Breathtaking Baltistan

Published July 15, 2011
Hay being dried in the sun in Nera Khaplun, a common practice in that area. The Karakoram mountains can be seen on the horizon.
Hay being dried in the sun in Nera Khaplun, a common practice in that area. The Karakoram mountains can be seen on the horizon.
The Karakorum range as seen from Shigar.
The Karakorum range as seen from Shigar.
Girls walking to school in uniform. On the right is the Shigar fort.
Girls walking to school in uniform. On the right is the Shigar fort.
A Balti girl outside her house in Khaplu.
A Balti girl outside her house in Khaplu.
On my way to Babu Sar Pass.
On my way to Babu Sar Pass.
An elderly Balti from Khaplu.
An elderly Balti from Khaplu.
The Satpara lake.
The Satpara lake.
The Karakorum range as seen from Sighar.
The Karakorum range as seen from Sighar.
A bazaar in Skardu, it stretches from west to east.
A bazaar in Skardu, it stretches from west to east.
A local Balti child.
A local Balti child.
A local Balti child looking out from the window of a house in Shigar.
A local Balti child looking out from the window of a house in Shigar.
On the way from Khaplu to Shigar.
On the way from Khaplu to Shigar.

A week ago, I traveled with my family to Baltistan and witnessed some breathtaking places.

Our first stop was Skardu, a town that is surrounded by grey-brown coloured mountains, which hide the 8,000 metre peaks of the nearby Karakorum Range. Then we drove up two hours and reached Khaplu. The people of Khaplu are the most beautiful, friendly and spiritual people I have ever met!

We traveled further to Seling, Shigar and the Deosai Plateau which is the second highest plateau in the world after the Chang Tang in Tibet. In local Balti language, Deosai is called Byarsa, meaning ‘summer place’. The plateau is located at the boundary of the Karakorum and the western Himalayas.

Huge old trees, fresh air, bright blue sky surround you, while water runs from the streams, and awe-inspiring mountains dominate the horizon. To me, it was these sights and surreal surroundings that characterised breathtaking Baltistan. - Text and photos by Hira Zuberi

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