OverviewThe Skardu is the capital city of Baltistan. Its real attraction is as gateway to the grandest sight in all nature, Concordia, the amphitheater of the ten of the world’s thirty greatest mountains, the adjacent glaciers and peak, and its closeness to Lake Satpara, one of the hidden pearls of Baltistan.
At 2314 meters and due to confluence of the Indus and Shigar rivers, this is the capital town of the Baltistan. It has a pleasant climate has been the capital for a long time. In summer dusty winds frequently arise during the afternoon and continue till evening. Scattered among the apricots trees, poplars, willows and bushes are the residences, Government Offices, Banks, hospital, mosques, places, shops, markets and hotels. The shops and markets sales the food items, camping equipments, fur toques, Karakul fez, turbans and flowing togas of rough wool worn by the local inhabitants. Mountaineering and Trekking parties arrive here, stay for a short period and leave as quickly as possible for the mountains. The airport is situated 16 kilometer south-west of the Skardu. The most important monuments in the region is the rock carving of Buddha, some one and half kilometer south on the road to Satpara. It dates back to the 10th century AD. The entire surface of the rock, 8 meter high and some 5 meter wide, is carved with great imagination and skill. At 15th century aqueduct located in the town is an interesting feature to see. The fort of Kharpochu, which stands high up on the rock of Skardu, overlooks the streets of the town. Hotels for tourist are available, as there are many hotels. International/domestic telephone calls are available. The internet facilities are also available.
Before departure to the mountains, climbing and trekking expedition have to stay Skardu for one or two days for final preparation and purchase of food material, meat, kerosene oil, petrol etc. There is many shops where one can buy the used climbing and trekking equipment/gears. Here, One can also hire climbing and trekking equipment/gears on rental basis too.
At Skardu, the Climbing and trekking expeditions have to hire jeeps for reaching at the starting point of trekking. There are many transporters who are providing jeeps to the expedition and trekking teams.
Getting ThereFrom Islamabad most of the Climbing expedition teams, trekking parties and other visitors like to travel on Karakoram Highway. Not until 1978, with the completion of the 170 kilometers long Gilgit-Skardu Road, did Baltistan have any permanent access to the rest of the world, even in 1980s the citizens retained their self-sufficiency and independence, aloof from the twentieth century and its wonders. So formidable in the scale of its colour and texture, savagery and desolation is the Indus gorge out of Skardu that not even Balti’s ventured to cross it. The road to Skardu is one of the most dramatic roads in the world, following the narrow, dark, bleak, and stupendously high ravine of the Indus for mile after mile. Never a blade of gross relieves the monotony of the hostile rock. Only the jade green river, tumbling and foaming in stretches of white water, relieves the grey, brown, sere, and unrelenting walls of boulders- strewn rock, and cliffs. Like its larger sister, the Karakoram Highway, it represents one of the world’s major feats of civil engineering construction and already Skardu, long a Mecca for the high altitude mountaineers, have become a major tourist resort as the coaches, cars, and jeeps flood down the road across more than 20 bridges to the town.
One can reach Skardu from Islamabad by air too. The Pakistan International Airlines operate a daily flight for Skardu, subject to clear weather conditions. Within fifteen minutes of taking off from the Islamabad Airport, in PIA scheduled flight, we will be in a virgin world snaking through mountain passes and following emerald ribbons of rivers, the plane will be often lower than the level of the treacherous road. Every turn will brought a breathtaking new vista, and as we will leave habitation behind, we will enter a forest of peaks and nature of such staggering perfection that it flooded one simultaneously with a soaring joy and a stark realization of the absolute insignificance of man. Leaving the plain, the most immediate impression is that of disorientation. The valley and the rock and the desert plains have no likeness to any other landscape, as if the Sahara had been dropped down between massive walls of rock. There are no perspectives. So complete is the circle of mountains everything narrow and the eye is ever confused. Lying within this ring of 5000 meters high mountains that glimmer through the haze in varying shades of purple, grey, and ochre, the jade river Indus snakes sinuously between the ribboned, wind-blown sand dunes close beneath a 200 feet high island of massive rock. It’s here that Skardu straggles along the plateau.
Red TapeSkardu is located in a specified open zone and no climbing and trekking permit is required from Ministry of Tourism Islamabad. However for climbing and Trekking in specified restricted areas a climbing and trekking permit and permission from Ministry of Tourism Islamabad is required.
CampingAt Skardu, there is many hotels and motels. You can stay in a hotel or a Motel according to your needs and budget. All the hotels provides the necessary facilities, like, food, hot/cold running water, telephobe, car parking, telephone and internet facilitates, even camping too. Here are some hotels, where you can make a stay:
1- Masherbrum Inn
2- K2 Motel
3- Concordia Hotel
4- Indus View Hotel
7- Pioneer Hotel