An APP Feature by Seema Mir
SKARDU, Aug 25 (APP):Skardu a district of Gilgit-Baltistan region has in its lap a scenic natural beauty beyond description comprising stunning combination of cold deserts,glaciers,fresh water lakes, streams,mighty mountainous ranges- Karakorum and Himalayas and above all splendid river Indus passing through the region.
The bewitching scenery of Skardu creates an aura of enchantment and takes the onlooker to another world.Moreover, the unique landscape of Skardu like other districts of Gilgit-Baltistan has made it a global destination.
Starting with Deosai top which is called the World’s roof is one of the jewels of Skardu.The Deosai plains situated at an elevation of 12,700ft (Approx.4000m) with an area of 3,000 sq.kms fills one with a feeling of elation when he /she reaches there.
The Deosai mountains are a range of mountains in the Himalayas and the second highest plateau in the world after Changtang Tibetan Plateau.
The flora of Deosai comprises various species of flowers while the fauna includes Himalayan brown bear,ibex,red fox,golden marmot,wolf,the Ladakh urial and a number of resident and migratory birds.
Then the view of katpana lake and its surroundings is supurb-It is a marvellous natural blend with Katpana cold desert on one side then Katapana lake adjoined by Indus river and mighty mountains of Karakorum range on one side and the Himalayan range on the other.
In the cold desert there is a glamping facility launched by a person Fahad Mehmood hailing from Lahore.The glamps (camps) are equipped with state-of -the -art facilities including trending beds,dining and toilet facilities.
Fahad Mehmood while talking to this scribe said,”This is my passion turned into business.”
” I am a nature lover and want to present to the world best scenic amalgamation of Katpana lake,cold desert, river Indus and might mountainous ranges of Karakorum and Himalayas ,”he added.
The Shangrilla lake and its surroundings are mind blowing. Its panoramic view from the hill top is enchanting amidst pines and poplars with strong gales flowing past one at night thus taking him or her to another world .
And, a view from Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) encompases river Indus banked by another cold desert and mighty mountains behind making the scenery eye-catching .The strong gales at night here also a special feature.
A foreigner from UK, Ms.catherine Olive residing at PTDC motel while talking to APP said, “this view from the hotel is wonderful,besides,whole of the Skardu is very beautiful.”
Shigar, another district of Baltistan has its own beauty comprising Shigar cold desert,blind lake as well as Shigar fort and Serena hotel.These proud belongings of Shigar are not only instant hit but bewitching as well like blind lake.
The Shigar fort bought by serena management has been turned into a museum cum hotel and is open to public.
The fort has on display the articles used by the Rajas of ancient times.
Coming to Skardu again, its proud belongings are not only instant hit but mesmerising as well like its fresh water lakes which are:
– The Shangrila lake also known as lower Kachura
– The Upper Kachura lake
– The Sadpara lake
– The blind lake also known as Jarbazoo
But, the access roads to all the tourist spots of the area are unbuilt non-mettalic ones,which mar all the joy associated with the travel.
In this connection, a mountaineer, Shaheen Baig while talking to APP underlined the need to build the roads as well as hotels of International standard equipped with the state-of-the-art facilities in the area to facilitate the tourists.
This, he said , was quintessential as the economy of the area was mostly tourism dependent.
Shaheen Baig also urged upon the government to provide more facilities to the local as well as foreign mountaineers.
Amongst the facilities also comes Pakistan International Airline’s (PIA) fares.
In this regard,Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC ) motel manager at Skardu Zahid Yaqeen said, “PIA’s fares should be tourist friendly as local tourists also bring their children along and this becomes very costly for them.”