Chapursan Valley, where Zoodkhun nights unveil the universe

Zood Khun, mountain in front of Pamir Serai at 10:30 PM, early August — Photo Bernard Grua
Zood Khun, mountain in front of Pamir Serai at 10:30 PM, early August

Remote and isolated Zoodkhun, the high mountain village of Gojal in Gilgit Baltistan, is a remarkable place to observe and to photography night skies.

Zood Khun, western ridges, light going down to the Valley at 05:45, early August — Bernard Grua
Zood Khun, western ridges, light going down to the Valley at 05:45, early August — Bernard Grua
Zood Khun, western ridges, light going down to the Valley at 05:45, early August

The gate to another endless world

In the Upper Hunza, on the borders of Central Asia, at the end of the narrow Chapursan Valley, Zood Khun is surrounded by the high ranges of Karakoram, Hindu Kush and Pamir. There, by the end of twilight, the observer does not feel himself in a wide space encircled by the lower edges of a celestial vault. He gets nearly the sensation of being in an almost closed environment. However, he soon understands his first impression was wrong. While, looking up, it seems to him, in the contrary, that the real world is not on the planet where he stands. This one would be only a tiny cell. For the night is neither black nor blue. It is not “one.” It is not a lid. It does not exist. It’s a different day. The day of a gigantic and brilliant universe.

A vertiginous astonishment

The fading of the last sun rays awakens, in an unknown vertigo, an overcrowded space, a multiple and inconceivable luminosity. Darkness is like replaced by sand where each grain is glittering. The viewer, then, tells himself the anthropic light pollution deprives him, everywhere else, of such a vision. Even, in the Atlantic Ocean or in the Mediterranean Sea, even far off the shores, it is impossible to access this revelation because of the evaporation.

Zood Khun, western ridges — Sun lights did not totally disappear, — Bernard Grua
Zood Khun, western ridges — Sun lights did not totally disappear, — Bernard Grua
Zood Khun, western ridges — Sun lights did not totally disappear, however sky is so pure
that numerous stars can already be seen at 08:15 PM, early August

A glittering infinite thanks to a crystal clear air

Zood Khun,milky way at 10:30 PM, early August — Photo bernard Grua
Zood Khun,milky way at 10:30 PM, early August — Photo bernard Grua
Zood Khun,milky way at 10:30 PM, early August

In Zoodkhun, the pure atmosphere is frequently too dry to be veiled with an imperceptible mist, that an arid soil would, nevertheless, be hardly able to provide. At an altitude close to 3,500m, the rarefied air does not prevent the radiations of the stars as it happens in lower lands.

The village is so far away from any urban center and from the Karakoram Highway (KKH) that no artificial light might pollute the sky. During nights with no winds, no dust tarnishes the crystal clear firmament. Thus, the eye, if it avoids being distracted by the regular falling stars, distinguishes an almost contiguous multitude of colored glitters.

Behind these ones, other gleams extend towards an obvious infinite. Although its measure defies all imagination.

All these observations can be made from the courtyard of Pamir Serai, the guest house of Alam Jan Dario family (see also fast loading version of PamirSerai guesthouse website).

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Contributor to French and foreign medias: geopolitics, heritage, history, expeditions | https://bernardgrua.net https://bernardgrua.blogspot.com | FR EN SP GE

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