A true heaven on earth and epitome of beauty, Skardu is the biggest district of Gilgit Baltistan and the Capital city of the Baltistan region alongside the wide bank of the River Indus. Well known for Mountaineering Expeditions, Skardu is a home for high altitude trekkers, who trek to Baltoro Glacier, K2 Base Camp and Concordia. Being one of the the world’s fourteen Eight-thousander peaks (8,000 m and above), Skardu is heaven for trekkers expeditions enthusiasts and mountain climbers. The peak tourist season is from April to October.
The king of Forts, Kharpocho Fort looking down the hills is the definite crown jewel of the city. Built at the end of 16h century by Balti ruler Ali Sher Khan Anchan, this fort is an excellent example of mastery of ancient engineering techniques. The fort which was always considered to be unconquerable is fighting its war against time, but still Kharpocho has retained its beauty. A full moon night is surely a breathless sight from the fort and a view which is captured forever in one’s mind.
Lower Kachura lake, well known as Shangrila Lake has been named after the Shangrila resort built on its bank in 1983 which was built on the fuselage of an aircraft that had crashed nearby. Shangrila Resort Skardu encircles the heart shaped Kachura Lake, surrounded by fruit laden orchards and flower filled gardens. A vacation spent at Shangrila Resort is a life time experience that one would want to relive again and again. Located at a height of 25000 meters (8000 feet) it is commonly known as “The Roof of the World” because of its spectacular beauty and breath taking view and peaceful atmosphere. The ideal time to visit Shangrila is from March to November.
Manthal Budha Rock
Manthal Buddha Rock is a large granite rock on which picture of Buddha is engraved which dates back to 8th century which is one of the most important relics of Buddhism in Skardu. Before arrival of Islam in the region the majority of the people were Buddhists and they had engraved the Buddha on many rock pieces. This Buddha carving was not known to the world till 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 the Western Tibet and featured the carving in her book which brought international attention to it. Since then the government has taken many steps to preserve this monument and it is visited by tourists who visit the Skardu city.
The Cold Desert, also known as the Katpana Desert or Biama Nakpo, is a high-altitude desert located near Skardu, in Pakistan’s northern Gilgit-Baltistan region. The desert contains expanses of large sand dunes that are sometimes covered in snow during winter. Situated at an elevation of 2,226 metres (7,303 feet) above sea level, the Katpana Desert is the highest desert in the world.
The desert technically stretches from the Khaplu Valley to Zanskar in Ladakh, but the largest desert area is found in Skardu and Shigar Valley. The area of the desert which is visited mostly is Skardu Airport.
Located in Kharmang Valley, Manthokha Waterfall is a mystic place featuring green pastures, fresh gurgling streams, towering Rocky Mountains of Karakorum and indigenously designed restaurants and much more. Apart from sightseeing of the waterfalls, the restaurants serve freshly caught trout fish to the visitors.
Situated about 9 kilometers north of Skardu, Satpara lake is fed by Satpara stream. There is an island in the center of the lake which can be reached by a boat. There are several stories about the lake, one of the story being there is a gold mine at the bottom of the lake which is firmly believed since the water seems to be shining in day time. The lake is breathtakingly beautiful, it’s a picturesque sight for tourists to view icy mountains encircled around the lake. Tourists look forward to fishing, motor boating and rowing at the lake.
Deosai National Park
The land of Giants, Deosai National park is at second position amongst the highest plateaus in the world. It is also home to the Himalayan Brown Bear along with its natural beauty and geographical location. Deosai is covered with rich and colorful flowers and lush green grass along with a serene view of snow-capped mountains. Deosai lake also known as Sheosar lake is located inside the park which is one of the highest lakes in the world.