Urdu: سکردو) is the principal town of the region Baltistanand the capital of Skardu District, one of the districts making up Pakistan's Northern Areas.
Skardu is located in the 10 km wide by 40km long
Skardu Valley, at the confluence of the Indusriver (flowing from near Kailashin Tibetand through neighbouring Ladakhbefore reaching Baltistan) and the Shigar River. Skardu is situated at an altitude of nearly 2,500 m (8,200 feet), the town is surrounded by grey-brown coloured mountains, which hide the 8,000 metre peaks of the nearby Karakoramrange.
Skardu was conquered by the
Mughal Empireby emperor Shah Jahanin 1651 as part of the expedition against Baltistan. [ [http://dsal.uchicago.edu/reference/gazetteer/pager.html?objectid=DS405.1.I34_V20_275.gifPunjab - Imperial Gazetteer of India, v. 20, p. 269] ]
Tourism, trekking and mountain expedition base
Skardu, along with
Gilgit, are the two major tourism, trekking and expedition hubs in the Northern Areas. It is the mountainous terrain of the region, including four of the world's fourteen Eight-thousanderpeaks (8,000m and above), which 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
Askoleand Hushe Valleys are the main gateways to the snow covered 8,000 m peaks including K2, the Gasherbrums, Broad Peakand 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 Tangin Tibet, either start from or end at Skardu. In local Tibetan 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.
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
However, many other ethnic groups are present in Skardu including
Pashtuns, Punjabis, Hunzakutsand 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 were converted from Tibetan Buddhismin the 16th century(the only sizeable group of Tibetansto have undergone such a conversion). Shia Islamhas a strong presence in Skardu.
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
monsoonand 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.
Skardu is accessible by two methods, road or air. The normal road route into Skardu is via the
Karakorum Highwayand a linkroad into the Skardu Valleyfrom it. There are also four or five other road links to Kashmir and Ladakh. Alternatively, there are normally one or two flights daily between Skardu Airportand Islamabad. The high cost of air travel means that road travel via the Karakorum Highway and the link road onward to the Skardu Valley is often the preferred option of locals and tourists alike.
The climate can have adverse affects on transport in and out of the Skardu Valley, as Skardu becomes snowbound during the winter months. Often the roads in and out of Skardu (and other "Northern Areas" locations) can be blocked for weeks at a time depending on conditions (though two to five days is more normal), sometimes leaving air travel as the only feasible alternative. However, air travel in winter is also subject to disruption due to the unreliable Skardu weather and flights can occasionally be delayed by several days.
kardu Fort (Kharpochhe Fort)
Skardu Fortor "Kharpochhe Fort" lies on the eastern face of the Khardrong or Mindoq-Khar ("Castle of Queen Mindoq") hill 15 metres or 40 feet above Skardu town. The fort dates from the 8th Century CE and contains an old mosque probably dating back to the arrival of Islam in the 16th Century CE. The fort provides a panoramic view of Skardu town, the Skardu valley and the Indus River. The fort was built by Rmakpon dynasty rulers of Baltistan and it was a seven storey building. It was burnt down by Sikhs in the 18th Century CE.
Kharpochhe (Skardu) fort was built on a design similar to that of
Leh Palaceand the Potala Palacein Lhasa, Tibet. The name Kharpochhe means the great fort—"Khar" in Tibetan means castle or fort and "Chhe" means great.
Lakes near Skardu
There are three lakes in the vicinity of Skardu. In local Balti-Tibetan language, a lake is a "thso" or "tso".
There are two
Kachura Lakes—the less well known Upper Kachura lakeand the more famous Lower Kachura Lake, better known as Shangrila Lake. Lower Katsura lake is home to the Shangrila Resorthotel complex (possibly the reason for the lakes 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 fuselageof an aircraftthat crashed nearby.
Satpara Thso Lakeor Sadpara Lakeis 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 Pakistandecided to build a dam on the Satpara Lake [http://www.dawn.com/2004/06/21/local26.htm] allocating Rs. 600 million ($10 million) to the Satpara Dam project, two years later in 2004[http://www.dawn.com/2004/06/21/local26.htm] . Progress on the project has, however, been slow [http://www.dawn.com/2006/03/22/top13.htm] .
TibetLatitude: 35º 20' 10" N, Longitude: 75º 32' 52" E
* Jettmar, Karl et al. (1985): "Zwischen Gandhara und den Seidenstrassen: Felsbilder am Karakorum Highway: Entdeckungen deutsch-pakistanischer Expeditionen 1979-1984". 1985. Mainz am Rhein, Philipp von Zabern.
* Jettmar. Karl (1980): "Bolor & Dardistan". Karl Jettmar. Islamabad, National Institute of Folk Heritage.
* [http://www.piac.com.pk/piaspakistan/piaspakistan-northernareas1.asp PIA's page about Northern Areas]
* [http://blankonthemap.free.fr Blankonthemap] The Northern Kashmir WebSite
* [http://www.pakbanners.com/pakistan/Skardu.html Skardu Pakistan]
* [http://www.geocities.com/johnmap2001/kkh/maps/gilgit.html Skardu Map]
* [http://www.dawn.com/events/lifestyle2002/ls16.htm The Changing Northern Areas]
* [http://www.wunderground.com/global/stations/41517.html WUnderground.com - Weather of Skardu]
* [http://www.pbase.com/waqas/northern_areas_of_pakistan Photos from Skardu, Kachura Lake and Satpara Lake by Waqas Usman]
* [http://www.pbase.com/arifakhan/skardu_and_kachura_lake Photos from Skardu and Kachura Lake by Arif Khan]
* [http://www.flickr.com/photos/asher_yaqub/sets/72157602094769869/ Photos from Skardu and Kachura Lake by Asher Yaqub Khan]
* [http://www.panoramio.com/user/153534/tags/Kashmir%20-%20Skardu Photos from Skardu by Ole Holbech]
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Skardu — سکردو / स्कर्दू Staat: Pakistan … Deutsch Wikipedia
Skardu — Original name in latin Skrdu Name in other language Shardu, Skardo, Skardu, Skrdu State code PK Continent/City Asia/Karachi longitude 35.28851 latitude 75.63334 altitude 2257 Population 2100 Date 2012 01 17 … Cities with a population over 1000 database
Skardu — Skạrdu, Hauptort von Baltistan im von Pakistan verwalteten Teil Kaschmirs, am oberen Indus; Ausgangsort für Trekkingtouren und Bergexpeditionen; Straße (210 km) von Gilgit (erbaut 1950 68) … Universal-Lexikon
Skardu Airport — IATA: KDU – ICAO: OPSD … Wikipedia
Skardu District — is part of Baltistan and currently constitutes one of the zeven districts of Northern Areas of Pakistan. It is bounded on the southeast by Kargil district (within Indian administered Kashmir), on the east by Ghanche District, on the northeast by… … Wikipedia
Skardu Fort — or Karpachu Fort is a fort in Skardu city in Northern Areas of Pakistan that dates from the tenth century CE. An ancient mosque is also present inside the fort. The fort and its mosque are located on the eastern face of the Khardong hill 40 ft… … Wikipedia
Skardu (Distrikt) — Karte von Gilgit Baltistan Der Skardu Distrikt ist einer von sieben Distrikten der autonomen Region Gilgit Baltistan (früher Northern Areas) in Pakistan. Der Distrikt liegt im Südosten des Karakorum am Oberlauf des Indus, östlich von Hunza und… … Deutsch Wikipedia
Skardu Valley — The Skardu Valley is located in the Northern Areas of Pakistan.ee also*Skardu District *Skardu Town … Wikipedia
Skardu District — Admin ASC 2 Code Orig. name Skārdu District Country and Admin Code PK.07.1183615 PK … World countries Adminstrative division ASC I-II
Cadet College Skardu — Cadet College Skardu, Cadet College was established in 2001. It is first Institution of its kind in the Northern Areas of Pakistan. Northern Areas of Pakistan have a history to be proud of. Time and again people of these areas have stood against… … Wikipedia