The Magical Gurr Ki Chai at Margalla Hills Trail 5

By Duaa Asif

You know what the start to a great day is? An early morning hike. Especially if you plan that hike on the heavenly pathways of the Margalla Hills trails in Islamabad. It’s near perfection. For residents of the capital, the Margalla Hill trails are synonymous with morning hikes, casuals walks through the woods, or just a great way to spend time with friends and family. Many start as early as Fajar, and the weekends see the most traffic.

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Not only is it a great way to kick-start your day, but the charm and freshness of these trails fills the mind and body with positive energy. This burst of energy will stay with you all through the day.

There are a number of trails here. Trails 1 and 2 are the simplest ones, trail 3 is the trickiest, while 5 and 6 are my personal favorites. The area around trail 5 and 6 is clean and properly devised for trekking. And both these trails have water springs along their paths.

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Camping Site at Trail 5

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Water springs!

So I set off with my brother on Trail 5 (in Sector F-5) close to my home. This track has a camping site about half a kilometer away from the starting point, with the Ficus water spring another 2 kms further up. It’s an exquisite track that makes you feel so much closer to nature. For the first 4 kms, the trail is a pretty simple nature trek. After this point it gets a little trickier in terms of steepness.

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We usually cover up to 5 km and then come back. On weekends though we usually set out to complete the whole track. Coming back to the starting point (the parking lot), the whole experience cannot be completed without a little foodie addition to the morning kick start. The parking lot of Trail 5 has a dhaba that serves the best Gurr Ki Chai (Jaggery Milk Tea) in Islamabad!

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Gurr Ki Chai!

Every time we go trekking on Trail 5 in the morning, we’re sure to end up ordering this delightful cup. Unlike regular chai, chai using jaggery is considered a healthier, and certainly more palatable, alternative. You can taste the gurr in each sip and the tea is ‘karak’, the term we Pakistanis uses for a ‘strong brew’. It’s a cup that’s sure to warm you up before you start, or relax you when you’re done.

To top it all off, gurr is also known to purify the blood, and even cures dry cough and cold. Need another reason to try it out this winter? The perfect compliment to this chai are the pakoras made fresh at the same dhaba. They’re crispy, hot, not too spicy and served with green chutney.

Enjoy yourselves on the trail and let this chai be your reward on the way out. Do remember to stick to trail’s path, always carry water with you and DO NOT LITTER while there.

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Duaa Asif

Business student, marketing enthusiast, foodie and an entrepreneur to be!