We visited Parwan in Afghanistan to see Golghondi Hill Bloom
Nestled deep in the Hindu Kush Mountains, the lush Parwan Valley is known for its breathtaking scenery and breathtaking scenery.
What image does your brain conjure up when I mention Afghanistan? Do you expect bombs to explode every second? Afghanistan rarely comes across as a country where people would be expected to spend a day outdoors doing touristy things. But my recent trip to this war-torn country changed that parochial mindset for good.
Until I came to Afghanistan, I almost always imagined it was a war zone, devoid of happy moments. But all it took was a short trip out of town to break that belief. When my friends offered to show me spring in the countryside, I didn’t expect a mini-party in the lilac meadows where thousands of people were scattered along the mountain slopes, speckled with dark pink hues. .
Golghondi Hill, also known as “the hill of flowers”, is located in the town of Charikar, in the former province of Parwan, about an hour from the capital Kabul. When we started our journey that day, it seemed like everyone was heading in the same direction as us – and of course they were! The highway was inundated with cars, jam-packed with large families. It took us a little over an hour to reach our destination which was teeming with thousands of Judean trees and locals who came to spend a quiet afternoon in the pink shade of the valley.
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Nestled deep in the Hindu Kush Mountains, the lush Parwan Valley is known for its breathtaking scenery and breathtaking scenery. Also known to be one of the safest regions in the country, Parwan has not been affected by years of war and conflict. Gul Ghondi’s Arghawan flowers have a short lifespan of only one week. But despite this, these flowers are so famous that the country’s government holds an annual festival to mark the start of spring and commemorate the cultural heritage of the region. The event is graced by poets, musicians and writers who come together to celebrate the flourishing of Arghawan.
The Arghawan bloom is an annual phenomenon during the spring months of April, May and June, when people from all parts of the country come to northern Afghanistan just to witness this natural splendor. But tourist activity is at its peak around Nowruz weekend when people come here to picnic and celebrate the Islamic New Year. It is one of those brief moments when Afghans are able to look beyond the war that has decimated lives and villages for decades.
Each spring, Golghondi Hill attracts thousands of local Afghans who visit the province to bask in the sun and crimson shade of Arghawan, also known as the Flowers of Judas. The pleasant spring afternoon offers its inhabitants an ideal opportunity to escape from the city. I had the chance to be among them and to live this experience first hand. The lovely sight of its pink blossoms is visible from the Kabul highway, almost as if they are inviting you.
When we arrived at this popular tourist spot, I was mesmerized by the beauty that lay before my eyes. It only took a second for me to forget that I am right now in an active war zone that has only recently been rocked by IED blasts. I forgot that some of those families who seemed so happy and content in the company of their loved ones may have been directly or indirectly affected by the ongoing conflict.
It was a welcome sight to see women, children, old and young, come together to celebrate nature as families huddled under the cool shade of Arghawan blossoms. There was manic activity around me. The sky was dotted with colorful kites and the only fight you could see was between beefy men trying to outdo each other in the fierce kite battle.
The air of Golghondi Hill that day was laden with floral scents interspersed with local street food that lined the road to the meadow. Fries grilled in hot oil and the smell of grilled skewers float through the landscape, as do its birds and kites.
Amazed by the festive spirit that dotted the purple landscape, I pulled out my camera and began to capture jubilant faces that greeted spring in a true Afghan spirit, with a broad smile. It was almost therapeutic to see a happy side of Afghanistan that is often overshadowed by the grim news of bombings and suicide attacks. It was a pleasant surprise to see an entire city gather on the outskirts of Kabul to revel in the warm glory of the spring sun.
As I sat there watching the activity around me, I couldn’t help but notice the children who seemed to glow under the soft silhouette of the trees, happily picking the pink flowers. Women sat on handmade rugs and cooked a hot lunch for the children as they set out in search of nature’s bounty. Their smiles and innocence painted a happy picture that is deeply engraved in my brain.
It was my second trip to Afghanistan and I saw a resilient country that knows how to make the most of small windows of opportunity to come together and have fun. I mobilized all my senses as I was perched on Golghondi Hill. My eyes feasted on joyous dance performances where people fluttered like delighted dervishes. There was an intoxicating mix of scents in the air as the scent of the freshly prepared barbecues mingled with that of Arghawan. I could hear the laughter of the children as they walked up and down the hill.
I just sat there, soaking up it all. I laughed when I saw my friends winning a fierce kite game with a stranger across the prairie. It was too surreal, almost too good to be true. It was an Afghanistan that you rarely see or expect to see, the one dotted with the flowery shade of Arghawan.