Gilgit Valley

Gilgit has been mentioned in the annals of history – rakaposhiit has been mentioned as a prosperous trading centre for its location on the ancient trade route and links with Astore-Chilas-Kaghan on one side and China on the other through Kilik andnanga parbat Mintaka Passes and has remained under constant consideration of big powers as an important strategic point. With the construction of the Karakoram Highway (KKH) Gilgit and the valleys beyond have been into the main stream, that has attracted visitors from various countries. It can be said that there are only few places in the world comparable to this town and its spectacular scenic beauty. Gilgit is the headquarter for the 70,000 square kilometres Federally Administrated Northern Areas – FANA – . As a town Gilgit offers nothing except lofty mountains of the mighty Karakorams, glistening all around in the horizon. In the valley the colours vary with the seasons and in autumn they look magnificent as the leaves of the fruit and nut trees turn red and yellow. A two-three days stay here promises the visitors the pleasure and adventure of mountain climbing, mountain trekking, trout fishing or Just resting, pleasantly basking in the mild sun and cool mountain breeze — and, some fascinating shopping for a change.

The Gilgit Valley lies at an elevation of 1453.90 metres and is surrounded by lakes, rivers, glaciers and high mountains ranges. Some of them world’s largest peaks, such as Nanga Parbat (8,125 metres) and Raka Poshi (7,788 metres) are located here. The best season to visit is from May to mid October. The local dialect is Shina, however, Urdu and English are also spoken and understood. Buddhist Rock Carvings carved out of the mountain side are worth paying a visit. It is about 10 kilometres away from Gilgit. The Victory Monument of Taj Mughal was built about 700 years ago and lies at a distance of 11 kilometres from Gilgit.

Besides Hunza Valley, other smaller valleys around Gilgit include Punial Valley. Sher Qila is the main village of the picturesque Punial valley, located at a distance of 40 kilometers from Gilgit. Singal in the Punial valley offers ideal trout fishing opportunities. It is 56 kilometers away and takes 3 hours to reach there. Yasin valley provides ideal opportunities for hiking and trekking, it lies at distance of 160 kms and the jeep journey requires about 7 hours. The picturesque Phandar lake abounds in trout, located some 177 kilometres from Gilgit. The famous Shandur Pass connects Gilgit to Chitral. The pass remains snow-bound during winters. It is 250 kilomteres and 15 hours away by jeep. Rama lake in this region offers an awe-inspiring view of the eastern side of Nanga Parbat. It is 120 kilomtres away and takes 6 hours to get there. For the adventure-loving tourist, hiker, angler, art-lover, mountaineer or polo enthusiast, there are few places in the world that could compare with Gilgit.

Naltar is the loveliest fully-day outing from Gilgit. About a two-hour drive away, it is an area of alpine meadows and pine forests 3,000 meters (10,000 feet) above sea level and surrounded by snow-capped mountains. the road up from Nomal climbs steeply through a rocky gorge to emerge on the fertile, high-altitude pastures. Those who wish to stay can choose among the Public Works Department rest-house, the very basic local hotel, or camping. Naltar is the perfect base for gentle walks through the forest or up to Naltar Lake, where the fishing is excellent. The village is also the starting point for more energetic treks across the 4,000 (13,000 foot). Naltar Pass to the Ishkoman Valley, or across the 4,800 meter (15,700 feet). Daintar Pass to Chalt. Naltar has a Skiing School being run by the Pakistan Air force, but is used for holding national skiing championship as well.

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