The majestic, beautiful and mesmerizing Fairy Meadows is a dreamland and wonderland for the tourists with aesthetic essence of romance. The place is hidden in the foothill of mighty Nanga Parbat, the 9th highest mountain in the world and prevalently known as “the Killer Mountain”. The hosting area of Fairy Meadows is the beautiful Diamer District of Gilgit-Baltistan Region of Pakistan and the local name of the place is “Joot”. It was adorned the name “Märchenwiese” (a German word) which is translated as “Fairy Meadows” by Hermann Buhl. Hermann Buhl was an Austrian mountaineer who summit the mighty Nanga Parbat in 1953 therefore he became the first climber to scale this killer peak.
Fairy Meadows is a lush green high altitude plateau. Its elevation is about 11,811 feet (3,600 meters) above sea level. It is connected through Raikot, which is a high altitude place and its elevation is about 9,515 feet (2,900 meters) above sea level. It will take about one and half an hour of exciting journey to reach to the Tattu village. The best time to visit Fairy Meadows is between end-June and mid-August. Fairy Meadows is accessible all around the year. Fairy Meadows is about 540 kilometers (336 miles) away from Islamabad. It is the “Heaven on the Earth” with its lush green scenery along-with the abundance of trees. On the Western ridge of the Himalayan Mountain Range, its peacefulness, serenity and calm mountainous atmosphere mesmerizes the tourists. It is famous for its voluminous wildlife, including the endangered species of the “Brown Bear”. The Plateau is given the status of National Park by the Government of Pakistan in 1995, for the protection and safeguard the vanishing species.
The journey to the Fairy Meadows starts from Peer Wadai Bus Stop in Rawalpindi, en-route to Karakorum Highway (KKH);
Rawalpindi < Hassan Abdal < < Haripur < Havelian < Abbottabad < Mansehra < Chatter Plan < Batagaram < Besham < Pattan < Kohistan < Dassu < Chilas < Raikot < Fairy Meadows
For the journey towards Raikot from Rawalpindi, Buses are running on regular basis, including; Mashabrum Bus Service, Natco Bus Service (highly recommended), K2 Bus Service, Silk Route Bus Service etc. and the fares are around PKR 1800/2000 up to Raikot Bridge.
Fairy Meadows Route:
On reaching Raikot, the jeep track begins from Raikot Bridge. From there tourists can hire a jeep on fixed charges of PKR 6500/- for a round trip up to Tattu/Jhel village. Only the native drivers are permitted to drive on this scary jeep track. From Tattu, Porters and Guides are readily available for about PKR 500/- (20 kg maximum) till the Fairy Meadows. The trekking time to the Fairy Meadows is three to four hours from Tattu/Jhel village. It is a little bit tough for the beginners, that’s why horses or mules can be hired for PKR 1500/2000 from Tattu village (off-season charges are PKR 500/1000). Raikot is a high altitude place and its elevation is about 9,515 feet (2,900 meters) above sea level. It will take about half an hour of exciting journey to reach to the Tattu village.
The trek is stony, sandy and barren till the mid, which takes one and half an hour to reach there. Tourists can have tea and refreshments at a small kiosk, which is also the starting point of the trek. The trek gets gradually steep in ascending but more beautiful. There are entwining streams, inside the forest of Tattu, just along the trek. From Tattu the route becomes quite narrow for a jeep ride yet trekking is absolutely fine to reach to Fairy Meadows. Total trekking time is three to four hours for the beginners and two to two and half an hour for the regulars.
Accommodation and Food:
Hotels and tourist Lodges are readily available at Fairy Meadows. Traditional wooden cottages are available, with breathtaking view of mighty Nanga Parbat from the Northern end. It is a very unique and unforgettable experience; especially when the sky is clear on a full moon-lit night. The cool moonlight reflects from the majestic icy peak, which shows the true nexus of natural beauty of the mountain and its peaceful surrounding. The cottages include; Shangri-la Garages, Raikot Sarai, Fairy Meadows Cottages, Broad View Hotel and Camps, Greenland Hotel etc.
The fares of the camps vary from PKR 1000/- (for 2-3 persons) to PKR 1500-2000 (for 5-6 persons). On the other hand fares of the cottages are from PKR 2500-3500 (for 2-3 persons) to PKR 4000-6000 (for 5-6 persons). The area in front of the Fairy Meadows Cottages is known as Pari Mahal (Palace of Fairy). The name was given by the famous Japanese photographer, Fujita Heroki. The Fairy Meadows Cottages is distant from the main village and the other tourist Resorts, at least eight minutes of hiking. It is the place, from where the nearest most and stunning view of the Nanga Parbat is clearly visible.
All type of food is easily available, though it is a bit expensive, as compared to the cities. It is mainly because of extra transportation charges to such a remote place.
The best time to visit Fairy Meadows is between end-June and mid-August. The place becomes inaccessible in the winters, due to heavy snow-falling.
Majestic Fairy Meadows:
There is a beautiful grassy ground, a small pond, a lake and a remote village at Fairy Meadows. Its magnificent beauty allures the Back-Packers, Climbers, Wildlife Canvassers, Photographers, Painters, Geologists and nature lovers. The name of the lake is “Reflection lake” because of its crystal clear water. It shows the reflection of Nanga Parbat vividly, on a fine day. The pine trees of the forest area, fudging around the Fairy Meadows, are home to the species of birds and wildlife. The site overlooks the 13 kilometer long, S-shape Raikot Glacier and provides a spectacular look to the Nanga Parbat on Northern side. It is known as the Raikot Face.
The next destination to the Fairy Meadows is the Beyal Camp. Nanga Parbat view-point comes next to Beyal Camp and after it the steep trek towards Nanga Parbat Base-Camp begins. There is a small seasonal Tea Kiosk. Base-Camp to Camp 1 trek is doable and quite easy. On the way to Base-Camp, there lies the Ganalo Glacier.
The peaks surround the area are; Boulder Peak (5,602 meters), Raikot Peak (7,070 meters), Chongra Peaks (6,448 to 6,830 meters) and Nanga Parbat (8,126 meters) above sea level.
i. Fairy Meadows to Beyal Camp:
One and Half an Hour Trekking
ii. Beyal Camp to Nanga Parbat View-Point aka Pakistan View-Point:
One Hour Trekking
iii. Pakistan View-Point to German View-Point:
One Hour Trekking
iv. German View-Point to main Base-Camp:
Two and Half an Hour Trekking
v. Horses/Mules hiring:
For the Base-Camp or Avail the Services of the Porter/Guide direct from the Hotel.
vi. Guide Charges:
vii. Start Trekking Early, towards Base-Camp from Fairy Meadows (around 5-6AM)
viii. Trekking time:
6-8 Hour (Depends Upon Fitness Level of a Person)
ix. Water Availability:
Scarce after Beyal Camp, so take along a plenty of water-bottles towards View-Point or Base-Camp
x. Take Energy Drinks, Milk-Candies and Chocolates.
Logistic Support: Mubashir Jadoon
Author: Fehmeeda Farid Khan