Areas of Pakistan
The Federally Administered Northern Areas (FANA)
is the northernmost political entity within the Pakistani-controlled part
of the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir. According to Pakistan's
constitution, FANA is not part of Pakistan, and its inhabitants
have never had any representation in Pakistan's parliament. However, FANA
is home to some of the world's highest mountains, including five of the
eight-thousanders. The main focus of attention for many travelers is the
world's three highest mountain ranges--the Karakoram, the Himalaya, and
the Hindu Kush, with five peaks over 8,000 meters and many peaks over
7,000 meters, and having the largest glaciers in the world (other than
those in the polar region). Wild rivers and unique landscapes make this
area a "mountain paradise" for mountaineers, trekkers, and tourists.
Gilgit, FANA's administrative center, was an important
city on the Silk Road, through which Buddhism was spread from India to
the rest of Asia. A large number of Buddhist Sanskrit texts, including
the long version of the Heart Sutra have been unearthed in Gilgit. The
Dards and Cizinas also appear in many of the old Pauranic lists of peoples,
with the former finding mention in Ptolemy's accounts of the region. Two
famous travellers, Faxian and Hsuan Tsang, are known to have traversed
Gilgit as per their accounts. Gilgit was ruled for centuries by the local
Trakane Dynasty, which came to an end in about 1810. The area descended
into internecine turmoil before being occupied by the Sikhs in 1842. It
was ceded to Jammu in 1846. Gilgit's inhabitants drove their new rulers
out in an uprising in 1852. The Khushwakhte Dynasty of Yasin and Gulapure
led the people of Gilgit to drive out the Dogra rulers. After Yasin was
conquered by the Katur Dynasty of Chitral, the power of the Khushwakhte
was crushed. The rule of Jammu was restored in 1860. Gilgit came under
British rule in 1889, when it was unified with neighboring Hunza and Nagar
in the Gilgit Agency. When British rule came to an end in 1947, the region
was briefly handed back to the maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir. Subsequently,
it came under Pakistani control. To this day, the Federally Administered
Northern Areas (FANA) remains part of the Kashmir dispute and is claimed
by India to be a Pakistani-occupied part of the Indian state of Jammu
The Federally Administered Northern Areas is divided
into two divisions--the Baltistan Division and the Gilgit Division--which
together comprise seven districts.
The Baltistan Region consists of two districts:
- Skardu District
– Skardu town is the administrative center of the Skardu District.
Askole is the last settlement in the district for all treks to Concordia
(the confluence of the Baltoro Glacier and the Godwin-Austen
Glacier). Skardu is the district where the Indus River
enters the Northern Areas from the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.
- Ghanche District
– The Ghanche District is the easternmost district of Baltistan. To
its east is the Leh District of Ladakh, northeast is Aksai Chin, (China),
to the north and northwest is the Skardu District, to the west is
the Astore District, and to the south is the Indian state of Jammu
and Kashmir. The administrative center of the Ghanche District is
Khaplu. The Hushe valleys form the gateway to the great
Baltoro Muztagh, the sub-range of the Karakoram.
Gilgit Division now consists of five districts:
- Astore District
– The Astore District was recently carved out of the Diamir District.
Previously, the Northern Areas was divided into five districts. The
administrative center of the Astore District is Astore town
and it includes many villages in the Astore valley. The Astore District
is bounded by the Diamir District to the west and the Skardu District
to the east.
- Diamir District
– The Diamir District is the district where the Karakoram Highway
enters the Northern Areas from Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province.
Chilas is the administrative center of the Diamir District.
The Diamir District is bounded by the Astore District to the east,
Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province to the south and southwest,
the Ghizar District to the north and northwest, and the Gilgit District
to the north and northeast.
- Ghizar District
– The Ghizar District is the westernmost district of the Northern
Areas. It is bound by Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province on three
sides (north, west, and south), by the Diamir District to the south
and southeast, and by the Gilgit District to the east. A small strip
of Ghizar District (roughly 35 x 12 km) is sandwiched between the
North-West Frontier Province and the Wakhan Corridor of (Afghanistan).
Gakuch is the administrative center of the Ghizar District.
is most famous town being capital of Rajas of Punial and Ishkomin. It
is still a tourist spot with many attractions like trout fishing, treking
natural swimming pools. Wazirs of sherqilla and Raja palace are still
inscribe their period of splendour.
- Gilgit District
– The Gilgit District is bounded by the Wakhan Corridor of (Afghanistan)
to the north, the Xinjiang autonomous region of (China) to the north
and northeast, and the Skardu District to the south and southeast.
Gilgit town is the administrative center of the Gilgit District.
Gilgit is one of the two major hubs in the Northern Areas for all
mountaineering expeditions to the peaks of the Karakoram and the Himalayas.
District – The Hunza-Nagar District is a newly formed district
which was previously part of the Gilgit District. The district encompasses
the Hunza and Nagar valleys. The major town is Karimabad (actually
a grouping of five to six smaller villages), surrounded on all sides
by glorious mountain peaks, foremost amongst which is Rakaposhi. The
Nagar Valley and the Hoper Glacier are situated a dizzying 40-minute
drive from Karimabad, nestled below Golden Peak. Hunza is approximately
100 km from Gilgit, and is the last major town along the Karakoram
Highway before entering China.
is the major town along the Karakoram Highway before entering China.
- supposedly the setting for James Hilton's Shangri-La, and the valley
lives up to that reputation.
- Home to some of the World's highest mountain peaks, glaciers, forts,
museums and resorts.
- Fairy meadows
is a point where world's three famous mountain ranges meet - the
Himalayas, the Karakorams and the Hindukush
- K2 (Mount
Godwin-Austen) - world's second-highest mountain peak, Also visit
K2 Museum located in the Skardu near K2 Motel.
Resort in Skardu Valley is a place of bliss, delight and peace
- Rock carvings
Dating back to 8th century AD, a huge Buddha figure surrounded by
small Buddhisatvas is carved on a rock, three kilometres from Skardu
across Sadpara Nullah on Skardu-Sadpara Road. Pre-historic men and
animal figures are carved on rocks along Kachura Lake. Some rock carvings
and diagram of a monastery near Perkuta (Mehdi Abad) Nalah are also
Sher Qila is the main village of the picturesque Punial valley.
This spot in the Punial valley offers ideal trout fishing opportunities.
- Rama A
lake in this region offers an awe-inspiring view of the eastern side
of Nanga Parbat, 8126 meters high. For the adventure-loving tourist,
hiker, angler, art-lover, mountaineer or polo enthusiast, there are
few places in the world that could compare with Gilgit.
- Himalayas, Karakoram
- Deosai National
Park and Khunjerab National Park
is the national language and is spoken throughout Pakistan as lingua franca.
Local language is Burushaski, As elsewhere in Pakistan, English is fairly
widely spoken among the educated classes and those involved in the tourist
in Islamabad. Pakistan International Airlines offers daily flights between
Gilgit and Islamabad. The flying time is approximately 50 minutes, and
the flight is one of the most scenic flights in the world, as its route
passes over Nanga Parbat, and the peak of the mountain is higher than
the aircraft's cruising altitude.
also offers regular flights on Being 737s between Skardu and Islamabad.
All flights, however, are subject to weather clearance, and, in winters,
flights are often delayed by several days.
Karakoram Highway, once a minor Silk Road route, connects Islamabad to
Gilgit and Skardu, which are the two major hubs for mountaineering expeditions
in the Northern Areas. The journey from Islamabad to Gilgit takes approximately
20-24 hours. Landslides on the Karakoram Highway are not uncommon, but
bulldozers usually clear the road in a short time. The KKH connects Gilgit
to Taxkorgan and Kaxgar in Xinjiang, China, via Sust (the customs and
health inspection post on the Pakistan side of the border) and the Khunjerab
Pass, the highest paved international border crossing in the world at
4,693 metres (15,397 feet).
(the Northern Areas Transport Corporation) offers bus and jeep transport
service to the two hubs and to several other popular destinations, lakes,
and glaciers in the area.
Eighteen of the fifty highest peaks in the world are located in the
- 1 K2,
2nd-highest in the world at 8,611 m.
- 2 Nanga Parbat,
9th-highest in the world at 8,125 m
- 3 Gasherbrum
I, 11th-highest in the world at 8,080 m.
- 4 Broad Peak,
12th-highest in the world at 8,047 m.
- 5 Gasherbrum
II, 13th-highest in the world at 8,035 m
- 6 Gasherbrum
III, 15th-highest in the world at 7,946 m.
- 7 Gasherbrum
VI, 17th-highest in the world at 7,932 m.
- 8 Distaghil
Sar, 19th-highest in the world at 7,884 m.
- 9 Khunyang
Chhish,21st-highest in the world at 7823 m.
- 10 Masherbrum
,22nd-highest in the world at 7,821 m.
- 11 Batura
Sar, 25th-highest in the world at 7,795 m.
- 12 Kanjut
Sar ,26th-highest in the world at 7,788 m.
- 13 Rakaposhi,
27th-highest in the world at 7,760m.
- 14 Saltoro
Kangri 31st-highest in the world at 7,742 m.
- 15 Chogolisa
36th-highest in the world at 7,498 m.
- 16 Shispare
38th-highest in the world at 7,611 m.
- 17 Trivora
39th-highest in the world at 7,577 m.
- 18 Skyang
Kangri 44th-highest in the world at 7,545 m.
of the world's seven longest glaciers outside the polar regions are also
in the Northern Areas, the Biafo Glacier, the Baltoro Glacier,
and the Batura Glacier.
Siachin Glacier is 75 km. The Hispar (53 km) joins the Biafo
at the Hispar La (5154.16 meters (16,910 ft) to form an ice corridor
116.87 km (72 mi) long. The Batura, too, is 58 km in length. The
most outstanding of these rivers of ice is the 62 km Baltoro. This
large glacier, fed by some 30 tributaries, has a surface area of 1291.39
are several high-altitude lakes in the Northern Areas.
- Sheosar Lake
in Deosai Plains
- Satpara Lake
- Katchura Lake
- Borith Lake
in upper Hunza
- Rama Lake
- Rush Lake
- Kromber Lake
in Kromber Pass
Air Safari is the most scenic air journey starting from Islamabad
by Pakistan International Airlines.
Trekking and Hiking: The area is ideal for mountaineering, trekking
and hiking. Permission for mountaineering and trekking for restricted
zone is issued by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of Pakistan,
Pakistan Sports Complex, Kashmir Highway, Aabpara, Islamabad (Telephone:
92-51-9203509). Fishing permits are issued by the Fisheries Department
at Gilgit and Skardu.
at Satpara Lake (8km) and Kachura Lake 932km) from Skardu abound in
trout. Fishing permits are issued by the Fisheries Department.
- Flora &
Fauna: Roses, lilies, pansies, willow, pine and fir trees are
found in abundance. Apples, apricots, peaches, plums mulberry, walnuts
and grapes are available from June to October and almonds from October
Baltistan boasts of wildlife like Markhors, ibexes, snow leopards
and birds, namely Chakors, partridges and ducks. Most of the animals
and birds are protected but limited shooting is allowed. Hunting permits
are issued by the local administration.
- Eco tours
at different National parks
- Polo Attend
Shandur Polo festival
of the top end restaurants are located in Hotels.
- Cafe De Hunza
is located in Hunza Valley
- Pagoda Restaurant,
offers a sumptuous Chinese cuisine. The Pagoda is on an island amidst
the Honeymoon Lake linked to the Shangrila Resort by a short bridge.
- The Lake View
Restaurant gives a panoramic view of the Shangrila Resort and
offers Pakistani and Continental cuisine.
- Tandoori Village
offers a taste of ancient old recipes, Chicken Tikka, Seekh Kababs,
Mutton Tikkas, Grilled Fish with home made tandoori rooti. Enjoy the
out door feast under the stars in a traditional atmosphere.
- Cafe DC-3
This code name of orginal DC-3 Aircraft was Alph Alpha Foxtrot (AAF)
. This unique cafe is one of its kind. Situated in an airplane, which
crash landed on the riverbed and was brought to the present site in
the 50's. It offers a variety of snacks and cabin crew hospitality
are located in most of the top end hotels.
drinking tap water. Locals usually drinks water coming from a stream,
but that can be unsafe for some people due to its minerals which may not
suite you. So only drink bottled water, which is easily available all
- Hunza Baltit
inn in Hunza Valley
- Serena Hotel
Resort in Skardu Valley
- Shigar Fort
Residence in Skardu Valley
- K2 Motel,
located in Skardu.
wise, the Northern Areas is considered to be one of the safest regions
under Pakistani control, but some parts of it are off-limits to tourists,
especially the buffer zone along the "Line of Control" that divides the
Indian- and Pakistani-controlled parts of Kashmir. District Head quarter
hospitals are present in Gilgit, Skardu, Khaplu (Ghache District), Chilas
(Diamer), Ghazin (Gahkuch).
services are available in the area.
- Chief Secretary,
Northern Areas Tel: (92-0572) 2501
- Deputy Commissioner
Tel: (92-0572) 2521
- I.G. Police Tel:
- A.I.G. Tel: (92-0572)
- S.S.P. Tel: (92-0572)
- Airport Police
Station el: (92-0572) 3266
- Special Branch
Police el: (92-0572) 3356
Bureau Police Tel: (92-0572)2496
- PIA Booking Tel:
- PIA Tower Tel:
- Airport Manager
Tel: (92-0572) 2333
China: Thrice-weekly bus service was scheduled to begin crossing the
border from Gilgit, Northern Areas, to Kashgar, China, and road widening
work was scheduled for 600 kilometres of the Karakoram Highway. There
were also plans for one daily bus in each direction between Sust and Taxkorgan
in the border areas of the two countries.
Islamabad: Via the Karakoram Highway, popularly known as the Silk
International Airlines offers daily flights between Gilgit Airport and
Islamabad International Airport. The flying time is approximately 50 minutes,
and the flight is one of the most scenic flights in the world, as its
route passes over Nanga Parbat, with the peak of the mountain being higher
than the aircraft's cruising altitude. PIA also offers regular flights
on Boeing 737s between Skardu and Islamabad. All flights, however, are
subject to weather clearance, and in winters, flights are often delayed
by several days.