About GB

Brief Introduction

Map of Gilgit Baltistan
Gilgit-Baltistan is a territory of Pakistan, which was formerly known as the Northern Areas. It is the northernmost political entity within the Pakistani-controlled part of the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir. It borders Pakistan's Khyber Pukhtunkhwa province to the west, Afghanistan's Wakhan Corridor to the north, China to the northeast, the Pakistani-administered state of Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK) to the south, and the Indian-administered state of Jammu and Kashmir to the southeast. The territory became a single administrative unit in 1970 under the name "Northern Areas" and was formed by the amalgamation of the Gilgit Agency, the Baltistan District of the Ladakh Wazarat, and the states of Hunza and Nagar. With its administrative center at the town of Gilgit, Gilgit-Baltistan covers an area of 72,971 km² (28,174 mi²). At the last census (1998), the population of Gilgit-Baltistan was 870,347 while estimated population in 2010 was 1109685 with 2.5 percent increase, recorded by planning and development department of Gilgit Baltistan government. Approximately 86 percent of the population was rural and 14 percent urban.


Gilgit is the capital city of the Gilgit Baltistan. Its ancient name was Sargin, later to be known as Gilgit, and it is still called Gilgit or Sargin-Gilgit by local people. Gilgit has an area of 38,000 square kilometres.


Urdu is the lingua franca of the region, understood by most male inhabitants. The Shina language (with several dialects) is the language of 40% of the population, spoken mainly in Gilgit, throughout Diamer, and in some parts of Ghizer. The Balti dialect, a sub-dialect of Ladakhi and part of Tibetan language group, is spoken by the entire population of Baltistan. Burushaski is an isolated language spoken in Hunza, Nagar, Yasin, in some parts of Gilgit and in some villages of Punial. Minor languages spoken in the region include Wakhi, spoken in upper Hunza, and in some villages in Ghizer, and Khowar, spoken in some villages of Ghizer.  Another interesting language is Domaki, spoken by the musician clans in the region. A small minority of people also speak Pashto.

Subdivisions and Districts

Gilgit-Baltistan is administratively divided into two divisions which, in turn, are divided into seven districts,including the two Baltistan districts of Skardu and Ghanche, and the five Gilgit districts of Gilgit, Ghizer, Diamer, Astore and Hunza-Nagar. The main political centres are the towns of Gilgit and Skardu.

Ghizar district

The district is bounded by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on three sides (north, west, and south west), by Diamer district in the south and southeast, and by Gilgit district in the east. A small strip of the district is sandwiched between the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the Wakhan Corridor of (Afghanistan). The capital of the district is Gahkuch.

Gilgit district

The district is bounded by the Ghizar District in the North, Hunza Nagar District in the west and north west, Skardu district in the south and southeast. The capital of the district is Gilgit town.

Huna Nagar District

The district is bounded by Gilghit district in the west, Wakhan Corridor of (Afghanistan) in the north, Xinjiang (China) in the north and northeast. It was carved out of Gilgit District in 2010. The capital of the district is Ali Abad.

Diamer District

The district is where the Karakoram Highway enters Gilgit-Baltistan from the NWFP. The capital of the district is Chilas. The district is bounded by Astore district in the east, the NWFP in the south, Ghizar district in the north and northwest, and Gilgit district in the north.

Astore district

The Astore district was carved out of Diamer district in 2004. The capital of the district is Gorikot. The district is bounded by the Diamir district in the west and the Skardu District in the east.

Skardu district

The capital of the district is Skardu town. Skardu was part of Ladakh before the partition of Kashmir in 1948.

Ghanche district

The capital of the district is Khaplu. This is the coldest place within Pakistan also called the "Third Pole" with temperatures reaching below -20 °C in the winter.


The climate of Gilgit-Baltistan varies from region to region, surrounding mountain ranges creates sharp variations in weather. The eastern part has the moist zone of the western Himalayas, but going toward Karakoram and Hindu Kush the climate dries considerably.

There are towns like Gilgit and Chilas that are very hot during the day in summer, yet cold at night, and valleys like Astore, Khaplu, Yasin, Hunza, and Nagar where the temperatures are cold even in summer.


Gilgi-Baltistan is home to five of the "eight-thousanders" and to more than fifty peaks above 7000 meters. Gilgit and Skardu are the two main hubs for expeditions to those mountains. Amongst the highest mountains are K2 (Mount Godwin-Austen) and Nanga Parbat, the latter being one of the most feared mountains in the world.

The Himalaya-Panorama Mint: Photo by alpenverein-freistadt.at

In 1856, Thomas George Montgomerie, a British Royal Engineers lieutenant and a member of the Great Trigonometric Survey of India, sighted a group of high peaks in the Karakoram from more than 200 km away. He named five of these peaks K1, K2, K3, K4 and K5 where the K denotes Karakoram. Today, K1 is known as Masherbrum, K3 as Broad Peak, K4 as Gasherbrum II and K5 as Gasherbrum I. Only K2, the second highest mountain in the world, has kept Montgomerie's name.

K2(second highest peak)--8,611 metres (28,251 ft)-- part of the Karakoram Range, located on the border between the Taxkorgan Tajik Autonomous County of Xinjiang, China and Gilgit. It was first successfully climbed by Italian pair Achille Compagnoni and Lino Lacedelli

Nanga Parbat (Known as the "Killer Mountain,"9th highest )--8,126 metres (26,660 ft)-- lies just south of the Indus River in the Astore District.

Gasherbrum I(11th  highest)--8080 metres (29,509 ft)--lies in the Karakoram range of the Himalaya on the border of the Chinese Shaksgam Valley and the Gilgit-Baltistan.

Broad Peak(12th highest)--8047 metres (26,400 ft)

Gasherbrum II(13th highest)--8035 metres (26,360 ft)--

Gasherbrum III--7,952 metres (26,089 ft)

Gasherbrum IV--7,952 metres (26,089 ft)

Masherbrum(22nd highest)--7,821 metres

Rakaposhi(27th highest peak)--7,788 metres

Gasherbrum V--7,147 metres (23,448 ft)

Gasherbrum VII—6,979 metres (22,897 ft)

Mountain Ranges

The region is home to some of the world's highest mountain ranges—the main ranges are the Karakoram and the western Himalayas. The Pamir mountains are to the north, and the Hindu Kush lies to the west


Three of the world's longest glaciers outside the polar regions are found in Gilgit-Baltistan — the Biafo Glacier, the Baltoro Glacier, and the Batura Glacier.

Biafo Glacier: The Biafo Glacier is a 63 km (39 mi) long glacier in the Karakoram Mountains which meets the 49 km (30 mi) long Hispar Glacier at an altitude of 5,128 m (16,824 ft) at Hispar La (Pass) to create the world's longest glacial system outside the polar regions. This highway of ice connects two ancient mountain kingdoms, Nagar in the west with Baltistan in the east. The Biafo Glacier is the world's third longest glacier outside of the polar regions, second only to the 70 km (43 mi) Siachen Glacier Tajikistan's 77 km (48 mi) long Fedchenko Glacier.

Baltoro Glacier: The Baltoro Glacier, at 62 kilometers long. It is located in Baltistan, and runs through part of the Karakoram mountain range. The glacier gives rise to the Shigar River. The glacier can be approached via Skardu. is called Concordia and is one of the most favorite spots for trekking in Pakistan since it provides excellent views of four of the five eight-thousanders in Pakistan.

Batura Glacier: Batura Glacier (57 km (35 mi) long) lies in Batura Valley Passu in Gojal region, just north of Batura (7,795 m (25,574 ft)) and Passu (7,500 m (24,600 ft)) massifs. It flows west to east. The lower portions can be described as a grey sea of rocks and gravelly moraine, bordered by a few summer villages and pastures with herds of sheep, goats, cows and yaks and where roses and juniper trees are common.

Abruzzi Glacier: glacier north of the Baltoro Kangri peak. The glacier joins the Baltoro Glacier. It provides superb views of K2.

Biarchedi Glacier: The Biarchedi Glacier is located on the northeast of Biarchedi Peak. It flows north into the Baltoro Glacier.

Godwin-Austen Glacier: The Godwin-Austen Glacier is located near K2.

Other Glaciers

• Gondogoro Glacier

• Hainablak Glacier

• Hispar Glacier

• Hussaini Glacier

• Lonak Glacier

• Miar Glacier

• Panmah Glacier

• Passu Glacier

• Rupal Glacier

• Sachiokuh Glacier

• Sarpo Laggo Glacier

• Shaigri Glacier

• Shandar Glacier

• Shani Glacier

• Shireen Maidan Glacier

• Shishpar Glacier

• Shuijerab Glacier

• Shutwerth Glacier

• Silkiang Glacier

• Sim Glacier

• Siru Glacier

• Skora La Glacier

• Sokha Glacier

• South Barum Glacier

• Sovoia Glacier

• Stokpa Lungma Glacier

• Sumayar Bar Glacier

• Tarashing Glacier

• Thalo Glacier

• Thui Glacier

• Toltar Glacier

• Toshain Glacier

• Trango Glacier

• Trivor Glacier

• Tsarak Tsa Glacier

• Udren Glacier

• Uli Biaho Glacier

• Ultar Glacier

• Upper Khurdopin Glacier

• Upper Tirich Glacier

• Vigne Glacier

• West Vigne Glacier

• Wyeen Glacier

• Yermanendu Glacier

• Yazghill Glacier

• Yishkuk Glacier

• Yukshgoz Glacier

• Zindikharam Glacier


There are several high-altitude lakes in Gilgit-Baltistan:

• Sheosar Lake in Deosai Plains - Astore region

• Satpara Tso Lake in Skardu - Baltistan

• Katzura Tso Lake in Skardu - Baltistan

• Zharba Tso Lake in Shigar - Baltistan

• Phoroq Tso Lake in Skardu - Baltistan

• Bara Tso Lake in Gangche - Baltistan

• Byarsa Tso Lake in Gultari - Baltistan

• Borith Lake in upper Hunza - Gilgit

• Rama Lake near Astore

• Rush Lake near Nagar - Gilgit

• Kromber Lake in Ishkoman,- Ghezer

• Gupis lake in Gupis—Ghezer

National Parks

Deosai Plains

Deosai plain
The Deosai Plains, are located above the tree line, and constitute the second-highest plateau in the world at 4,115 meters (14,500 feet)after Tibet. The plateau lies east of Astore, south of Skardu and west of Ladakh. The area was declared as a national park in 1993. The Deosai Plains cover an area of almost 5,000 square kilometres. For over half the year (between September and May), Deosai is snow-bound and cut off from rest of Astore & Baltistan in winters. The village of Deosai lies close to Chilum chokki and is connected with the Kargil district of Ladakh through an all-weather road.

Khunjerab National Park

Leopard at Khunjerab National Park
It is one of the highest altitude parks in the world and provides the habitat for a number of endangered and threatened species such as snow leopard, Marco Polo sheep, blue sheep and Himalayan ibex. With the establishment of the park and laying down strict rules for the locals as well as the hunters, visitors can view plenty of wildlife from the main Karakoram Highway. Ibex can easily be seen grazing on distant ridges, golden marmots play alongside the road and sometimes even a brown bear can be spotted.



The favourite sport in Gilgit is polo which local folks claim originated here. It’s more rugged, free-style version than the sedate variety known in the plains. The polo tournament held from November 1 to 7 is a festive occasion and draws a large number of visitors.


The streams and lakes of Gilgit are full of trout. These are at Kargah Nullah 10 Kms from Gilgit, and Phandar Valley 117 Kms from Gilgit. Permits for fishing are issued by the assistant director, Fisheries Department, Gilgit.

Trekking and hiking

Trekking and hiking in the rugged mountains and verdant valleys of Gilgit are allowed only in the "open zone" which extends up to 16 Kms short of the control line on the Kashmir border and up to 50 Kms short of the Afghan border.


Gilgit city is one of the two major hubs on the Northern Areas for all mountaineering expeditions of Karakoram to the peaks of the Himalayas, the other hub being Skardu. Around Gilgit are towering mountain peaks, waiting to be scaled. Permits for mountaineering are issued by the Tourism Ministry, Islamabad.

Ghizer District

Ghizar District is northernmost part of the Northern Areas of Pakistan. Its capital is Gakuch. Ghizer is also a contact point between Gilgit District and Chitral District (which are connected via Shandur Pass). Ghizer is a multi ethnic district and three major languages are spoken. Khowar, Shina and Burushaski are spoken in Ghizer. There are also a few Wakhi speakers in Ishkoman.

This is the land of adventure because it offers a lot of avenues for adventure and fun like: trekking, jeep safari, trophy hunting, water rafting, wind surfing and sight seeing. A large number of tourists come to the District Ghizer each year because all four major valleys are beautiful and easily accessible areas for visitors.

Ghizer has spectacular scenic beauty. The peak tourist season from May to mid-October though the tourist season is round the year. The maximum temperature in May is 320C and minimum 160C in September.

Ghizer is the gateway to Central Asia. District Ghizer is the short way to Tajikistan through Boroghul Pamair pass and South West Ghizer meets to Chitral in NFWP. Ghizer District is northernmost part of the Northern Areas of Pakistan. Its capital is Gakuch. Ghizer is also a contact point between Gilgit and Chitral (which are connected via Shandur Pass). Ghizer is a multi ethnic district and three major languages are spoken. Khowar, Shina and Burushaski are spoken in Ghizer. There are also Wakhi speakers in Ishkoman.


Historically the region has been ruled by indigenous rajas such as thoms of Yasin and Puniyal and later it was divided between the Mehtar of Chitral and the Maharaja of Kashmir. After 1895 all of Ghizer was annexed to Gilgit Agency which was directly ruled by the British Govt. and not by the Kashmir Durbar.

Raja Gohar Aman is the only ruler of Ghizer who defeated all other rulers of Gilgit and captured the area from Thoi to Bagrot in Gilgit District.

The Rajas of Yasin Suleman Shah and Gohar Aman stretched their rule to Gilgit by pushing back Dogras and at some particular juncture of history remained defacto rulers of the region stretched from Yasin to Gilgit. Latter on after the death of Gohar Aman due to the internal conspiracy the Dogras of Maharaja Kashmir came to Yasin and Modori debacle occurred in Yasin.

yasinvalley.com adds: Because of its geo-strategic importance, Yasin has long been of a vigorous profile to international powers such as Chinese, Indians, Russians and British. The watch-dog of British India always feared the Czarist Russians invasions through Yasin. A Chinese General Kao Hsien-chih ran his expedition through Yasin to deal with the Tibetan invaders at Oxus in A.D. 747. Yasin has long claimed pride to be the shortest means of communication between Oxus and Indus.

Modern Yasin is a virgin eco-tourist destination encompassed by snow-blanked peaks, snaked curved aqua-marine rivers, and crystal clean natural springs. The diversified communities in Yasin have a wonderful culture where diversity and mutual respect is highly regarded. The citizenry has maintained an example of harmonious co-existence over years.


District Ghizer is Northmost part of the Northern Areas situated in extreme north of Pakistan. It joins with Wakhan strip on its north-west, and China on its northmost borders. On its west, there is Chitral District of NWFP; and on its east is situated Gilgit. Diamer District is on its south, which is again a part of the Northern areas. Gakuch is the capital of the Ghizer District. The highest peak in Ghizer District is Koyo Zum (6,871 m) ( Hindu Kush Range) which lies on the boundary of Ghizer District and NWFP of Pakistan.

Some of the main places in the district are Ishkoman and Yasin valleys. Other places include Hatun, Gupis, Chatorkhand, Imit and Utz.


Some of the passes in the district are:

Karumbar Pass, Chillingi Pass.Hayal Pass and Naltar Pass (on the boundary of Ghizer and Gilgit Districts). Bichhar Pass (on the boundary of Ghizer and Gilgit Districts). Thoi Pass (on the boundary of Ghizer and Chitral Yarkhon). Darkut Pass (on the boundary of Ghizer and Chitral).


The main river in the district is Ghizer River, which is known as Gilgit River in the east of Gupis town. Some of its tributaries include Qurumber , Ishkoman River, Phakora River, Hayal River and Yasin River.


1) Gupis.

2) Ishkoman.

3) Punial.

4) Yasin.

Gahkuch is the district headquarter of Ghizer district. Major Languages Khowar spoken in Yasin, Gupis and Ishkoman. Shina spoken in Gupis and Punail. Burushaski spoken in Yasin. Wakhi spoken in Ishkoman. Gahkuch have a relatively bigger market with some very good hotels to stay in. It is the part of Punyal Valley

Rest Houses

PTDC Motel Phunder Description: Superb location, at the edge of Phunder lake it offers 10 comfortable guest rooms. All rooms are equipped dish and TV, marbled bathrooms, hot and cold running water, and efficient room service accommodation rooms: 10

Ishkoman Valley which separates the Karakoram range from Himalayas is almost 129 km in the north west of Gilgit and 65 km from Gahkuch. The valley has immense natural beauty in the shape of alpine meadows, massive glacier, perennials streams. It is the home of several passes treks and alpine lakes. It links district Ghizer with Asumbar, Naltar, Darkut and Chipursan.

Imit is one of the most important tourist point which opens the gates towards Wakhan Border. It is located at distance of 64 Km from main town of Ghizer Gahkuch and away from 50 Km Afghan Wakhan Border. During ancient times a very colorful trade festival used to be held in Imit. The traders from entire Central Asia used to participate. The people of Imit have different background and speak various languages. They are very friendly and hospitable. Borth is a wonderful picnic spot and is located at a distance of 65 Km from Gahkuch and 34 Km away from Wakhan corridor in the upper region of Ishkoman Valley. The spot present a perfect camping place for domestic and International tourists where the glacial stream runs nearby and offers gentle cool breezes which is really breath taking. The people speak Wakhi and have migrated centuries ago from Central Asia. Chilengi Pass trek starts from the village of Matramdan-Ishkoman (2895 mt). The jeep road ends at Matramdan and from there starts 5 days trek. The trail crosses a footbridge to the Krumber River and after the crossing of chilengi glacier, this trek leads Baba Ghondi Shrine, the upper most part of Chipursan valley in District Gilgit.

Krumber valley is one of the most scenic places and largest alpine meadows in Northern Areas. This valley was used to be an ancient Buddhist pilgrimage route from Afghanistan & Wakhan corridor. The Krumber Lake is situated in the foot hill of Pamir region on altitude of (4260 m). There is a trek that connects the two districts of Northern Areas i.e. Ghizer and Gilgit. This trek is from Naltar(Gilgit) to Pakora Asumbar (Ishkoman) and Barkulti, (Yasin-Ghizer). This is relatively easy trek passing through village of upper Ishkoman valley and some settlements along the way. This is one of the important trekking routes that is why each year, a considerable number of tourists go along this trek.
Yasin Valley is yet another most spectacular scenic valleys in Ghizer. Yasin valley lies at just 137 km from Gilgit and 62 km from Gahkuch (the headquarter of Ghizer). It's attractive villages, carefully cultivated fields and orchards offer a blend of life time experience in remote valleys of Hindukush.The summer in Yasin valley has great attraction not only because of scenic beauty but it also offers avenues from adventure lovers because of its treking options from Darkut to Chitral via Broghal pass and BABA Ghundi via Chilingi pass.

Darkut is a historical place as it has been a passage way for important persons. It was this pass that George Hayward crossed in 1870 when he was murdered. The Chinese army lead by a Korean General crossed Darkut in 747AD and conquered Gilgit. Sandi is the largest village in Yasin valley and it is famous for a Muduri Fort from the time of Gohar Aman.

Gupis is a small town on the way to chitral from Gilgit. It is a very scenic views. It consists of Phander Valley, Terru and Hundrab valley.

Phander Valley in Gupis is one of the most scenic valleys with easy access both from Gilgit and Chitral. It takes 5 to 6 hours from Gilgit to reach Phander valley which is commonly called "Little Kashmir". Phander Lake is one of the most famous tourist spots in the entire region. Phander valley was the bread basket for the whole Northern Areas. The name of Ghizer comes from the name of a village 'Ghizer' that is situated in the vicinity of Phander The deep blue lake in Phander offers a magnificent view and is basically the home of trout fish.

Hundarap Valley is a small beautiful place to the west of Phander It liesbetween two rivers i.e. Hundarap River that come from Dadarili glacier and Shandur river that comes from Shandur Pass. This place is know as Paradise for trout fishing in Ghizer. Nearby is the beautiful Hundarap Lake. This lake is famous for trout fishing and is a good camp site which has been selected as high altitude wetland by World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). It lies North 30* and East 72* and is about 190 km from Gilgit and 118 from Gahkuch at an elevation of 10800 feet above sea level. Rainbow and brown Trout fish were introduced here in early 1980s and now they are abundant. This is the reason that angling is quite famous in Ghizer.

It is possible to trek south from Dadarili Pass in to Swat valley and on the other side is Bromsa pass connects it with Kohistan Hazra (Khandia). Another hillmark of Gupis is Khalti lake which is again a place for utmost calm and tranquility. A number of steps have been taken by local communities for a tourism and environment friendly tourism.

Shandur pass is not only a point that connects Northern Areas with Chitral but it is actually a meeting point of the polo teams from both side. Each year the Shandur Polo Festival brings spectators from around the globe to witness a game that is worth watching. This festival is organized every year between the first and second weeks of July. The history of Trout Fish spans over 100 year in Northern Areas. The British Political Agent AF Bruce introduced the trout fish in (1906-1908). He approached the fisheries department of Jammu and Kashmir Government of Siri Nagar to provide the aged ova and necessary technical assistance up to 1920. During that time Gilgit and surroundings towards northwest streams and lakes were stacked with trout. There are many kinds of trout but in Ghizer only brown and rainbow trout is existent. Now almost every stream and lake in Ghizer is full of rainbow and brown trout which offer angling opportunity for tourists and visitors to enjoy fishing during the season.

Punyal valley comprises of a number of beautiful villages and spectacular places including Sherqila, Singul and Bubar. Gahkuch, the district head quarter is a part of Punyal. This area is very famous for fruits especially grapes. Bathreth Nullah lies here that provides a link with Darel in Diamer. Traveling to Ghizer is more suitable from Gilgit. From Islamabad to Gilgit, daily flights are available. While on flight, one may enjoy some of the most spectacular views of Karakoram and Himalayas including: Nanga Parbat Haramosh and Rakaposhi peaks. The travel time is 55 minutes. By road the journey from Rawalpindi to Gilgit via KKH takes 16 to 17 hours non stop travel. Travel from Gilgit to Ghizer (Gahkuch) takes one and half hour on a paved road. Public transport is available from Punial road at Gilgit to almost all parts of Ghizer District beside this there are many local based tour operators who offer trekking and safari services to their client. Another rout to enter district Ghizer is via Shandur Pass from Chitral. It takes around 7 hours to reach Ghizer valley from Chitral city. main valleys are:

Sher Qilla :

Sher Qila is the main village of the picturesque Punial valley. The distance is 40 kms and time required to reach there from Gilgit city is about 2 hours.


This spot in the Punial valley offers ideal trout fishing opportunities. It is 56 kms away and takes 3 hours to get there.

Lakes of the Area:

1. Khalti Lake:

It is a small lake three KM before Phandar valley on Gilgit Chitral Road. There is a rest house there.

2. Phandar Lake:

It is a beautiful lake in Phandar valley. It is very good for fishing specially for trout. There is a PTDC motel to stay and have a wonderful day.

3. Karombar Lake:

It situated in upper Ishkoman valley very near to Wakhan belt. One has to trek three days before reaching karombar lake. The trek normally follows from Imat to sokhtabad then to chitiboi(dangerous glacier) then to swing valley and lastly to Karombar lake.

4. Hundrab Lake:

After passing Phandar valley towards shandor pass,after the bridge of terru,there is one day trek to Hundrab lake. It is also ideal for fishinng in this region. Still untouch and worth scenic.

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