Pakistan is one of the few countries with such a diverse landscape; rivers, mountains, lakes, waterfalls, springs, glaciers we seem to have in abundance.
[Source: Wikimedia Commons]
In the far north of Pakistan, Skardu, the central valley of Gilgit-Baltistan, is the epitome of charm, serenity and wilderness. Skardu is situated in the Skardu Valley, 10 km wide and 40 km long, at the banks of the Indus River and the Shigar River. Skardu is located at an altitude of almost 2,500 m (8,200 ft). There are sky touching beautiful mountains surrounding the valley.
The well-known Skardu Valley is often known as the heaven on earth, surrounded by the great Himalayas and the Karakoram Mountains. You can reach Skardu by bus from Islamabad. The drive takes you all the way through the Karakoram Highway.
Skardu is considered as one of the major tourism hubs in all Pakistan. It attracts the attention of tourists, trekkers, and mountaineers from all corners of the world. Skardu has 4 of the world’s 14 Eight thousand peaks. Such majestic mountains draw thousands of climbers from all over the world every year; some have lost their lives in the attempt to scale such steep hills. Treks to world-famous peaks and glaciers such as K2, K3, Broad Peak, Gasherbrum, the Trango Towers, Baltoro, Biafo, and Masherbrum, all are connected via this beautiful valley. Cause of this Skardu is considered as a base of tourists and mountaineers. Treks to the Deosai Plains, also start from Skardu.
Best time to travel Skardu is from April to October, otherwise the area can’t be accessed cause of heavy snowfall blocking the roads and freezy winter weather.
If you are travelling to Skardu, you have to make sure to visit the following places.
Kharpocho Fort: Skardu has an ancient fort known as Kharpocho Fort (King of Forts) also known as Skardu Fort located on a hill overlooking the town. The mighty Indus snorkeling a few yards below your feet amid the silvery white sands is a breathtaking sight. The fort provides panoramic views of the town of Skardu, the Skardu Valley and the Indus River. The fort was built by the rulers of the Rmakpon dynasty of Baltistan, and it was a seven-storey fortress.
[Source: Wikimedia Commons]
Satpara Lake: Approximately 8 km north of Skardu and 20 minutes by jeep, lies Satpara Lake, surrounded by glacial mountains, mirrored in its crystal-clear waters.
Shangrila Lake: Approximately 32 km from Skardu and 2 hours by jeep, lies the shimmering, quiet deep lake of Shangrila, which is also known as Kachura Lake.
Shigar Valley: It is considered as a gateway to the great mountain peaks of the Karakorams, Gasherbrum & K-2. It is situated at approximately 23 km from Skardu and 1-2 hours by jeep. The beautiful, irrigated slopes of the Shigar Valley are lined with terraces of wheat, maize and barley.
[Source: IBEX Magzine]
Manthokha Waterfall: It is situated at approximately 78 kilometres away from Skardu and 5-6 hours by jeep. Manthokha Waterfall is180 feet high waterfall in the background of lush green pastures, fresh gurgling streams towering rocky-mountains.