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Beyond Imagination: Tour the Majestic Sightseeing Places in Gilgit Baltistan

Gilgit-Pakistan
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| 6 mins read

Nestled amidst the grandeur of the Himalayas in Pakistan, Gilgit Baltistan is a land of towering mountains, pristine lakes, and diverse ethnic communities, offering a one-of-its-kind experience! Each year, countless tourists are drawn to this region, which can be enjoyed throughout all four seasons! 

Delve into the mesmerising sightseeing spots of Gilgit Baltistan as our knowledgeable local guide,  Bakhsh Ur Rehmanshares his insider knowledge on the must-visit locations, special attractions, noteworthy traditions, and a wealth of other fascinating details to discover!

Hunza Valley

Known as the "Shangri-La of the East," Hunza Valley is a picturesque destination that seems straight out of a fairytale! With its snow-capped peaks, lush green meadows, and crystal-clear lakes, the valley offers a visual extravaganza that mesmerises every traveller. 

On the visit, witness the beauty of Attabad Lake (formed due to a natural disaster in 2010), see Passu Cones (unique sharp, pointed peaks that resemble cones), walk on the  Hussaini Suspension Bridge (one of the most dangerous bridges in the world) and enjoy strolling through the abundance of apricot orchards and blossoms.

1.1 Hunza Valley

What is special? A unique experience to have in Hunza Valley is exploring the town of Karimabad, the capital of Hunza Valley. It is a town steeped in history and charm, dominated by the iconic Baltit Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and lined with traditional houses with intricate woodwork. Along with a local guide, you can enjoy a walk through the town to explore the local bazaars filled with handicrafts and colourful textiles. 

1.2 Tourists at Hunza Valley

Fairy Meadows

As per a local legend, the name "Fairy Meadows" was given due to the belief that because of its divine beauty, the fairies would visit these meadows during the night, adding to the mystique and charm of the place! 

The place is an idyllic destination that offers a front-row seat to the awe-inspiring Nanga Parbat, the "Killer Mountain." The trek to the Nanga Parbat Base Camp and camping under the sky is, in fact, a popular experience that attracts numerous travellers to the place.

1.3 Fairy Meadows

What is special?  Free from light pollution, the Fairy Meadows is one of the world's best spots for astrophotography enthusiasts. Spending an evening under the glittering canopy of stars, identifying constellations, capturing breathtaking shots of the Milky Way, and connecting to the vastness of the universe is an experience that is best experienced here!

1.4 Fairy Meadows

Deosai National Park

Known as the "Roof of the World" due to its high-altitude plateau, which is one of the highest in the world, the Deosai National Park spans over 3,000 square kilometres. The park is a vast landscape of rolling hills, wildflower meadows, and shimmering lakes. During the summer, the land transforms into a vibrant grazing ground for nomadic shepherds, providing a chance to share local stories of the region. There is even a chance to encounter rare wildlife species, such as the Himalayan brown bear, estimated to be around 40 to 50 in the park. 

1.5 Deosai National Park

What is special? Located at approximately 13,500 ft.,  the Sheosar Lake is also called the "Blind Lake" due to its tranquil and mystic nature.According to local folklore, it is believed that Sheosar Lake was once a fertile valley inhabited by villagers who disrespected nature. In response to their actions, the gods punished the villagers by transforming the valley into a lake overnight, submerging the entire village.Today, this legend serves as a cautionary tale, emphasising the importance of living in harmony with nature and respecting the environment. 

Skardu Valley

Nestled in the magnificent Karakoram Range of Northern Pakistan, Skardu is another breathtaking valleythat captivates visitors with its natural beauty and cultural richness. Apart from its bountiful natural beauty, the valley houses the historic town of Khaplu with its Khaplu Palace (built in the 19th century and served as the residence of the former rulers of Khaplu), and the centuries-old Shigar Fort in Shigar, which is now transformed into a heritage hotel, showcasing the grandeur of Balti architecture. Other attractions include boating on Kachura Lake, exploring the Sarfaranga Desert, and strolling through the apple orchards in Manthal, a scenic village that also serves as a perfect base for trekkers. 

1.6 Skardu Valley

What is special?  A major attraction in Skardu Valley is the Shigar Cold Desert Jeep Rally. Held annually (around October), this thrilling event brings together racing enthusiasts from across the country to showcase their skills on the challenging terrain of the cold desert. The rally offers an adrenaline-pumping experience and mesmerising views of the desert and its surrounding mountains.

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Phander Valley

A hidden gem in the Gilgit Baltistan region, the Phander Valley is located at an altitude of 2,500 meters, serving as a blissful escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. The crystal-clear Phander Lake, surrounded by towering mountains, is the centrepiece of the valley. Moreover, the beauty outgrows in the summer months when vibrant wildflowers adorn the valley, making it a perfect picture spot! 

Other sites to explore in the valley with a local guide  are the villages of Handrap  (lined with unique wooden houses) and Barsit (known for its apple orchards), Khamosh Waterfall and the panoramic site of the  Sonar Meadows, an ideal spot for picnicking with your loved ones!

1.7 Phander Valley

What is special? The best time to visit the valley is during the "Gulzar Festival", or the Phool Festival, celebrated by the Shina group inhabiting the valley. It is a colourful event that marks the arrival of spring and is characterised by singing, dancing, and traditional music performances. One notable highlight of the festival is the exchange of floral garlands and bouquets, which symbolises love, friendship, and unity.

In conclusion, exploring the majestic sightseeing places in Gilgit Baltistan is an experience beyond imagination. However, to truly make the most of your visit, hiring a local guide is highly recommended. For instance, in the Fairy Meadows, a local guide can help you pick the best spot for stargazing, and in the hidden gem of Phander Valley, he can arrange an authentic experience of the vibrant Gulzar Festival.

Image credit: Images 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.5, 1.7 & cover image- tourHQ's local guide,  Bakhsh Ur Rehman