More than 100 years ago British Government constructed many forest house through out Indian forests for inspection teams. Today, in Pakistan people are trekking 5 to 8 hours to reach one of such forest house called Dagri Bangla. Many people say, they did this trek within 5 hours but since we were all inexperienced trekkers, it took us 8 hours to reach there. After 2005 earthquake the building was badly damaged and now it needs government attention to survive the natural decay.
In this blog, I will be writing my experience of Lahore to Dagri Bangla via Barin Gali, Abbottabad. I will try to write in detail review from planning to execution. I would also try to emphasise on things which cannot be ignored.
COVID has taken away people we loved, jobs we depend on and our liberty of restriction free travel. Despite many problems one good thing happened to many of us is facility to work from home and it becomes even more refreshing when you can do it from anywhere in the world.
I started the conversation about trip to Dagri Bangla with my friends and eventually we managed to gather 6 friends for this trip. We did our research online by watching many videos and asking our friends. after all our research we concluded that we would need 4 hours for this trek and the difficulty level will be moderate. Only one of my friend told me that it will take a mid level trekker 8 hours to reach Dagri Bangla and it is not an easy trek. We did not give any weightage to his input as everyone on internet and my other friends were saying that its a 4 hours trek. And my this friend eventually proven right as it is around 13 KMs long trek and almost half of it is very steep and the other half is straight, covered with lush green trees but the first half is so tiring that you have to make a tremendous amount of effort to complete the second half of the trek. Do not miss the part where I will be emphasising on hiring the Jeep as this may save your a lot of strength.
As the only option to stay at Dagri Bangla is a hiking camp, so this is the first thing you should get. If you are a newbie like us then gather hiking camp, good shoes, bags, caps, sunglasses, sticks, torches, rain coat, sleeping bag, mattress and sun block lotions. Please remember none of the above is option.
Lahore to Abbottabad
We wanted reach Dagri Bangla before sunset therefore we wanted to reach Abbottabad as early as possible. Therefore we book Niazi Express for Thursday night 11PM. If you want to book this is the number: 042111229999.
We reached Abbottabad around 5AM in the morning, we had our breakfast from a local place.
When I reached Niazi Adda and inquired about my booking the guy said there is no booking on your name, then I showed him the number where I booked the Lahore to Abbottabad seats the guy told me that this is not our number. And at the same time he told me that he has 6 seats in the bus If I want. Confusingly I said okay and bought 6 seats. We all sat in the bus and when bus just left the Niazi Adda we saw that there is another Niazi Bus terminal just adjacent to this one with the same name and same logo. The number which I used to book our tickets was also mentioned there :-).
Abbottabad to Barin Gali
When you reach Abbottabad many Carry Dabba drivers will approach you to take you to Barin Gali. Hiring a carry dabba for Barin Gali is not a wise decision, you should ask the driver for the Jeep. They will tell you that Jeeps are not allowed here, which is true. But keep insisting for the Jeep and they will manage it. Also, if you have reached Abbottabad early morning then you should not go for Carry Dabba in any case as you have enough time. Do the Jeep, it will charge you little extra but believe me it’s worth every penny of it. We settled carry dabba for 3000 PKR.
Take Jeep until the Jeep routes end.
This is very important, these drivers will not let you know that jeep can go up to the hills at least one more Kilometers, they can even go farther. Keep pushing them to go until the jeep routes end. This will save you a lot of energy and motivation.
We did these two mistakes. We did not hire a Jeep and we covered the last patch of jeep route by trekking up.
You can see in the image below, it’s a proper road, we started our trek from here. even Carry dabba will work on this road, but when this road ends you still can go up by the Jeep. It took us at least 20 minutes to complete this road by foot.
After 20 minutes of hike, first fresh water source. This is where carpeted road ends. But Jeep track is still there.
When carpetted road ends, following video was taken after an hour of that. And you can notice that Jeep can still go up. So, Push your Jeep driver for that.
Barin Gali to Dagri Bangla
When we reached Barin Gali, we asked locals for the guide. They helped us connecting with Zeeshan our guide. We agreed to pay 12,000 to him. We booked him to stay with us until Nathia Gali.
From the very beginning he was telling us that our stuff is too much for his horse as the trek is very steep. When the jeep routes end, we talked to another local there and we agreed to pay him 4000. Now we had one horse and a donkey to carry our stuff and two guides. Our second guide was Chacha Ashraf, there is an amazing Facebook post about him at the end of this blog.
Back to the trek, we can divide this trek into two parts. First part is difficult and its very steep for beginners, with almost no shadow of the trees. Initial part of it is a jeep route and rest is the hiking trek. It may take at least 3 hours to complete this part. You will be tested to your limit on this trek. With almost no trees and shining sun you will need to intact your sugar level and physical strength to complete the second part of the trek.
After almost an hour, you will be under trees but the trek will still be upward. Only after 3 to 4 hours you will reach to the top and trek will become straight. This is the point when you will see the KPK’s biggest jungle. Lush and thick green jungle will amaze you and there will many spots where you would like to rest to take some pictures.
You will trek next five hours in this thick jungle to reach Dagri Bangla where you will stay for the night. Dagri Bangla itself is not that amazing place to be there but on the way you will see some amazing views. Below is one such amazing a little off trek scenic place. Our guide took me to bring some fresh water from here and this was most probably the last water source before you reach Dagri Bangla.
Just before reaching Dagri Bangla, another stunning view in the following view.
And this is the Dagri Bangla.
Food and Water
At Dagri Bangla there is no one who can help you with the food or the water so bring your own food and water. I will not suggest to carry water from all the way from Barin Gali to Dagri Bangla because during the trek there are at least 4 to 5 water sources. You can re-fill your water bottles from the fresh water on the way.
Next Day – Descend
Our original plan was to trek towards Miran Jani top and then descend to Nathia Gali but since all of us were beginners we did not take the longer route to Nathia Gali instead we took the shortest possible trek to Kutli village. As per locals it is an hour trek but again it took us almost 5 hours to descend. The descend was very steep in the beginning and then it was covered by small stones which probably caused by land sliding.
Some people are very amazing, following post is a tribute to Chacha Shaukat, and if after reading the post you want to hire Chacha Shaukat as your Dagri Bangla guide, comment on the post on Facebook for his mobile number.
That’s all from our trip Dagri Bangla, I know I am not a good writer therefore this blog cannot do the justice to the trip we had but I tried to enlist all the details so that if you are planning the trip you don’t do the mistakes which we did.