Chitral Man's Relentless Efforts Help Turn Barren Hill Into Lush Mini Forest

Chitral Man's Relentless Efforts Help Turn Barren Hill Into Lush Mini Forest
A local man's consistent efforts have turned a barren hill into a forest, in the scenic Ayun valley of Chitral. Several years ago, Zia-ur-Rehman – a military retiree – stood amidst the barren hill covering several acres in Baraush area.

He began working on his plans to transforming the barren land into a lush garden. Rehman's tireless four-year effort materialised his dream, but it wasn't an easy task.

Ayun valley

To water the plants alone, the gardening enthusiast had to walk to a spring located in a nearby mountain after he brought the plants.

He had the cooperation from Haji Mehboob Azam, a well-known person of Ayun valley, towards achieving the goal.

Now, about 700 pomegranates, dozens of walnut, apricot, pistachio, grape and other fruit trees have been planted on the barren mountain. Alongside lay many flowery plants, with their colorful site captivating the the tourists' attention.

Speaking about his project, Zia praised Azam for his assistance in bringing the water to the spot and the planting.

Without his help, the only option was an earthen canal which would took several hours for the water to reach its destination.

Often, he recalled, the water would get absorbed on the way and dry up before reaching the plants or the field.

Now, with the help of Water Management Department, a paved channel ensures smooth watering in a matter of minutes.

The place is called Ayun View because it is said that the entire valley can be seen from there as when the locals or tourists reach the point, there is a beautiful view of the entire town below.

When one climbs up to the spot, they are greeted by green and beautiful waving fields and thick forest trees and colorful flowers, and the hole area is visible with the river flowing as different types of trees and wild flowers present a very beautiful sight.

Ayun valley

There is also a regular seating area for the tourists at the Ayun point where greenery and water fountains add to its beauty. Cherries, mulberries and other fruits are also offered to the guests.

Zia added that he and his companion worked hard for four years to materialise it, which is yet to receive any assistance from the government.

Speaking about the project, Azam spoke about working on the facilities for tourists here so that domestic and foreign visitors could easily reach the beautiful located at the Kalash Gateway.

He added that an international standard Dar-ul-Uloom and a mosque are also under construction in the area of Barawish.

Professor Hafeezullah of the Chitral varsity's botany department praised the "alternative botanical garden developed on self-help basis", saying it had a lot to offer to his students.

He said that the varsity does not have a botanical garden and if required, the students can now visit the forest for research purposes.

Ayun valley

He stressed that if every forest enthusiast works in the same way and every philanthropist extends an aid, it could help turn barren lands into areas filled with greenery, fruits and flowers.

Hafeezullah added that such initiatives can also help boost tourism and eradicate poverty, especially in downtrodden areas, while also bringing a massive change with regard to the climate crisis.

Maulvi Sher Ahmed, a resident of the area, said that the water channel is an excellent move but it isn't enough. "The rest of the drains can also be protected from water wastage by means of constructing a wall," he added.