About Gilgit Baltistan

The essence of Nature

An adventure for those who would rather spend their free days at home, GAT living Pakistan is ready to lead you on a visit to some exotic places to explore the beauty of the Heaven on the way; we will show you the diverse customs with the historical areas, famous touristic spots, traditional foods, Stones, different lines of arts, crafts-both the traditional and the innovative creations. Pakistan is the land of art and culture. The beauty of Northen ares of Pakistan is more then European countries like Switzerland. Nanga Parbat and K-2, the highest peaks of the world are there like the chary on cake. Gilgit and Skardu are two main places for all trekking expeditions in Northern Areas. PIA flies regular flights on Gilgit-Islamabad-Gilgit and Skardu-Islamabad-Skardu routes (about 50 minute flights) but these flights are also subject to the weather clearance, and in winters flights can be delayed for days. Pakistan is blessed by the grace of God with one of the most beautiful places. Especially in the hot summer season the northern areas are one of the favorite tourist attractions.

Gilgit Baltistan
Gilgit Baltistan is, perhaps, the most spectacular region of Pakistan in terms of its geography and scenic beauty. Here world’s three mightiest mountain ranges: the Karakoram, the Handukuch and the Himalayas – meet. The whole of Gilgit Baltistan is like a paradise for mountaineers, trekkers and anglers. The region has a rich cultural heritage and variety of rare fauna and flora. Historically, the area ha remained a flash point of political and military rivalries amongst the Russian, British and Chinese empires. Immediately after the end of British rule in the sub-continent in 1947, the people of this region decided to join Pakistan through a popular local revolt against the government of Maharaja of Kashmir.

Five out of the fourteen mountain peaks with height of over 8000 meters including the K-2 (world’s second heights peak) and some of the largest glaciers outside polar regions are located in Gilgit Baltistan. Acknowledging the vast potential of tourism and its effects on downstream industries, the Government of Pakistan as well as the Gilgit Baltistan Administration are focusing on tourism for creation of employment opportunities, achieving higher economic growth and to introduce to the outside world, “the hidden treasures” of Gilgit Baltistan.

Beautiful landscape, unique cultural heritage and rich biological diversity given the Gilgit Baltistan a competitive advantage in attracting tourists from all over the world.

The number of tourists visiting Gilgit Baltistan has steadily increased over the years, not-withstanding the dip-in figures immediately following 9/11. However, the challenge ahead is not merely to increase the number of tourists visiting Gilgit Baltistan but also to consider how tourism can be better promoted without affecting the natural and cultural heritage of the area, while also improving the quality of life of people to the desired levels.

Gilgit strategically located at the most important region in the Karakorum and makes the trade center of the region for centuries. It is the capital town and administrative center of province of Gilgit-Baltistan. The area is fed by waters of Hunza, Ghizer and Indus rivers along with the several of their tributaries. Gilgit has also been an important city on the historical Silk Route, facilitating religions to spread across trans boundaries. Shina is the language spoken in Gilgit while English and Urdu is widely spoken in the region. Of particular note, Naltar is a picturesque Greenland surrounded by high peaks with accessible glacial lakes, perfect resorts for winter skiing. Furthermore, Kargah valley is only at 10km distance for Gilgit with Kargah Buddha a rock wall carved Buddha dating back to 8th century AD and ruins of a Buddhist monastery and Stupa. Other valleys include Danyore, Bagrot, Nomal and Oshikhandas.

Skardu district is located at the confluence of river Indus and the Shyok river and makes the base camp for leading tourist destinations in Gilgit-Baltistan including K-2. The district is the best manifestation of hospitality and respect to tourist. People of Skardu can speak English and Urdu but their mother tongue is Balti. Of particular note, Kharpocho Fort, Manthal Rock (Buddha Rock), Sadpara and Kachura Lake, exquisite Shangile Lake and the most famous Deosai plateau. Shigar fort renovated on scientific lines while preserving the cultural and architectural values, presents a through learning of the history and culture on one hand while offers a comfortable stay in traditional room/suites on the other hand with continental and local food varieties.

Diamer district is the gateway district with Chilas as is headquarter. Local language is Shina but English and Urdu languages are used for communication with outsiders. Be it the Karakoram Highway or the Naran-Kaghan road, enter into Diamer Valley first to give passage to whole of GB. The district manifests pre-historic traces of human pace and advancement in the shape of rock carvings, rock inscriptions and petroglyphs etc. these features place this district at a distinct position as more than 35000 such inscriptions and carvings are available here. The important valleys in Diamer district are Tangir, Darel, Chilas, Bunar Das, Gonar Farm and Raikot. On particular note in this district are Nanga Parbat (8125m) Raikot face and fairy Meadows, some of the most picturesque places on earth.

Ghizer district comprises of several independent and isolated valleys including Puniyal, Gupis, Yasin and Ishkoman as distinct features of each. Mainly two languages, i.e. Wakhi and Khowar are spoken in this district, while Urdu and English is spoken for the communication with visitors. The district is unique because of its geographical spread and connectivity as well as cultural diversity. Traditions, norms and values enrich the beauty of this district. Trout fishing and angling is the most common attraction in the district. Of particular note Sherqilla, Chatorkhand, Khalti, Phandar and Shandur. The significance of the district is quadrupled by the Shandur Passover which the historical and traditional Polo festival is played between arch rival teams of Gilgit and Chitral.

Introducing Punial, Ishkoman, Yasin & Ghizar
The Gilgit River basin upstream of Gilgit is a paradise for trekkers and anglers. Once a nest of small feuding kingdoms, it’s still a surprising patchwork of people and languages, with hardly any settlement big enough to be called a town. The population is 80% to 85% Ismaili (it was through here that Ismailism arrived from Afghanistan). Most others are Sunni, with some Shiites in Yasin. The only visible women are Ismailis, who dress in bright colours and pillbox caps, and are unveiled in public. The old valley kingdoms are Punial (poon-yaal), above Gilgit; Ishkoman (eesh-ko-man), entering from the north about 80km up the Gilgit River; Yasin (ya-seen), which enters at about 110km; and Ghizar (ghuh-zr), stretching west to the Shandur Pass into Chitral. They now comprise Ghizar district, hived off from Gilgit district in 1989, with its headquarters at Gakuch. The mountains are the Hindu Raj, an arm of the Hindukush (to geographers, the Karakoram Range only begins east of Ishkoman). The lower reaches are hot in summer and unexceptional to look at, but the upper valleys are grandly beautiful. The route is dotted with ancient petroglyphs of ibex and other animals. Most overlanders who pass through are on their way to/from Chitral – one of the best cheap adventures in the NA is to drive this scenic road. Though there’s still plenty of rough gravel, and there are some long hills between villages, a few intrepid cyclists have ridden it. You need to carry food and a tent.

Hunza valley is the prime attraction for tourists with spectacular sceneries of the surrounding mountains. A view of four 7,000 m high peaks, i.e., Rakaposhi, Diran, Golden and Ultar, from various points of Hunza makes it unique. The valley is known for its delicious fruits, terraced fields, landmark monuments and also for its changing colors in various seasons. Burushaski and Wakhi are spoken languages of the Hunza Nagar region, but English and Urdu are widely used for communication with visitors. Nagar has been a state of equal status and importance as that of the Hunza. Although the valley is spread in a vast region, however the main village of Nagar is just opposite to Karimabad, across the Hunza River. Bar, Jaffarabad, Husanabad, Sikandarabad, Nilt and Ghulmit are the major village in Nagar to include in the travel plan.

Ghanche has two sub-division, Khaplu and Masherbrum. Hushe, under the shadow of Mashabrum peak, is the gateway to various important peaks and glaciers. A 102 km drive from Skardu mostly along the Shyok River takes to Khaplu, the district headquarters of Ghanche. Khaplu Fort Palace and Chaqchan Mosque are the interesting places to visit. The mosque built around 1500 AC is the oldest mosque in Baltistan. The building shows Buddhist influence and Tibetan architecture. Ghondoghoro Pass at 5,650 m is one of the most popular and challenging trekking routes in the world. Other places to trek with relative ease are the base camp of Masherburm Peak and Thalle La. Balti is local language while Urdu and English is widely spoken in Ghanche district.

Astore district with its headquarter at Eidgah/Gorikot, is comprised of numerous valleys and villages where the prominent ones are Rama, Gorikot, Rehmanpur, Rattu. Bunji, Dashkin and Chilim, amongst others. Of particular note in the District are Nanga Parbat (Rupal Face) Rama Lake, Chilim, Kala Pani, Minimerg, Dambabaho, Domail and Deosai Plains. Shina is local Language while Urdu and English is widely spoken in Astore district. 112 Kms from Gilgit, Astor is the starting point for several Treks, east of the Deosai Plateau and West to Nanga Parbat.
Areas: Astor Gorge, Bunji, Parishing Valley, Banak Pass, Gurikot, Khirim Valley, Chilam, Nanga Parbat, Rama, Rupal Valley, Mazeno Pass, Tarashing, Bahzin, Shagiri,

Famous Places in Gilgit Baltistan
Naltar is a valley near Gilgit and Hunza in the Gilgit–Baltistan region 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). There are ski lifts under the 'Ski Federation of Pakistan'. Transport is available from Gilgit to Naltar but during a specific time after that own arrangement.
There is a base camp of 'Pakistan Air Force' at Naltar. Ski Competitions are held at Naltar under the supervision of PAF. Naltar Bala and Naltar Pine are two villages of Naltar valley. N.Pine Is at a distance of 34 kilometers (21 mi) and Naltar Bala at 40 kilometers (25 mi) from Gilgit. There is a main village known as Nomal between Naltar valley and Gilgit. A road from Nomal goes to 'The Silk Route' to China. 112 Kms from Gilgit, Astor is the starting point for several Treks, east of the Deosai Plateau and West to Nanga Parbat. Areas: Astor Gorge, Bunji, Parishing Valley, Banak Pass, Gurikot, Khirim Valley, Chilam, Nanga Parbat, Rama, Rupal Valley, Mazeno Pass, Tarashing, Bahzin, Shagiri.

Deosai National Park is located in Gilgit-Baltistan province, in northern Pakistan. Deosai is accessible from Skardu District in the north and the Astore District in the west. Deosai means 'the land of Giants'. The park is located on the Deosai Plains of the Gilgit-Baltistan geographic region. Deosai is a tourist attraction and lot of tourists who visit Baltistan go to Deosai as well. Deosai Plateau which is the second highest plateau in the world after the Chang Tang in Tibet. In local Balti language.  Deosai is called Byarsa, meaning ‘summer place’. The plateau is located at the boundary of the Karakorum and the western Himalayas.

Rama Lake is a lake near Astore in Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan. It is on the top of the beautiful Astore Valley, with a light cover of oak trees and other greenery. There is not much greenery (as of 2013) due to illegal loging of the forest by locals and "timber mafia". The region has low average rainfall and low vegetation cover hence the loss of forest cover is of a very serious concern Khalti lake, Gupis, District Ghizer,Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan. Gupis Valley is full of beautiful landscapes and breathtaking views. The turquoise water of river flowing along the road and surrounding fields.

Gojal Hunza Close to the Chinese border, moving north from Gilgit region, is the largest Tehsil of the Northern Areas of Pakistan, commonly known as GOJAL. It is also known as Upper Hunza. Gojal, basically, is a network of small and large valleys sharing borders with Hunza in the South, China in the North & East and Afghanistan in the North West. Shishkat is the first village of Gojal. Except for the Shimshal, Misgar and Chipursan valleys, all villages of Gojal can be seen while traveling on the Karakuram Highway.
The Karakorum Highway (KKH) crosses Gojal entering China at theKhunjerab Pass linking Pakistan to China and, in the future, other Central Asian states such as Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan. People have migrated into Gojal from Wakhan, parts of China (like Ruskum) and Hunza valley. The current demographic trends of the region are, somehow, reflected in in the table provided below.
Historically the people were shepherds and/or small scale farmers. But with the passage of time services, industry has taken the lead and now most of the people are employed in the government and non-governmental organizations. A significant number of the locals are also engaged in trade.  Chipursan valley is situated in the north of Sost boarder (China and Pakistan). It is 75 kilometers longest valley of upper Hunza (Gojal) comprises eleven small villages and having approximately 500 households. This valley is believed a sacred territory by Sufi school of thoughts; because famous saint Baba Ghundi shrine is occur at the last part of the valley, many other mystical symbols exist in the region. A part of that huge natural resources sediment in the valley peaks and mountains. Therefore yearly hundreds Sufi school of thoughts pilgrimages drive through the valley to reach in the Shrine of Baba Ghundi.  The distant of Hunza raises 3000 to 4925 meters high above the sea level  in  settlement villages while it increases in the Baba Ghundi Shrine site, because it teaks one hour to drive to reach in the sacred from the last village of the valley. Local environment remain almost pleasant in the summer while sever cold in winter, therefore the visitors prefer to visit this place in summer. Local people are being traveled in public and private vehicles  through non-carpeted road on daily to come in dawn towns, but the most challenging and threatening issue of the local people is unsafe road driving. Local government had constructed  small four wheel cars road three decades before when its population was fewer than now. It was the basic need of the local people but later community demand and need government itself agreed to expansion and shorten the unnecessary distance from the existing road to reduce risks and save time and resources of the travelers to reach their destinations. For this regard government approved Chipursan expansion and maintenance projects and given the contract to the contractors, some of them just started and left for ever. None of them have completed their contracts neither government relevant department has enough time to follow and enforce contractors to complete their contracts despite community constant requests to the respective departments. The second threat for the people is that the road is constructed beside of Chipursan River; in many parts summer huge and fast water flow erodes the road. In some places road parts have been fallen in the river whiles in some portion its water overflows on the road especially in the summer. In many place the road is very narrow to cross two cars in one time, if two cars come from different side in the narrow place than it is impossible to cross; therefore it is important to one vehicle to drive reverse some distances to let other car to cross. Several human and capital causalities had been caused in the road because of dangerous and unsafe road traveling. It is essential for local government to accelerate all pending projects regarding road expansion, shorten and maintenance to prevent local and external visitor’s causalities.