Gilgit & Around
- Location & Population:
Dasu is a beautiful place that is located in the North-East of Islamabad up in the Northern areas of Pakistan. The distance between Islamabad and Dasu is 303 kilometers. The Dasu Tehsil is the district headquarters of the Kohistan District in the KPK region and consists of 11 union councils. The population size of Dasu is very small and consists of 137,519 people who live in around 21,487 households. Dasu is surrounded by various small towns and other places. Various places that are located near Dasu are Kushumul, Hurimul, Bazgan and Tamas.
The local language of the Dasu area is Kohistani. Mostly people speak Kohistani but some speak Punjabi in different dialects (Majhi, Gujri and Hindko) as well. In addition to these languages, people in the Dasu area also speak and understand Urdu as it is the national language of Pakistan.
- Mountains Close to Dasu
There are many mountain peaks located near Dasu. The closest one located near Dasu is the “Falak Sher” peak which is located at a distance of 15 km from Dasu. Some other mountain peaks that are located near the Dasu area are: Malika Parbat, Buni Zom, & Laila Peak. Tirich Mir is the farthest and is located at a distance of 122 Km.
The resorts in Dasu are a great source for relaxation and recreation of the visitors. Dasu resorts provide good quality services to the customers and provide a place to stay as well as various other activities. These resorts can be booked online through advance bookings.
Two airports are located near Dasu: The Gilgit Airport and the Skardu Airport. Skardu airport is the nearest airport and is located at a distance of 35.6 kilometers in the South-East of Dasu.
Chilas is located at the latitude of 35°N and longitude of 74 °E. Chilas is located in the North-East of Islamabad at a distance of 211 kilometers that is 138 miles away. It is a beautiful place in the northern areas of Pakistan in the Gilgit, Baltistan region. Chilas is part of the Silk Road and is connected to Islamabad through the Karakoram Highway through Dassu, Besham, Mansehra, Abbottabad and Haripur. Chilas is sited 3 km off the Karakoram Highway towards the right and on the left side of River Indus whereas, in the north it is linked to the Chinese cities of Kashgar and Tashkurgan through Gilgit, Sust and the Khunjerab pass.
- Petroglyphs & Inscriptions
In Chilas and the places nearby, a more than 50,000 stones are found with human-made markings. Rock art (petroglyphs) and inscriptions are found all along the Karakoram Highway. Visitors like to see the rock paintings that were left behind by locals and many other people including traders, invaders etc. These inscriptions show the history of the place and depict animals, men from ancient times and hunting scenes etc.
The summers are not extremely hot but dry and the winters are very cold in the Chilas area. People like to visit Chilas during the summers when the weather is pleasant and less hot than other urban areas such as Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad etc.
Chilas is an important junction on the ancient trade route. Gilgit is composed of three districts and Chilas is the capital of the Diamer administrative District. From Chilas the jeep tracks take the visitors to Babusar pass all the way to Kaghan Valley. At 13,572 feet, previously this route was entirely being used by jeeps for a long period of time. However, the route has been improved and asphalted and now used by cars and buses as well rather than just jeeps.
For locals and other people in Pakistan it is easy to visit and stay in Chilas. On the other hand, authorization may be required for foreigners if they want to visit Chilas. To the other side of Chilas, there is a track that takes us to the Thalpan Valley. There is a footpath at the end of the valley that leads to the Gilgit Mountains. In order to hike on this footpath, a permission is required from the local authorities.
Chilas airport is located at the shortest distance out of the two airports that are situated near Chilas. The Chilas airport is at a distance of about two miles from Chilas.
Fairy meadows is famous for its majestic beauty and is the heart of the northern region of Pakistan. Fairy Meadows is known as “Heaven on Earth” because of the incomparable beauty that it possesses. This place has been a major attraction for a very long period of time not just for those who love nature but for others such as researchers, climbers and photographers. The rich and green forests around fairy meadows provide an excellent habitat for wildlife. The forests are full of pine trees. The site overlooks the Raikot Glacier and gives a beautiful view of the Northern side of the Nanga Parbat Peak which is famous as the “Raikot Face”.
Fairy meadows is situated towards the north of Nanga Parbat which is the second highest peak in Pakistan and the ninth highest peak all over the world, with an altitude of 8,126 meters. From the KKH highway, this place is situated towards the south side at a short distance. The famous name of this place “fairy meadows” originated from a German tourist named Willy Merkl. However, the locals of the place call it “Fantori”.
The word Nanga Parbat means “naked mountain”. The peak is also famous by the name of “Killer Mountain”. It is because a lot of people had died while they were trying to climb the mountain. People who usually come to visit Nanga Parbat stay at Fairy Meadows. 2 small towns are also situated on the route towards the Fairy Meadows. The villages are Fantori and Tatu.
- How to get to Fairy Meadows
One can travel via Pakistan International Airlines and get to Gilgit in an hour’s time. From the airport one can get to Raikot by road. From there onwards Jeeps can be used to get to Jhel or Tatu village that will take around 45 minutes to an hour. The jeeps can easily carry about five to six passengers at a time but the ride is pricey for a very short distance as it costs about three thousand rupees. In Jhel village there is a small cafe with reasonable services and food. From this point onwards one can get to Fairy Meadows by hiking or by riding a pony which is the most exciting part of the journey for most travelers.
Tourists love to visit Fairy Meadows and stay here to enjoy the mesmerizing beauty of this place. Most tourists like to visit this place during the 6-month tourist season that lasts from April to September. The small cottages of the tourists at the Fairy Meadows cover almost two acres of the Fairy Meadows area and are called “Raikot Serai”. Although this place is not yet completely developed, but it is still is a great source of revenue generation for Pakistan. It creates a revenue of approximately 17 Million PKR every year through tourism just by providing basic services such as accommodation, food and travel. There were plans to construct a hotel by Shangrila Resorts but the plan was cancelled for the purpose of preserving and safeguarding the natural beauty of this place and to avoid deforestation.
- Accommodation & Facilities
Visitors can stay at the “Raikot Sarai” cottages owned by very friendly local people. Log cabins are also available to have a view of the heavenly place and the Nanga Parbat. Fairy Meadows is the best place for people who love camping and people can either use their own tents or they can hire tents and stay at the camping site. Fresh tasty food is available in both desi and western styles.
- Hikes & Treks
The famous day hike from Fairy Meadows is for Beyal Camp & the base camp of Nanga Parbat. The mountain guides are specially trained and well-experienced people who help in guiding visitors. The guides are familiar with the area and give tourists company and help them out in trekking. The staff at the Sarai (cottages) is also very friendly and professional and provides assistance to trekkers and hikers and directs them in the best possible way.
Gilgit, Baltistan consists of seven districts and Astore District is one of them. Astore Valley is a very famous place that is located in the Astore District in the northern areas of Pakistan. Astore Valley adjoins the eastern face of Nanga Parbat and it is around 120 kilometers in length. The valley is situated at a distance of around sixty kilometers in the Southeast direction of Gilgit and it is 484 kilometers away from Islamabad.
The number of villages in the Astore Valley is greater than 100 which consists of towns such as “Loas, Louze, Chilm, Bubin, Gorikot, Parisheng Eid Ghah, Fina, Bulen, Chongra, Tari Shing, Rattu, Kamri and Minimerg” and many others. Rama Lake is one of the major tourist attractions of the valley and it is also known for the green pastures.
- Profession & Life Styles
The residents earn a living through subsistence farming, livestock and agriculture. In addition they also earn money by seasonal work activities. Due to many factors this valley is also a great location for setting up commercial medical plants.
- Area and Altitude:
The total population of Astore valley is around 71,666.
From Gilgit one can easily get to Astore valley by road.
In the summer season temperatures are not very high in the Astore valley and the valley has a moderate climate. Whereas, the winters are very cold with heavy snow fall in the valley. The snowfall is less in the valleys as compared to the snowfall on the peaks. The snow levels in the Astore valley can be up to 6 inches and in the high mountains it can be around two to three feet. The snow levels are usually high during the months of December and January.
The language that is most commonly used in the Astore region is Shina which is spoken in different dialects. Urdu as the national language of Pakistan is spoken and understood by most of the people. Moreover, some people (such as police officers or local guides) may also speak and understand English because the place is visited by foreigners quite often.
There has been a special focus on the improvement of the roads. Nowadays the roads are much better than before and there are paved roads to get to the Astore region. Some issues that are faced include land sliding and rock falling. The use of Jeeps, Pajeros and land cruisers is preferred for travelling purposes to get to this region. Other vehicles such as SUVs etc. can also be used.
- Features of the Astore Valley
Astore is situated close to the base of Nanga Parbat. Rama Lake and PTDC hotel is also located near the Astore valley and are the major attractions for tourists. Astore valley is a beautiful place with distinctive features and uniqueness that attracts visitors and tourists. There are Himalayan Mountains all around the valley. A small village Louze is also located near the valley, which is well-known for good quality fruits such as apricots, apples and many others. Astore Valley rises from the Indus River Valley. The most convenient path that leads to Astore Valley is by Gorikot, Gudai, Chilum and then a slightly steep track that eventually takes us to the valley.
Rama Lake is one of the most beautiful lakes in Pakistan and it is located about nine kilometers away from the Astore Valley in the northern areas of Pakistan. It is situated towards the east face of Nanga Parbat. The lake is surrounded by oak trees and alpine forests.
- Rama valley
Rama Valley is encircled by dense forests including pine, cedar, fir and juniper trees. The valley is at an altitude of about 3300 meters above sea level and is mostly covered by snow for 7-8 months of the year. During the summer season the valley becomes lush green.
- How to get to Rama Lake
Road towards Rama lake now has been cemented and tourists can reach there without undue difficulty. Rama Lake is close to Astore Village and one can easily reach Lake Rama after reaching the Astore village. The directions on how to get to Astore village are as follows:
- Hiking, Trekking and Camping
The areas around Lake Rama are a major tourist attraction for tourists for hiking and trekking purposes. It is a camping site for the visitors because from here visitors can easily get to the eastern side of Nanga Parbat. There are many treks for hiking and some of the routes are perfect for a jeep safari.
- PTDC Motel:
A new motel that is constructed by PTDC is a value addition to what the Rama Lake has to offer. The motel has become a major attraction for tourists and provides good quality services. The prices are usually higher but discount offers can also be availed. This motel serves as the base camp for tourists who want to go for hiking and trekking on Nanga Parbat.
- Ø Latitude: 35.7000°
- Ø Longitude: 74.6167°
- Time zone: Asia/Karachi,
“Juglot is a fertile valley, rich in natural resources and is located at 45 km south east from Gilgit on the Karakoram Highway. Juglot is located where three mountain ranges, the Karakoram, Hindu Kush, and Himalayas meet. It also connects Skardu and Gilgit. The road to Skardu is approximately six kilometers towards Gilgit. Juglot acts as the business center of the Northern Areas as all six districts have access through it. Juglot have the largest oil, wheat and flour depots for the Northern Areas. It also has independent power generation facilities and adequate electric power to attract a number of flour mills and marble plants.
The population of Juglot is about 45,000 which also include suburbs, in 3200 houses. Education rate in Juglot is 48%.
The people of Juglot are tribal in nature, and are known as hardworking and dedicated Muslims.
Historically, Juglot was of strategic important as it lied along the route which linked British India to China through Kashmir. The fight and struggle for Kashmir’s independence from the Sikh Maharaja of Kashmir started from Juglot.
Juglot is the most important logistic base for the Pakistan Army. Juglot gained its importance from 1984 war in Siachin. Considerable amount of development in Juglot is due to presence of Army.
Juglot is located in a fertile valley with rich natural resources. It is one of the business hubs of the Northern Areas because all six districts have access through Juglot. The town also contains the largest oil, wheat and flour depots for the Northern Areas. It has independent power generation facilities and sufficient electric power to attract a number of flour mills and marble plants.
Juglot comprises of total fifteen villages. Some of which are as follows:
Damote is also famous with the name of Shahot, Kot, Barmas, Gushot and Bargin. There beautiful meadows are situated, for summer animal grazing.
It is also known as Zarot, Sabil, Shumrote, and Jagot.
- Gasho Pahote
It is the vast plain for animal grazing and it also possesses a stock of trout in the Twin Rivers
Manote is the only village with a majority of Yashkuns, which is an ethnic group.
- Jaglot Farm
5 kilometers away from the specific stop is the specific road that operates by using a small settlement known as Jaglot Farm, through which down below, the particular gleaming, different seas including Gilgit River connects black off white bow involving Indus.
- Latitude: 35° 55′ 0″ N
- Longitude: 74° 18′ 0″ E
- Area: 72, 4971 km
The Gilgit Baltistan is one of the most remarkable regions of Pakistan. It comprises of an area of 72,971 square km. It has an estimated population of about 1,000,000.It is where the three mightiest mountains connects. Some of the world’s highest peaks such as Nanga Parbat (8126m) and Rakaposhi (7788m) are also situated here. The whole of Gilgit Baltistan is like a heaven for mountaineers, climbers, tourists, hikers and anglers.
- Getting to Gilgit:
NATCO buses and many other private buses are available to get to Gilgit via karakoram highway. Karakorum highway is in progress which will help to visit the region more easily. Airline service is also available to go to Gilgit. Gilgit is connected by air from Islamabad directly and via Skardu. The road travel between Islamabad and Gilgit by Karakoram Highway takes nearly 24 hours, whereas the air travel takes only 45-50 minutes.
In history Gilgit has remained of critical importance due to political and military enmities between the Russian, British and Chinese territories. Immediately after the termination of British rule in the sub-continent in 1947, the people of this area decided to join hands with Pakistan in a popular local battle against the government of Maharaja of Kashmir.
In 1970 Gilgit became single administrative for 79000 sq. km Northern areas, the hub of Karakoram highway with information, transport hotels and restaurants and many other facilities.
They have been opened up for general Tourists by Karakorum highway. Tourist facilities are being developed in the region to make not only exhilarating but also comfortable to visit.
The native languages of Gilgit Baltistan are Shina, Balti, Khowar, and Burushaski. Shina is main language in Gilgit, district.
The literacy rate of Gilgit city is relatively higher than other districts of Gilgit Baltistan. It consists of great number of educational institutes from primary education level to higher secondary education. Some of the famous colleges include F.G Degree College Jutial, F.G Degree College for women, Army Public School and College, Public School and Colleges Jutial, The Aga Khan Education Services, and Aga Khan School for Boys. A Karakorum International University has recently been established for graduate and post graduate programs.
The dominant season of Gilgit is winter, which remains for eight to nine months annually. In Gilgit the average amount of rainfall is 120 to 240 mm, which is significantly less amount. It is due to rainfall disruptions against the southern range of Himalayas. Irrigation for land agriculture is acquired from the rivers, rich with melting snow water from elevations.
The summer season is short-lived and warm. The intense sunrays may increase the temperature up to 40 °C. Still it is always cool in the shady areas. As a consequence of this extremity in the climate, landslides and floods are frequent in this area.
- Tourist season
Suitable time for tourists to visit Gilgit is from May to September.
- Natural Resources
Gilgit Baltistan is blessed with various kinds of resources including valuable gems, Gold, Uranium, Copper, Molybdenum, Mica, Forests, Glaciers, Lakes and Rivers.
In Gilgit, variety of lodging facilities from modest hotels to well-furnished cottage-hotels, motels and reasonably priced rest houses are available. To avoid disappointments tourists are recommended to book accommodation at least 15 days prior visiting. Some of local hotels of Gilgit include:
- Serena inn
- Chinarr inn which is PTDC owned
- Marcopolo inn
- Hunza inn
- Park hotel
- Golden peak in etc.
- What to do
There are many tourist attractions in Gilgit. Some of the famous things than one can do there is visiting bazars, watching polo game or visiting vegetable fields etc.
Bazars are well worth a visit, particularly the small bazar area near 200 meter long suspension bridge, where the Kashmiri Bazar and Kirghiz shop setup by refugees are to be found. As you pass through the bazars you will find an amazing variety of goods for sale. There are many shops selling textiles and handicrafts which are worth exploring for souvenirs.
Another most exciting thing to do is to watch game of polo, the most popular sport here as in the rest of the northern areas.
There are many delightful easy walks you can take along the Gilgit valley, through the maize and vegetable fields and orchards of Apple and Mulberry, walnut and apricot trees to the foothills and grazing lands beyond. The villagers are cheerful and curious, and inevitably offer tea.
Places around Gilgit
It is 112 Km from Gilgit. By jeep it takes 3hrs drive to Gilgit. Karimabad is the capital of beautiful Hunza valley having terraced fields, fruit orchards, panoramic views of Rakaposhi, Ultar and Balimo peaks etc.
Nagar is located 120 km from Gilgit and accessible by jeep in 4 hours. This is the most fertile valley of Gilgit region. It is famous for its splendid beauty, abundance of fruits and charming views of Rakaposhi and other wonderful peaks of Karakoram Range.
Distance from Gilgit is 117 km and by jeep its 6 hours’ drive. This lake is famous for its lake which offers amazing view of eastern of Nanga Parbat.
Its distance from Gilgit is 38 km. It is a trekking route that joins Naltar valley. Trout fishing can be enjoyed here in Sher Qilla Nullah and a small lake.
In August 2011, a Chinese delegation comprising of retired People’s Liberation Army soldiers, reporters and a relative of a worker visited the cemetery to pay tribute to the dead workers. The visit was widely exposed in the Chinese media.
In April 2013, a ceremony was held at the graveyard, which was attended by key Pakistani and Chinese officers including the consular of the Chinese embassy Zhang Lianyou, officials of the China Road and Bridge Corporation, members of the Gilgit–Baltistan judicial assembly and Pakistani law enforcement staff. During the ceremony, tributes were paid to the buried and an initiative was taken on behalf of the Chinese government for a renewal of the cemetery. Pakistani officials present at the event praised the contributions of the Chinese workers as a sign of old China–Pakistan two-sided relationship.
At the event held in the cemetery, Zhang Lianyou, and Gilgit Baltistan Assembly Speaker Wazir Baig set the foundation stone for a new cemetery which the Chinese officials to be worth the sacrifice rendered by their workers. Both officials also put flowers on the graves of Chinese workers.
- Location and Distance
The Chinese cemetery is locally famous as China Yadgar, is a Chinese graveyard which is situated in Gilgit, the capital city of the Gilgit–Baltistan region in northern Pakistan. It is situated in the village of Danyor in Gilgit District which is approximately 10 kilometers across the Gilgit River; this cemetery is the final resting place of Chinese workers and engineers who died during the construction of the Karakoram Highway in Pakistan in the 1960s and 1970s. This graveyard was formed in the early 1970s. The tombstones placed over the graves contain epitaph engravings in Chinese fonts.
Naltar valley is situated near Gilgit and Hunza in the Gilgit–Baltistan. It is 40 km away from Gilgit and is accessible by jeeps in 2hrs. Naltar is a forested village popular for its wildlife and splendid mountain scenery. There are ski lifts under the ‘Ski Federation of Pakistan’. Transport is available from Gilgit to Naltar is available during the specific period of the day otherwise not. There is a base camp of ‘Pakistan Air Force‘ at Naltar. There is also a Ski training institute of Army. Ski Competitions are also held there under the administration of PAF.
Naltar was the Gilgit Agency’s hill station, where the British administrators retreated when the summer heat grew extreme.
Literacy rate in Naltar is very low. A government high school and an NLI public school is located at Naltar Bala and a middle school for girls is under construction.
- Tourist’s attraction
Naltar is probably one of the most remarkable tours in Pakistan, for those people who like adventure. At Naltar Bala you very frequently see the attractive meadows and the temperature is also very good, so one can have escape from Gilgit`s oppressive heat.
Naltar Bala and Naltar Pine are two villages of Naltar valley. Naltar Pine is 34 kilometers and Naltar Bala is 40 kilometers far from Gilgit. There is also a main village known as Nomal between Naltar valley and Gilgit. A road from Nomal connects ‘The Silk Route’ to China. The road from Gilgit to Naltar Pine is mixed both metaled and is non-metaled along the way from Naltar Pine to Naltar Bala. From Naltar Bala it’s a 12km hike on a bad jeep road up towards Naltar Lake and thick pine forests. Tour guide is not needed. Beyond this are more pastures and summer settlements.
There is a lake in the Naltar valley known as ‘Bashkiri Lake is 32 kilometers away from Naltar Bala. The lake gives a breathtaking and amazing view both in the summers and winters. The road along the village to lake is nonmetallic and narrow alongside a stream throughout this road coming from the mountains. A lot of beautiful scenes are there along this road.”
“Ghizer District covers the northern most part of Northern Areas of Pakistan. The capital of Ghizer District is a small town named Gakuch. Ghizer District connects Gilgit and Chitral District via Shandur pass. Ghizer is the doorway to Central Asia and also the short way to Tajikistan. Ghizer has a remarkable picturesque beauty. Season from May till mid-October is the best time to visit these areas.
Ghizer District has total of 4 Tehsils:
Some of the main places in the Ghizer District are as follows:
About 6 miles away from Gilgit, along the Punial road, runs an ancient Nala known as Kargah nala. Kargah nala is famous for its crystal clear water than runs all the year and the serene beauty. In this valley is a beautiful rock engraved design of Buddha which is the main and very much famous attraction of this area. This rock carving is believed to be carved in around 7th century A.D. and was discovered by locals in year 1938-1939. The native folk tales about this Buddha tells that an aggress named Yakhsni was devoured by a man who lived in Kargah nala.
To reach Kargah nala one can take a jeep from the city of Gilgit. Those who love to hike and are nature lover can take a day hike up this valley and can enjoy nature as the valley is full of greenery making a pleasant walk.
Gilgit River is the offshoot of the River Indus. Gilgit River is located in the Northern Areas of disputed Kashmir, Pakistan.
The source of Gilgit River is the Shandur pass in the west of Gilgit. From that point the water flows to the north with different other streams joining in and taking the shape of river near Chhashi. The river then joins Ishkuman River in the southeast side of Gilgit near Gupis. Ishkuman River, joining many other small streams from north-western margins of Gilgit in the Hindu Kush range of employees. The river then flows towards south where it passes through Chitarkhand and joins river Ghizer near Gahkuch. From that point on, the river is named as Gilgit which crosses Sher Qilla before reaching Gilgit town. Here Hunza River also joins Gilgit River from the north. Gilgit River then flows few more kilometers before joining Indus River near Bunji. The total course of Gilgit River is around 150 miles (240 km).
- Altitude (meters): 2281
- Population size: 7909 (estimated population for 7 km radius)
- Languages: Khowar
About 72 km from Gilgit is located a small place known as Gakuch. Gakuch is the capital of Ghizer District located in Gilgit-Baltistan. The population of Gakuch is very small, approximately 7909. The city of Gakuch starts with a divergent at the China Bridge that leads to Ishkuman valley and ends with an extended bridge to the same valley. Gakuch is surrounded with mountains and greenery that adds to its beauty. People usually speak Khowar in Gakuch. Gilgit River runs through the middle of the city. The viewpoints in Gakuch includes a valley known as Gakuch Bala. One can always go for mountain climbing, hiking and sight-seeing in Gakuch. The closest mountain peaks are:
The weather remains pleasant all the year but it’s best to visit Gakuch in the month of May till October.
Few good hotels as well as guest houses are also available there. One of the most famous and highly preferred hotel is Hotel Green Palace. Hotel Green Palace is located approximately 80 km from Gilgit airport. It is the only well-furnished hotel in that area which is ideal choice for corporate, leisure and overseas tourists.
The distance from Islamabad to Gakuch is 578 km.
Gakuch is easily accessible from Gilgit and Chitral road.
- Altitude (feet): 7227 ft.
- Population size: 7897 (approx. population for 7km radius)
- Languages: Khowar, Shina
In the west of Gilgit, about 112 km is located a small undersized town known as Gupis on the bank of Gilgit River. From Gakuch, Gupis is just 40 km away. Gupis valley is renowned for its remarkable natural beauty. All the way from Gakuch to Gupis, the valley is full of spectacular landscapes and breathtaking sights. There are many well-known tourist’s points in Gupis valley such as Gupis fort, stones circles of megaliths, Shingalote village, Khalti Lake etc. In Gupis, one can see lots of maize and fruits especially apples growing in the valley.
- Gupis Fort
Gupis valley is famous not only for its natural beauty but also because of the historical structures present there. One of them is the famous Gupis Fort. Gupis fort was built by the British Empire in the year 1805. There are few dark cells built in the fort where the British officers used to drop their prisoners as a punishment. Currently the fort is in the custody of Northern Light Infantry (NLI). At present the fort is in very poor condition and needs to be restored.
- Stones of Megaliths
Nearby Gupis valley quite a few stones of megaliths stood still in good state. It is said that these megaliths were raised in the 2nd millennium and are situated in different areas of Gupis and Ishkuman valley.
- Khalti Lake
About 20-30 minutes’ drive from the Gupis is situated a beautiful lake known as Khalti lake. Khalti Lake was formed as a result of a major flood caused by the burst of mountains as the glacier retreated, about 25 years ago. Khalti Lake is well-known for being the habitant of trout fish.
Khalti Lake generally freezes during the winters. Villagers, during winters, walk on the frozen lake and also sometimes play different games on the frozen lake.
In the small settlement of Gupis is located a well-equipped hotel with comfy rooms known as Gupis PTDC. Gupis PTDC is in fact built on ice-cold moraine ridge outside the Gupis Village. Because of its wonderful site, Gupis PTDC presents a very good view of the flowing Gilgit River valley in the east as well as the beautiful Lake present in the west.
Gupis can be reached by road.
The distance from Islamabad to Gupis is about 617 km.
- Elevation: 1454 ft.
- Languages: Khowar
Phandar valley is one of the most attractive and prominent place of Ghizer District. Phandar valley is famous for its most picturesque valley, deep blue lake and River Ghizer that flows through the village. Phandar valley is also normally called “Little Kashmir” because of the lush green wide fields, river that flows across the village and breathtaking scenery. Phandar valley is almost 61 km away from the valley of Gupis and about 163 km from Gilgit city.
The most attractive tourist spot in Phandar valley is the magnificent Phandar Lake. The deep blue lake at the eastern end of the valley with crystal clear water, greenery, trees and rocky as well as snow-capped mountains offers a marvelous view that makes one adore the nature in its most original form. In short Phandar Lake is full of all the colors. The total area of lake is about 3 Km.
The local people of Phandar valley are by nature very generous, simple and welcoming. The language spoken by the villagers is Khowar. In Phandar Phandar Khass, Gulagmauli and Hundarap valleys are also present and are known to be the widest valley of North. Also Phandar valley is very much famous for trout fishing along the Gilgit River.
A number of PTDC Motel and rest houses are located in the valley to facilitate tourists. However, among these motels Shundoor guest house and Wali hotel are most popular hotels in that region.
- When to go:
The best time to visit Phandar valley is the month of June and July.
Phandar valley is easy accessible from Chitral as well as Gilgit. From Gilgit it takes about 5 to 6 hours to reach Phandar valley.
The total distance from Islamabad to Phandar valley is 671 km.
In the west of Phandar valley lies a small yet beautiful valley called Hundarap valley. Hundarap valley lies between Hundarap River and Shandur River. Hundarap valley is also famous for its lake and is also known as Paradise for trout fishing. Hundarap valley is about 190 km away from Gilgit and about 118 km from Gakuch. It elevation is 10800 ft. Hundarap lake can be reached by trekking to south from the Dadarilli pass.”
- Altitude: 11161 ft.
- Population size: 45000
- Languages: Khowar and Burushaski
The Yasin valley also known as “Babaye-i-Yaseen” or “Worshigum” lies in the north-west of Ghizer District in Gilgit-Baltistan. Yasin valley is one of a high mountain valley in the Hindu Kush Range Mountains. Apart from the main Yasin valley, it also take account of quite a few other side-valleys namely Thaus, Hundur, Asumber, Sandhi, Darkut etc.
Yasin valley also presents a remarkable scenic views and is one of the most impressive valley of Ghizer District. Yasin valley lies about 161 km from Gilgit and about 62 km from Gakuch. Yasin valley is comparatively dry and stony at the entrance but once you reach settlement at Damalgan and Gindai you can see greenery. Yasin valley is not only famous for its beautiful villages, fields, orchards and picturesque beauty but also it offers great trekking options for adventure loving people. The trekking option includes:
- Darkoot to Chitral via Broghal pass
- BABA Ghundi via Chilingi pass
The local people of the valley are refer to as Yashkuns and they also call themselves as Burusho. Majority of them are Ismaili Muslims who speak Burushaski. Other than Burushaski, Shina, Wakhi, Turkish and Persian language has also been observed being spoken by old age people. But now-a-days most of the people speak Burushaski and Khowar.
Accommodations facilities are there in Yasin valley to facilitate visitors.
The distance from Islamabad to Yasin Valley is about 623 km.
Yasin valley can be reached via Karakoram Highway north from Islamabad.
Languages: Khowar and Wakhi
Ishkuman valley separates Himalayas from Karakoram Range. Ishkuman valley is about 129 km away in the north-west of Gilgit. It takes 65 km to reach Ishkuman valley from Gakuch. Ishkuman valley is famous for its immense natural beauty full of alpine pastures, gigantic glaciers and beautiful perennial streams. Ishkuman valley links Ghizer District with Naltar, Darkut, Asumber and Chipursan. There are also numerous passes for trekkind point of view as wel as beautiful alpine lakes.
Ishkuman valley is easily accessible from Gilgit road.
- Altitude: 12,500 ft.
- Languages: Khowar
Shandur top, situated at an elevation of about 38000 meters (12,500 ft.) above sea level is also known as Roof of the World. Shandur top is located in the Ghizer District, Pakistan. It is about 197 km away from Gilgit and from Chitral it is about 147 km away. The course to Shandur Top is a rocky and at times a risky jeep track leading into mountains. It eventually crosses the Shandur pass before making its way to Chitral.
Shandur Top is a flat gradual inclined plateau that connects Gilgit with Chitral.
Shandur basically is famed for having one of the highest polo ground of the world. Every year, many visitors from across the country visits Shandur to enjoy the traditional polo tournament held every year from 7th till 9th of July since 1936. The tournament is usually held between the teams of Chitral and Gilgit. Free style version of polo is played at Shandur Top that now has achieved the legendary status and attracts a great number of domestic and international adventure loving tourists. Despite the fact that PTDC and other companies related to tourism establish tent village during the event, tourists still prefer to bring their own camping stuff.
During winters, the road is closed because of the snow and only the experienced ones are able to cross the area by foot.
The people here are resilient yet very generous in nature and treat all the visitors with great hospitality.
From Islamabad to Shandur pass, the distance is about 585 km if you go from Mardan side.
Shandur Top is accessible from Chitral as well as Gilgit. The route is only driven by 4WD jeeps.
Conclusion & Recommendations:
In conclusion, our analysis demonstrates that the Northern areas in Pakistan are graced with scenic beauty, from the lush valleys to the icy lakes, rivers and mountainous terrain. The uniqueness of these areas are the attractions it holds for different types of people ranging from adventure enthusiasts like mountaineers, local and foreign tourists looking for a summer getaway, honeymooners as well as wilderness explorers who just want to feel closer to nature.
For further improvement, it is recommended that better marketing efforts should be dedicated towards promotion of tourism in Pakistan. Our country is blessed with numerous tourist destinations and if maintained and promoted, can definitely contribute more to the economy. Efforts should be made individually as well as by the government of Pakistan for preservation of the green forests and wildlife, better security and safety of visitors and for the provision of accommodation and transportation services.