Skardu

Paths to some of the worldā€™s highest mountains that includes K2, K3, and Gasherbrum; all are connected through this valley.

TheĀ Skardu Valley, at the confluence of theĀ IndusĀ andĀ Shigar Rivers, is 10 kilometres (6 miles) wide by 40 kilometres (25 miles) long. Active erosion in the nearbyĀ Karakoram Mountains has resulted in enormous deposits of sediment throughout the Skardu valley.Ā Glaciers from the Indus and Shigar valleys broadened the Skardu valley between 3.2 million years ago up to theĀ HoloceneĀ approximately 11,700 years ago

These towering mountains attract thousands of climbers from all over the world each year; some have even lost their lives in efforts to summit these steep climbs.

After Jaglot on the Karakoram Highway, a narrow road turns towards Skardu. During the seven-hour journey, one is greeted with several streams, springs, and the hospitality of the local people.

Soon after crossing the old wooden bridge built over the River Indus, one reaches Shangrila. This is where Arif Aslam, Chairman of Shangrila Resorts, has constructed a beautiful world amidst the surreal mountains.

Higher up is Kachhura Village, where Kachhura Lakeā€™s crystal clear water is surrounded by old dramatic trees.

Watching the sun rise behind the mountains is a captivating sight. This was the first time, I had seen such a serene sunrise over Indus.

The Indus River changes during different seasons; turquoise waters at the banks during winters and various shades of grey during summers.

According to Tibetan myths, the Indus gushes from the mouth of a lion, thatā€™s why it is also known as ā€˜Sher Daryaā€™ (Lion River).

Then thereā€™s Kharpocho Fort looking down the hills, this construction is 600 years old. It was built by Balti ruler Ali Sher Khan Anchan.

Once considered unconquerable, this fort is now battling for survival against time. But even through the shambles, Kharpocho still retains its beauty. The breathless sight of the valley from the fort on a full moon night is a view that is hard to miss.

The sand dunes in Katpana village, also known as cold desert, are a wonder in itself. Strong winds shift the dunes as quickly as nomads. At this high altitude and cold region, this desert holds strange a attraction.

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