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Himalayas with Michael Palin..BBC Travel Documentary

After his travel series titled "Sahara" which pulled in 8 million viewers, Michael Palin did another successful travel documentary for BBC titled “ Himalayas with Michael Palin’’ . An avid traveler and a film star with films to his credit like Monty Python , A fish called Wanda etc, this travel series cover Pakistan, India Bhutan on his venture into the Himalayas on an epic journey that all enjoy. Hindukush Trails was ground handler for Michael Palins travel documentary and in his book on the documentary this is what Michael Palin says about us.

“We would have got nowhere without Maqsood ul Mulk and Hindukush Trails in Pakistan” ....with many and grateful thanks for helping make on Pakistan shoot such a success.

Michael Palin

Author of “Trekking Guide to Russia & Central Asia”

Friends have suggested to Frith Maier that in another life she must have been a Tajik, her soul seems most at home in Pamir mountain hamlets. As a student at Leningrad State University in 1984, she traveled solo to what was then Soviet Uzbekistan, where she managed to get arrested for abandoning her Intourist-arranged tour to sneak off to villages. Frith's fascination with the people of the former USSR, and with Central Asia in particular, inspired her to embark on a decade of exploratory mountain travel to remote comers of the USSR. As the Soviet Union's doors creaked open in the late eighties, Frith challenged the "closed to foreign travel"designation of many wilderness areas. In 1988, she created a Soviet adventure travel program for “ REI “ Recreational Equipment Inc, pioneering climbing, trekking, and biking trips to places that had not seen westerners in this century.

She was the very first American woman to summit on Khan Tengri (22,996 feet) on the Kyrgyzstan-China border, and has climbed Peak Communism (24,595 feet), the highest peak in the former Soviet Union.

Planning her trip to Pakistan Frith choose Hindukush Trails and writes….

…..” Maqsood takes remarkable care of his clients.With him, you can count on a real insider’s experience in Pakistan. I feel fortunate to have had his help in arranging a unique adventure through Chitral enroute to Wakhan and Tajikastan”

Frith Maier

Major General Sir Evelyn Webb-Carter KCVO OBE

From: Major General Sir Evelyn Webb-Carter KCVO OBE
Mil: London Dist (94531) 2331
Civ: 020 7414 2331
Fax:020 7414 2462

Dear Maqsood,

I really don't know where to begin. You did us all proud over what will always be 'a trip of a lifetime'. I cannot underline what a huge success the whole expedition was. Your planning and careful forethought paid the full dividends and I know that all of us will be eternally grateful for the care you clearly put into this venture.

Thank you for arranging all the little extras which made the trip so special. There is a long list of these, too numerous to list but the visit to the Presidents bodyguards, staying with Colonel Kushwaqt and our entry into Chitral spring to mind. All these things reflected your own attention to detail and commitment to the project. We count ourselves lucky that we placed ourselves in your capable hands.

I am currently considering bringing over my wife & friends next year so that she can see the glories of the Hindu Kush as well. It all depends on what job I get in the New Year but I will keep in touch.

When the articles are printed I will make sure that I send you copies. I am quit a certain that Hindukush Trails will be most favorably mentioned.

Yours Evelyn

Birr Castle County Offaly Ireland

Dear Maqsood,

I've been meaning to write to you ever since we got back to say what a good time we had and how much we enjoyed our botanical trip with Hindukush Trails. Everyone seems to have had a good time, and as we were a party ranging in age from 20s to 70s we were really, as Shireen said, all one happy family. Babu was brilliant and looked after us all so well. It was lovely to have dinner with you both in Islamabad that last evening.

I must say , how good it all was environmentally, and as we came back down the route that we had taken, there was no evidence at all of our camp site as Brendan said much better than it had been for him when in Nepal. You are lucky to live in such an un spoilt part of the world. And though of course I know it has many problems also, it still has that magic that has gone from so many overpopulated countries in the west. We never got that address from you to write about the huge tree on the Lowari pass. We will still certainly do so. I think about the beauty of that landscape, and the trees often. My photographs are alright, but they cannot show the scale of it to someone who has not seen the really thing!

I expect you are in Europe now. Another time I hope you will come across Irish Sea so that we can show you Ireland which, also has some beautiful and unspoilt areas. Though I only hope we can manage to see that they remain so.

Give our love to Ruty and I hope the boys are well also. I will keep in touch and let you know if anything comes of our botanical writing. If your father is with you, give him our best regards, and I will be writing to him soon-when I have all the photographs.

With best wishes and thanks from Brendan & myself

Countess of Rosse

Loughborough Grammar School Hindukush Expedition

Her Majesty the Queen talks to expedition members about the Hushe and Chitral projects on the occasion of her visit to mark the 500th Anniversary of Loughborough Grammar School.

"This has been by far the best of the trips we have run for Loughborough School. Your guides rose superbly to the occasion of handling a large group. The cook and his team did a great job and their standard of hygiene was excellent. They were fast and efficient no easy job with a mob cooking. We would like to congratulate Hindukush Trails on an excellent team. A very successful and memorable trip. ?

Royal Society for Asian Affairs

Telephone: (0171)235 5122
Fax: (0171)2596771

The Lord Denman,C.B.E., T.D

Honorary Secretaries
Colonel A.P.H.B.Fowle,M.C
Dr. InaRussel,O.B.E

Chairman Of Council;
Sir Donald Hawley, K.C.M..,M.B.E

Honorary Treasurer
J.F.N. Wedge

Dear Maqsood

"On behalf of the group I would like to thank you for the excellent arrangements for our centenary trip.

There will be an article in the RSAA Journal about our wonderful tour and I will certainly ensure that you receive a copy. There is also to be a lecture about it and, if there is a text of this, I will let you have a copy of that. It was a very memorable period for us all and we are looking forward to reliving it.

My wife joins me in sending best wishes to you and your wife and partners in Hindukush Trails.

Donald Hawley
Chairman of Council RSSA



Helen Mckeag (Mrs)
Secretary RSAA

"You will be interested to know that Lindsay Davies gave a wonderful account of the Society's centenary expedition illustrated with slides. The lecture gave members an enormous amount of pleasure, which will I am sure, spark off a great interest to visit for those who were not on that memorable trip.

I have pleasure in enclosing a copy of the June edition of the journal which includes Brigadier Bill Woodburn's article about the Chitral Centennial.

May I just add that we are very much looking forward to seeing you when you visit here in October. I know Lord Denman has already written to you about the lunch on 10 October, and I will of course let you know details about the reunion nearer the time ?.

The High Commissioner

From the High Commissioner,
Mark Lyall Grant CMG
British High Commission
Ramna 5 Diplomatic Enclave
Box 1122 Islamabad

17 October 2003

Dear Maqsood ul Mulk

I am writing to thank you for the tremendously warm welcome you gave to the football team expedition during their recent visit. This applies also to all the relevant officials, schoolboys and girls and the general public in Chitral, Ayun and the many other stopping places along the Chitral and Kalash valleys.

Those staff from this High Commission who went have told me how memorable their visit turned out to be. Gary Middlemas and Tim Handley have given me details of the events you arranged, and have said how the whole visit proved to be far beyond their expectations. I strongly suspect that all of them would rather still be in Chitral than working here in Islamabad!

I was very pleased to hear that the visit was well received by those who met the team, or saw the matches, and I understand that it meant a lot to the Chitrali people. It is a wonderful credit to you for organising the entire visit and I am most grateful to you. I was particularly impressed to hear of the progress the communities themselves are making to achieve self- sustainment in a number of fields, and I hope that the scholarship award will play a part in further developing these goals. I suspect that the footballs and football kits will have a more immediate impact on the youth of Chitral!

I would also like to thank through you the various organisations which you lined up to play a part, including the Scouts Band, the police, College, school, medical and airport authorities, as well as the Nazim, NGOs and other officials in the districts. I would be most grateful if you could pass on my appreciation to them all.

With best wishes
Yours Sincerely
Mark Lyall Grant

Austrian/German First Climbers Reunion

The following famous climbers from Austria and Germany decided to have a reunion trip. Veterans of many explorations into unknown valleys they also had the honor to be the very first climbers of famous high peaks in the Himalayas & the Karakoram. With all their travel and experience they decided on Pakistan as ' the holiday destination ' and choose Hindukush Trails to organize their trip .

Peaks Heights First Climber Year
Noshaq East 7480m Gerald Gruber/R. Pischinger 1963
Diran Minapin 7273m Hanns Schell, Rainer Gosch & Rudolf Pischinger 1968
Akher Choi 7020m H. Schell, R. Goschl 1966
Udren Zom North. 7108m Gruber/ Pischinger 1964
Shakawar 7125m Gruber/ Pischinger 1964
Gheinter Chish 6273m. Scherbichter & Limzbichlerl 1968
Koh -i-Nadir Shah 7116m Scherbichter & Goschl 1964

"Thank you for a wonderful trip, we all enjoyed it tremendously. The logistics were perfectly handled with quality service. Congratulations for training an excellent staff. Quite a change from our first exploration trips in the 60's."

Nick Danziger

Award-winning photojournalist and documentary-maker Nick Danziger is the author of Danziger's Travels, Danziger's Adventures and Danziger's Britain.' His recent documentary films include AIDS: The Global Killer' filmed in Zambia, Russia and the United Kingdom and 'The Unquiet Peace' filmed over a two year period in Kosovo.

Nick has been nominated for several prestigious awards for expertise in photography and photojournalism, including winning an award for his photographic book, 'The British' and nominations for the Grierson Award and Journalist of the Year by the Royal Television Society.

In 2004 Nick won first prize in the portrait category of the World Press Photos awards. He was also awarded an honorary doctorate at the University of Central England in recognition of his travel writing and photography.

On planning his trip through Pakistan and Wakhan Afghanistan Nick Danziger choose Hindukush Trails to organize his trip.

Nick Danziger

K2 and Gondoro La Trek

Dear Maqsood,

We arrived safely back in England last Friday after a very comfortable flight and a fantastic holiday in Pakistan thanks to you and your guides and staff at Hindu Kush Trails.Special thanks to Ayub and Jagir..

We went to Pakistan with eyes raised to the high mountains and intent on completing the demanding trek up the Baltoro Glacier and Gondoro la. We succeeded with every day bringing a new adventure and amazing scenery. What we have not stopped talking about since our return however is the wonderful cultural experience we had meeting and mixing with Pakistani people.

We were very interested in Islamic culture and ways and encountered nothing but friendship and hospitality throughout our travels in the beautiful stark mountains and green rural valleys in the Northern Area as well as the fascinating busy cities of Peshawar and Rawalpindi. Having gained time on trek it was an added bonus to be so well guided around the bazaars and mosques as well.Altogether a wonderful trip!

We look forward very much to coming back to Pakistan to explore new areas, perhaps in the Chitral valley and in Hunza and to visit our guides and friends.

Many thanks again to Hindu Kush Trails.

Kind Regards
Steven Mitchell and Pauline Beckwith.

Peter Stacey

Association of Mountaineering Instructors. United Kingdom
Dear Maqsood Ul Mulk

We have recently returned from Pakistan, after our group completed a trek with Hindukush Trails to Snow Lake and Biafo -Haispar Traverse- August 4- Sept 2)

With many thank to your company, this was a wonderful first visit to Pakistan. Your guides, worked extremely diligently to ensure that we remained safe at all times

and that besides the mountains we were able to visit many cultural sites that we would otherwise have missed. In addition, Karim and Hassan, running the Kitchen tent ensured we were always well fed with endless food of high quality.

We would have no hesitation in recommending your company to anyone who may visit your country.

With very best wishes and grateful thanks for an excellent holiday,

Peter and Jennie Stacey

Comment on quality of our guides

…….” .I had the pleasure of being with Jagir when our group visited the Karakorum Mountains with Hindukush Trails crossing Hispar La, via the Biafo and Hisper glaciers, stopping e n route at Snow Lake.

Jagir was attentive at all times and proved an excellent Sirdar. He organised the porters efficiently and ensured the kitchen was always ready to provide us with food of highest quality. Whilst trekking, Jagir's knowledge about the mountains we travelled through and the history of the areas, ensured that our day's walking was always interesting. His ability of leading in the mountains of looking after his clients, and of ensuring our enjoyment and safety was of the highest order.

As Secretary of the Association of Mountaineering Instructors here in the U.K., I am used to assessing Walking Leader and Instructors for their certificates to look after group in the mountains. I have no doubt as to Jagir's competence and ability to look after his clients in a safe and professional manner, and can recommend him as someone, who will deliver the best possible experiences in the mountains for any clients who employ him “.

Biafo Hispar the Snow Lake

Dear Maqsood

Many thanks for organizing both my treks so efficiently. The school was very satisfied with what we provided , an excellent guide (Ayub and Jagir), good nourishing and plentiful food prepared with great care by Zar Aman and Hassan and helpers. Care with hygiene ensured that we were able to proceed with no stomach problems.

The Snow Lake trek was a great success , Murad and Jagir looked after us so well. As you already know Ayub and Murad are very experienced and we benefited from that experience. Jagir though was equally popular with the boys and adults, he has warm and cheerful personality, is polite, fun and took endless care, I personally enjoyed his company to no end. I would have no hesitation in trekking with Jagir as our guide, though as you know choosing any one of the three would be difficult as they are so good. Please pass my thanks to them all.

Rafiq and Shahid were also most helpful in Islamabad and Peshawar. Please thank them from me. Karim, again assisted by Hassan, provided endless food of high quality for us on the Snow Lake trek. Some of our camp sites and lunch spots were a tough challenge for them as Baltistan is nowhere near as friendly as Chitral. Again they kept us well and well fed. They are all a credit to you.

Thank you once again for your care. I hope to bring groups to Pakistan again in the future. I will be in touch again soon.

Best wishes
Harry Wilson

Brig W.Woodburn

Brig W.Woodburn
Iverna, The Drive,
Bosham Chicheter,
West Sussex, PO18 8JG

Dear Maqsood

We hope that you had an enjoyable trip to America and all is well with your family there.

This is to thank you very much indeed for all that you did for our trip. It was an outstanding tour and far more successful than we had dared to expect. We are most grateful for all the help and hospitality given by you and your family and friends. Indeed the personal contacts that we were able to have, and the home ( and forts) that we were able to visit, we the high spots of the tour. We felt ourselves as visitors, not tourists.

I have organized enough things in life to know that success is only achieved with careful preparation and I deeply appreciate all the thought that went into our trip, not least the careful selection of our team. Murad, as expected, was an excellent guide and companion. He really entered into the spirit of my historical and architectural investigations and proved a great asset there, as well as in the more normal tasks of helping us to move around. It was very nice of him to invite us to his home for a night which, in addition to giving us a chance to meet his charming family, gave us a wider insight in to village life in that area.

Fridoon was the perfect driver. One felt totally safe in his hands and he was such a patient, willing and cheerful person that it made a lot of difference to our enjoyment of the trip. I would unreservedly recommend him to anyone ( and will strive to have him again, if we come on other trip). Zahur, the cook, was also a very willing and capable member of the team. He too has a nice cheerful personality.We are, of course, also grateful to members of your office staff at Islamabad, and Babu, for their help, not least in sorting out the plants your father gave us- they traveled well and are being carefully nurtured here.

Ingrid join me in sending you our very best wishes.

Yours sincerely

Professor Richard Holmes

Vine House
North Street ,Ropley , Alresford
Hampshire SO24 ODF. U.K
Dear Maqsood

I am sorry to have taken so long to write to thank you for all that you did to make our trip in Kelly's footsteps such an outstanding success. I can honestly say that it was the most challenging and rewarding trip of my life and I know that both Jessie and Christina agree. The country side was fantastic and the people charming, I for one will never forget the extra ordinary warmth of our reception in Chitral.

A great measure of the trip's success, however, is directly attributable to your flawless organization and the efforts of your team. Although it invidious to single out one individual for particular comment, I felt the guide Babu was outstanding and how he managed to retain his sense of humor all the time I will never know. But he was well supported by the whole team.

As I mentioned when I saw you, I am writing two articles on the trip, one for the magazine Harpers and Queen and the other for newspaper The Daily Telegraph. Both will be wholly favorable , and I only hope that you can cope with extra business that I hope they will generate. You certainly deserve it.

Richard Holmes
.............. .................................

(Professor Holmes is a historian with many titles under his belt " The little Field Marshal " a biography of Field Marshal French. " Firing Line " and " Riding the Retreat " are but three of his books ).

Bernd P. Sawatzki

Bernd P. Sawatzki
8 Ingleview Dr.
Inglewood, Ontario

Dear Maqsood,

"Having been in Canada now for almost three weeks, I have to take the time now to send you my "thank-you" for all the arrangements you made for Erica, Markus and me.

Having lived in Pakistan for over five years, returning to it after eighteen years was a great experience. You and Hindukush Trails made this journey a most memorable one. All arrangements made by your office were perfect and left nothing to ask for.

In closing, I will not forget to mention Murad. He is a extraordinarily fine person. We all miss him. You should be proud to have him working for you ".

David Harris

David Harris
Acacia House,
21 St. Mary's Road Ealing,
London W5 5RA,

? On looking back, our time in Pakistan was all too short but we have often thought about our happy three weeks spent in your capable care with Hindukush Trails. It is certainly true to say that we have never enjoyed a summer trip which has been quite so exciting and interesting. There are many things which we could single out but if we had to choose a single one of these, it would be our stay in Fairy Meadow which was an experience of a lifetime.

Throughout our stay you looked after us in an exemplary fashion. This not only said much about the tradition of hospitality in Chitral but also showed how good you were at doing your job! However querulous or difficult to please we might have been as a group, you never failed to give us the most patient attention and the careful consideration which you gave to our wishes did much to make our trip the success it was. If there is a award in Pakistan a medal for an organization, then you deserve it.

Please pass our sincere thanks to your own family for looking after us so lavishly. It was a great honour to meet them and we enjoyed the fresh Chitral fruit very much indeed. There could scarcely be a better incentive to learn Urdu (or even Khowar) than to be able to converse with such delightful people.

We shall always treasure our memories of Pakistan ( and Chitral in particular) knowing that we should readily seize the opportunity to return

Adam Climb

Subject: Back at home


Just a quick note to say thank you for helping us with our expedition. We are all very grateful for the ways in which you had organized everything so well and that we did not have to waste any of our valuable time trying to arrange things in Chitral.

We will be writing a full report of the expedition and I will ensure that yourself and Hindukush Trails get a good mention. In the meantime I will pass on your details to anyone that I hear about that is going to Chitral.

You are very lucky to be living in such a beautiful part of the world and I sincerely hope that one day I will be able to return the Chitral Valley.

Until then, thank you once again, and it only remains to say that we were very impressed with Zahoor and would recommend him to anyone. He was very keen, treated us like kings and became a good friend. We could have asked for nothing more.

Glamis Castle

Countess of Strathmore and Kinghorne

"Thank you very much for a most enjoyable… a memorable holiday. The guide was perfect and showed us a lot more than the planned itinerary. We hope to keep in touch and will definitely visit again".

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