluster of beautiful villages in Yasen valley. Woven into each like beautiful pearl when we proceed from Goopechh the first Yasen village is Chheliharang, which we can call the
starting point of Yasen from the south. This, then, leads to a number of other
villages such as Ginday Moohrkiye, Atkash, Boojayote, Yasen (Domyaal) and
Naazbar, Thaoos, Hooyehiti, Ghojahiti, Sandi (the biggest village). Thooy, Bahrkohiti (the second biggest village) Hoondoor. Tehrchhet, Oomehlichhet and Dahrkoot. Dahrkoot is the valley
situated at the distance of more than 50km from Goopechh and five hours’ walks to
Wakhan of Afghanistan from Dahrkoot Pass via Broghol.
One of the many things that Yasen is famous for is the existence of
various kinds of springs (Boolaing), which attract people from different
parts of Gilgit-Baltistan and abroad. The “spring” at Dahrkoot, which flows at the height of about 11,000 feet near glacier of Dahrkoot, is extremely hot, and can boil an egg and potato within a few minutes. It is useful for skin debases besides other diseases. Lying at the distance of one-hour’s walk from Bahrkohiti valley at Chhelipey, this spring lowers the body temperature during the high grade fever, and also proves as an effective treatment for hot tempered people, besides reducing high blood pressure and treating peptic ulcer.

Darban at Dahrkoot is a well-known defence point in the martial history of Yasen. This is a place which is about five miles away from central Dahrkoot towards the border of Pamir, where the forces of Yasen used to stand guard against the aggression of Chitral, Afghanistan and Russia several times in history.
1. The unbeaten Teherchhet mountain is seen from a
distance of 18 miles from Yasen proper. This mountain is covered with
glacier throughout the year.
2. The other highest mountain of Yasen at Oomelchhet, which looks like
a sharp edge, was first climbed by a British team during the last century.
3. In Thooyi Mooshibar owned by Choona the sub-caste of Begale and other valleys, there are several high mountains, which can prove extremely interesting for mountaineers.
4. Hoondoor per mountain
5. Garmash-1 and Garmash-II
I, A truckable road links Yasen to Gilgit through Goopech and Pooyaal. Beyond Goopechh there is a jeepable road which leads to Chitral via the beautiful Shandur pass, where the highest polo ground of the world is situated “within the territory of Goopechh” which is internationally famous for the July polo festival played by the people of Chitral and Gilgit.
The prospects of trekking are great in Yasen valley. One of the possible trekking spots is Naazbar valley of Yasen that stretches to Baooshter of Koh-e-Ghezer and Mastuj in Chitral. A pony trek links Gazen, a remote and last village of Chitral, to Mooshibar, Thooyi, the last pasture to the west of Yasen. Another extremely attractive trekking spot is the beautiful valley of Asoombar, which leads to the valley of Ishhqamen. Garmashbar pass near Phirani Dookhatoom to Ishhqamen and Dahrkoot. Dahrkoot links with Thooyi, Ishhqamen, Garmash, Boroghol and Pamir; Qohrqohiti links Yasen to Goopechh by a beautiful valley of Darmanda.
NATCO, a government transport company, and other private companies operate bus and coach services at reasonable rates from Gilgit to different vallys of Yasen. Jeep service is
also available to all the high altitude valleys of Yasen namely Thooyi. Qohrqohiti Naazbar and
The people of Yasen are known for their generosity and hospitality throughout the region of Gilgit Baltistan. Outsiders are commonly regarded as guests irrespective of their creed, caste
and nationality. Free accommodation and food are provided throughout the area. Apart from hotel
small-scale teashops are cater to the visitors. Besides a PWD rest house in Yasen also
provides accommodation and food facilities on payment.
In Yasen there are a number of lakes, which adds to the spectacular natural beauty of the valley. A brief information about the most famous lakes is as follow:
1. Qohrqohlti lakes: In Qohrqohlti, there are beautiful lakes ascending at a distance of three hours walk from the jeepable road towards the green plains of Makooli in Qohrqohlti Valley, where colorful flowers and ibexes could be seen in summer.
2.Garmashbar lake: in Garmash bar, which belongs to Hilbitingey of Bahrkohiti, near Boi-mo-shani. there is an extremely beautiful lake. It takes around five hours to reach the lake on foot. This lake is surrounded by colorful flowers that presents unforgettable scenery.
The second lake is situated at a high altitude in Booniga-Bar which links with Boolenter of Oomehhlchhet and the third lake is called Ishhqer-phari.
3.Dahrkoot lake: At the distance of one-hour’s walk from Dahrkoot, we have the famous Dahrkoot Lake. The temperature of this lake remains freezing almost all the year. One of the outstanding characters of this lake is that one can find a surprisingly large variety of water birds in it. This
lake is said lo be a sort of transit camp for migatotry birds who come mostly from Siberia and go back before winter. There is a second lake named Khahlter Lake situated at the distance of three hours walk on a steep land to the east. This is the lake where a good number of trout fish are
4. Lake in Asoomber: Asoomber (owned by Shhamoone) in Sandi is widely known for its natural beauty and trekking spots. At the same time, in Asoomber there are three pectacular lakes – Neophari, Echoghon-Phari and Eshqer-Phari – which have more recently become a
center of tourist attraction.
5. Bottomless lake: At the junction of Mooshibar and Khymet at a high altitude, a vast, colorful and bottomless lake and six other lakes are found with different colors.
Thery are also popular for their medicinal effectivness for skin diseases (except leprosy)
and chronic joint pains. Another spring of the same nature is situated in Thooyi Dooshter
near Thehlti. There is another spring which has a taste very much similar to 7up, lying at the distance of one and half hours’ walk from Baharkholti at Chhelpay.This spring lowers the body temperature during high grade fever and also proves to be an effective treatment for hot natured people, reduces high blood pressure and highly effective for the treatment of reptic ulcer.
Certain glaciers in Yasen lend a great deal to its natural beauty. Here is some information on those glaciers:
1. At the distance of about six hours’ walk from Yasen, on top of mountain of Moohrkiye, a glacier spreads over an area of three miles.Precious stones are also found near this glacier.
2. In Garmash valley at a walk of five hours from Yasen near Pherani Dookhatoom, the plains of glaciers could be seen, which cross the valley of Garmash towards Ishhqamen to the east.
3. At an half-hour’s walk near Tehrchhet valley, a rocky glacier embraces the unbeaten mountain of Tehrchhet to the west. Hunters have often observed golden frogs, weighing 20kg under the deep layers of the glacier.they can attack human being, it is said.
4.A glacier is situated at the distance of about two hours’ walk beyond Rawat of
Dharkoot in front of a hot spring.
5. Another glacier can be seen after three hours’ walk from the hot spring of Dharkoot to Boroghil.

The region of Yasen is rich in precious,semi-precious and industrial mines viz iron ore potash, alum, storex (genetic name momiyai), antimony, sulpher and oil ect. Gold is very likely to be found in Mohrkye, Thoi, Assomber, Garmash, Hoondoor, Dharkoot and Nazber valleys.
The people mostly belong to Brooshoo case. Ninety percent people speak
Brooshaaski, nine percent Khowar (migrated from Chitral) and one percent Shhena in Boojayot. It is
commonly recognized that the Brooshaaski (which is spoken in Yasen) is various linguistic grounds is more original than the similar dialects spoken in Nagir and Hoonze. Pooyaal people and Wehrchigoom by Chitrali people also know Yasen as Brooshi. A famous Kashmir!
intellectual Sheraz Kashmiri has written in his book that the Brooshaaski is the mother of Khowar, Shhena and Kashmiri languages. Brooshaaski is the only surviving shoot of ancient
Torani language. All these three dialects, i.e. Kashmir, Khowar and Shhena have
come into being by amalgamation of Brooshaaski and Pashacha languages.
There is no evidence of coming these Brooshoo from any other part of the world.
Therefore, it is believed that Brooshoo are the indigenous people of the land. Broosbaaski is the ancient and isolated dialect of the world.

Takht-e-Hah is a traditional house witch is situated at Yasen (Manichi ).This house is used as a central place for various programs during annual festival called Boh. Before cultivation of
crops, normally in the first week of March, this local festival is organized to celebrate the start of new
crop year. This festive is believed to bring good luck for farmers in the new season. On this occasion people from almost all over Yasen assemble and arrange various of programs such as horse racing, polo matches, men dance on drum beat and observe Hemaaz (pour ing flour towards the roof and sky as a mark of joy).
Stone circles, which are said to have existed from the time immorable are found across the bridge at the starting point of BahrkohIt (which is called “Brandas”) and to the east of Dahrkoot
river at the end of Hoondoor valley, which is called “Aazoor-e-makhdooring”. An archaeological study of these stones can possibly lead to reveal the historical facts, which has not been done so far due
to lack of any professional guidance and knowledge.
In Yasen near Naazbar river, at a place Fiti Das, there is a boulder. It has engravings of animals and men of pre-historic era.

Pharang-e-bar: In Dahrkoot, Pharang-e-Bar also
receives considerable attention from local as well foreign tourists. This
was the place where Col George Hayward, a member of British Royal
Geographical Society, was murdered by Mir Wali Raja of
Yasen in 18’the century when he was on way to Pamer [(the plain links
Yasen with Afghanistan and Tajikistan (the then USSR)].
Raja Sulaiman Shah, a very powerful ruler of Yasen, ruled for 42 years. His dominion stretched (from Chaqansarai of Afghanistan to Gilgit, Hunza, Nagir, and Gor in Diamar, Barenas in Chitral to
Astore and Baltistan. Raja Gohar Aman, the nephew of Sulaiman Shah, took the reign of great Yasen by defeating him. He is the big name in the history of Yasen who with the sheer help of the martial race of Yasen made his mark in the history of the battles fought in Gilgit
Baltistan. Though he ruled only for nine years but he accomplished remarkable
achievement and ruled over PooyaaL Nagir, Hunza, Gilgit. Gor, Dangari, Astore, Baltistan
and Chitral. He always remained in war with the Sikhs, the invaders from Kashmir, and with the local rulers. Both Sulaiman Shah and his nephew Gohar Aman are buried at Chootrang, on the right bank of Naazbar river, across the Dorkhn (Yasen fort) in Thaoos. Besides the graveyards of these popular rulers of Yasen, there is also a shrine of a saint at Noh (Noh Ziyarat) and the graveyard of the famous seven brothers along with their father in Bahrkohiti Yasen. THese have become the center of attraction for people from various walks of life.

The miracle house at Bahrkohiti is also a significant spot from historical
point of view. A very old traditional house, which belongs to the most ancient Yasen caste called Gholbashere, which is considered to be the original “Brooshoo” and the first dwellers
(BOOMKI) of Yasen who settled in BahrkohIti. This house is now owned by Bodol. The youngest son of Ghofran Atalegh (Prime Minister) who also ruled over Yasen between 1934 and 1935.
(From Bang-e-Sahar library)


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