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A stepe into little Ladakh gateway to the mountain throne
Itinerary:Islamabad - Skardu - Khaplu - Hushe - Khaplu - Shiger - Skardu - Astore - Rama - Astore - Gilgit - Karimabad (Hunza)
Duration:10 days / 9 nights
Itinerary of «A stepe into little Ladakh gateway to the mountain throne»Day 01: Arrive Islamabad – Flt
meeting on arrival at Benazir International Airport, assistance and transfer to Hotel Serena
afternoon we shall proceed on sightseeing tour of Islamabad starting with a visit to Folk Heritage Museum – this museum houses a rich ethnic collection from all parts of Pakistan and has unique and richest folk musical collection in the world. Later drive to Shakerparian view point for a birds eye view of Islamabad. Afterwards drive down through rose and jasmine gardens drive past some important landmarks of architectural interest. We shall then visit one of the oldest living village of Saidpur retaining the old habitation Islamabad once had. Continue to Faisal mosque with its Turkish architecture was named after late King Faisal of Saudi Arabia. Afterwards we shall visit Islamabad History Museum housing some very important archaeological and architectural finds from various parts of Pakistan
Day 02: Islamabad/Skardu – Flt
We shall take the morning flight to Skardu – this is a stunning experience on a clear day and regarded as one of the most interesting mountain flight. We shall see panoramic views of numerous mountains of which Nanga Parbat (8125m) is at touching distance from you window!
The mountain views are superb on both sides of the widows is a ‘scenic shock’ till the landing at Skardu airport surrounded by high altitude desert. On arrival we shall transfer to our Hotel One
Soon afterwards we shall depart for sightseeing tour of Skardu town our first visit will be Satpara Village to see the rock carved Buddha image on a huge boulder. Later we shall visit Lake Satpara and on return visit Skardu town old bazar
Day 03: Skardu/Khaplu – 132 kms
morning we shall depart for Kahplu – we shall follow the mighty Indus river which rises in the vicinity of Lake Mansarowar in Tibetan Plateau gaining momentum carrying side streams and rivers completing a long journey of 2880 kms before draining into the Arabia Sea near Karachi.
We shall see the confluence of Indus flowing down from Ladakh into Olding valley to join Shyok river that rises from Nubra valley. We shall then follow Shyok river with short photo stops enroute at the villages
on arrival we shall transfer to Serena Khaplu Fort Residence
afterwards visit Chanqchen Khanqa or monastery – this is an interesting wood carved monastery that dates to several hundred years which was once a Buddhist temple. The walk through the village is a pleasant experience talking with local folk, seeing their daily life and sharing views with them.
The people of Khaplu are proud of their village and boast of peace and tranquility.
Khaplu Fort Residence is charming place to stay – this was an old fort and the residence of the Raja of Khaplu for over five hundred years. The construction style is typical Ladakhi architecture with lot Kashmiri lattice work in wood. Agha Khan Heritage committee has worked on restoring and converting this into a guest house. The furniture and bedding goes with local ambience and mingles with local traditions. The fortress has wonderful small gardens a feel of bungalow and nice art restaurant with old photos. We can also visit some preserved section of the household now converted into museum rooms
Day 04: Khaplu/Hushe/Khaplu – 40+40 kms
Today we shall make excursion in the backyard of the “Mountain Throne” to the village of Hushe which is quite close to Concordia and Godwin Austin, glacial system, just a range apart!!
This will be very interesting photogenic day – we shall discover people, the villages and towering mountains. Our first stop will be at the village of Machlu – for sure we shall have a nice walk through the village talking to local folks, photograph the wonderful village perched on a hillside.
After a warm up tea stop we shall continue on the exciting jeep road to Hushe – enroute we may see shepherds of people gathering wood and dry bushes as this their fire wood.
While driving deeper into the valley we shall see views of Masherbrum peak(7821m) some other high ranges on our right side
On arrival we shall drive to the Refugio Gust House – later walk through the village till we are invited a nice meal – experience the local bread and other delicacies
we shall then drive back with the falling sun the mountains is another experience of a mountain photography
Day 05: Khaplu
Free day to explore the village – you can have nice walks through out the village
People of Khaplu are very hospitable and very friendly – it will be wonderful to stop at a mill
house or visit a local house
Day 06: Khaplu/Shiger – 145 kms
Morning depart for Shiger – we retrace our drive very close to Skardu then taking northwards crossing an interesting hanging bridge to Shiger valley – this is infact the gateway to the mountains and an essential stop before trekking to the high glaciated region. Shiger village feature’s in all the mountaineering reports since the first time climbers vowed to explore this challenging route. After the bridge we shall cross the high altitude desert which is infact the residue of ages of sand accumulation from River Indus. We shall make short stops for occasional photography till we arrive at Shiger village
on arrival transfer to another theme accommodation of Serena Shiger Fort guest house – lovely setting and laborious renovation has rejuvenated this as a life time staying experience.
After lunch we shall walk around the village visit the oldest mosque(khanqa)
Day 07: Shiger/Skardu – 39 kms
We shall spend the whole morning exploring the Shiger village
After lunch depart for Skardu and on arrival transfer to Hotel One
Day 08: Skardu/Astore/Rama – 158 kms
We shall start on an another fascinating day leaving Skardu into Sadpara valley driving to Deosai plateau at 4112 m is a National Park, spread out in 3000 square kms. This is among the highest plateaus in the world rich in flora and fauna. We may see an occasional site of brown bear while the running marmots is a common sight. Pliny the Elder citing Herodotus mentions about ‘gold digging ants’ found in the eastern parts of Persian Empire. Herodotus possible confused it with the Himalayan Marmots while digging their burrows bring up sand which contains ‘gold dust’ – this is confirmed by the locals living in the plains that they do often find gold particles from the dirt excavated by the marmots. Herodotus only cited travelers version.
On a clear day we can see a meek sight of K-2 from a vintage point in the plains
Afterwards drive down into the beautiful Astore valley – we are at the touching distance of Indian held Kashmir. On arrival at Astore we shall continue to Rama and transfer to PTDC motel
an early arrival is good opportunity to see views of Nanga Parbat (8125m)
Dardistan – the land of the Shins
It was Herodotus, the Greek Historian who described the word Dradae for the people living in the upper Indus valley and later in our times Dr Leitner, the languages expert uses this term frequently while studying various languages in the upper Indus valleys.
He uses the term Dardistan for a large region into Kashmir in the south, Hunza valley in the north, the upper Indus valley, upper Swat valley and the mountainous region of Kafiristan. The people living in this region are termed. The tribes living in these valley speak Indo-Aryan or Indo-Iranian group of languages and dialects and of these the largest group is called Shins who are widely spread into the valleys along upper Indus river and Gilgit river and Hunza river valleys.
This region is so interesting that in a small area many languages and dialects are spoken which one cannot find anywhere else. It is not known when these tribes got settled into these parts but could be the early spill over of the Aryan migrations who could have got disturbed by inter-tribal wars and took refuge into the mountainous region.
Historically speaking we can say that in the first bronze age, some Scythian warring groups settled in some parts as it is conjectured from the rock drawings spread over and with small settlement signs in Hudor village. With the passage of time these tribes got settled and their warring traits came to an end with the development work and the road works has greatly improved the life style of the people. They live in the picturesque valleys under the shadow of high mountains. In the late seventies construction of Karakorum Highway has greatly influenced the development of the whole region which continues till today.
Day 09: Rama/Astore/Gilgit – 125 kms
morning depart for Gilgit – we shall drive through the narrow valley which opens into open plain of Bunji with distant views mountains around. We shall continue to cross the handing bridge to join the Karakoram Highway for a much faster drive to Gilgit. We shall make few stops enroute first being at Thaliche to view the big mass of Nanga Parbat(8125m) then we shall see in the east Haramosh range (7409m) and Rakaposhi (7766m) in the northern direction.
Later continue passing through Jaglot making a stop to see the historic bridge on the Indus river – this used to be the only link with Gilgit valley and Kashmir and was venue of flight by the Dogra soldiers as they were forced to run from Gilgit to Kashmir in 1948 war of independence of Kashmir.
The bridge was burnt to avoid any Dogra force crossing however the local resistance force made the Kashmiri Dogra army run for life and pushed them out towards Srinagar through Astore valley.
The bridge marks a very interesting point which must have been a traditional crossing point since bronze age as there are many rock drawings in the vicinity.
Our next stop will be at the confluence of Indus and Gilgit river which is separated by two colored water. This is also a marked point where the continental plates collide.
On arrival in Gilgit transfer to Hotel Serena, Gilgit.
Day 10: Gilgit/Karimabad (Hunza) – 110 kms
morning depart for Hunza and Nagar valleys as we drive up on the Karakoram Highway into the highest mountain zone. We shall follow the Hunza river with interesting villages all along the drive till we reach Hunza. Hunza and Nagar were autonomous states with their independent ruler called ‘Mir’. Both the states were at war with each other till the civilization reached them
Details of itinerary & map
Tour cost in USDPrice available on request.
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