Type of Attraction: Sightseeing, Landmarks, Adventure
Activities: Bonfire, Camping, Boating, Hiking, Trekking, Shopping, Fishing, Cycling
Check-ins: Hunza, Naltar Valley, Attabad Lake, Khunjerab Pass, Karakoram Highway, Hussaini Bridge, Upper Kachura Lake, Passu Glacier, Gilgit River, Gilgit Airport, Jaglot, Raikot Bridge, Nanga Parbat, Chillas, Rakaposhi, Jamatkhan Tordeh, Shandur National Park, Phander Lake
Location: Gilgit, is a town in Gilgit-Baltistan, part of the Pakistani-administered sector of the Kashmir region, in the northern Indian subcontinent. It is situated in the Karakoram Range in a narrow valley on the Gilgit River at its confluence with the Hunza River and about 20 miles (32 km) upstream from its confluence with the Indus River. Gilgit-Baltistan covers an area of over 72,971 km and is highly mountainous.
It borders Pakistan-administered Azad Kashmir to the south, the Pakistani province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to the west, the Wakhan Corridor of Afghanistan to the north, the Xinjiang region of China, to the east and northeast, and the Indian-administered union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh to the southeast.
Importance: A land of immense geographic and strategic significance, Gilgit Baltistan (GB) is gifted with geo-corridors ever exploited by empires/powers of all times. Even today, great powers of the time like China, Russia, the US (in Afghanistan), and India embrace it from all directions. Occupying an extraordinarily varied and attractive landscape, GB becomes a meeting point of the world’s three famous high-altitude mountain ranges namely the Himalayas, Karakoram, and the Hindu Kush. It has an estimated population of 1.249 9 million.
Its administrative center is the city of Gilgit with a population of 216,760. The area contains some of the largest glaciers out of polar regions which are Biafo, Baltoro, and Hisper. This region is a notable supplier to the country as well as the world of many important minerals. In the Southern part of the region, it has major deposits of Nickel, Cobalt, Copper, Lead, Tin, Bismit, Mica, Quartz, Zircon, Coal, and Actinolite that are famous for their exceptionally good quality. The Silk Route is the major and only road link between this area and other parts of the country, utilized mainly for economic activities.
The following languages are spoken in Gilgit Baltistan;
Shina: Shina is the main language in Gilgit. It is spoken in Gilgit, Diamer, Ghizer, and Astore. Shina-speaking people are further north in the Ishkoman valley and in Hunza Nagar, and further east in Baltistan.
Burushaski: Burushaski is the main language of Hunza Valley. It is spoken by the people settled on either side of the middle course of the Hunza River, on its northern bank (Hunza) as well as on its southern bank (Nagar). There are also Hunza-speaking settlements in Yasin and in Gilgit. Burushaski is still an unwritten language.
Khowar: It is the main language of Chitral, however, Khowar speakers may be found in Yasin. Marriage ties make Khowar understood in Gilgit by some families.
Balti: Balti is the sector’s largest language in the Baltistan Division. It is mainly spoken in the two districts of the Baltistan division. Balti-speaking people are settled in Skardu, Rondu, Shigar, Khaplu, Kharmang, Gultari, and Ganche.
Domaaki: Domaaki is the language of the Domas of Berichos who are also found in Gilgit and in some Shina-speaking villages of the lower Hunza valley. They are mainly musicians and smiths.
Wakhi: Wakhi is spoken in Ishkoman Valley and in upper Hunza Valley by more than 3,000 people. It belongs to the Pamirian branch of Iranian languages.
Gojri: Gojri is the language of the Gojar family settled in Naltar Valley, Karga, and also in the surrounding areas of Gilgit.
Climate: The climate of Gilgit-Baltistan varies from region to region since the surrounding mountain ranges create sharp variations in weather. The eastern part has the moist zone of the western Himalayas, but going toward Karakoram and Hindu Kush, the climate gets considerably drier.
The best time to visit the region in Gilgit-Baltistan in Pakistan is from June until September when you will have a very cold temperature, but limited rainfall. The highest average temperature in Gilgit-Baltistan is 10°C in July and the lowest is -14°C in January.
Distance: The road distance between Islamabad and Gilgit-Baltistan is 504 km and it takes 11 hr. 32 min to reach there.
Location: Phander is the name of a settlement and valley in the Gupis-Yasin District of Pakistan’s dependent territory of Gilgit-Baltistan. It is situated about 184 Kilometers away on the road from Gilgit to the Shandur Pass, from where the road goes on to Chitral.
Importance: It is well known locally that there is a reason for naming this valley Phander, as “Phan” means palm in the local Khowar language and this place is flat like a palm, hence it was called Phander. This place is a tourist attraction because of its beautiful scenery. There are four lakes in this small place, of which Phander Lake is the largest. Phander is one of the few places where the Gilgit River divides into several pieces as it enters the valley and finally merges with each other as it exits the valley.
Phander Valley is a striking beautiful valley full of orchards and green fields with the Gilgit River flowing through the center of the valley. Valley altitude varies from 8000 to 9600 feet as well. The area around Phander town is relatively open and flat and has an altitude varying between 9300 to 9600 ft. Gilgit River has beautiful turquoise blue water in this area. Surrounding mountains are high, going up to 20,000 ft. One would come across some of the most fascinating views in Phander Valley.
Shandur Pass with Shandur Lake and Shandur Polo Ground is around 2-3 hours from Phander and a must-visit site when in Phander. There are a few smaller valleys, mostly on the southern side of the valley that one may like to visit. Lakes in Khalti, Phander, and Hundarap are worth a visit. While Khalti and Phander Lakes are right on the road, Hundarap Lake is a 4 hours walk from Hundarap village. At an altitude of 11900 feet, Baha Chhat is the biggest lake in the area. It is a 6-8 hours walk from Langer and should not be attempted without local guides.
Location: Gulmit, also known as Gul-e-Gulmit, is a town that serves as the headquarters of the Gojal, also known as Upper Hunza, in Gilgit Baltistan, Pakistan.
Importance: Gulmit is a centuries-old historic town, with mountains, peaks, and glaciers. It is a tourist spot and has many historic places, hotels, shops, and a museum.
Gulmit is 2500 meters or approximately 8200 feet above sea level. Gulmit is a fertile plateau with irrigated fields growing maize, wheat, and potatoes beside the orchids of Apricots, Apples, Walnuts, and peaches. Gulmit is a place to relax in an environment free from all the worries of life. In Gulmit one can spend time by walking in the fields and into mountain passes along the irrigation canals.