Skardu is located in Gilgit-Baltistan, north of Pakistan. It is bordered by the districts Gilgit, Khaplu and Astore. Skardu city serves as a gateway to the world’s highest mountains including K2, K3, Gasherbrum and Nanga Parbat, which lure climbers and adventurers from the world over.
Skardu can be reached via flights to its high-altitude (above 2,500 feet) airport located in the mountains. One-hour flights run regularly from Islamabad to Skardu and from Gilgit to Skardu.
Skardu is a tourist’s paradise with its spectacular scenery and fascinating array of changing landscapes. It offers lush, level meadows in the form of the Deosai Plains; a mountainside fort – the great Skardu Fort, alternatively known as Kharpocho Fort; a dreamy lakeside resort: Shangrila Resort; a high-altitude desert with both sand dunes and snow: the Cold Desert of Skardu/ Katpana Desert; and enchanting, forested valleys including the Basho and Shigar Valley.
The Deosai Plains, the world’s second highest plateau at around 13,500 feet, stretch for 3,000 sq. km between Astore and Skardu. Deosai translates to “the Land of Giants” in Urdu. The Deosai National Park is found on the Deosai Plains and is home to dozens of magical flora and fauna. Snow leopards, ibex, Tibetan blue bears, Himalayan brown bears, wild horses, and migratory birds including the golden eagle, griffon vulture, laggar falcon and Eurasian kestrel thrive in these plains.
Towering over Skardu town is the historical Skardu or Kharpocho Fort. Built by the Maqpon, Dynasty rulers of Baltistan in the 8th century and nestled comfortably in the mountains, the fort is a feat of engineering.
At 18 km from main Skardu City is the mesmerising Shangrila Resort along Lower Kachura Lake (sometimes also referred to as Shangrila Lake). The iconic resort is built in Tibetan style and offers affordable lodging and stunning views of the mountains and Kachura Lake.
Shigar Valley is situated 23 km away from Skardu city and connects the city to the majestic. Karakoram Mountains. Every year, hikers, trekkers and mountaineers frequent Shigar town during the summers seeking adventure. Shigar is famed for its apricots, mulberries, peaches, plums, pears, apples and nuts.
Also located in Shigar Valley is the ancient Shigar Fort. A 400 year old fort, it lies on the route to the K2 base camp and is a popular historical site, museum and, recently, luxury hotel. The fort’s alternate name is Fong-Khar, which translates to “Palace on the Rock”.
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All pictures are by our friend Qammer Wazir. For more cool travel pictures check out his insta profile: https://www.instagram.com/qammer_wazir