NORTHERN AREAS

  

 

The Northern Areas of Pakistan lying under the great mountain ranges of Himalaya –Karakorum –Hindu Kush –Hindu Raj and Pamir, surrounded by high peaks of 6500 m to 8600 meters.
Administratively divided with five districts, which runs by DC,s and the concern authority. Controlled from Gilgit by Chief Secretary. The chef secretary controlled by Federal Government Islamabad.
Gilgit the capital of Northern Areas has been inhabited for thousands of years, the various invaders, reached in the South, reached here. The animism of early inhabitants was over laid by fair worship, brought from in Iran. Which was modified by the Indo Aryans in 1700 BC.
Northern Areas is the fairy land, which covers thousands of Squire Kilometers if high snow capped mountain, surrounded by Lashed green valleys rivers, Glaciers- High meadows –high passes –Pine Dev Dar Forest, Juniper trees, Cultivated fields, Fruit orchards, which offer Spectacular panoramic view of natural disaster. Northern Area is a tourist paradise for Trekkers, Climbers –Skiers –Jeep Safaris-Rock Climbing –Whit Water Rafting-Cultural Tours, Silk Route Travelers –Mountain Bike Tours and many many.

BALTISTAN

Baltistan is situated at the last end of Himalaya, beside Deosai Plain and Satpara Lake. Baltistan the tourist destination of Mountains paradise where the world 2nd highest peak is K-2 (8611M) and the other 8000m are Broad Peak –Gasherbrum I & II Likely 8068 to 8047m and there are many peaks 7750 – 7800m. Its snow capped peaks, and Long glaciers gives you the spectacular view for climbers, trekkers and travelers.

SKARDU

Skardu, capital of Baltistan is perched 2,438 metres above sea level in the backdrop of the great peaks of the Karakoram mountain range. The largest district of the Northern Areas, Baltistan is home to some of the highest peaks in the world, the Karakoram Range, and is very popular with Mountaineering Expeditions. It is equally popular with high altitude trekkers, with treks to Baltoro Glacier, K-2 Base Camp and Concordia being especially renowned. The major city in Baltistan is Skardu which by road, lies approximately 5 hours away from Gilgit. A daily flight to and from Islamabad is also in operation.

SATPURA

Satpura is one of the largest fresh water lakes of the country. By and large, the lake offers ample opportunity for trout fishing, boating and rowing.
One hour drive by jeep will take you upto an altitude of 16000 feet on to the second largest plateau of the world popularly known as Deosai Plain.
A visit to Deosai plain is a unique experience of a life time. Fishing permits are issued by the Fisheries Department at Skardu and Gilgit. The facility remains open during season from May to October.

BESHAM

Besham is 265 km from Islamabad, its an ideal place to break the journey for an overnight stay enroute to Gilgit, or beyond. Overlooking the mighty Indus River, a strategic junction on the road linking the Swat Valley over the Shangla Pass with the main KKH.

GILGIT

Gilgit is a located at an altitude of Aprox 1500 Meters (4800 Feet) in the North east of Pakistan . The city had been a central point of trade and political activity as early as 1st century AD. Since then it has always been a very strategic point for the neighboring countries surrounded by the massive mountains of Karakorums. Gilgit is a small valley with a ground just enough to form a small city of 500000 persons. Beyond here there is no such a big town or city in any direction within a distance of about 450 Kilometers in any direction. Gilgit is the administrative and commercial capital of Northern areas.
Mountains of the region are known to be the highest and greatest in the Number around the world. Stretch of Gilgit comes in the rain shadow of Nanga Parbat Mountain i.e. the moon soon winds are blocked by the massive of Nanga Parbat and clouds can not reach Gilgit which makes it dry & rugged but the labor of the strong and willing local population has even claimed the hard mountains for cultivation's. Due to this there are beautiful green orchids of many fruits in the valley. This makes an spectacular contrast in the green fields and ruggedness on the mountains topped with white snow a scenery only found in the northern areas of Pakistan.
Being the main city, Gilgit is linked by road with Hunza, Nagar, Astore, Yasin and Ishkomen valleys. With Gilgit as a base, one can visit Kargah, Naltar or any of the aforesaid valleys. The road to Gilgit is an other adventure and beauty filled experience Karakorum Highway built Between 1966 to 1978 by the Chinese and Pakistani engineers, above the shoulders of gigantic mountains of Himalaya , Hindukush & Karakorum ranges. More than five hundred lives are buried under this marvelous road which is known all over the world for its beauty and variation in terrain and culture. The highway runs along the river Indus and later continues to Gilgit on Gilgit river.

HUNZA

Hunza is probably Pakistan's most visited valley, by the tourists. It is a fairy tale land surrounded by beautiful rugged & snow capped mountains. Only at a distance of 100 Kms. from Gilgit Hunza is a small town on Karakorum Highway. The central Hunza usually known as Karimabad is basically a town of just 6 villages. The first villages as you come from Gilgit on the main Karakorum Highway is Aliabad. There is Rakaposhi View. Just above Aliabad on the hill are Altit and Baltit villages the heart of Hunza. There is a very interesting Bazaar and two Forts in Altit & Baltit Villages. The Baltit fort has recently been restored and converted into a guided museum.
Hunza is undoubtly the Shangri-la of James Hilton's novel The Lost Horizon. It is probably the most Photogenic point in the world.

CHITRAL

Chitral located in the North west of Pakistan is a beautiful valley in the Hindukush range of Mountains. It has always been a very important route for many invaders to south east Asia, Including Alexander the great Scythians, Mangol Changez Khan and numerous others. Chitral is a small town with a one single street bazaar and a few tourist class hotels. At the end of Bazaar on the right (River side) there is the Chitral fort and Palace of Mehtar (Mir Or King) In front of the Fort is the Jami Mosque of Chitral an impressive architecture with beautiful inlays and decorations.

KAFIR-KALASH

One of the major attractions of Chitral are the Kalash valleys- the home of the Kafir-Kalash or "Wearers of the Black Robes", a primitive pagan tribe. Their ancestry is enveloped in mystery and is the subject of controversy. A legend says that five soldiers of the legions of Alexander of Macedonia settled in Chitral and are the progenitors of the Kafir-Kalash.
Over 3,000-strong Kafir-Kalash live in the valley of Birir, Bumburet and Rambur, south of Chitral. Bumburet, the largest and the most picturesque valley of the Kafir-Kalash , is 40 kms. from Chitral and is connected by a jeep-able road. Birir, 34 kms. away is accessible by a jeep-able road. Rambur is 32 kms from Chitral.
The Kalash women wear black gowns of coarse cloth in summer and hand-spun wool dyed in black in winter. Their picturesque headgear is made of woolen black material decked out with cowry shells, buttons and crowned with a large coloured feather.
The Kalash are fun loving people who love music and dancing particularly on occasion of their religious festival like Joshi Chilinjusht (14th & 15th May-spring), Phool (20th – 25th September) and Chomas (18th to 21st December for a week).

KAGHAN VALLEY

BALAKOT

At a distance of 220 km from Islamabad and 4 hours journey, lies Balakot, the ‘Gateway’ to the Kaghan Valley. The town lies on the bank of the River Kunhar and serves as a market for the surrounding villages. With its moderate climate, Balakot is famous for the shrines of the renowned Martyrs, Syed Ahmad Shaheed and Shah Ismail Shaheed Brailvi.

KAGHAN

The Kaghan Valley has long been one of the most popular destinations for all type of tourists. This is a 154.5 km. (96 miles) long picturesque valley ending northwards in the 4148 meters (13.600 ft.) high Babusar Pass. It is an ideal area for trekking and trout fishing.. Its mountains, dales, lakes, water-falls, streams and glaciers are still in unbelievable pristine state, and unspoiled paradise. That is why it can be such a deeply satisfying experience to spend a few days in Kaghan. The Valley extends for 155 kms. Rising from an elevation of 2,134 meters to its highest point, the Babusar Pass, at 4,173 meters. Kaghan is at its best in the summer months (May to September). In May the temperature is: maximum 11 C and the minimum 3 C. From the middle of July up to the end of September, the road beyond Naran, snow-bound throughout the winter, is open right up to Babusar Pass. Movement is restricted during the monsoon season also.

NARAN

Four hours journey, preferably by jeep from Balakot, is Naran. 10 km east at an elevation of 10500 feet lies the famous Saif-ul-Muluk Lake. The visit to the lake takes one hour by jeep and about two and a half hour if you decide to trek. The famous Lalazar plateau is about 20 km ahead. Interesting excursions to Batakundi and Lake Lulusar can also be made. Further on the route over Babusar Pass takes one onto the KKH at Chilas.

LAKE SAIFUL MALUK:

Lake Saiful Muluk has a touch of the unreal about it, nestling 3,200 meters high in the shadow of the Malika Parbat (Queen of the mountains) 5,291 meters high. You can go boating on the lake and hear the local legend about Prince Saiful Muluk who fell in love with a fairy. Further up are quaint woodland villages; Battakundi, Burawai, Besal Gittidas and Lalazar.

BABUSAR PASS:

The Kaghan Valley is blocked at the end by high mountains but a pass lets the jeep-able road snake over into the Chilas Valley. This is the 4,173 metres high Babusar Pass which commands the whole Kaghan panorama as well as gives you, on a clear day, glimpses of the Nanga Parbat (The Naked Mountain) glistening at 8, 126 metres.

SWAT VALLEY

SWAT

Swat was once the cradle of Buddhism of all its schools- Little Vehicle, Great Vehicle and the Esoteric sects where once 1,400 monasteries flourished. It was the home of the famous Gandhara School of Sculpture which was an expression of Graeco-Roman form in the local Buddhist tradition.
Swat was also the historical land where the Muslim conquerors, Mahmud of Ghazni, Babur and Akbar fought their battles preparatory to the conquest of the South Asia.
The ruins of great Buddhist stupas, monasteries and statues are found all over Swat. The valley of Swat sprawls over 10,360 sq. kms at an average elevation of 975 meters. The maximum temperature in July is 38 C and minimum (during January) is 1 C. The normal temperature is maximum 21 C and minimum 7 C. Located in the monsoon belt, it receives more rain than most northern areas, so the land is particularly fertile and green. The Swat River and its tributaries gush through rocky gorges and are particularly known for trout fishing. The houses of the small villages in the area are stacked one on top of the other up the mountainsides, with the roofs of one level of houses used as a front street for houses on the next level.
The hillsides abound with forts, a testament to the region's strategic importance. Alexander the Great and his army marched through Chakdar, and subsequent invaders left their mark: the town still has remains of Buddhist monasteries from the 1st to 7th centuries, while Hindu forts from the 8th to 10th centuries loom on the hilltops. Worth visiting are the valley's graveyards, which have been used for 3,500 years.
Mount Ilam (2,811m, 9,222 ft) has been considered sacred since prehistoric times. A trek to the top brings visitors to a group of massive square blocks of stone, which archaeologists guess were used as an ancient altar.
The Greek fought for its beauty, the Buddhist inhabited it because of its eternal beauty and peace, the Moguls envied its lush green valleys and fast flowing rivers and today it is coveted by the pathans, the Kohistanis and the Gujars. Over two thousand years ago, this prosperous valley of Swat originally known, as Udyan was the home of well-settled people, living with magnificently planned towns. In 327 BC, Alexander the Great fought his way to Udigram and Barikot and settled a good part of his army here. Later, the Buddhists came, they preached, converted, fought and stayed to worship. Graphic remains of Buddhist culture date back to the 2nd century. In the 11th century Muhmud of Ghazni invaded Swat after having advanced through Dir, and defeated Gira, the local ruler, near Udigram. After him followed Moguls, under Babar and his grand son Akbar, yet they were unable to conquer the valley. There is evidence that by then the Yusufzai pathans - fierce, proud and resolute warriors - defended their soil against all invaders, including the British. Winston filled slopes, meandering rivers, and tumbling streams and is surrounded by the mighty ranges of the Hindukush and the Karakurams. The valley is 3250 feet above sea level and Saidu Sharif and Maingora are the towns that form the twin capital of this area. The Museum in Saidu Shariff has a large collection of Gandhara sculptures collected from some of the Buddhist sites in Swat. In the ethnographic section there is some local embroidery, carved wood and tribal Jewelry. There are also a few coins on display. Butkara- the remains of one of the most important Buddhist shrines in the valley. This site consists of a main stupa around which jostle 215 votive stupas in apparently glorious disarray. The main stupa was believed to contain some ashes of Lord Buddha and to have been built by the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka. It is difficult to imagine it, as it must have been once, all painted and gilded and topped by stone umbrellas. You can still see the statues of lions crouching on the tall columns, which once stood near the stupa.

SAIDU SHARIF

Saidu Sharif is the District Headquarter of Swat, with its twin city Mingora, which is a big commercial and trading center. The main attractions of twin cities are the Swat Museum which contains one of the finest collections of Gandhara art in the world, Gulkada Archaeological site, Marghazar and Golf Course at Kabal.

MINGORA

Mingora, 3 kms. From Saidu Sharif, has yielded magnificent pieces of Buddhist sculpture and the ruins of great stupas. Other beauty spots worth visiting are Marghzar, 13kms. from Saidu Sharif, famous for its "Sufed Mahal" the white marble palace of the former Wali (ruler) of Swat; Kabal, 16 kms. from Saidu Sharif with its excellent golf course, Madyan, 55 kms. from Saidu Sharif, Bahrain, Miandam and Kalam.
Malam Jabba, at 2,636 meters above sea level and 45 kms. north-east of Saidu Sharif is being developed as a ski-cum-summer resort.

KALAM

Fifty kilometers from Miandam lies Kalam, the heart of the Swat valley. Located along the Swat River, Kalam is by far the most popular destination in these parts.

MALAM JABBA

Malam Jabba the fairytale land of romance and beauty, offers unlimited sights that the eye can behold, mighty ranges of Hindu Kush, the Karakuram and black mountains, gentle slopes, placid plains, torrential streams, lush green meadows and thick green forests of pine. Come over for an exciting experience to this nature’s art gallery and you will never forget.
Stands on top of a mountain of the Hindu Kush range, at a distance of 40 Kilometers north east of Saidu Sharif. Surrounded by wonderful panorama of scenic splendor and mighty mountains, Malam Jabba is much more than just a ski resort. It is a holiday resort that holds great fascination for tourists and is also home to the remains of ancient civilization. Malam Jabba is 314 Kilometers from Islamabad and 51 Kilometers from Saidu Sharif airport.

USHU

The Lush-green valley of Swat, with its rushing torrents, icy-cold lakes, fruit-laden orchards and flower-decked slopes is ideal for holiday-makers intent on relaxation. It has a rich historical past, too.
This is "Udayana" (the "Garden") of the ancient Hindu epics; "the land of enthralling beauty" where Alexander of Macedonia fought and won some of his major battles before crossing over to the plains of Pakistan. This is "the valley of the hanging chains" described by the famous Chinese pilgrim-chroniclers, Huain Tsang and Fa-Hian in the fifth and sixth centuries.

 
 
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