Supat Valley: Paradise at the crossroads of civilisation

Published: August 17, 2012
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Supat Valley of the grand eastern Himalayan Mountains, a place to visit. 
PHOTO: ZAHID HUSSAIN/EXPRESS

Supat Valley of the grand eastern Himalayan Mountains, a place to visit. PHOTO: ZAHID HUSSAIN/EXPRESS

PESHAWAR: 

Lying at the feet of the grand eastern Himalayan mountains, the Supat valley stretches her arms towards Dassu, the headquarters of Kohistan.

Approximately 110km from Dassu, the valley is a historic crossroad between Central and South Asia. It has been treaded upon by a number of civilisations, including the Persians, Greeks, Scythians, Kushans, Turks and Mughals. The British also contested the local Pashun and Dardic tribes for the control of the valley.

Supat remains enriched with wildlife. It is not improbable to come across an ibex stalked by snow leopard in December. Or to see a herd of deer drink water at the Maheen or Shamis Lake during July.

Roughly a thousand stone-made congested houses populate the valley. The area is inhabited by 10 families, each comprised of a hundred of these households. It is said to have been ruled by the Gota Baik tribe for the last two-and-a-half centuries. Due to the lack of written traditions among the inhabitants, the origin and descent of the Gota Baik and the other local tribes is shrouded in obscurity. Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Provincial Assembly member Sattar Khan is a known elder of the Gota Baik tribe. Talking to The Express Tribune, he expressed a desire to preserve the valley and its culture for the coming generations.

Khan said he wanted to save the endangered wildlife in the valley from extinction.

Talking about the region’s biological diversity, he said Supat was home to ibex, deer, snow leopards, markhor and marmots while its skies were ruled by the Himalayan monals and Western Tragopan pheasants.

In 2011, the K-P government wanted to provide employment to the people of the area by excavating the mountains of the valley for peridot.

The blasts triggered in the mountains to make way for mines have forced Supat’s fauna to flee their homes. The future of the valley’s wildlife seems bleak. The progress of Supat’s poverty stricken families will come at its cost.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 17th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (5)

  • Amir
    Aug 17, 2012 - 9:12AM

    It would also be nice to know how to get there?

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  • sam
    Aug 17, 2012 - 9:12AM

    Pakistan will lose one by one all its beauty,history,culture, if it fails to educate people and bring economic stability and justice in country.Pakistani people live in stone age while world progress.vote Imran Khan as there is no other credible party or leader right now.

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  • Azfar
    Aug 17, 2012 - 9:23AM

    excellent article one has to save the floura and fauna in the area plus the animals have to be saved as destroying thier natural habitat by blasts and such activities will make them extint.
    Kindly can any one guide where exactly this valley is and whats the nearst route one should follow !

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  • Allauddin
    Aug 17, 2012 - 1:11PM

    Wow, great piece of writing, I just got know that such unique and beautiful places are there in Pakistan.. One has to go there and see himself the Supat Valley. the media has made us familiar with war turned face of Pakistan, and no one is talking about Supat Valley.

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  • godot
    Aug 17, 2012 - 9:12PM

    Lying at the feet of the grand eastern Himalayan mountains, caressing Kaghan Valley, touching Babusar Top from one side and Lulusar lake from the other this is the oval shape Supat valley, stretching her arms towards Dassu, the headquarters of Kohistan, the last district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

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