We were planning for the trip to Pir Hassimar when TIK asked me why is it called Hassimar. I had to shrug my shoulders as I did not know the answer. Now that I am back from there, unfortunately, I still don’t know why is it called so 🙂 More surprisingly, local people we met living in villages nearby were unaware of it too. All they know is that he is their pir and the shrine should be visited and paid homage to in case of any need. Like rest of many peaks of this area, this peak has also been named after some saint and a shrine with colorful flags marks its presence.
The trek starts from Pir Chinasi which is at a height of 2800 meters from sea level. A metalled road from Muzaffarabad takes around 1.5 hrs to reach Pir Chinasi which is called so because of shrine of Pir Shah Bukhari there. While the crow flight distance from Chanasi to Hassimar is not more than 7km, the trek becomes around 16 kilometers in total as it goes towards east first along the ridge and then turns right towards the peak.
The trek doesn’t generally climb steeply and can be considered as a moderate one. There is no specific need to hire a guide for this trek as the peak remains in sight for most of the trek which doesn’t let one go off the trek. It took us around 6 hrs from Pir Chanasi to reach the top of Pir Hassimar which stands at 3200 meters. From the top, one can have an awesome panoramic view of the whole area and surroundings. Towards South east is the Line of Control not more than 15-20 kilometers away. Qazinag, Shamsbari and other peaks owned by India in the occupied Kashmir are visible in that direction. Towards west river Jehlum flows and one can trek down towards Garhi Dopatta in that direction. Alternatively towards North east, flows the Neelum river and one can trek down to Nauseri or Devlian which is the path we opted. The track towards Devlian passes through some lush green meadows and dense pine forest. It took us a total of 11 hours to reach down to main Neelum road with 2 hours walk on the first day after which we camped on a little plain area 9 hours on the second day. Recommended option for the night is at the base of Pir Hassimar near the shepherd’s huts as water is available nearby.
On the whole, it is an extremely beautiful and comparatively un-explored area and I recommend doing it as it can easily be managed in limited number of days. If one has got more time, dropping down to Leepa valley via Hariala and Kafir Khan is another fascinating option that would however add a couple of more days to the program. In this case a local guide is a must to remain away from the Indian or even Pakistani soldiers 🙂