A Drive to Shigar Fort
After a long journey, we were expecting that we will sleep long in our hotel room but it was not the case. We slept at 3 am and 7 am my eyes were wide open. When I checked on the rest of the lot, they were all up as well. Excitement of finally going to Shigar Fort and valley I believe.
Disappointed visit to Skardu City
At around 10 am after finishing breakfast, we went to Skardu city first. The road conditions from Kachura to Skardu were same. It took us almost 50 minutes to reach Skardu city center. At first, Skardu City was different from my imagination, and it was the same experience when I was visiting Gilgit. A city which i always fascinated since my childhood was entirely normal with nothing much to see or stop for (a bit biased statement may be as this city serves as a gateway to all other beautiful valleys).
Other reason could be the pollution which road works were creating. Air was dusty and the city was busy. We inquired about hiring a 4×4 jeep to go to Deosai next day. We were assuming that we need a jeep for Shigar valley as well and our Toyota Premio won’t go there. It was a surprise when we came to know that road was carpeted. So we didn’t wait and jumped in into our car. Shigar, here we come.
K2 Base Camp and Cold Desert
If K2 base camp is in your travel plans, you will have to go through Shigar Valley. Shigar has so many things to offer. Firstly, it’s cold desert which is considered as world’s highest cold desert. At that high altitude, one can expect anything but a beautiful desert. The white granular sand seemed dancing when strong winds were blowing. It was a spectacular view and something unique to experience. I have heard that from the past few years, there is an international jeep rally holding in cold desert every year.
Rich History of Shigar Fort
Second place, I visited in Shigar Valley was its famous Shigar fort (in balti language it means Fort/Palace on the Rock.). Raja Azam khan of Amacha dynasty build this fort in 17th century. Time took its toll, and the building structure was in bad shape. Aga Khan Cultural Services Pakistan took initiative and restored it. This process began in 1999 and finished in 2004. Serena Hotel manages its hotel and restaurant (this is the only Shigar hotel I know.). Entry fee is 300 rupees per head.
This fort gives a great insight into the lifestyle of people living a few centuries ago, and I considered most of it same as Altit fort (will be covered in my Gilgit Diary). Another worth mentioning attraction is the garden and pool of this fort. A Bardari(pavilion) is also present on this pool. A mosque known as Raja’s mosque is also adjacent to this fort as it is of significant antiquity and artistic value.
There are few other places in Shigar to visit, but we decided not to go there as first we needed some rest. Secondly, we wanted energies left for Deosai (the land of Giants) which was in our plans for the next day.