Welcome to Shigar Valley Gilgit Baltistan Pakistan
- Getting There
- Top Things To Do
- Don′t Miss
- Climate & Weather
The Shigar Valley Gilgit Baltistan Pakistan is known as heart of Baltistan, watered by the Shigar River. The valley has an extremely picturesque landscape, and abounds in fruit such as grapes, peaches, pears, walnuts and apricots.
Shigar is indeed a trekker’s paradise in Gilgit Baltistan Pakistan. The wild and lush green hauntingly beautiful landscapes of this hidden land are often likened to Tibet – Ladhakh used to be known as ‘Little Tibet’ – and are every bit as dramatic and enticing.
Askole is the last settlement in Shigar Valley and valley is 170km long from Skardu to Askole and is the gateway to four of the world’s fourteen highest peaks known as Eight-thousands (above 8,000m). This valley is the gateway of high mountains of the world. This includes more than 720 peaks rising above 6,000 metres, including more than 160 rising above 7,000 metres, and five towering above 8,000 metres topped by the second highest peak of the world – the savage Chogori or K2 (8,611-M).
Expeditions to the following peaks are launched from Askole: K2, 2nd(8611m), Gasherbrum I, 11th, ( 8,080m), Broad Peak, 12th (8,047m), Gasherbrum II, 13th (8,035m), Gasherbrum III, (7,946m), Gasherbrum IV, 17th (7,932m), Masherbrum (K1), 22nd (7,821m), Chogolisa, 36th (7,665m), Muztagh Tower, (7,273m), Snow Dome, (7,160m), Biarchedi, (6,781m), Trango Towers, (6,363m), Mitre Peak, 6,010m highest of the world.
Surrounded by greenery and lakes, this valley is one of the most attractive tourist spots. Small villages and towns inside Shigar make the location even more attractive and largest settlement in the valley.
Shigar Valley is the incarnation of cultural heritage preservation and contains some of the unbelievable conservations that we have never seen before. The perfect tone of the clouds, the huge mountains and the tranquility makes the place a heavenly abode.
Shigar Valley is truly the heart of Baltistan. The natural beauty and the cultural heritage is in abundance to be explored.
The town of Shigar is the largest settlement in valley. Even though the Shigar Valley is a remote and largely inaccessible place, there are several villages in the valley. Askole is the last settlement in the Shigar Valley, which is still far from the high mountains.
The entrance to the Shigar Valley is reached via Skardu, which is accessible by 22 hour drive along the Karakoram Highway from the capital of Pakistan, Islamabad; Or a 6 hours drive from Gilgit or alternatively by an easy 45 minutes plane flight from Islamabad to Skardu.
The Shigar Fort:
The Fort on Rock is an old fort of Baltistan and Pakistan located in the town of Shigar. It was built in the 17th century by the Raja of Amacha Dynasty of Shigar. The fort has been restored. After restoration, the Fort was converted to a museum and hotel.
The Old Fort-Palace
The original Fong-Khar was founded on top of a platform which rises 5m from the ground and partly surrounds a gigantic cone-shaped rock (thus, the origins of the name, Fong-Khar, or “Palace on the Rock”). Although the Old Fort-Palace as it is now restored appears to be one structure, upon closer examination, it is actually a collection of three separate buildings, built adjacent to each other in different times and with different engineering and workmanship. During the restoration of the site, these three structures were identified as Modules I, II, and III.
Module I is the oldest part of the original structure estimated as being 400 years old. It can easily be interpreted as a single, clearly conceived and executed structure, with a distinct and noble architectural expression. Original usage of this structure can be identified through its sequence of rooms including entrance hall, grand audience hall, retiring rooms for the ruler, and kitchen.
Module II is estimated to have been constructed approximately 100 years after the original Fong-Khar, with Module III following another 150 years later. Both Modules II and III were composed of residential rooms for the royal family, some more elaborate than others.
Built in the 17th century by the Raja’s of Baltistan, this structure is reflection of a typical Baltistan palace. The beautifully crafted wooden carvings and stone work is conserved and shows the personification of its artist. Today, this palace after renovation and necessary patch-work gives the looks of a modern palace yet retains its original beauty. The new structure offers a restaurant, rooms and beautiful gardens. This modification has allowed the tourists to enjoy the blend of modern and traditional ambience at the palace.
The building to the south of the Old Fort-Palace is now known as Old House. Its lower floor had accommodated a horse stable, a cattle pen, and storage for animal feed. It appears to have existed as the royal stable for as long as Fong-Khar itself. The upper floor of this structure was added much later by the raja as new residential accommodation when the Old Fort-Palace was abandoned in the middle of the 20th century.
Amacha Garden and Baradari
It is not known when this decorative square pool – the central feature of the garden – was built, or what its initial appearance was like. Early in the 20th century, a pavilion was built on the central platform of the pool by Raja Muhammad Adam Khan, the father of the present Raja Muhammad Ali Saba. At the time of the takeover of the site by the conservation team, exquisitely carved marble bases that would have supported free-standing and attached columns could still be found on the central platform. The artistic quality of these marble bases approaches the perfection of Kashmiri buildings of the high Mughal style. Knowing that nothing of a quality approaching that of these column bases was built anywhere else in Shigar at the time the pavilion was built in the early 20th century, one can deduce that the column bases have a provenance in an earlier building.
The Raja’s Mosque
The Raja’s public mosque is a handsome and ornate building adjacent to the entrance to the complex and is of significant antiquity and artistic value. It is similar in form and ornament to other mosques in the Shigar area: a single four-bayed room with a central column support and a veranda on the eastern side.
The Amburik Masjidis located in Shigar, Baltistan built by Mir Sayyid Ali Hamadani It is one of the oldest mosque in Baltistan and Pakistan. It is Baltistan’s most famous landmark and a major tourist attraction. UNESCO has awarded culture award for this mosque.
The Amburiq Mosque represents the first Islamic monument which was built by Iranian craftsmen in the 14th century and restored in August 2000 using the modern preservation techniques. This mosque is richly crafted with wood work and reflects the traditional Tibetan and Kashmiri culture. The artist has paid much attention towards building the roof and tower on top. Guarded by strong wooden walls, the mosque has restored its spirituality.
Shigar is indeed a trekker’s paradise in North Pakistan. In case adventure excites you then you must take up any of the many treks offered from Shigar valley, from easy to strenuous level.
is another popular adventure you may indulge in at the Polo ground while you travel of Shigar in Baltistan, Pakistan. Polo matches and competitions are regularly held in Shigar.
Then there is the ravishing adventure sport of river rafting you may try in the Shigar River. The period from the month of July to September is ideal for river rafting in Shigar.
Shigar also offers mountain biking to the daring on the second highest motor able road in the world. The adventure in mountain biking from Shigar lies in the most hostile terrains. The entire stretch of Shigar valley is an adventure for mountain bikers who have the opportunity to travel across the majestic Shigar valley of Basha and Braldo. To the daring adventurers Shigar-road rewards spectacular and picturesque landscapes.
For regular shopping Shigar have several shops. For gift items and souvenirs you may check out the Zehra Mohra Place in the old town, Fong Khar and some shops behind the Main Bazaar road.
Shigar valley has ample opportunities for angling in Jarbaso lake as well as on Shigar river.
- Hiking up the famous Shigar Rock, Khari Dong, at the top of which sits the ruins of Khari Dong, the first ancient Fort dating back to the 11th century
- Panormic view of Shigar from Khari Dong
- Viewing the intricately carved Khanqa-e-Moallah and Buddhist ruins, including monastery foundations and rock inscriptions from as early as the 5th century.
- Interpretive walks through the nearby villages to learn about local culture and flora & fauna.
There are a number of limited accommodation facilities ranging from basic to three star.
Very few restaurants offering locally sourced food.