Gilgit-Baltistan’s Ghanche district stands almost aloof with its beautiful valleys and settlements inhabited by the most hospitable locals and river irrigated lands.
The central location in the district is Khaplu, which is a beautiful landscape with high summits, flowing blue waters, and waterfalls.
The people of this small settlement on the bank of River Shyok, are warm and loving, as they were centuries before, when travelers, wandering through Yarkand and Saltoro, first arrived here.
As soon as one leaves Skardu, a narrow, paved road with poplar trees lined up on both sides provides a soothing shade for the travelers as they make their way through small specks of sunlight filtering through the leaves; casting shadows on the darkened road, leaving an aesthete spellbound.
This post will take you on a visual tour of the top ten most beautiful places and tourist destinations in Khaplu valley. In case if you are planning to visit this beautiful landscape in the future, this post will help you to better plan your adventurous trip to Ghanche district Baltistan.
Read also: Top Ten Places to visit Skardu city.
Places to Visit Khaplu Valley.
Here we have compiled a list of the top ten most beautiful places to visit in Khaplu Valley, Let us know what you think about these places in the comment section.
1. Khaplu Fort
From Khaplu Bazaar, a road goes up to the Khaplu Fort. This fort was constructed in 1840 by Raja Daulat Ali Khan of Khaplu, who was from the Yabgu family.
The Yabgu family made it to Khaplu from Central Asia and ruled this place for over 700 years. The fort-cum-palace has now been turned into Serena Hotel.
Once this palace was full of virtuoso architectural masterpieces, every facility on to the next door; this palace having all public dealing offices inside. Tax collection centers, public courts, and prisoners were used to be deal with under one roof, now acquired by Serena and converted into a full-fledged luxury hotel for tourists.
2. Chaqchan Mosque Khaplu.
Chaqchan mosque is another tourist destination in Khaplu Baltistan. Dating from 1370, the mosque is one of the oldest in the region and dates from the time when the area’s populace converted masse from Buddhism to Islam. The mosque shares similar architecture as those built in the Kashmir Valley. It is a perfect blend of Tibetan, Mughal, and Persian styles of architecture. According to some sources, the mosque was built by Mir Sayyid Ali Hamadani while others say on the arrival of Sufi saint Syed Nurbakhsh from Kashmir to Baltistan, the local ruling Raja accepted Islam and commissioned the building of the mosque in 1370 CE. However, the dating of the latter theory contradicts the historical source which suggests that the mosque was actually constructed more than two-decade before the birth of Syed Nurbakhsh. Read more on wikipedia.
3. Shyok River Khaplu Valley.
One addition to the landscape is River Shyok. In the local language, River Shyok translates into ‘River of Death. This river, originating from Rimu Glacier (next to Siachen Glacier) in Ladakh, enters Gilgit-Baltistan from Machlu, a village in Ghanche.
Going a little ahead from Khaplu, the curvy road takes one to the delta of River Shyok, where it splits up, flowing through the gravel-filled river plain. The peak of Mashabrum mountain can also be seen in the backdrop.
Further ahead is the village of Machlu, which is far from Skardu, and nearer to Khaplu. This village is settled under the shadow of walnut and poplar trees and on the bank of the river of death.
4. Thoksikar Mosque Khaplu.
Want to experience some trekking adventure in Khaplu. Enjoy a 20-minute hike to a mosque more than 500 years old on a hill in Khaplu Valley. You can enjoy this magnificent view of Khaplu Town and Shyok river from Thoksikar Mosque.
5. Hushe Village, Organic Valley of Khaplu.
To the farthest side located Hushe valley one of the organic places in Baltistan. Hushe valley is very close to nature with very less influence on the modern lifestyle. Hushe is known to be the home of ibex and snow leopards (in-danger species). Located at the brink of Mashabrum peak, Hushe is the most scenic place in Khaplu valley. Its also known to be the hub of foreign tourists of Ghanche. The traveling distance of Khaplu to Hushe is almost 3-4 hours full of adventure with 5-10km of bouncy roads. You can also do trophy hunting after acquiring a No objection certificate from the tourism department Gilgit Baltistan.
6. Saling Spangtoq Khaplu Baltistan.
A beautiful grassland lush green in summers this valley is about 20 minutes drive from Khaplu Valley. Saling is famous for its scenic view and abundance of fresh springs. Tourists can enjoy fishing and camping here.
7. Kharfaq Lake Khaplu Valley.
Kharfaq Lake is also called Riochug Tso in the local language. It is located at an altitude of approx 13000 ft in the south-east of Kharfaq Village, 22 km short of Khaplu.
It’s a fascinating lake that is surrounded by high mountains from all sides. One has to start the climb for the lake from Kharfaq village in the southeasterly direction. It is a 2-4 hours steep climb that would require a good standard of physical fitness. Not recommended for cardiac patients.
The lake is fed by the glacial streams and apparently has no outlet. The water is crystal clear and very slightly brackish, however, brown trout can survive in this water and has been stocked here in good numbers.
The hike to the lake is not recommended for those who have a physical illness or some cardiac disease etc as it is quite tough.
8. Haldi Cons Khaplu.
You might have heard about the beautiful Passu Cons in Gilgit. Here in Khaplu valley exists a beautiful Haldi Cons just like Passu Cons.
Read Also: Ten Places to visit Shigar Valley.
9. Masherbrum Peak K1.
The Masherbrum Mountains are located on the south side of the Baltoro Glacier. The southern side of the range, in the Indus River basin, is drained by the Hushe River.
While not as famous as the Baltoro Muztagh mountains, which lie across the Baltoro Glacier, the Masherbrum Mountains contain some of the highest peaks in the world (highest 7,821 meters (25,659 ft)). They attract climbers from around the planet.
10. Saltoro Valley Siachen Glaciers.
Traveling side-by-side with River Shyok, another wooden bridge upon a river, on the left side, is the path to Saltoro Valley. when you cross the bridge to find yourself in a grand plain, filled with countless round gravels. In the backdrop, the Saltoro mountain range stands like a wall. Mountaineers on their way to Mashabrum (K1) usually take this path. Saltoro valley is known as Siachen as well, this valley is located at the neck of the world’s highest battlefield between Pakistan and India.