The capital of Ghanche District is Khaplu. This is the coldest place within Pakistan also called the "Third Pole" with temperatures reaching below -20 °C in the winter. Khaplu and Hushe Valleys form the gateway for the great Baltoro Muztagh, the subrange of Karakoram that includes the mighty peaks of K2 (8,611 m), Broad Peak (8,047 m), Gasherbrums (8,000+ m) and Masherbrum (7,821 m) (all of which are included in the Skardu District).
Ghanche District is the easternmost district of the Northern Areas, Pakistan. To its northeast is Aksai Chin (China), to the north and northwest is Skardu District, to its west is Astore District and to its south is the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. The line of control along the eastern most region of Ghanche District cuts through the Siachen Glacier and is not permanent because of the conflict (It has been proposed by moderates in Pakistan and India to make the Siachen Glacier region a Peace Park).
This beautiful valley of the Shyok River is 103 kms (64 miles) from Skardu and 6 hours by jeep. There is a sprawling village perched on the slopes of the steep mountains that hem in the river. Many famous mountains, such as Masherbrum, K-6, K-7, Sherpi Kangh, Sia Kangri, Saltoro Kangri etc. are located here.
The Siachen Glacier is located in the eastern Karakoram range in the Himalaya Mountains along the disputed India-Pakistan border at approximately . It is the longest glacier in the Karakoram and second longest in the world's non-polar areas. It ranges from an altitude of 5,753 m (18,875 ft) above sea level at its source at Indira Col (pass) on the China border to its snout at 3,620 m (11,875 ft)
The Shyok River is a river flowing through Ladakh and the disputed Northern Areas of Pakistan (Ghangche District). Shyok river (a tributary of the Indus) originates from the Rimo glacier, one of the tongues of Siachin Glacier and becomes very wide at the confluence with the Nubra River (a tributary of Shyok, originating from Siachin Glacier).
History of Islam in Baltistan starts with arrival of Ameer Kabeer Syed Ali Hamadani (A legendary Sufi Saint of the Muslim History) from Iran during 15th Century. He was followed by other Sufi legends afterwards, such as Shah Syed Muhammad Noorbaksh. Soon the whole region converted to Noorbakshi order of Islamic Sufism. The core message of Sufia Nurbakhshism are: complete elimination of all evil desires and immoralities of human nature from one’s self; total submission of one’s wills before God (by following the Qur'an Sunnah and Ahlibeit) and finally love and peace for the whole mankind. During the start of 19th century, however, the predominant population converted to other Islamic schools of thought such as Shias and Sunnis. Today, the Baltis are; Shia' denomination (13%), Sufia Nurbakhshi (80%), and Sunni-Ahlehadith sect (7%). Today, Nurbakhshis are found in Baltistan and Ladakh regions of J&K, as well as a large number of Noorbakshis are native to Iran, Kurdistan and Central Asia.
The fact that these practices are not an assemblage of his personal view but the practices were originally conceived to him from Muhammad through the masters of the spiritual chain. It the readers any doubt in this connection, we would invite them to travel on the long road through the history of mysticism and to compare it with that of Nurbakhsh’s teachings. The research it self will tell you the fact.
Nurbakhsh had stated the theological and philosophical aspects of Quran and Sun’nah in order to abolish the innovations and to revive the practices of Mohammad's time. This was in fact a sincere effort for the cause of pan-Islamism and there is a great scope of Islamic moderation in his teachings. It is not only my claim but rather is the study-result of all those who have discerned the true spirit of Nurbakhsh movement. Researches show that all the masters of the path have made their struggle to reach their goal through love or through gnosis, by means of asceticism or through practices leading to ecstatic capture. But Nurbakhsh seems to make a struggle through spiritual, philosophical, theological and literary movements in order to reach this goal, which was appropriate to his time. In future, with the passage of time, with the accelerated advancement in science and technology, these teachings should be given an appropriate shape. I mean the methodology of propagation of these teachings should be linked not only with the modern scientific developments but also in scientific terms, maintaining out identity of peacefulness and sincerity and the other distinctive features.
Places to see
Khaplu is the Headquarters of District Ghanche and basic civic facilities are available. The main town of Khaplu is quite beautiful and worth visiting. Khaplu is spread in a radius about two square miles. One may find a mass of orchard around with abundance of apricot tress. River shyoke flows through the entire length of Khaplu town. A small bazaar exists in Khaplu and the necessary items of daily life are available here. One can also get transportation to every village and valleys of Ghanche from Khaplu. Khaplu has many historical places to visit i.e. Khaplu palace about 600 years old (under rehabilitation process by AKCSP), the famous Chaqchan Mosque and the Tomb of Mir. Following lines and picture give a flavor so much of the natural beauty in Khaplu.
Hushey Valley is the most attractive place to visit in district Ghanche. A chain of lofty peaks i.e. Mashabrum, K-6, K-7, K-12, Sherpikngh, Sia kangri, saltoro kangri, mt.Ghant, linksar, moonlight and many others more than 7000 meter exist in this valley.
Thalley Valley is another beautiful spot. The lush green valley and beautiful scenery is marvelous. Ghanche has a number of beautiful lakes like: Kharfaq, Ghanche,Bara and Daholi Lakes which are matchless. Kharfaq Lake is situated about 3 Kms above Kharfaq village and gives an inspiring view while travelling by road to Khaplu. The fresh and crystal water lake is famous for trout fish and attractive location for camping and linking with other places. The lake is stocked with trout fish and one has to walk about two hours to reach the lake. A jeep road is under construction.
Ghanche Lake is situated above Khaplu Town and is has not come to the lime light as yet. Bara is a Beautiful village abandoned of orchards and trees near Khaplu. There are two lakes situated in Bara one in Bara Paen and the other in Bara Bala. Ghanche has many scenic places which attract various tourists. Some of them are Hanjoor Broq/Khaplu Broq, Bara Broq, Surmo Broq, Thalley broq, Farawa Broq, Chari Broq, Saltoro Broq and Hassan Abad Broq and Keris.
Ghanche is really a mountaineer paradise as it has many peaks of over 20,000 feet. In Mashabrum Range, Mashaburum popularly known as K-1(25660ft), is the most famous one. Others include: K-6 (23890ft), Dansam or K-13 (21870ft),Mount Gent, , Skil Brum (24278ft), Pioneer Peak (22172ft), K-7 (22753ft), Urdokas Massive (20892ft), Liligo Peak( 20508ft) etc. Saltoro Range is comprised of Saltoro Kangari or Pear 36 (25400ft), Sherpi kangri( 23960ft), K-12(or peak -8( 24503), Mount Chent or khundus Peak( 24278ft) etc. Panma Muztagh Range consists of Ogre Peak (23900ft), Baintha Brakh( 22044ft), Snow lake (21630ft), B-15 (23914ft). Siachen Muztagh Range consists of: Teram kangri, (24489ft), Mount Rose (923604ft), Aposos (236095ft).
Ghanche is rich in wildlife and is a famous place for trophy hunting, Hunting is allowed /Authorised under proper hunting licenses from the Govt and WWF Northern Areas. Hunting of Khail or Ibex is possible in: Khaplu nallah, Thalley, Hushey, Kanday, Bara, Kundus, Saltoro and Frano nullahs. For small games, one may find Chikors, Ram Chikors, Patridges, ducks etc which are in abundance in all parts of Ghanche. Conditioned to valid permits, fishing can be done at Karfaq Lake, Bara Lake and in Hushey Valley. Some Buddah Sites/ Inscriptions have also been discovered at Karfaq, Thagus and Saltoro.
District Ghanche is home to some of the most attractive rivers mainly Shyoke and Sailing Rivers. Alongside these rivers are the beautiful settlements and the water from these rivers is basically the lifeblood for the population here. In these valleys, amongst other cultural aspects; traditional Sword Dance and polo are of great attraction for men. The communication between Baltistan and outside world is by Air from Islamabad and by Road from Rawalpindi to Skardu via KKH and Skardu.There is road transportation service from Gilgit to Skardu through KKH and skardu road and from Gilgit to Skardu through astor road crossing over famous Deosai Pleato. The Pakistan Airline operates daily schedule service of Boeing which takes off from Islamabad airport. The air service from Islamabad to Skardu is an amazing journey soars over snow clad mountains and passes close to Nanga Parbat(26660ft) the worlds fourth highest mountain. In a clear sunny day the K-2 ( 28250ft) , the worlds second highest mountain in the Karakurum range can be seen from Babusar pass while in the plane. Ghanche district is only accessible by road from Skardu through mettaled road by Bus and Van. The distance between Skardu and Khaplu the district headquarters is about 103 Km and take two and half hour. Buses, Vans and Jeep service from Skardu to Khaplu and to another villages from like Doghoni, thalley, Hushey, Chorbat, Mashabrum, Saltoro and Kondus are available . Other then this you can hire taxi or jeep on rent to reach your destination are easily available in Skardu or in Khaplu town.
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