Amidst a landscape of towering mountains, deep gorges, crashing waterfalls and quiet lakes, Skardu (also known as mountaineers’ paradise), the district head quarters of Baltistan, is situated on the banks of the mighty river Indus, just 8 km above its confluence with the river Shigar. Perched at a height of 2286 , Skardu offers a cool and bracing climate.
On the eastern boundary of the district lies Ladakh, in the west Gilgit, in the south Indian held Kashmir and to the north is the Chinese province of Sinkiang.
During the summer, Skardu attracts a large number of trekkers and mountaineers from all parts of the world. In fact, the entire region is known as a mountaineers’ paradise. Nowhere in the world does one find such a large collection of lofty peaks, including K-2, the world’s second highest peak, and huge glaciers lie Baltoro, Biafo and Siachen, some of the largest in the world outside the Polar region, as in this 16,283 square km of wonderland.
There are five main valleys in the district Saardu, Shigar, Khaplu, Rondu and Kharmang. All of them produce apricots, peaches, pears and apples in such profusion that this region is known as the land of apricots and apples.
Mountaineering, Trekking and Hiking
The area is ideal for mountaineering, trekking and hiking. Permits are required for mountaineering and trekking.
Satpara lake and Kachura lake from Skardu abound in trout. Fishing permits and issued by the fisheries department.
Flora and Fauna
Roses. Lilies, pansies, willow, pine and fur trees are found in abundance. Apple, apricots, peaches, plums, mulberry, walnuts and grapes are available from June to October and almonds from October to March.
Baltistan boasts of wildlife like markhors, bexes, snow leopards and birds, namely chakors, partridges and ducks. Most of the animals and birds are protected byt limited shooting is allowed. Hunting permits are issued by the local administration.
Baltistan is well known for its ‘Patti’ hand women woolen cloth, colourful and intricately embroidered women. ‘Patti’ jackets, Chugas (long coat), silver ornaments and wooden spoons.
Best Places to See in Skardu Valley
- Satpara Lake
- Kachura Lake
- Shigar Valley
- Khaplu Valley
- Skardu Cold Dessert
- Skardu Fort
- Shigar Fort
- Deosai National Park
Manthal Buddha Rock
- Balti Museum