Skardu, capital of Baltistan is perched 2,438 meter above sea level in the backdrop of the great peaks of the Karakorum’s. Balti people are a mixture of Tibetan and Caucasian stock and speak Balti, an ancient from the tibetan. Due to the similarity of its culture, lifestyle and architecture with Tibet, Baltistan is also known as the “tibet-e-Khurd” (little Tibel). It borders on the Chinese province of Xinjiang and Indian-occupied Kashmir. The tourist season is from April to October. The maximum temperature is 27 C and minimum (October) 8 C Apart from its incomparable cluster of mountain peaks and glaciers Baltistan’s five valleys –Shigar, Skardu, Khaplu, Rondu and Kharmang are noted for their luscious peaches, apricots, apples and pears.
Kharpocho Fort: Skardu has an ancient Fort known as Kharpocho Fort (King of Forts) situated on a hill overlooking the town. It was constructed by All Sher Khan Anchan, who ruled over Baltistan till the end of the 16th century.
Buddha Rock Carvings:
Dating back to 8 th century AD, a huge Buddha figure surrounded by small Buddhistavas is carved on a rock, three kilometer from Skardu across Sadpara Nullah on Skardu-Sadpara Road. Pre-historic men and animal figure are carved on rocks along Kachural Lake. Some rock carvings and diagram of a monastery nearPerkuta (Mehdi Abad) Nalah are also found.
Upper Kachura (34 km), Lower Kachura (Shangrila 29 km) Lake and Sadpara (8 km) Lake, are very famous for fishing and boating.
|Satpara lake Skardu District Gilgit Baltistan Province of Pakistan|
The gateway to the great mountain peaks of the Karakorum’s, Gasherbrun & K-2 is only 23 km away from Skardu via jeep road, Shigar vally’s gentle, irrigated slopes are filled with terraces of wheat, maiza and barley. Its orchards of apricots, mulberries, peaches, plums, pears, apples and nuts are unique to Baltistan. The wooden mosque in the middle of the town was built by Kashmiri carpenters several hundred years ago. There is the ex-Raja’s old Fort and Place in the village.
|Skardu District Gilgit Baltistan Province of Pakistan|
This beautiful valley of the Shyok River is 103 km east of Skardu. Khaplu is the starting point for most trekking and climbing expeditions. Many famous mountains such as Masherbrums, Saltoro, Sia Kangri, K-6, and K-7 are located here. Chaqchan Mosque is one of the earliest mosques in Baltistan (1504 AD), attributed to Syed Ali Hamdani. There is a place of Raja of Khaplu and remains of Torsikhar Fort.
How to get there?
PIA operates a daily flight between Islamabad Skardu (subject to good weather). The air journey is full of thrills and would itself be regarded as the highlight of the visit.
Skardu is 793 km from Islamabad via Karakoram Highway and Skardu Road. The daily NATCO bus & coach service takes 24 hours for this wonderful and adventurous journey. An all-weather, 241 km long Skardu road, connects Skardu with Gilgit. The journey takes around six hours.
Besides other reasonably priced private hotels, at Skardu, Sadpara Lake and Khaplu other comfortable accommodation there are also government rest houses at Skardu, Sadpara, Shigar Valley, Khaplu and Kachura for this Advance reservation is required.
What to Buy?
Baltistan is known for its “Pattu” hand woven woolen cloths for jackets, coat etc. you can also pick up colorful intricately embroidered “Chugas” (Baltistani gown) and wooden spoons at Skardu bazaar.
What Not to Do
What Not to Do
Do not Photograph bridges and military installations,
Do not swim in the rivers
Do not Travel without your passport and other travel documents in the Northern Areas.
Do not Photograph local women without his permission
Do not Drive on mountain roads at night.
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