Nanga Parbat from Fairy Meadows
|Governing body||Government of Gilgit-Baltistan|
Fairy Meadows, named by German climbers (German Märchenwiese, ″fairy tale meadows″) and locally known as Joot, is a grassland near one of the base camp sites of the Nanga Parbat, located in Diamer District, Gilgit-Baltistan. At an altitude of about 3,300 metres (10,800 ft) above sea level, it serves as the launching point for trekkers summiting on the Rakhiot face of the Nanga Parbat. In 1995, the Government of Pakistan declared Fairy Meadows a National Park.
Fairy Meadows is approachable by a 12-kilometre-long (7.5 mi) jeepable trek starting from Raikhot bridge on Karakoram Highway to the village Tato. Further from Tato, it takes about three to four hours hiking by a 5-kilometre (3.1 mi) trek to Fairy Meadows. The grassland is located in the Raikhot valley, at one end of the Raikhot glacier which originates from the Nanga Parbat and feeds a stream that finally falls in the River Indus. Since 1992, locals have operated camping sites in the area.
The six-month tourist season at Fairy Meadows starts in April and continues until the end of September. Tourists lodge at the camping site spread over 0.81 hectares (2 acres), known as "Raikot Serai". The site of Fairy Meadows, though only partially developed, generates about PKR 17 million revenue from tourism, mainly by providing food, transportation and accommodation services.
Fairymeadows is no longer considered a national park as the land there is not government-owned and has recently been divided amongst the local community. As of 2015[update] some members of the community are starting tourism-related projects.
Flora and fauna
The grassland is surrounded by thick alpine forest. The high altitude area and north-facing slopes mostly consist of coniferous forest having Pinus wallichiana, Picea smithiana and Abies pindrow trees, while in the high altitude areas with little sunlight are birch and willow dwarf shrubs. The southern slopes are concentrated with juniper and scrubs, namely Juniperus excelsa and J. turkesticana. In the low altitudes, the major plant found is Artemisia, with yellow ash, stone oaks and Pinus gerardiana spread among it. Research has suggested similarities between Pinus wallichiana found in the meadows with a sister species, Pinus peuce, found in the Balkans, based on leaf size. Researchers have found thirty-one species of Rust fungi in the area.
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