Thursday, March 31, 2016

Baltistan pictures of highest peaks and Its Districts

Posted By: aftab hussain - 9:16 PM


& Comment

Baltistan also known as Baltiyul. it is a mountainousregion,it is famous is its culture, tradition, civilization. Famous forts also increase the beauty of baltistan. It is situated in the Karakoram mountains just to the south of K2, the world's second highest mountain. It is an extremely mountainous region, with an average altitude of over 3,350 m, Baltistan borders Gilgit Agency in the west, the Xinjiang Autonomous Region(China) in the north, Ladakh in the east, and the Kashmir Valley in the south. Since 1947, the region is divided by the Line of Control, with four of its five disctricts – Skardu, Gangche, Shigar and Kharmang – being controlled by Pakistan and the Kargil district being part of Indian-administered Kashmir. A small portion of Baltistan, including the village ofTurtuk in the Nubra Valley, lies in the Ladakh district of Indian Kashmir. BALTISTAN lies north of Indian-held Kashmir along the Indus River between the Karakoram Mountains and the uninhabited Deosai Plateau. Skardu, its capital, is the starting-point for some of the best trekking and mountaineering in the world. When the Indus River enters Baltistan from Ladakh, it has already travelled 700 kilometers (435 miles) from its source in Tibet. It comes in through a gorge so deep and narrow that no path can follow it. On the northern bank a solid block of mountains, 60 of them over 7,000 meters (21,000 feet) high, from a wall 100 kilometers (60 miles) thick between Baltistan and China. In no other part of the world is there such a large number of high mountains in such a confined space. On the southern bank, the Himalayas and the Deosai Plateau from the barrier with India. It is only from the west that you can enter the isolated valleys of Baltistan. A new road hugging the bank of the Indus leads from the KKH for 170 kilometers (110 miles) to Skardu. Like the rest of Pakistan's Northern Areas, Baltistan is a high-altitude desert. It rises from 1,500 meters (5,000 feet) above sea level to 8.616 meters (28.268 feet) at the summit of K2, the second-highest mountain in the world.The average rainfall here is less than 100 millimeters (four inches) a year, but wherever possible the steep mountainside is cut into tiny terraces and irrigated by a network of small water channels from the glacier streams. In summer the melting snows swell the Indus to a raging torrent sweeps away everything in its path, so only the gentler side streams can be used for irrigation. Every inch of irrigable land is manured and cultivated: startling green oases stand out against the grey sand and rock of the barren mountains, like emeralds in massive settings of tarnished silver. Stacked up the hillsides near the fields are mazes of multistory wood-and-stone cottages honeycombed with narrow unlit alleyways and rough, dark
stairwells. Clustered round the houses are apricot, peach, mulberry and apples trees, all festooned with grape vines. Rows of poplar and willow trees line the irrigation channels and terrace walls, holding the soil in place and providing wind breaks. The trees are also vital for firewood and house building. The quarter million people living in these villages are almost all Shia Muslims, the strictest sect of Islam. They speak Balti, an archaic Tibetan dialect. With its rolling sand dunes and barren mountains, the area round Skardu looks very like Tibet and is, in fact, often called Little Tibet. The valleys are perhaps steeper and deeper than further east; and they are separated not by rolling plateaux but by lofty spurs. Yet there is the same overall impression of rock and sand, harsh white light and biting dry  Natural vegetation is a rare and transitory phenomenon; cultivation is just an artificial patchwork of fieldssuspended from a contour-clinging irrigation duct, or huddled on the triangular surface of a fan of alluvial soil washed down from the mountains. John Keay, When Men and Mountains Meet (1977). In comparison to the gentler, greener valleys of Chitral and Hunza, Baltistan appears bleak and forbidding, and is not to everyone's taste. Yet the people, for centuries almost entirely cut off from their neighbors, are charming and hospitable. Until the airstrip was built at Skardu, they were virtually self-sufficient, growing grain and storing rancid butter (a great delicacy) in the ground for the long snow-bound winter. In the summer they ate fruit, reputedly the best in the Northern Areas. As in so many of Pakistan's northern valleys, there is a vague tradition here that the town of Skardu was founded by Alexander the Great. Although the fort at Skardu is sometimes called Askandria (not unlike Skander, Alexander's Indian name), neither Alexander nor his followers travelled this far east. The area's early history is linked to Gilgit's. Baltistan was known as Great Bolor, Gilgit and upper Chitral as Little Bolor, Baltistan comprised four main kingdoms, of which Skardu was the most important. Of the other three, Khaplu controlled the route along the Shyok Valley; Shigar held the Shigar River and its tributaries; and Rondu guarded the Indus Gorge to the west of Skardu. There were also four lesser principalities: Kiris on the Shyok, and Parkutta, Tolti and Kharmang, which were on the Indus and controlled the path to Leh.   From 1846 Baltistan was ruled by the maharajah of Kashmir, whose cruel Hindu soldiers were hated by the Baltis. The British were only minimally interested in the area, as they considered it of little strategic value. At Independence in 1947, the Balti people, aided by a small number of freedom fighters, including the Gilgit Scouts, rebelled against their Kashmiri rulers became part of Pakistan. The Kashmiris were for a time isolated within the Askandria Fort.
 SKARDU : Perched at a height of 7500 Ft, Skardu is located amidst an impressive landscape, towering mountains, deep gorges, cascading waterfalls, creeping glaciers and quiet lakes. Skardu is in the heart of a towering frontier land. To its north lies the Sinkiang province of China, to the south Kashmir, to the West Gilgit and to the east the district of Ladakh in India. Skardu is the trekker and mountain climbers paradise. Nowhere can you find such a collection of lofty peaks and glaciers .The Baltoro Glacier, the best known, is that spectacular conjunction of Godwin Austen and Baltoro glaciers called Concordialying in the heart of the most heavily glaciated region outside the polar areas. Within a radius of 12 miles rise six peaks over 20,000 Ft.  This is the center of the densest concentration of lofty peaks on earth. Some of these magnificent mountains in the Karakoram range are Masherbrum (25,600 Ft), Mustagh tower (23,690 Ft), K-2 (28,741 Ft), Broad Peak (26,400 Ft), Gasherbrum IV (26,810 Ft), Sia Kangri (24,350 Ft) Golden Throne (23,989 Ft), Mitre Peak (19,718 Ft), Chogolisa (25,110 Ft) and Hidden Peak (26,470 Ft) and many others. 

DEOSAI PLATEAU : Known for the rolling grasslands studded with multicolored flowers, sporadic windstorms, haunting desolation and enthralling wildlife, the seldom visited Deosai Plateau (now a national park & protected area) is located in the southwest-northwest of Skardu, at 4,300 meters (14,000 feet) and is the natural habitat of the Great Himalayan Brown Bear (equal to size of the American Grizzly) & Himalayan Marmots. The undulating slopes of Deosai Plateau domain several summer swamps and a unique replica of Arctic Tundra with many interesting alpine and Arctic plant forms. Most species bloom at the same time - during the brief summer of July and August when, addition to sedges, grasses and dwarf willows, many plants grow in tufts and some form compact cushions.

KHALPLU : Guarding the trade route to Ladakhalong the Shayok River, Khaplu was the largest kingdom in Baltistan. It is located 103 Kilometers (64 Miles) in the South East of Skardu. A dramatic jeep ride of 5 hours proceeds along the meandering Shayok River on a bumpy trail carving its way through the spectacular Oasis of Gol, Kiris, Bara, Ugo and Ghawari all terraced along the steep cliffs and rigid mountain scape. The Shayok River flows into the Indus about 35 Kms (22 miles) from Skardu and the Khaplu road continues on the South bank round the foot of dark grey mountains, their slopes deeply scored by rockfall and landslides. Below the road the sand dunes, curved and fluted by the wind, are reminiscent of Tibet. Khaplu stretches in a wide fan from the base of a semicircular wall of mountain, dropping some 300 meters to river level. The scattered houses set amid terraced fields are connected by paths and irrigation channels. The friendly open villagers always welcome the visitors.  The people of Khaplu belong to the Noor-Bakhsh sect of Shia Muslims but are more liberal and tolerant as compared to the Shias. The women are unveiled, like the Ismailis in Hunza. Dominating the valley from the top of the alluvial fan, the imposing palace of the ex-ruler overlooks the village. Its whitewashed facade, punctuated by irregularly placed little windows, support an extravagant four-tier carved wooden balcony up its center. Built 200 years ago, it has a faintly Tibetan air.  At 2600 meters (8400 feet) Khaplu is cooler than Skardu, which when combined with the friendly character of the people and the superb walks along the irrigation channels makes Khaplu the nicest place to stay in Baltistan.

The region is inhabited principally by the Balti people of Tibetan descent. The vast majority of the population adheres to Islam. The Skardu district has majority Shia community of around 75%, 23% noorbakhshia and 3% other sect, while the Gangche district has majority of Noorbakhsh community of around 95%.
The region has great strategical importance for both Pakistan and India as the Kargil War and Siachen War were fought here.
Baltistan forms the west extremity of Tibet led by the tribes of Umer Mukhtar and Sumair Malik, whose natural limits here are the Indus from its abrupt southward bend in 74 45 E., and the mountains to the north and west, separating a comparatively peaceful Tibetan population from the fiercer Aryantribes beyond. Muslim writers about the 16th century speak of Baltistan as Little Tibet, and of Ladakh as Great Tibet, thus ignoring the really Great Tibet altogether. The Balti call Gilgit a Tibet, and Dr Leitner says that the Chilasi call themselves But or Tibetans; but although these districts may have been overrun by the Tibetans, or have received rulers of that race, the ethnologicalfrontier coincides with the geographical one given. Baltistan is a mass of lofty mountains, the prevailing formation being gneiss. In the north is the Baltoro Glacier, the largest out of the arctic regions, 35 miles (56 km) long, contained between two ridges whose highest peaks to the south are 25,000 ft (7,600 m) and to the north 28,265 ft (8,615 m). The Indus, as in Lower Ladakh, runs in a narrow gorge, widening for nearly 20 m. after receiving the Shyok. The capital,Skardu, a scattered collection of houses, stands here, perched on a rock 7,250 ft (2,210 m). above the sea. The house roofs are flat, occupied only in part by a second storey, the remaining space being devoted to dryingapricots, the chief staple of the main valley, which supports little cultivation. But the rapid slope westwards is seen generally in the vegetation. Birch,planespruce and Pinus wallichiana appear; the fruits are finer, includingpomegranatepearpeachvine and melon, and where irrigation is available, as in the North Shigar, and at thedeltas of the tributary valleys, the crops are more luxuriant and varied.

Area (km²)
Population (1998) [2001 census for Kargil]
Numbers of Estate


14,086 km2

About aftab hussain

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