To The Pamirs and BEYOND! Day Panj: Khorog-Langar.
After an early breakfast we were off headed into the Wakhan Valley. I had loosely planned to be passing through Ishkashim on a Saturday just in case the cross border market with Afghanistan was opened back up. A few days prior to me heading out of Dushanbe I was already aware that it was still closed.
The first stop outside Khorog was at a mineral spring where I drank bubbly water right out of the mountain and then we continued on.
The entire drive today we stayed right along the Pamir River with views into Afghanistan. As we neared Ishkashim you even got glimpses of the snow covered Hindu Kush in Pakistan. Along the Wakhan Valley you’re just across the water from Afghanistan’s Wakhan corridor. The Wakhan corridor is that thin finger-like projection the pokes out of Afghanistan’s northeast. The ability to see over into Pakistan os because the Afghan Wakhan Corridor in some spots is just that narrow.
As you come into Ishkashim the valley between Tajikistan and Afghanistan widens a bit. We then continued onto Namatgut. Namatgut’s real claim to fame is its Zorastrian Fortress of Qaa’qa. There were a few kids at the bottom of the fortress and one ran up the fortress with me. From up there you have really good views of the river and into the Afghan villages.
It’s strange to look into Afghanistan and see that people are carrying on like normal, you know after seeing what the shady American media chooses to portray to you. I spend my high school years assuming it was just a dusty anarchic war zone.
The next stop along the Wakhan was up into Bibi Fatima and Yamchun Fortress where you make a few kilometer detour up the side of a mountain. Women come from all over to sit in the hotspring at Bibi Fatima. They believe that sitting in the spring (because it resembles a womb) will boost their fertility. I was only there because I’m lazy and like to sit in hot springs. Men come here to sit in the hot water too. They alternate genders on the hour. It set me back a whole 10 somoni.
After lunch at the hotel above Bibi Fatima we headed down slightly to go look around Yamchun Fortress. Yamchun is more impressive and is in better condition that Qaa’qa.
We ended up continuing along the Wakhan to Langar for the night. Of course with at least half a million stops in between for photos.
Once we reached Langar we pulled into a homestay just slightly past town. In the early evening I walked back towards the village and ended up meeting a mob of kids. Back at the guesthouse there was a Dutch couple that I met that were biking their way from Holland to Southeast Asia and were 5 months into an 11 month trip. Now I felt pretty lazy.