Chechali Pass, Trekking Through the Stream Water!
I grew up in the lap of a mountain. In my childhood, I used to climb on them when I was a kid. I’ve always had a strong affinity toward nature, particularly mountains. My passion for mountains draws me to many mountain ranges. Chechali Dam, built during Gen. Ayoub Khan’s administration, is one of the most beautiful and worth-visiting places in the Mianwali district. This location was also visited by General Ayoub Khan and Governor Amir Muhammad Khan.
It’s said that Mahmood Ghaznavi the brave General of Muslims along with his army also used this mountain pass to enter into Punjab plain area. But there is no proof for this saying.
I visited this mountain pass several times but its attraction calls me back for more visits. I, along with my cousins, planned to visit the mountain pass, dam and also the highest peak of Chapri mountain. I am basically from Chapri so we planned to visit these locations in two days. Visit Chechali pass and dam was an easy task but climbing to the highest mountain peak was tough and challenging.
Chechali pass is about 85 KM from Mianwali city, located in a salt mountain range (Sore Ghar) near Kalabagh. From Kalabagh, it’s about 16 KM. I will suggest the route through Kammarmushani because the Chapri-Kalabagh route is in very bad condition. The distance between Chapri from Kammarmushani is 14 KM and the distance of Chechali dam from Chapri is about 6 KM.
This mountain pass is also known as the Chechali pass. It’s not clear whether was It named chechali due to the Chechali formation (Iron Ore) of rocks or Chechali formation was named from chechali pass. locals call it “Chalay”. It connects district Mianwali to district Karak. This pass is so narrow that animals hardly pass through it. It was actually the camel’s way between Punjab and KPK, but after the construction of the dam, the route was closed. In the initial days of the dam, boats were used for travelling to district Karak but with the passage of time, it was filled with sand. In the near past, a narrow path was constructed by cutting the rocks. Now trained animals can pass through it.
From Chapri to “Chiwda“, which is about 3 KM, can be reached by any van. Straight red slopes add magic to the beauty of the entrance. Further distance is covered on foot in stream water. From Chiwda to Dam, the mountain range is cut down by water flow, which depth is hundreds of feet. The picturesque walk through a small narrow lane is astonishing. Every year, many university students visit this location for geological research. In winter, cold winds and cold stream water resist going ahead.
Before going toward the dam, Upper Chapri is a good place to hit. It’s just like a balcony of the high peak mountain. Its area is several square Kilometers. The area is free of inhabitants and has a wonderful view. Trekking through it is just like walking on the balcony of the mountain.
The stream water continuously flows. The visitor has to go in this stream because there is no other track to reach the top of the dam. Stream water is cold, especially in winter, and it is not possible to hike in it barefooted. If you want to visit, I will recommend you, add rainy shows to your gear.
At the entry point of chechali pass, there are beautiful dunes of red clay. Before the partition of Pakistan, Hindus families were living here. They used to make clay pots from this red clay. Broken pots still may be seen here. In Locals, this place is known as “Karyon”.
A natural pond is a little ahead. It’s actually a bog, quicksand swallows everything which comes near. The newcomers don’t identify the depth of the water. They also have no information about the path passing on the upper side. In locals, this place is known as “Thorak Dhand”. I strongly suggest, please don’t visit this place without the local guide. On the way, there are two massive stones. In locals, these stones are known as “Haji Gale” which means Haji stones. Haji Adam Khan Khattak, the brave and famous leader of the Khattak Tribe was shot dead here.
Engineer Atta Ullah Khan has donated more than 2 million rupees to lay down the pipeline from the dam to Chapri which is about 20000 feet in length. After the successful completion of the project, Chapri people will get rid of the drinking water issues. Currently, Government's water supply is supplying water to the village but usually, WAPDA disconnects the power due to nonpayments of bills by Government.
The length of chechali pass, where it gets too narrow is about 600 feet. The cold water and cold wind push back. As you come closer, the frightful sound of the waterfall horrifies the newcomers. From the top of the dam, rocks cutting view is magical. The cutting is narrow and deep which looks majestic and beautiful.
The upper area of the dam is filled with sand now. There is also a shrine of Sheikh Nikah. The grave had been buried by the dam but people have made the grave again on the sand. Many people visit this shrine. A yearly festival is also held in Sheikh Nikah's name.
Chechali pass is a good place for adventure and visit. July and August are not ideal to visit it. The rainwater may come from far in the area and there is no space to escape. In terms of difficulty, it is easy to visit this place but I will add that it requires good health and fitness.
On the next day, we started hiking the mountain peak of Chapri. I listened fewer times that after crossing the rocky layer, there is a fountain and around this, there is lush greenery. In local, This place is known as “Darga”. I was told that only experts or locals can climb up to the peak. I, along with my cousins, started to climb toward the peak and Darga. About in two and a half hours, we reached Darga. First, we filled our bottles with fountain water and then started climbing again. After crossing one more rocky layer, we found a smooth place. We chose it as a base camp for the next climbing. Some of our friends started cooking and I along with three other cousins started climbing toward the mountaintop.
After climbing about half an hour on narrow and life taking rocks, we reached one place where the path was very narrow and the slopes were at 90 angles, which depths were in hundreds of feet. I was so afraid that I was not able to move further or back. At that place, I was thinking that after safely returning from this venture, I will never make my way toward such slippery rocks.
With white rocks, and a pollution-free blue clear sky, the lush greenery around the fountain water is awful and astonishing. This fountain is no less than wonder how water comes out at such a high place on the mountain.
Darga, with respect to the Chechali dam, is very laborious to visit. In rocks, there is no way to climb and in some places, you have to go on a very narrow tap hundreds of feet high slop. I will suggest to don’t visiting this section if you are not familiar with mountains peaks.