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SKARDU

Skardu, a beautiful village with blue water and high mountains, is located at the height of 7,300 feet in Gilgit Baltistan. The beauty of Skardu is enhanced by its freshwater, the running blue water of Indus river, delicious traditional food, historical sites, aesthetic lakes, and pleasant weather throughout the year attract tourists from all around the world.

The valley is known as a major tourism and trekking hub, and a gateway to four peaks towering over 8,000 meter high, attracting tourists, mountaineers, and trekkers from all around the globe. The city of Skardu is the main urban center of the Skardu district.

Here is the list of some of the beautiful and freshwater lakes in Skardu. These natural lakes, with sparkling freshwater in the surroundings of Skardu, add the beauty of this region. These lakes of Skardu surprised you with its natural beauty.

Satpara Lake

Satpara Lake is a natural lake at a height of  2,636 meters 8,650 feet above sea level. Satpara Lake also known as Sadpara Lake is one of the hidden jewels of Baltistan with its amazing greenish-blue water, located in Skardu Valley of Pakistan. Satpara Lake supplies water to Skardu Valley. It is fed by Satpara stream which actually has its origination in Deosai Plains. A dam has been constructed on this lake named, Satpara Dam. There is a small desert island in the middle of the lake surrounded by the water and a PTDC motel on the side.

Upper Kachura Lake

Upper Kachura Lake is also known as Frogh Scho. This lake is the second most beautiful lake in the surrounding Skardu city. Kachura Lake is a beautiful lake with fresh and crystal blue water surrounded by huge mountains and wild trees. The trees are covered with fruits mainly apricots. The main attraction of the lake includes its breathtaking scenery, trout fishing, boating, trekking, hiking, and climbing. Upper Kachura lake is at a distance of 27.7 km from Skardu City.

Lower Kachura Lake

The famous lower Kachura Lake, popularly known as Shangrila lake. Lower Kachura Lake is home to a luxuriously designed Shangrila Resort nestled among amongst some of the most world’s highest peaks. The heart-shaped Shangrila lake, surrounded by fruit-laden orchards and flower-filled gardens. It is a popular tourist destination and has a unique restaurant that is built on the fuselage of an aircraft that had crashed nearby. Tourists can take a full view of Skardu city in a single glance from here. It is on 30 minutes drive from Skardu City, and 20 km away from Kachura valley Baltistan.

Katpanah Lake

Katpanah Lake is the only lake in the downstream of the Skardu valley at an altitude of 2,190 meters. It is a public picnic place located in Katpanah village approximately 4km away from Skardu city. Unique and fantastic place to visit where you can see desert, green pastures, snow-capped mountains and lake at a time.Katpanah lake is also famous with the name of Katpanah cold desert. It is just 20 minutes drive from Skardu city.

Sheosar Lake

Sheosar Lake is also known as Shausar lake or Blind Lake situated in Deosai National Park, Pakistan at the elevation of  4,142 meters is one of the highest lakes in the world. A heart-shaped lake among the vast plains of Deosai with colorful flowers around its boundary is a beauty worth camping around. Nights of Sheosar are filled with shooting stars and eye-dazzling milky-ways.Sheosar Lake is a fall in Deosai Plateau, the world’s second-highest plateau.

Blind Lake, Jarbazoo Shigar Valley

The blind lake Shigar, locally known as Jarbazoo is a serene freshwater lake in Shigar valley. The view of Blind Lake is extremely beautiful. The crystal clear blue water of the lake and lush green surroundings make its view more charming. Tourists can enjoy swimming and boating here. The lake is located 25 minutes’ drive from Shigar viewpoint down at the bank of the river.

Historical :
Kharpocho Fort

The most popular destination in Gilgit-Baltistan is Skardu Fort, which is situated in Skardu. This fort is an excellent example of a mastery of ancient engineering techniques. Skardu fort named as Kharpocho fort is the definite crown jewel of the city. Kharpocho fort which means king of the forts in Balti is the eye-catching site for a tourist. Fort stands at a height of 40 m above the city. King of Baltistan built this seven-story fort. An ancient mosque in the fort attracts tourists.

Shigar Fort Residence

The Shigar fort means “The Fort on Rock” is an old fort of Baltistan located in the town of Shigar. It was built in the 17th century by the  Raja of the Amacha Dynasty of Shigar. The fort has been restored by Aga Khan Cultural Service Pakistan. The fort was converted into a museum and luxury hotel managed by Serena Hotels. And now this fort is known as Serena Shigar Fort.

Khaplu Palace

Khaplu Palace is locally known as Yabgo Khar which means “The fort on the roof”, is an old fort and palace located in Khaplu, in Gilgit Baltistan. The palace was built in the mid 19th century, replacing an earlier fort located nearby. It served as a royal residence for the Raja of Khaplu. The palace is considered as an architectural heritage and tourist attraction. The fort has been restored by Aga Khan Cultural Service Pakistan. The fort was converted into a museum and luxury hotel managed by Serena Hotels. And now this fort is known as Serena Khaplu Palace. The Khaplu Palace has won the international award in poverty reduction.

Manthal Buddha Rock

Manthal Buddha Rock is one of the famous tourist spots as well as a historical and archaeological heritage of the Baltistan region.Manthal Buddha Rock is a large granite rock that has a huge sculpture of Buddha carved on it. These etchings were made in 8 century B.C. This rock is located in Manthal village of Skardu. Buddha Rock is one of the most important relics of Buddhism in Skardu. It’s about 3 kilometers from Sadpara Road. Before the arrival of Islam in the region of Gilgit-Baltistan, the majority of the people were Buddhist and they had engraved the Buddha on many rock pieces. This Buddha carving was not known to the world until the beginning of the 20th century due to its remote location. In 1906 the Scottish traveler Ella Christie wrote a book on her journey to  Western Tibet and featured the carving in her book which gave it international attention.

Balti Museum

Muhammad Yousaf  Hussainabadi established the museum of Balti history and culture known as Balti Museum Skardu, in 2012 which consists of thousands of artifacts and a library consisting of many books about Baltistan, books in balti language, manuscripts, historic documents, and other historic items. It is the only museum in Baltistan.

Khilingrong Mosque

Khilingrong mosque is located in the Shigar town of Shigar valley at an altitude of 2300 m. It is in the vicinity of the restored Shigar Fort. It was constructed in the early years of the 17th century which makes this structure more than 400 hundred years old. Khilingrong mosque is a unique two-storey wooden building, with the ground floor used in winters and first floor mainly in summers. The mosque was built in the traditional way using stone and timber, with cribbage columns, and beautifully carved motifs with geometrical and floral patterns in abundance. Khilingrong was restored by Aga Khan Cultural Service Pakistan and the project won an award of merit in the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Awards of 2012.

Polo Ground

Skardu city has the best place to chill out and watch the round of the game of kings, the polo. Shaheen Polo ground is where you can take the pleasure of the round of Polo. Over this Polo ground, there is a library named as City Library Skardu. After an energizing polo match, you can generally visit this library to consider the historical background of Gilgit Baltistan and Polo.

Marsur Rock Hussainabad

The recently famous Hussainabad Rock is also known as Marsur Rock at the top of a mountain in Hussainabad valley, Skardu. Hussainabad Valley is located 20 minutes away from Skardu. Further 20 mins drive will let you reach a beautiful place known as Hussainabad Broq. The trek for this rock starts from Hussainabad Broq and it takes about 3 hours for a normal trekker to reach this point.

Other spots:
Basho Valley

Baho is a lush green beautiful valley located at a distance of 20 km from Skardu airport. Basho valley is a pine-forested and beautiful valley. This beautiful valley is famous for its green meadows pine forests and waterfalls. The valley also offers a pleasant atmosphere even in hot summers. Moreover, because of the vast green plain and stream, the site is considered to be best for camping and hiking.

Khamosh Waterfall

Khamosh Waterfall is located in the Kharmang village of Skardu. This is a natural waterfall and one of the most beautiful waterfalls of Pakistan. This natural waterfall is located 60 km away from Skardu city.

Manthokha Waterfall

Manthokha Waterfall is located in Kharmang village which is  1 hour 30 minutes drive from Skardu city. This waterfall is approximately 180 feet high from the ground. The water is a supernatural place featuring lush green areas, fresh streams, and some beautifully designed small restaurants. The main highlight of the restaurant is the local trout fish, apart from the waterfall another worthy thing about this place is the fish farm where trout fishes are kept for the visitors. Camping is also an option in Manthoka Waterfall.

Deosai National Park

Deosai is one of the famous places in Skardu. Deosai Plateau, world second highest plateau. The plateau is positioned at the border of the Karakorum and the western Himalaya. The Deosai National Park was established in 1993 to protect the survival of the Himalayan Brown Bear and its habitat. The tourist visiting the Deosai Plains can also look for the Himalayan Ibex, Red Fox, Golden Marmot, Gray Wolf, the Ladakh Urial, the snow leopard. Birds in the park include the Golden Eagle, Lammergeyer, Griffon Vulture, Laggar Falcon, Peregrine Falcon, Kestrel, Sparrow hawk and snowcock. Deosai National Park is only visited in summer, welcomed by breathtaking views of flowers and butterflies.

Katpana Desert

At the cold region and high altitude, Sand dunes are no more than a wonder. It is also on the list of famous places in the Skardu. Sand dunes in Skardu are located near the Indus River covering two main deserts: Katpana Desert and Shigar desert. Sand dunes, also known as a cold desert, hold a magnetic attraction itself.

   Sand dunes in the high-altitude desert are occasionally covered in snow

Here is the list of some of the Mountain Passes:

  1. Burji La
  2. Strongdokmo La
  3. Dari La
  4. Katch Bore La
  5. Katicho La
  6. Burzil Pass
  7. Shantung La
  8. Banak La
  9. Rigmo Chami Brangsa
  10. Ganto La
  11. Skoro La 
  12. Thalle La
  13. Alam Pir
  14. Harpo La
  15. Tusserpo La
  16. Muztagh Pass
  17. Sia La
  18. Chhachor Pass
  19. Ganse La
  20. Tusserpo La

Here is the list of famous Trekking routes in Skardu:

1- Banak Pass Trek

2-Basho Valley Trek

3-Biafo Glacier over Hispar Pass to Hunza

4-Deosai Plateau Trek

5-Gondogoro Pass Trek

6-Hispar Pass Trek

7-K2 Base Camp Trek

8-K2 Gondogoro La Trek

9-Mashaerbarum Base Camp Trek

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