A trip to Sindh’s highest reachable peak Gorakh Hills – To witness billions of stars

You might have heard about Gorakh Hills station in Pakistan. You have to pass through Sehwan Sharif, and Dadu and through the unpaved paths on the mountain where only 1 vehicle can pass at a time. Want to know more?

About Gorakh Hills

From Wikipedia,

“It is situated at an elevation of 5,688 ft (1,734 m). in the Kirthar Mountains Range’s Sindh Segment, 94 km north west of Dadu city. Gorakh Hill Station is situated on one of the highest plateaus of Sindh, spread over 2,500 acres (10 km2)”

Photo: Gorakh Hills station peak, Pakistan. Credits: Photo by Hanif Bhatti

We made it possible

It was last week of December 2010 just after the Geminids Meteor Shower we planned to get to the top of Gorakh Hills for some great Star Party. It was a dream that came true on January 8th 2011. Thanks to Mr. Hanif Bhatti who planned, organized and managed all the stuff for us. It was 7 Deg Celsius in Karachi that day. We planned to leave in 3 SUVs with 2 telescopes, one of Mr. Khalid Marwat and the other Mr. Naveed Merchant’s Meade 10″ SCT telescope.

I reached at Mr. Hanif Bhatti place at 3am at night. We had to reach at Toll Plaza at Fajr. I slept for only 1 hour before going to Hanif Bhatti place.. We had a nice conversation and then we packed the stuff and left for Toll Plaza. On our way, we picked Mr. Adnan Lawai and reached Toll Plaza, offered prayers and by then all 3 SUVs were there. We were in Hanif Bhatti’s pajero.

We were in 3 vehicles and a total of 12 people.

1.       Hanif Bhatti’s Pajero

2.       Naveed Sahab TLC

3.       Aqeel Bhai’s Prado

The round trip was of 796Km.

We left at 7am in morning in the cold with too much fog in the atmosphere. Since this isn’t a traveling log, I will skip the traveling adventures. We stopped at a few places and reached the top of Gorakh Hills around 5pm. The way to the mountain was quite scary and it took us around 3 hours to reach the top of Gorakh Hills from the bottom of the mountain.

Every one of us was enjoying the cold breeze at 5, 688ft High Mountain with amazing views of the mountains and the Sun.

Credits: Photo by Hanif Bhatti

The Sun Set

Before the Sun Set at the highest peak in Sindh, we started to assemble the 2 telescopes and put on some warm cloths as it was getting colder and colder. The wind was adding to the coldness. It should be less than 5 deg Celsius.

The horizon was amazing. We were so high that we can see the night part of the sky in day. This is the most amazing thing I got to know when I saw such horizon for the first time in my life. At lower heights such as Karachi and other cities, one can see 5 – 10 degrees of horizon obstructed due to buildings, low altitude and the pollution that obstructs the lower horizon. At a great height, one can see even below the 0 degrees like the photo below

Credits: Photo by Hanif Bhatti

Credits: Photo by Hanif Bhatti

Sky Tour Session

After a while, me, Mehdi bhai, Adnan Lawai and Farzal bhai were standing together and I was explaining the night sky, the objects that we are going to see and where is which constellation. The sky was Bortle 1 sky and we could see the constellations as soon as they were rising from the east as the horizon were unobstructed and extremely clear. I had my iPhone 2G with me and had “Star Maps” in it. I gave a sky tour to them and then we targeted the telescope towards the crescent moon. Hanif Bhatti was shooting Moon with his Camera and we were discussing Astronomy.

Credits: Photo by Hanif Bhatti

Night sky photography

It was very cold, so we lit up some fire and sit for some time but that didn’t help much. We had dinner and then we started the observation again. We saw many star clusters, globular clusters, nebulas and galaxies with the 2 telescopes. Hanif Bhatti did some great long exposure night sky photography. The photos will tell the amazing dark sky

Credits: All above Photos by Hanif Bhatti

Credits: Photo by Jag

Credits: Photo by Jag

Credits: Photo by Jag

I couldn’t resist the cold although I was prepared well enough. Other fellows went inside the guest house after midnight. Hanif Bhai was also in his Pajero and so were the passengers. Me and Naveed sahib were with the Telescope. After a while he went to sleep as well. I was left alone and wanted to look through the scope. I spent a few minutes outside and then went to Hanif Bhatti Pajero for some rest and to get rid of cold wind outside.

The Amazing Morning

Credits: Photo by Dr. Yaqoob (LoveBikes)

Credits: Photo by Hanif Bhatti

Credits: Photo by Hanif Bhatti

Credits: Photo by Hanif Bhatti

The Blue Sky and Awesome group photo

I don’t know what happened after that, but when I woke up at Fajar and saw everyone was sleeping. I slept again after a little walk and then we woke up in morning before Sun rise. The first thing I saw was the beautiful shinny blue sky. We packed our stuff and then the best group photo of the year. A photo at Gorakh hills top, the highest peak of Sindh.

Credits: Photo by Jag

Breakfast at Gorakh Hills

The adventure didn’t ended here. We went a little down the mountain and had delicious breakfast. We enjoyed breakfast while recalling the adventures of night.

This wasn’t only the Astronomy trip. If you are only interested in Astronomy you can skip further. The day while going back to Karachi, we had some really amazing stuff. On our way back, we saw strange mountains, too much fog, beautiful views and great plants on our way. We keep stopping at different spots for taking photos.

Credits: Photo by Hanif Bhatti

The Cold River

We were informed by a local that accompanied us that there is a River on way back called “Gaaj Naddi”. We went there and saw the amazing naddi. We spent around half an hour in the cold freezing water, drank some water and washed our faces with it. It was another great experience. Mr. Jagdish one of our Pajero’s passenger set up his tripod in the river and got an awesome group photo.

Credits: Photo by Hanif Bhatti

Credits: Photo by Jag

I was drinking the cold water and was seeing the pebbles through the clean water and suddenly I saw an amazing pebble. I went closer and it was a heart shaped pebble. I took my iPhone out of my Pocket and captured it. I didn’t picked it up and didn’t tell anyone. It was looking good in its natural place and so I preserved it with nature.

Credits: Photo by  author (Abubaker Siddiq)

Back to Karachi

The way back was tiring as we were quite tired but I didn’t stop taking photos on my way back. We reached Dadu aroung Magrib time and then I saw that within 48 hours I have taken 1001 photos from my iPhone. J That was record by the way.

We reached in Karachi around 9pm at night and we were extremely tired. When I reached home, I transferred the photos in my PC at once. Don’t remember what happened afterwards. I just remember that it was a wonderful, informative, amazing, and best trip with KaAS. The location was excellent. The experience was Awesome. SubhanAllah. We have a great Pakistan.


Abubaker Siddiq Shekhani

Abubaker Shekhani is an IT Entrepreneur and Full Stack Developer. He is the co-founder and the Developer behind Mytabeeb, a health care solution. He has worked for 5 years in Microsoft Dynamics AX space with Techno-functional role and glad to be one of few Microsoft Dynamics AX developers/consultants in Pakistan. He is TEDx speaker and likes to speak in public. He is an Amateur Astronomer and Astrophotographer. He is the founding member of Karachi Astronomers Society. He can be reached at me@abubakershekhani.com.

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