Type of Attraction: Sightseeing, Landmarks, Adventure, Nature
Activities: Bonfire, Camping, Stargazing, Jeep ride, Fishing, Boating, Hiking, and Trekking
Check-ins: Ancient Silk Route, Shangrila Resorts, Karakoram Highway, Skardu Fort, Shigar Fort, Upper and Lower Kachura Lakes, Satpara Lake, Blind Lake (Sheosar), Katpana Lake, Deosai National Park, Cold Desert, Grand Mosque Skardu.
Location: Skardu is located at an elevation of nearly 2,500 meters, along the bank of the Indus which separates the Karakoram Mountain range from the Himalayas. Skardu is the gateway to K2, Broad Peak, Gasherbrum i, Gasherbrum ii, Masherbrum, Spantik, Hispar Glacier, Trango Towers, Baltoro Glacier, and many other famous peaks
Importance: Skardu is also known as the “Ancient Himalayan Kingdom of Baltistan”. Skardu is the capital of Baltistan which is the epitome of beauty, serenity, and wilderness. When you’re traveling to Skardu you will experience world-famous climbing and trekking routes, the Ancient Silk Route which is also known as the Karakoram Highway.
These towering mountains attract thousands of climbers from all over the world each year; some have even lost their lives in efforts to summit these steep climbs. After Jaglot on the Karakoram Highway, a narrow road turns towards Skardu. During the seven-hour journey, one is greeted with several streams, springs, and the hospitality of the local people. Soon after crossing the old wooden bridge built over the River Indus, one reaches Shangrila. This is where Arif Aslam, Chairman of Shangrila Resorts, has constructed a beautiful world amidst the surreal mountains. Skardu Valley is a paradise of lush greenery, historic forts, and panoramic mountain views, as well as a cold desert, freshwater rivers, and lakes. It is unlike any other place in the world. All kinds of tourists come to this captivating valley, including nature lovers, photographers, documentarians, and mountaineers.
Islamabad to Chillas via Babusar top road is a carpet fit for any vehicle. From Chillas to Raikot Bridge some patches of the road were worn out. Gilgit Skardu Road is very bumpy, narrow, and under construction.
By air, PIA operates flights from Karachi and Islamabad to Skardu, mostly families and couples prefer to take flights to reach Skardu. From Islamabad airport, it takes 1 to 1.5 hr flight time to reach Skardu airport.
Climate: The temperature goes down when the winter season hits the Skardu Valley. If you love winter and snowy weather then Skardu is the best place for you to visit in winter as it features outstanding natural tourist attractions. If you want to enjoy a moderate temperature then the best time to visit Skardu is between June to October when the routes are open and clear. It is famous for its wonderful topography and miraculous weather.
Distance: By road, it will take you about 13 to 14 hours (600 kilometers) depending on the weather and traffic situation. If you are traveling from Islamabad city, take the N-15 National Highway via Skardu Road.
Travel distance if you’re traveling from different cities of Pakistan.
|Islamabad to Skardu||626||14 hr|
|Hunza Valley to Skardu||284||5 hr 45 min|
|Khunjerab Pass to Skardu||454||8 hr 49 min|
|Chitral to Skardu||571||16 hr 43 min|
|Fairy Meadows to Skardu||217||4 hr 59 min|
|Naran to Skardu||356||8 hr 7 min|
|Abbottabad to Skardu||510||13 hr 11 min|
|Neelum Valley to Skardu||368||9 hr 50 min|
|Gilgit to Skardu||201||4 hr 21 min|
|Babusar Pass to Skardu||291||6 hr 28 min|
|Azad Kashmir to Khunjerab Pass||576||15 hr 29 min|
EAT-out at Skardu:
Balti culture is rich in food. Some of the major and famous foods are Apricot Cake, Prapoo, Marzan, Balay Mamtu, Azoq, Namkeen Chaye, etc.
Skardu Fort (KHARPOCHO)
Skardu Fort or Kharpocho Fort lies on the eastern face of the Khardrong or Mindoq-Khar (“Castle of Queen Mindoq”) hill 15 meters (49 feet) above Skardu town.
The fort dates from the 8th century CE and contains an old mosque probably dating back to the arrival of Islam in the 16th century CE. The fort provides a panoramic view of Skardu town, the Skardu Valley, and the Indus River. It was built by the Maqpon dynasty rulers of Baltistan.
It is located on the route to the world’s second-highest mountain, K-2 is Shigar Fort. It is also known as Fong-Khar, which in the local language means the “Palace on the Rock”. The complex at Shigar comprises the 400-year-old fort/palace and two more recent buildings: the “Old House” and the “Garden House”.
Upper and lower Kachura Lakes
There are two Kachura lakes — the less well-known (Upper) Kachura Lake and the more famous Shangrila Lake (Lower Kachura Lake). Shangrila Lake is home to the Shangrila Resort hotel complex (possibly the reason for the lake’s alternative name), built-in a Chinese style, and another popular destination for tourists in Pakistan.
Satpara Lake is Skardu Valley’s main lake. In 2002, the Federal Government decided to build a dam on the Satpara Lake, allocating $10 million to the project, in 2004. Progress has, however, been slow. Satpara Lake is 6 miles (9.7 km) from Skardu. Satpara Lake is one of the largest freshwater lakes in the countryside offering trout fishing and row boating.