During our trip up the Hushe Valley in Baltistan, we spent a day exploring Machollo, a traditional Pakistani village sitting across the Hushe River from Khaplu.
In August, the wheat fields are ready for harvesting, and piles of wheat stood tall along the village houses, sometimes on the roofs, others lining up the streets. Men and women alike work hard to gather their harvest, working in the fields from dawn to dust. As we are still on the road in Pakistan, we will come back to this post with more details, but for now, we wanted to share more about this incredible village, with short comments and photos for now.
Machollo and its roofs covered with apricots
Machollo or the Kingdom of Apricots
Machollo is also known for its apricots. The trees were heavy with ripe fruits, colored from intense yellow to deep red. Some trees even had more fruits than leaves! Men stood high to shake the branches, women would do the same from the grounds, as we watched hundreds over hundreds of fruits falling and lining the soil.
Here and there were patched of rotten apricots, the smell incredibly strong. Why, you might wonder? Well, we wondered as well and got our answer when we saw women washing the remaining of the fruits of the stone. Indeed, apricot oil is another famed product from Machollo, and the trees produce so many fruits that villagers left them to rot to recover the stones more easily. Roofs also show different hues of orange and yellow, with patches of apricots drying under the sun.
Machollo, the Life in a Pakistani Village
Machollo is a rather large village in the Hushe Valley, with about 5,000 souls strong, and an “upper side” up the mountain slopes as well as a “lower side” by the river. We spent the significant part of our day exploring the village, walking through the apricot and wheat fields.
And of course, we got invited several times for tea, as well as being treated by traditional food provided during a funeral. Indeed, we passed by a gathering which turned to be the end of a mourning period. Unknowingly, we got invited to share the food of the event and learned about some of these traditional meals while once again, encountering the most gracious and warm welcome.
As we returned to our guesthouse, we looked up Machollo Peak, a two-day overnight trek that leads you to a K2 viewpoint. The trail is quite challenging, and we had to pass for now, but we sure would love to come back to Machollo to enjoy the quiet village life, and plan for more trekking opportunities.