2013 - Travel Pakistan

Kel Valley Azad Jammu Kashmir

Hunza Valley in Autumn

K-2 Siren of the Himalayas

Malam Jabba Swat Valley

Shangrilla Resort Skardu

Kohe Safed FATA

Passu Cones Gilgit-Baltistan

Dec 21, 2013

Chaqchan Mosque Oldest Mosque of Gilgit-Baltistan and Pakistan

Where is this mosque located? 

This mosque is located in the Khaplu, a district of Baltistan division some 100 kilometers from the Skardu city, and is known as the oldest mosque in the Gilgit-Baltistan and Pakistan as well.

Who did lay the foundation of the mosque? 

The construction of the mosque dates back to 1370 AD. The foundation of the mosque was laid down by a religious preacher, Mir Syed Ali Hamdani, who by his preach and deeds, converted the people to Islam. Syed Ali Hamdani was a Sufi from the Hamdan city of Iran, and according to some sources a descendant of Hazrat Ali (AS) [Muhammad's cousin and first Imam of Shia Muslims], who traveled from Iran to India, Afghanistan and up to Tajikistan preaching and converting the people to Islam. He died in Kunar city of Afghanistan and was buried in Khatlan, a city in present-day Tajikistan.
Tributing his exemplary services in the preaching of Islam, Allama Iqbal (the national poet of Pakistan) wrote about him.

سید سادات سالارعجم
 دست او معمار تقدیر امم

Architecture of Mosque

The mosque has a unique architecture depicting a combined taste of Tibetan, Iranian and Mughal ear architectural style. The outer facade and the materials used for building the walls are what we find in the rest of Baltistan for the construction of forts and related mosques and Khanqahs. In Baltistan construction of such buildings mainly comprising of wood and other materials as supporting material was pretty common through the first half of the 20th century but now such tradition of construction has become extinct due to many reasons.
The ground floor and the design of windows tell us about the Tibetan design. In Tibetan design carving on wood was common and such is done with the windows. If you look closer you would find wood carved for every small piece of window frames like the apron, rail, muntin, and stile, everything will be carved and beautiful designs would be made on them. The windows are smaller in size to cope with the freezing breeze of the Karakoram because in winter the temperature in the valley plunges to freezing point and sometimes below -20-degree celsius.
The upper story has a balcony around the praying room. If you observe you would find such balconies in the old buildings of Baltistan. It was common to have such balconies designed of the wood frames for the passage of the air in the summer. Also, in the case of Mosque, it would have been helpful to have gathered and listened to the preacher in sunny days of summer.
In past, many forts and even small dwelling units would construct by using wood as the building material in place of modern day concrete and steel rods. The whole hollow frame of the building would first be constructed and then mud blocks would be used as filling material. But now the availability of the wood is one of the issues and people can't think of constructing such marvelous buildings.

How to reach there?

Do you want to visit this marvelous mosque and have a deeper look at the architectural design of the building? Then you are privileged nowadays and within days you could reach the mosque from Islamabad. How? If you are in Islamabad what you need to do is book an airline ticket for Skardu. It takes about 45 minutes to reach there by air from Islamabad to Skardu. Once you are there in Skardu you can reach there by covering a 100 kilometers distance from the Skardu towards the east on the Skardu-Kargil Road up to the Keris village. From here you would follow the Shyok River Valley road till the Khaplu city. Once you enter the Khaplu city the mosque is only   20-minutes drive from the city center. 

Dec 15, 2013

Golden Peak or Spantik, Gilgit-Baltistan Pakistan

Golden Peak or Spantik is a peak in Karakorum range of Gilgit-Baltistan Pakistan in Nagar Valley. At an elevation of 7,027 m this peak is accessible from Nagar Valley i.e from Gilgit side and also from Baltistan side too.

Dec 11, 2013

Gondogoro Pass, World's highest mountain pass of Gilgit-Baltistan

Gondogoro Pass is a mountain pass on the Gondogoro Glacier near Vigne Glacier. From the Southern side, pass descends into the Hushe village which is the last human settlement of the Ghangche District of northern Pakistan. To climb the pass, mostly climbers and trekkers prefer to start from the Northern side which is easy and connected with the Vigne Glacier. 

In 1986, a route was established that connects Concordia and the upper Baltoro Glacier to the Hushe Valley over the Gondogoro Pass(5940m). Since then, this challenging technical pass has attracted trekkers and climbers alike. This pass has one of the most overwhelming mountain panoramas anywhere in the world, with all of the Karakoram's 8000m peaks close at hand. The Gondogoro La, although popular with trekkers, involves Class 4 climbing. The North side is a 50-degree snow slope with Avalanche danger requiring fixed ropes. The south side is a continuous 50-degree slope with rockfall and avalanche danger that requires fixing as much as 300m of rope.
The importance of the Pass:
Being one of the highest mountain passes in the world, the views from the top of the pass are unforgettable, by the views of many famous climbers from around the world, it offers the best mountain scenery anywhere in the world. Apart from dozens more, one can see the following famous peaks from the pass:
  • K2(Choghori)
  • Broad Peak
  • Masherbrum
  • Laila Peak
  • Gasherbrum I
  • Gasherbrum II
  • Gasherbrum III
  • Gasherbrum IV
  • Trinity Peak

Dec 6, 2013

Simly Dam/ Lake Islamabad

Simly Dam is an 80 meters (260 ft) high earthen embankment dam on the Soan River, 30 kilometers (19 mi) east of Islamabad and Rawalpindi in Rawalpindi District, Punjab, Pakistan. It is the largest reservoir of drinking water to people living in Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan. The water stored in this dam is fed by the melting snow & natural springs of Murree hills. It was developed by the Capital Development Authority. 
Boating and Fishing are two main activities here. For fishing, you need to have a license (permission) from CDA (Capital Development Authority), Islamabad.

Pir Sohawa Margalla Hills, Islamabad

The best place to visit in Islamabad 

If you have been there in Islamabad and you haven't visited Pir Sohawa than you haven't enjoyed the real beauty of Islamabad. Encircled by the lush green wood, Pir Sohawa is actually the face and identification of Islamabad. But if you haven't visited the place, it is not a big deal because it is not 100 miles away, you can visit within hours because it is just 20 kilometers uphill from the 7th Avenue of Islamabad. 

How to reach there? 

If you are anywhere in Islamabad or Rawalpindi and you want to visit this spectacular place, you just need to drive towards the 7th avenue, if you are driving or coming from any direction of the city because where the 7th avenue road ends in the foothill of Margalla hills, the road to the Pir Sohawa starts. The 7th Avenue is a trunk road which bisects the G and F blocks of Islamabad. 
Once you have reached the end of 7th Avenue you will follow a  zigzag track uphill towards your destination. While on the way you can visit the Islamabad Zoo which is at the start of the Pir Sohawa road and the spectacular Daman-e-Koh which is few kilometers uphill from the Zoo on the way of Pir Sohawa. 
Driving through the hairpin turns into a lush green breathtaking hilly area having the scenic view of Islamabad is experience in itself. 

What to do? 

This place is perfect for many things. If you want to enjoy hiking that is best to have here because the scenic place has a number of trails spread over kilometers especially designed for hikers having rest places at intervals. 
If you want to experience fine dining that is another best thing you can do because you would have choices of a wide variety of tasty dishes. 

The scenic view of Islamabad

Actually, the resort is famous for the scenic view of Islamabad which you can have any time without any payment. If you want to have a birds eye view of Islamabad try to sit outside and while having your dishes you can enjoy the spectacular bird-eye view of Islamabad. Many people have different opinions about the view of Islamabad from the top at night or day but our suggestion is having the view at day is better because at night time it would pretty much look like any other city. During the day you would be able to explore every nook and cranny of Islamabad. During the night it would be beautiful but you would just find the shining lights everywhere and you wouldn't be able to have a fine look at the city's natural beauty.  

The Monal Restaurant

This restaurant is what the identification of the Pir Sohawa. This is the restaurant which will serve you delicious dishes along with the chance to have a stunning bird's eye view of Islamabad city. Sitting outside and enjoying your foods is a treat from the Monal for you. It is one of the best restaurants in Islamabad serving the tasty and quality food providing you lot of food options. It is the perfect place to enjoy peace and scenery away from the hustle of the city.

Other benefits

It gives you the chance to kill two birds with one stone, means you can visit some amazing and picturesque tourist spots in a single visit because all three spots are on the same route. Like you can visit Islamabad Zoo on the way which is just at the start of the track uphill. Few kilometers uphill you would find another tourist destination know as Daman-e-Koh which is another best place to enjoy the amazing view of Islamabad from somehow low altitude. 

View of Islamabad City from Pir Sohawa

Daman-e-Koh Islamabad | | Damane Koh

Looking for places to visit in Islamabad? 

If you have just visited the Islamabad or Rawalpindi city and you are unsure about what are the top tourist spots to visit in Islamabad then we are here to guide you. In fact, there are dozens of spectacular and breathtaking places in Islamabad which one should visit but when it comes the Daman-e-Koh there is no parallel of this place.

What is special about this place? 

There are many things to count but one of the most important features for which it is known and we cay say it is its identification is the landscape of the spot. The place is just marvelous in the green woods of Margalla Hills and the best thing to do is having a stunning bird's eye view of panoramic Islamabad city.
Along with, you can enjoy delicious varieties of foods. Photography will be the best thing to do. You would find monkeys in abundant and the chattering of birds would be pretty common.  It has been noticed that in winter lions have also been observed roaming in the region around the wood of Daman-e-Koh. According to some sources, there is a plan to construct a chairlift from Daman-e-Koh to Pir Sohawa to facilitate the tourist. Pir Sohawa is another breathtaking tourist spot just uphill from the Daman-e-Koh.

 How to visit and what are the possible routes? 

If you have made the intention to visit this beautiful place then the route to this place is simple and short. If you are in any part of Islamabad or Rawalpindi the there are two possible routes. First is, you can visit through 7th Avenue, coming from any part of the city you would enter the 7th Avenue road and where this road ends in the foothill of Maragalla Hills the Pir Sohawa road would start. Another is through the Margallah Avenue which runs at the right angle with the 7th Avenue. If you are following the Margalla Avenue then you need to reach the end of 7th Avenue. Where this road ends the zigzag road uphill will lead you to your destination. 
The best thing about visiting this place is, you can visit all monumental places in just one visit because they all fall on the same route. Like if you are following Margallah avenue then you can visit Faisal Mosque first and then move ahead towards the Islamabad Zoo which is just at the start of the Pir Sohawa road. Then if you want, after visiting the Daman-e-Koh you can move uphill towards Pir Sohawa because the same road will lead you on the top of the hill.
Daman-e-Koh is just 10 kilometers away from the Centaurus Mall and 14 kilometers from the Faizabad bus stop. 

Viewpoint of Islamabad at Damen-e-Koh

Night view of Faisal Mosque and Islamabad from Daman-e-Koh

Dec 5, 2013

By road journey, Rawalpindi to Gilgit and Skardu

By road journey from Islamabad or Rawalpindi to Gilgit and Skardu is more enjoyable because departing from Islamabad to Skardu or Gilgit the Buses pass from almost all the places of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwah. There are two routes to reach Gilgit-Baltistan from Islamabad or Rawalpindi. One is directly through KKH (Karakurum Highway) which is named as N35. If you follow this route you will see the Beautiful Places of KPK like Mansehra, Abbottabad, Batgram, Chtarplane, Patan and Bisham etc.

Another way is same from Islamabad to Mansehra city of KPK but from here it follows the national highway named as N15. If you follow this rout that also meets to KKH at Chilas District of Gilgit-Baltistan you will see the most beautiful places of Pakistan that is Naran,Kaghan valley and Babusasr Top of Gilgit-Baltiatan. You can see the map below to understand the rout better.

You will never forget the journey and will be proud of it which you have made through worlds highest road network, KKH (Karakoram Highway) passing through worlds three mightiest ranges of mountains (Himalayas emerging from India and Nepal, Karakorum from north Pakistan and Hindukush from Afghanistan).

Departing from Islamabad or Rawalpindi the more you cover the distance the more you will be going higher and higher towards the land of Peaks.   
It takes about 4 or 5 hours to reach Mansehra and vehicle whatever you have chosen will make a stop for tea or meal depending upon the time of departure. After that you will be passing through green carpeted lands of KPK will reach Besham. Here vans will be stooped for meal or tea.  From here the KKH will follow every twist and turn of Indus River passing through Kohistan, the last district of KPK and you will be hugged by the Peaks of Gilgit-Baltistan entering through Diamer District will reach Chilas. Mostly the vans departs after noon in that case you will be in Chilas for breakfast but if you have leaved Islamabad before noon you will be at Jougloat for breakfast. After departing from here you will reach at a junction separating ways of Gilgit and Skardu. 

If you are going to Gilgit it will take about an hour to reach Gilgit city from this junction. But if you are determined to go to Skardu you will have to travel 5 hours more. In the way to Skardu the van will stop for lunch at  PTDC motel Stak Valley, this will be the last tea or meal and you will reach Skardu city and will be enjoying.

List of Transport Agencies
There is no shortage of transport agencies. You will have you own choice of vehicle. Also you may take rental vehicles for private use to reach Gilgit or Skardu.
For more information you can visit Stations and Terminals.
The list of transport agencies are:
NATCO (Northern Areas Transport Corporation) 
Mshabrum Tours
Hamaliya Tours
Geo Travel

Dec 1, 2013

Khalti Lake Gupis, Gilgit-Baltistan

Khalti Lake is located in Gupis, District Ghizer, Tehsil Punial. It is 20-30 minutes drive from Gupis. Gupis Valley is located about 112 kilometers (70 miles) in the west of Gilgit on the bank of River Gilgit, in District Ghizer of Gilgit-Baltistan region, Pakistan. The 35 kilometers (22 miles) road between Gahkuch (capital of District Ghizer) and Gupis Valley is full of beautiful landscapes and breathtaking views. The turquoise water of the river flowing along the road and surrounding fields and forests presents are very charming for tourists.

Khalti Lake is famous for being the habitat of trout fish. The lake is formed due to the stretch of river near the village of Khalti. The dark blue waters of the lake during summer look very charming. The lake usually freezes during winter and villagers of Khalti use to walk on this. There is a beautiful restaurant near the Khalti Lake. A PTDC motel is situated nearby to facilitate tourists. It's nice place stay for an overnight in the PTDC. You can enjoy the spectacular view of the lake from the PTDC Motel.

Nov 28, 2013

Attabad Lake Gojal Hunza, Gilgit-Baltistan

Attaabad lake is one of the famous and most visited tourist destinations of Pakistan. The magnificent lake stretched over kilometers surrounded by the towering mountains of Karakoram is, in fact, the best place to visit in the upper valleys of Hunza. 

A Brief History

This lake was not a natural lake instead it was formed by a massive land sliding which blocked the Hunza River for almost more than 5 months. It was on January 4, 2010, when massive rocks fell in the Hunza River blocking the downflow of the river completely. The debris blocked the flow of the river and its level started rising inundating the valleys upstream. In total, the river inundated 21 kilometers upstream and the depth of the lake was recorded about 100 meters (333ft) before it started flowing over the debris. 
The landslide lake destroyed 24 kilometers of Karakoram Highway (KKH) and several villages and hamlets upstream and downstream of the lake. Before the overflow of lake its rising level inundated many villages and hamlets and once it overflowed over the debris it submerged and flooded many settlements.  

Tourist inflow 

When the water started flowing over the debris the level of the water started falling and the length of the lake contracted and now it is 13 kilometers long. The water level has also been lowered down from 100 meters to 10 meters (33ft) by blasting the spillways. Initially, when the Karakoram Highway (KKH) was inundated and washed away by the lake there was no land access between the upper and lower valleys of Hunza. In other words, there was no land access between Pakistan and China because the 24 kilometers of KKH was badly destroyed by the lake. 
Until 2015 the lake was only the way of crossing and the vehicles were loaded on wooden boats and carried to the shores of the lake. But now the government of Pakistan has constructed tunnels at the Attabad lake and vehicles are no more required to load on the boats. The turquoise water and the towering rocky mountains in the wilderness of Karakoram provide the stunning view and the perfect place for the photography. 

How to reach there?

When you are in Gilgit it will be at a distance of 125 kilometers and it will take a maximum of two and half hours. It is at a distance of about 30 kilometers from the Karimabad, administrative center of Hunza. It will take about half an hour to reach there from Hunza. 

Other places to visit around Attabad Lake

When you are in Gilgit and you want to visit maximum places in a single visit then you need to be considerate about the possible routes to follow and a sound plan will save your time and money as well. When you want to visit the lake there are many beautiful and spectacular places along the KKH en route to this lake and beyond this lake. 
Some 30 kilometers uphill from this lake is the Passu village, a famous village known for the Passu Cones. Passu Cones are a combination of peaks in the Passu village which looks like cones. 
Some 200 kilometers uphill is the Khunjerab Pass, the border of China and Pakistan. So, these are the places you can visit along the KKH in a single visit. 

Nov 26, 2013

Borith Lake Gilgit-Baltistan

Borith Lake is a beautiful lake in the village of Borith near Gulmit and Gojal valleys of upper Hunza, Gilgit-Baltistan Pakistan. It can be accessed from the Husseini Village near the Gulkin Village.
It can be accessed from Husseini Village through 2 km unpaved road or it can be accessed directly from the Gulkin Village passing directly through glacier with a tracking route of 2-3 hour.
The lake becomes the home of the thousand of migratory birds from the southern Pakistan, Central Asia, and South China at different seasons. 

Karambar Lake Ghizer Gilgit-Baltistan

Located at a distance of 205 km this lake is the 2nd highest lake in Pakistan on the border of KPK and Gilgit-Baltistan. The approximate length of the lake is 3.9 km and width is 2 km. The depth of the lake is 52 meters. The area of the lake is 263.44 hectares. Also, this lake has the highest water clarity in all the lakes of Pakistan.
The surrounding landscape of the lake spectacular and breath-taking.

Upper Kachura Lake Skardu Gigit-Baltistan

Upper Kachura lake is one of the most beautiful and spectacular fresh water lakes in Skardu district of Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan. Its depth is about 70 meters and the crystal clear water is perfect for fishing.
The surrounding landscape is just amazing, covered by the forest of different species including eucalyptus, wild apricot, pine, and different kinds of bushes. The giant rocky mountains of Himalaya and the Karakoram and the huge rock reserves around the lake gives a perfect scenery for photography.

How to reach there?

When you are in Skardu visiting this lake wouldn't take long. It is just 30 kilometers away from the downtown and you can reach the lake in a maximum of one hour. When you are in Skardu a route leading to the famous resort, Shangrilla Resort will lead you to the upper Kachura lake. The route for the lake is same from Skardu city up to Shangrila Resort and this lake is just 2 kilometers from the resort. 
If you are staying at the Shangrila Resort then it is easier for you to visit this lake. 

Rush Lake, World's Highest Alpine Lake in Gilgit-Baltistan

Rush Lake is one of the most spectacular and breath-taking lakes in Gilgit-Baltistan region of the Pakistan. It is also the world's highest alpine lake in the world. The Rush lake can be accessed via Nagar Valley of the Gilgit-Baltistan. The visitors can take a view of some of the most spectacular landscapes of the Karakorum Mountain Ranges which includes, Spantik, Malubiting, Phuparash Peak and Ultar Sar.
While heading towards the Rush Lake one can enjoy the views of beautiful terrace fields, glaciers and snow capped mountains.

Nov 24, 2013

Kharpocho Fort Skardu, Pakistan

The Kharpocho Fort is a beautiful and historically important fort of the Baltistan region. It is located in the city of Skardu on a small hill surrounded by the Indus River, Pakistan's longest river" from one side and Skardu city from another side, only at a walking distance of half an hour from the main market of the Skardu city, Yadgar Chowk.

Construction of Kharpocho Fort of the King of forts at Skardu has been attributed to the famous ruler of Skardu – Maqpoon Bugha (1490 – 1515 AD), the great grandfather of Ali Sher Khan Anchan (1560 – 1625 AD) by Hishmatullah.
But Mughal historians are of the view that the great fort was built by Ali Sher Khan Anchan himself. This view is upheld by European writers such as Cunningham, Foso Marine, and G.T. Vagne etc. Some observations about this fort have been made in the Imperial Gazetteer of British India. It states that one of the most famous of the Gralpos (Monarchs of Skardu), Ali Sher Khan, who ruled until the end of the 16th century, conquered Ladakh and built a fort at Skardu.

Kharpocho Fort

A famous tale about this states that this fort was built in such a way that there was an underground way from Raja's (Monarch of City) fort in the downtown to this fort. This fort was actually built for defensive purpose as it is on the top of a hill which is surrounded by Indus River on one side and Skardu town on another side. Still, there is only one way from the town side to reach the fort because the face of the ridge facing the town provides a steep vertical drop and it is impossible to climb the hill from this side, except the built-in way of the southeast face. 
When there arose any chance of attack by other states, Raja moved here. As there was only one way to enter from town side, it was impossible to attack from another side because of the Indus River, this way used to lock during any attack and soldiers were put on duty at the entrance. All the communications were done through the underground way.
You can also take a bird-eye-view of whole Skardu city in a single glance from here. 

Altit Fort Hunza, Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan

Where the Altit Fort is located? 

Altit Fort is located in the well known Hunza valley of Gilgit-Baltistan in Pakistan at a distance of about 100 kilometers from the Gilgit city and 600 kilometers from the Islamabad city. The actual age of the fort is said to be 1100 years. According to some sources, this fort is the oldest for in Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan. 

View of Altit fort, with the central town to the right and below the fort.

The architecture of the fort 

The fort is built on a sheer rock cliff of about 300 meters (100ft) on the bank of the Hunza River. The extreme gullies, sharp drop-off, and location high above the river made this settlement highly defensible and an older settlement than many in the central valley.

The majestic historical Altit fort is the center of attraction due to its architectural design and strategic location. Altit is the birthplace of the Hunza Kingdom and Altit fort is the first fort of the region. The fort has been constructed in six different stages by using various natural levels of the rock. The construction has been made right on the edge of a sheer rock cliff that drops 1000 feet straight down to the Hunza River.

History of the Altit Fort

According to some sources, the fort is said to be constructed about 1100 years ago. But it is said that the architecture of the fort has been transformed throughout the time. The central tower is known as "Shikari Tower" is said to be the oldest structure in the assembly of the whole fort. 
The fort was constructed by the ruler of Hunza Valley which has been a princely state since early ages. In early ages, invasions were common therefore the construction of forts at strategical sites were common especially in the region of Gilgit-Baltistan, elsewhere in Pakistan fortification of forts were common but in Gilgit-Baltistan, forts have been built on rock cliffs and on top of hills to make defensive purpose easier. Such forts like Kharpocho Fort in Skardu and many other forts in Gilgit-Baltistan are the manifestation of the early history. 

This fort is built on a rock cliff on the bank of the river which gives a clear view of surrounding Hunza valley and the legendary Silk Route can be seen from the fort across the Hunza River. It is commonly said that as the Sil Route was the router where the invaders and traders would make their movement, therefore it was easy to keep an eye from the fort. 

Myth or reality 

There are other stories that the people of the Altit, the village where the fort is located, are the descendant of the Alexander the Great. Though this has not been supported by the research but according to the local folks, when Alexander was on the way back from China his soldiers settled in the Altit village. 

Shigar Fort Shigar Valley, Skardu, Gilgit-Baltistan

Where is this fort located?

Shigar Fort, the marvel of Tibetan architecture in the Shigar Valley of Gilgit-Baltistan at a distance of only 28 kilometers from the Skardu city, is one of the spectacular and breathtaking forts in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan.

Shigar Fort at night in Skardu

What is so special about this fort? 

The first thing is the magnificent architectural design of the fort and the second thing is the amazing landscape of the site where the fort is located. Locally the fort is known as the "Fong-Khar" literally means the fort built on the rock in Balti language (Balti, a Tibetan dialect,  is the regional language of the Baltistan division). In Balti, a fort is called Khar and huge rocks are called Fong, so Fong-Khar means the fort built on huge rock piece. 
The fort has actually three parts and the biggest and the prominent one is built on a huge cone-shaped rock at the bank of a small stream which originates from the towering rocky mountains of Karakoram shouldering the mighty mountain ranges where there is the K-2. 

The surrounding landscape's alluring and sublime beauty turns the fort into a heavenly place, especially in the summer. The rocky mountain just adjacent to the fort, the stream passing nearby and the lush green fields with different kinds of trees in the surrounding are the best things to enjoy in the summer. 

What about the architecture? 

The architectural design is the Tibetan and Balti design, in Tibetan or Balti architecture forts were built using the wood as the main component of building material. A network of beams and columns would first construct using the wood as the main supplement of building material, even in the ancient forts, you wouldn't find a single piece of the iron nail as the fastener. Normally the foundation would be erected on which the wood work would start and in some cases, the stone would be used for filling the hollow walls in the ground floor. On the first floor and the upper floors, there would be no stone work. For the partition of the rooms in upper stories either mudbrick or thin sheets of wood would be used.
In most of the forts the windows would be of different sizes but mostly there would be small size windows to cope with the freezing temperature of the Himalaya and Karakoram mountain ranges because in winter the temperature in these valleys plunges to freezing point and in some cases as low as -30-degree celsius.

The Shigar Fort is the perfect manifestation of the Balti or the Tibetan architecture. The fort is mostly composed of wood work and the facade of the fort is just amazing.

Shigar Fort in Shigar Valley Skardu 

Shigar Fort Residence in Shigar Skardu

How to reach the fort?

If you want to visit this marvelous fort then there are two options for you, by air or by the land journey. Depending on your preference, you can choose the one, both journeys would be adventurous.
For by air journey, you need to reach Islamabad first because there are no flights which directly link the Skardu with any other city. From Islamabad, the PIA will fly you and land in the Skardu city in a maximum of 45 minutes. From the Skardu airport, it would take a maximum of an hour to reach the fort. So, in short, in just two hours you can be there in the fort from Islamabad. 
The by road journey would be somehow time-consuming but more adventurous because you would be able to witness the gleaming summits of Himalaya, Karakoram and Hindukush peaks along the Karakoram Highway and the Gilgit-Skardu road. The journey through the ravines packed by the rocky towering mountains would be one of a kind of journey which you would never forget in the life. It will take 24-26 hours to reach the Skardu city and the fort. 

Places to visit in vicinity 

The best thing about the fort is that now part of the fort has been transformed into a restaurant which is commonly known by the name "Shigar Fort Residence" having the best parallel services of best restaurants in the Skardu region. The Shigar Fort Residence is operated by the Serena Hotel and you can visit the fort and stay there as long as you want. 
While staying there in the fort you can visit the panoramic valleys in the vicinity, like Keris, Khaplu, Skardu city and places in the periphery of Skardu city like Chunda Valley, Qumrah, Organic Village Nangsooq. You can visit the Kharpocho Fort (also known as Skardu fort), Buddha Rock carving in the south of Skardu, Satpara Lake, Shangrila Lake, Lower Kachura Lake and much more.

You need to know that the legendary road to the K-2 peak passes by the same valley where there is the fort, if you are more enthusiastic then you can choose for a trekking to the K-2 base camp or drive to one of the pristine places of GB, Deosai Plains. 

Nov 9, 2013

Historical Buildings of Pakistan I I List of historical buildings in Pakistan I I Most beautiful historical buildngs of Pakistan I

Pakistan being an oldest living sites of the world is home to the number of historical buildings which depict the varying architecture of different times. As Pakistan was ruled by the different rulers in different times therefore to show their power they built a number of forts which are visited by the number of national and international tourists.
Following is the list of historical buildings of Pakistan:
To see the detail just click on the titles given

                                                                   Badshahi Mosque

Khaplu Fort Gilgit-Baltistan

Oct 21, 2013

Mashkpuri Abbotabad District KPK, Pakistan

Where is Mashkpuri located? 

Mashkpuri is located in the Abbottabad district of KPK at a distance of only 40 kilometers from Abbottabad city and 30 kilometers from the Murree. Nestled between one of the most beautiful summer resorts and hills of Pakistan, the Mashlpuri is a dreamland in KPK and its sublime beauty attracts the tourist towards it all the year round.

What are the things you can enjoy at the Mashkpuri?

At Mashkpuri you can do many things but the most prominent and the most enjoyable things you should do is the tracking and hiking. Mashkpuri Top is well known for providing the spectacular and breathtaking view of the surrounding and you can reach the top covering a short track of 2.5 kilometers, starting from the Dunga Gali to the top.
The track from the Dunga Gali to the Mashkpuri Top passes through thickly forested mountains and especially when in summer the surrounding greenery and the scents of the wildflowers provide and amazing and one of a kind of experience. The region surrounded by thick the forest of different species of conifers provides and amazing view and an amazing experience. 
From Mashkpuri Top you can have an amazing view of Ayubia National Park, Dunga Gali, Kashmir Valley other spectacular hills covered by evergreen pine trees and you would feel like you have lost in a wood. 

The Pond at the top

There is a pond at the top of the Mashkpuri hill and you would be amazed by the tranquility and mesmerizing beauty of the pond. The crystal clear water reflecting the blue sky and sea of clouds when the weather is cloudy it will give you a memorable experience. 

How to reach there? 

Reaching there in Mashkpuri isn't a problematic one because it is not a protracted journey, from wherever you are coming from it would take few hours to reach there. You can reach there from two routes, either from Abbottabad side or from Murree side. When you are in Islamabad and you want to visit then there are three options. 
First is you can follow the Karakoram Highway and reach the Abbottabad city, that would be a long journey but the plus point is you would be able to visit the beautiful Abbottabad city, Nathia Gali and the Ayubia National Park while en route to Mashkpuri.
Second is via the Kashmir road, this route will be the shortest and en route to Mashkpuri you will see the beautiful valleys and hills of Ghora Gali, Murree, Changa Gali and many other small hamlets, valleys and towns. 
The third option is to follow the Islamabad-Murree Expressway. Through this route, you will be able to witness the spectacular Murree Jhika Gali and many other beautiful and picturesque valleys, towns and hills. 

The best thing about visiting the Mashkpuri

When we talk about why visiting Mashkpuri is advantageous in many terms is that it provides you myriad options in term of accessibility and you can enjoy the tour to many spectacular places in a single round trip. 

What are the options for the stay?

As we mentioned earlier, the tour to Mashkpuri isn't a protracted journey. You can return to Murree or Abbottabad after visiting the Mashkpuri, and you know there are countless options for stay in Murree and Abbottabad. But if you want to stay there in the vicinity of Mashkpuri Hill for a night or even for few days then there are many options as well. The Dunga Gali, the entrance to the Mashpuri Hills is equipped with very well maintained restaurants and hotels. Some of the restaurants are Amore, Luxury Inn, Pine Track, Mashkpuri Hotel, Blue Pine Restaruatn and much more. These restarutans are equipped with all kinds of indoor and outdoor facilities and you would find everything you wish.