In mountains of Gilgit, people race on the river

Traditional Zakh sport begins in Gilgit with 300 participants
<p>Samaa: photo</p>

Samaa: photo

Those with a desire for adventure always look for the next big thrill. But in the mountainous north with little flat land, the only frontier to obtain such a thrill remains the river.

The traditional sport of Zakh enjoyed by residents of the mountainous region of Gilgit sees residents build waterproof and river worthy dinghies using natural materials and race on the river from Shigar to Gilgit.

In ancient times, Zakh was one of the few means to cross the rivers in the region while it also served as the main mode of transportation for the region’s main nomadic tribe.

Now, the sport is being shared with the wider world with the hope that it will bring with it the promise of enhanced tourism and the economic benefits that come with it.

As winter sets in and the river contracts and calms down, Zakh has been opened to the thousands of visitors who stream to the mountains to enjoy the winter.

The Zakh raft is made from the skins of animals and wood. These days, locals also use old motorcycle tyres to improve the raft’s sturdiness.

Wooden oars are then used to steer and drive the raft.

This year, a total 60 teams, comprising 300 people, have embarked on the 30 kilometer-long journey down the river from Shigar to Gilgit on the Indus River.

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