Neelum or Skardu Valley of Pakistan? Part 1

Neelum or Skardu Valley of Pakistan? Part 1

There was even no plan for Skardu valley of Pakistan. We four were planning for Neelum Valley in Azad Jammu Kashmir. Neelum Valley, a place so astonishing that words feel numb when describing its beauty. It’s been 3 years now since I went there. And I feel in my heart that it is calling me again. Skardu Valley is located in far north of Pakistan. The valley of Skardu and adjacent valleys can be considered as jewel of tourism industry.

Skardu Weather and its Attractions were Calling:

While planning our journey with Rizwan, I got a text on WhatsApp that Road to K2 base camp has been opened for public for the first time in history. And it all got changed. I realized that life sometimes offers you some chances and if you miss them, they won’t come back. So plan was changed in a heartbeat. Neelum next year. Skardu, here we come.

Brief Introduction of Skardu and other Northern Areas of Pakistan

Whole north of Pakistan has a lot of attractions and travelling to GB(Gilgit Baltistan) was my childhood fantasy. Last year, I traveled to Gilgit, Hunza,Naltar Valley and all the way to Khunjarab pass. What a land this is, highly mountainous and scenic. Where can you find a land where out of 14 “eight-thousanders” (Mountains having height more than 8000 meters above sea level, Mighty, Isn’t it?), 5 are part of its territory?

 

Naran Kaghan pics

These 14 peaks or “eight-thousanders” are part of Karakoram and Himalayan mountain ranges and all these are in Asia. You want to know more? It also has world’s 3 longest glaciers outside the polar region namely Biafo glacier, Baltoro Glacier and Batura Glacier. Also, this amazing region of Pakistan is a home to several high-altitude lakes. You being part of my journey on this portal will see many of them. So, reason of selection is apparent now.

Being a part of the IT industry and having experience of Project Management, I understand the value of the plan. But when it comes to my travels, I usually don’t. Call it silly, but I believe few things in life should not be mechanical and under instructions and travel is one of them. Road to North of Pakistan is not smooth, bumpy and rough terrain is what you should expect almost all the way. But mighty mountain views, lush green plains, flora and fauna of this region, high altitude plateau and lakes will make you forget the pain of the journey. That’s a promise.

About Skardu Valley Demographics

There are 3 divisions in Gilgit-Baltistan region which are Gilgit, Baltistan and Diamir respectively. Each division has its own districts(Total 10 districts in whole region). My tour covered the district Skardu and Shigar. Skardu has some unique features. K2 peak(8611m, Located in Karakoram range and second highest  mountain in the world), Broad Peak (8047m) and few other big mountains are in Skardu. So it has a lot to offer to trekkers and mountaineers. Shigar is famous for its cold desert, an old fort (gives insights to their culture and traditions) and Askole town.

Askole town is last settled town of Skardu. That makes it unique from many aspects. From here, all treks leads to Concordia (the sangam or confluence of Baltoro glacier and Godwin-Austin glacier). After Askole, you enter into the wilderness of Karakoram. Concordia (a name given by English mountaineer Aleister Crowley) is an interesting place. Mountain enthusiasts can camp in concordia if they don’t feel like climbing. Four of the fourteen “eight-thousanders” peaks surrounds this place.It offers short treks to base camps of K2, Broad Peak and few other peaks.

So, you got the jist, why travelling to Skardu has its own perks and a person like me who always wanted to go there, it mattered a lot. Though, I missed Askole and Concordia in this visit but still rest of the tale is worth reading.

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