Shigar Valley.

Shigar Valley Baltistan,

Shigar is a beautiful village just a few miles North of Skardu its picturesque village with beautiful terraced fields growing all sorts of crops. Shigar was once a small kingdom and the Shigar fort was once residential fort of the local ruler. Recently the Aga Khan has shown interest in the fort which has now been renovated and is open for tourists. The Shigar fort has been made to be a residential fort once again. The Shigar Valley, 32 km (20 miles) from Skardu and 2 hours by jeep, is watered by the Shigar River. It forms the gateway to the great mountain peaks of the Karakoram, including Mount K-2. The valley has an extremely picturesque landscape and abounds in fruit such as grapes, peaches, pears, walnuts, and apricots.

 

Shigar Fort is at distance of 32 Km from Skardu. This meticulously restored 400 years old fort is an outstanding example of the wealth of architectural and cultural heritage in Baltistan. One may stay in the restored suites and experience what kings and queens experienced 400 years ago.

 

Braldo Valley:

 

Braldo is one of the isolated and scantly inhabited Valleys. About 40 km North of Shigar valley is the start of Braldo valley, the most isolated of all the trans-Karakoram valleys. Braldo is wrapped in snow-covered peaks and largest glaciers outside polar region. But there is nothing comparable to the wonderful view of the glaciers. Braldo has the distinction of being the least interfered with, of all settlements of Baltistan, and one of the last few surviving cultural satellites of Baltistan. Virtually untouched by the winds of change and modernization till then, Braldo is now a favorite destination for trekkers and culture lovers.

The Braldo Valley is heavily traveled in the summer mountaineering months. Supplies, food, tea and sleep facilities are thus readily available. The entire ridgeline from above Yuno northwest to the Braldo River has been worked in places. Previously this area was known as Bangia Bridge, referring to the bridge crossing the main channel of the Braldo River immediately south of the new town. Today, the new village of Haiderabad sits very close to many of the Bangla Bridge. The west side of Buspar Peak, directly above the very small village of Baha near the outlet of the Braldu Valley is currently being worked. To enter the Braldu Valley, one must follow the Jeep trail as it gradually turns north. Nearing Baha, the road was blasted out of a rock face. The road squeezes by the fast flowing river, passing an exposed pegmatite so closely that it can be easily touched from inside the vehicle.
Two to three kilometers past Baha, there is a military checkpoint at which foreigners are asked to register. Another couple of kilometers to the north, there is a 40-year-old bridge with a police checkpoint. The bridge spans the Braldo River leaving travelers on the northwest bank. : The village of Teston is roughly two kilometers north of the bridge and a bit up from the road.
The village of Dassu is actually about 5 I, kilometers Upriver around a sharp eastward bend. Near the east end of this small village are several small shops selling food, staples and basic supplies. Continuing eastward on the north side of the Braldu, travelers encounter a Jeep road that veers off to the left, climbing a very steep zig-zag trail that winds up on a small plateau-home to the village of Nyet. The sole Jeep trail leading further into the valley at one time clung to the north side of the river until the bridge crossing at Apo Ali Gun. A new road now crosses the Braldu River closer to Byansapi.
A walk across the Apo Ali Gun bridge and about5 kilometers north bring travelers to a deep gash known as the Hoh Nala. Just across the bridge that spans HohNala and a few minutes to the south is the village of Chhaqpou.

Accessibility:

Braldo valley is an extension of Shigar Valley reachable via Skardu, which is accessible by 22-hour drive along the Karakoram Highway from the capital of Pakistan, Islamabad; Or a 6 hours drive from Gilgit or alternatively by an easy 45 minutes plane flight from Islamabad to Skardu.

Thungal:

It is second the last village of Skardu. Jeep road ends at Thungal and one has to go on foot towards askole for trekking. This is last jeep accessible village of Skardu for K2, Snow Lake, and many other treks.

Askole:

Askole or Askoly is a small town located in the Braldu Valley in the most remote region of Karakoram mountains in Northern Areas, Pakistan. It is the last settlement before the wilderness of the Karakoram. Askole is the gateway to four of the world’s fourteen highest peaks known as Eight-thousanders (above 8,000m).

Basho Valley:

The Basho Valley, with its hot springs, is one of the favorite places to visit. It receives very few foreign visitors each year, with a handful of trekkers and climbers crossing the Haramosh while traversing up the Chomo Lungma (glacier).

A 3-hour drive up from Skardu brings travelers to upper Shigar Valery’s, Basho Valley. At this point, the Shigar Valley is perhaps 10 or more kilometers across. In the fall, sometimes nomadic gold miners working the rivulets. They submerge their hands in the I-degree Celsius water and manually pan for gold. Traversing the valley, at the south bank of the Basha River is the extended village Tisar. There is a police check-point just before entering Tisar. Only very few foreigners travel up this valley. About 6 kilometers to the northwest and up the river is the small village of Chutran.

The name literally means “hot water” in the local Balti tongue. In Chutran, there is a medicinal hot springs.

Over the decades, the spa has become popular with the local people, who are even coming from beyond Hunza (15 hours by road) to soak in the 40-plus degree Celsius water. Nestled at the base of the northeast side of the Haramosh Range, Chutron is partially shaded and thereby relatively cool. Its scalloped terraced wheat fields are intercrossed by footpaths and stone field boundaries, all of which conspire to provide beautifully pastoral views and retains a primitive charm, seemingly stuck in in the 19th century.
The village of Hemaesil is about 35 to 45 minutes by Jeep up the Basha River, just across a gushing stream from Chutron. On the opposite side of the river is Dogoro. Just upriver from Niaslo is Doko, where an ancient bridge that is sometimes impassable.

Arandu Valley:

After Doko, the road climbs steeply above the Basha River, providing superb views of the isolated villages of Zil and Sesko, on the north bank of the Braldu. These villages are hemmed in by the over 6,000-meter peaks that sit behind them. Zil and Sesko are so primitive that entering them seems like entering the Middle Ages. Both villages are accessible only by either riding a suspended cart on a cable or by crossing the woven vine bridge. The Jeep trail is often blocked above Doko. At its highest point, the trail clings tenaciously to a steep cliff. Driving down that trail is a heart-pounding, gut-wrenching ordeal. Continuing up the south bank of the Basha River, the river gradually veers southward. The village of Bisil sits on the opposite side of the river; a cable cart connects the village to the Jeep trail.

Bisil also has a hot spring, with the small pool emitting strong smells of sulfur. Locals rarely see foreigners and are quite welcoming. After Bisil, the trail moves into the base of the narrowing valley where swampy thickets of seabuckthorn bushes and numerous stream crossings make travel slow and tedious. Traveling is particularly difficult if there has been a heavy snowmelt. At about 3,000 meters, the trail ends at the village of Arindo.

Accessibility:

Basho valley is an extension of Shigar Valley reachable via Skardu, which is accessible by 22-hour drive along the Karakoram Highway from the capital of Pakistan, Islamabad; Or a 6 hours drive from Gilgit or alternatively by an easy 45 minutes plane flight from Islamabad to Skardu.

Snow Lake :

It is situated at the junction of Biafo and Hisper Glacier. It is basically a snow-covered lake which is totally frozen throughout the year. One can access it via Askole.After one day trek from Askole towards K2 Basecamp, on the base of Biafo and Concordia glaciers, turn towards biafo glacier and five days trek will lead you to Snow Lake. Very high mountains are around this lake.

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