Gilgit-Baltistan, formerly known as the Northern Areas, is the northernmost administrative territory in Pakistan. It borders Azad Kashmir to the south, the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to the west, the Wakhan passageway of Afghanistan to the north, the Xinjiang region of China to the east and northeast and also the Indian-administered state of Jammu and Kashmir to the southeast.
Gilgit-Baltistan covers an area of over 72,971 km² and is highly mountainous. Its capital city is Gilgit. Gilgit-Baltistan is home to five of the “eight-thousanders” and to more than fifty peaks above 7,000 metres (23,000 ft).
Three of the world’s longest glaciers outside the polar regions are found in Gilgit-Baltistan.
Tourism is usually in trekking and mountain climbing and this industry is growing in importance.
The climate of Gilgit-Baltistan varies from region to region encompassing mountain ranges creates sharp variations in weather. The eastern part has the moist zone of the western Himalayas however going toward Mustagh and Hindu Kush the climate dries significantly.
Gilgit-Baltistan is a multilingual region where Urdu being a national and official language serves as the lingua franca for inter ethnic communications. English is co-official and additionally used in education, whereas Arabic is employed for religious purposes.
PLACES OF INTEREST
Fairy Meadows famous for its beautiful lush green plateaus and World’s ninth biggest mountain Nanga Parbat (the Killer Mountain) is located in Diamer District of Gilgit-Baltistan region, Pakistan. At an altitude of about 3,300 meters above the 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 also called “Heaven on Earth” due to its matchless beauty.
The best time to visit Fairy Meadows is between end of June and middle of August. The place becomes inaccessible in winter due to heavy snowfall.
Phandar Valley is situated 61 kilometers (38 miles) from the valley of Gupis, in District Ghizer of Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan. A twisting road passing through lush green fields and forests with a view of flowing river and icy peaks will lead you to this charming valley. From springs of crystal clear waters to lakes and rivers of deep blue water, there are all colors of nature’s beauty in Phandar Valley.
Weather of Phandar valley stays very pleasant between June and July and this is the best time to visit this valley because the beauty of this valley goes at its peak during these months. Days stays fair and warm and nights are a little cold.
A motel of PTDC is situated at a small hill beside the road to facilitate tourists. The view of Phandar Lake is masmerizing for visitors. Area of Phandar Lake is about 3 kilometers.
Gupis (Goopechh) Valley is located about 112 kilometers in west of Gilgit on the bank of River Gilgit, Yaseen Valley, District Ghizer, Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan. The turquoise water of river flowing along the road and surrounding fields and forests presents are very charming for tourists.
Local castes settled in this area are the Broosho, Gilite, Burange, Sukhe, Bujuke, Phate, Dorane, Shamshere, Shale and Sarale. The people mostly belong to the Brooshoo caste. The languages that are spoken there are Brooshaaski, Khowar and Shhena.
Villagers earn their livelihood through the cultivation and farming of animals including Marco Polo sheep, ibexes, and yaks.
Major tourist attractions include points such as Gupis fort, Khatli Lake, stone circles of megaliths, Shingalote village and many more.
Shandur Top situated at an altitude of 12,500 feet (38000 meters) above sea level. It is sometimes called Roof of the World. It is located in District Ghizer, Gilgit–Baltistan, Pakistan.
Shandur can be reached from Gilgit and Chitral. It is about 197 kilometers (122 miles) from Gilgit and 147 kilometers (91 miles) from Chitral. When coming from Gilgit to Shandur one can see the charming valleys of Gahkuch, Gupis, Phandar and many beautiful lakes. When coming from Chitral one can see the beauty of Mastuj and Surlasp valleys. Polo is the most favorite game in Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan. Shandur Polo Ground is naturally designed to be a polo ground. Small hills are on all four sides of rectangular ground, where spectators can sit and enjoy the match. The surrounding landscape and Shandur Lake makes it even more beautiful.
Shandur Polo Festival is continuously being held each year since 1936, and it is now a very famous event for tourists throughout the world. Now activities like paragliding, folk music and dances are also held along with polo, making it even more enjoyable for tourists. PTDC and other tourism companies establish a tent village for the tourists during the event. But most of tourists bring their own camping gear. Remember to bring warm clothes because it is very cold here especially after the evening.
K2, also known as Chhogori which means “King of Mountains”, is the second highest mountain in the world, after Mount Everest and the highest peak in Pakistan at 8,611 metres (28,251 ft) above sea level. It is located on the China-Pakistan border between Baltistan, in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of northern Pakistan, and the Taxkorgan Tajik Autonomous County of Xinjiang, China. K2 is the highest point of the Karakoram range and the highest point in both Pakistan and Xinjiang.
K2 is known as the Savage Mountain due to the extreme difficulty of ascent. It has the second-highest fatality rate among the eight thousanders. With around 300 successful summits and 77 fatalities, about one person dies on the mountain for every four who summit. It is more difficult and hazardous to reach the peak of K2 from the Chinese side, so it is usually climbed from the Pakistani side. The adventure lovers from all over the world try to take new and diverse routes to conquer the mountain. K2 can be reached from the hilly town of Skardu which is well linked with Islamabad (the capital of Pakistan); both by road and air.
Naltar is a valley near Gilgit, Hunza and Nomal, Gilgit Baltistan in the Gilgit–Baltistan province of Pakistan. Naltar is 40 km (25 mi) from Gilgit and can be reached by jeeps. Naltar is a forested (pine) village known for its wildlife and magnificent mountain scenery. Now the communication is available by the efforts of Pakistan army signal corps (SCO special communication organization). Transport is available from Gilgit to Naltar but during a specific time after that own arrangement.
Mountains of Naltar, on the foothills of which, Skiing is a popular sport.
Ski competitions are held at Naltar under the supervision of PAF. Naltar Bala and Naltar Pine are two villages of Naltar valley.
The Hopar Valley is a scenic portion of the Nagar Valley in northern Pakistan. It is about 10 km away from Nagar Khas, the principal city of the Nagar Valley. Hopar Valley is the site of the Spantik and Hopar (Hopper) glaciers.
Hopar Valley is a cluster of villages around a natural bowl at a bend of Bualtar Glacier. Opposite Hopar the white Bualtar is joined by the Barpu Glacier. This is a base camp for treks into the high, glacier-draped peaks called the Hispar Muztagh. Whole population of this valley is Burushaski speakers. Burushaski has always been a mystery for linguists. This valley has many natural resources and natural beauty but ignorance by the government and local politicians contributes to it not being realized for its potential.
While Hoper valley is far away from Gilgit main city but very charming and tourists attraction spot and ancient history belongs to this land. there are still ruins of old kingdoms and settlements ruins of ancient life. Hoper inn and a guest house of Forest and Power and water department serve the national and international tourist too. one can saty and dine there and enjoy nature fully.
The Skardu Valley is located in Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan. The valley is about 10 km wide and 40 km long. It is at the confluence of the River Shigar and River Indus. It surrounded by the large Karakoram Range. With the nearby lakes and mountains, it is an important tourist location in Pakistan.
Khaplu Valley is located in Baltistan. Khaplu valley is one of the most beautiful valleys of Gilgit Baltistan. Khaplu Valley is also called Ghanche. The valley is famous for its historical buildings, fruit trees, highest peaks and romantic views of rivers and streams. Khaplu is located 103 KM from Skardu city. You can visit Khaplu with your own private cars, jeeps or public transport.
Bagrote Valley is a valley in the Karakoram Mountain range in the Gilgit–Baltistan region of northern Pakistan. River Bagrote flows through the valley from north towards southwest of the valley, supplies water to Jalalabad and Oshikhandass and merges with the Gilgit River.
The Bagrot valley extends between 2,500 and 4500 meters above sea level. The River Bagrot passes by all the villages of the valley, including Jalalabad and Oshikhandass and merges with the Gilgit River.
Shina language is spoken and understood in all villages of Bagrote.
Tourists visit this valley mostly in summer. The valley is about half an hour’s drive from Gilgit city. This valley is known for its fruits and vegetables, also for the glaciers and high peaks. Vegetables, fruits, and other seasonal crops and Ice from the Glaciers during summers are transported from the valley to the capital Gilgit, so far no ice factory in Gilgit is working in region. Ice is brought from the Glacier of Karakoram range. The villages of Hamaran, Sinaker, Datuchi, Bolchi, Chirah, Farfu and Hopay lie here and are interconnected by an unmettalled road. Villages on either side of the valley are linked via cable cars (allowing for easy transport of goods and livestock) and the river passes underneath which comes from glaciers of Karakoram Range. The means of economy is agriculture. However with the recent construction of the Karakorum Highway, the area has been exposed to western civilization, with small cinemas, retail outlets for mountain equipment and apparel, and small hotels opening to facilitate visitors. Locals grow Wheat, tomatoes, potatoes, apples, pears, apricots etc in the valley.
Satpara Lake (also called “Sadpara Lake”) is a natural lake near Skardu, Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan. Satpara Lake is situated at an elevation of 2,636 meters (8,650 ft) above sea level and is spread over an area of 2.5 km².
It supplies water to Skardu Valley. It is fed by the Satpara Stream. There is fairy-tale picturesque island in the center of lake. One can use a country boat to reach the island. A story about this lake is famous among local people that there is a gold mine in bottom of this lake. They believe that this is the reason why its water seems to be shining in the day time.
Satpara Lake with its marvelous and breathtaking beauty is considered one of the most charming lakes among tourists. The lake’s crystal clear waters present a marvelous and picturesque view to visitors by mirroring the icy mountains; encircled around the lake. One can do fishing, motor boating and rowing at the lake. Fishing gear, row boats and motor boats can be hired from Satpara Lake Inn.
The Hushe Valley is a valley in Ghanche district Gilgit Baltistan Pakistan. Hushe valley is famous for its highest mountains. There are many sub valleys which are Gondogor, Charkusa, Nagma, Nanbroq and Mashabrum. This valley surrounds several peaks above six thousands meters including Laila peak, K6, K7. Murtaza peak is 5100m just behind K6 Base camp and is considered epicenter of trackers and beginners.
The Hushe Valley runs from Masherbrum Mountain (at 7,821 meters, 24th highest in the world) south to the Shyok River, opposite Khaplu. Hushe valley is one of the beautiful valley of Ghangche district.
GILGIT-BALTISTAN MAJOR CITIES / TOWNS
Chilas is a small town situated within the Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan on the left side of river Indus. it is a part of the Silk Road connected by the Karakoram highway which links it to Islamabad within the south via Dassu, Besham, Battagram, Mansehra, Abbottabad, Haripur, and Hasan Abdal. In the north, Chilas is connected to the Chinese cities of Tashkurgan and Kashgar via Gilgit, Aliabad, Sust, and the Khunjerab Pass.
Gilgit is the capital city of the Gilgit-Baltistan region, an administrative territory of Pakistan. The city is located in a very tiny valley close to the confluence of the Gilgit river and Hunza river. Gilgit is a major tourist destination in northern Pakistan, and is a hub for mountaineering expeditions within the Karakoram Range. It was a very important stop on the ancient Silk Road, and these days serves as a major junction along the Karakoram highway with road connections to China, Skardu, Chitral, and Islamabad.
Jalaalabad is a small village of Gilgit District in Pakistan, situated in some 20 kilometre east of Gilgit city. The Bagrote river is the source of irrigation and village’s own power house provides electricity. In around 1940’s individuals from Bilchar valley with the assistance of British Indian Government makes water channels and establish irrigation system here.
The Hunza is a mountainous valley within the Gilgit–Baltistan region of Pakistan. The Hunza is situated in the extreme northern a part of Pakistan. Hunza borders with China, Afghanistan.
Hunza is split into three geographic subdivisions: Gojal valley, Lower Hunza, Central Hunza.
Karimabad is the capital of Hunza valley, in Pakistan’s northern Gilgit-Baltistan territory. Baltit is the old name of Karimabad. It is named when prince Karim Aga Khan, the spiritual head of Shia Ismaili Nizari community. People still refer Karimabad as Baltit. The Guardian ranked it as one of the 5 “Best tourist Sites” in Pakistan.
Passu is a small village on the Karakoram highway, beside the Hunza river, some fifteen kilometers from Gulmit, the Tehsil headquarters of Gojal within the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan, and about one hundred fifty kilometre upstream from Gilgit. It lies very close to the tongue of the Passu glacier, and just south of the tongue of the Batura glacier.
Skardu is a city in Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan, and is the capital of Skardu District. Skardu is found within the ten kilometres wide by forty kilometres long Skardu valley, at the confluence of the Indus and Shigar Rivers at an altitude of nearly 2,500 metres. The city is considered a entranceway to the eight-thousanders of the close Karakoram mountain range. The city is found on the Indus, that separates the Karakoram from the Himalayas.