Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Skardu Pakistan

Skardu Pakistan

Skardu (Urdu: سکردو, Hindi: स्कर्दू, Balti: སྐརདུ་་ from Tibetan (Balti): skar rdo སྐར་རྡོ་ - "star stone, meteorite"), is the main town of the region Baltistan and the capital of Skardu District, one of the districts making up Pakistan's Gilgit Baltistan.
Skardu is located in the 10 km wide by 40 km long Skardu Valley, at the confluence of the Indus river (flowing from near Kailash in Tibet and through neighbouring Ladakh before reaching Baltistan) and the Shigar River. Skardu is situated at an altitude of nearly 2,500 m (8,200 ft). The town is surrounded by grey-brown coloured mountains, which hide the 8,000 metre peaks of the nearby Karakoram range.






























Tourism, trekking and mountain expedition base

Skardu, along with Gilgit, are the two major tourism, trekking and expedition hubs in Pakistan-administered Kashmir. The mountainous terrain of the region, including four of the world's fourteen Eight-thousander peaks (8,000 m and above), attracts the attention of tourists, trekkers and mountaineers from around the world. The main tourist season is from April to October; outside this time, the area can be cut off for extended periods by the snowy, freezing winter weather.
Accessible from Skardu by road, the nearby Askole and Hushe Valleys are the main gateways to the snow covered 8,000 m peaks including K2, the Gasherbrums, Broad Peak and the Trango Towers, and also to the huge glaciers of Baltoro, Biafo and Trango. This makes Skardu the main tourist and mountaineering base in the area, which has led to the development of a reasonably extensive tourist infrastructure including shops and hotels. However, the popularity of the region results in high prices, especially during the main trekking season.
Treks to the Deosai Plains, the second highest in the world (at 4,100 m or 13,500 feet) after the Chang Tang in Tibet, either start from or end at Skardu. In local Balti language, Deosai is called Byarsa, meaning 'summer place'. With an area of approximately 3,000 square kilometres, the plains extend all the way to Ladakh and provide habitat for snow leopards, ibex, Tibetan brown bears and wild horses.
SATPARA DAM PROJECT on the Satpara Lake:- is a project inagaurated in 2002 and due to be completed by December 2010. It is 7 km away from Skardu city and its altitude is 8,700 feet (2,700 m) moreover it will also pond the water about 90,000 acre feet (110,000,000 m3). The main source of water is melting ice of the Deosai plains during the summer season.
It is a multipurpose project, which will produce 13 Megawatts hydro generation, irrigate 15,000 acres (61 km2) of land and also provide 13 cusecis drinking water daily to Skardu city.
On 29 August 2009, the Gilgit-Baltistan Empowerment and Self-Governance Order 2009, was passed by the Pakistani cabinet and later signed by the President Asif Ali Zardari. It granted self-rule to the people of the former Northern Areas, now renamed "Gilgit-Baltistan," by creating, among other things, an elected legislative assembly.On the other hand there has been criticism and opposition to this move by Pakistan inside Pakistan, India , and the Gilgit-Baltistan region itself.
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Lakes near Skardu

 

There are two Kachura Lakes—the less well known Upper Kachura lake and the more famous Lower Kachura Lake, better known as Shangrila Lake. Lower Katsura lake is home to the Shangrila Resort hotel complex (possibly the reason for the lake's alternative name), built in a Chinese style and another popular destination for tourists in Pakistan. The resort has a unique style of restaurant, set up inside the fuselage of an aircraft that crashed nearby. Kachura lake 18m from Skardu. Kachura Lake is famous for its deep blue waters. There are numerous places to visit and things to do near Kachura Lake, situated near Skardu in the northern area.

[edit] Satpara Lake

Sadpara Lake is Skardu Valley's main lake, supplying water for Skardu town, and reputedly one of the most picturesque lakes in Pakistan. In 2002, the Government of Pakistan decided to build a dam on the Satpara Lake [2] allocating Rs. 600 million ($10 million) to the Satpara Dam project, two years later in 2004.[2] Progress on the project has, however, been slow.[3] Satpara Lake is 6 miles (9.7 km) from Skardu. Satpara Lake is one of the largest fresh water lakes in the country offering trout fishing, and row boating. This lake is also responsible for the drinking water that is supplied in Skardu. Satpara Lake is a beautiful lake which is situated near Deosai the second highest plain area in the world.
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Weather and climate

The climate of Skardu during the summer is moderated by its mountain setting and the intense heat of lowland Pakistan does not reach here. The mountains also block out the summer monsoon and summer rainfall is thus quite low. However, these mountains result in very severe winter weather. During the April to October tourist season, temperatures vary between a maximum of 27 °C and a minimum (in October) 8 °C. However, temperatures can drop to below -10 °C in the December-to-January midwinter period. The lowest temperature of the year can reach -25 °C
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The town and the local people

The town has developed along the main road passing through it and to either side of this road is situated the New Bazaar (Naya Bazaar), with hundreds of shops offer almost everything (trekking supplies, souvenirs, local goods, etc.). To the west one finds Yadgar Chowk (with local monument) and from there, the quarter behind Naya Bazaar, to the right hand side is the older Purana Bazaar. Travelling west from Naya Bazaar is a polo ground and next to that, Kazmi Bazaar.
Skardu appears remote, dusty town at first glance, but the mixture of people here make it colourful and ethnically diverse. The crowded streets are mainly populated by Balti Tibetans and many of the local neighbourhoods (mohallahs) have names that reflect this too (i.e. Khache-drong, Khar-drong, Olding, Kushu-bagh, Pakora, Thsethang, Sher-thang, Nagholi-spang etc.). Due to this strong presence, Skardu has sometimes been referred to as the little Tibet of Pakistan.
However, many other ethnic groups are present in Skardu including Shins, Pashtuns, Punjabis, Hunzakuts and even Uyghur, due to the close proximity of Baltistan to the respective regions. Since the creation of Pakistan people of various ethnicities from various regions of Pakistan have emigrated here.
All the above ethnic groups are devout Muslims. This includes the Balti-Tibetans, who converted from Tibetan Buddhism in the 16th century (the only sizeable group of Tibetans to have undergone such a conversion). Shia Islam has a strong presence in Skardu.
Famous personalities of Skardu valley. Prof. Ghulam Hussain Saleem, present member Gilgit-Baltistan Council also a very high calibre religious scholar, S.Mehdi Shah, present chief minister of Baltistan Province. Sheikh Nisar of Gamba. Fida Mohamad Nashad of Hussain Abad. Wazir Shakeel Agha of Ali Abad. Syed Ahmad Ali Shah of Gamba.
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