Skardu serves as the capital of both the Skardu District and the Baltistan Division. It is located at an elevation of around 2,500 meters in the Skardu Valley, where the Indus and Shigar Rivers meet. The name “Skardu” is thought to come from the Balti word meaning “low land between two high places”, referring to the nearby Shigar city and Satpara Lake.

Kachura Lake
Basho Valley


Skardu’s airport is at an elevation of 2,230 meters. The terrain in the area is diverse, with mountains, glaciers, hills, valleys, and rivers. Skardu is surrounded by the Karakoram and Himalayan ranges, including peaks such as K2, Nanga Parbat, and Gasherbrum. The Deosai National Park, the world’s second highest alpine plain, and the Nanga Parbat mountain are located near Skardu. The Indus and Shigar rivers flow through the region, which is also home to glacial lakes, such as Kachura Lakes.

Overall, the topography of Skardu is diverse and rugged, offering a unique and breathtaking landscape for visitors to explore. Whether it’s the towering peaks, rushing rivers, or tranquil lakes, Skardu is a nature lover’s paradise and a must-visit destination for anyone interested in adventure and exploration.


The climate in Skardu, Pakistan, is characterized by cold, dry winters and warm, moist summers. Due to its high elevation, Skardu experiences significant temperature fluctuations throughout the year, with average daily temperatures ranging from 5°C (41°F) in winter to 20°C (68°F) in summer.

Winter in Skardu is characterized by snowfall and below-freezing temperatures, with daytime highs averaging around 5°C (41°F). Despite the cold temperatures, Skardu is a popular winter destination for adventure lovers, offering opportunities for skiing, snowboarding, and other winter sports.

In contrast, summer in Skardu is warm and moist, with daytime temperatures averaging around 20°C (68°F). This is the peak tourist season, as visitors flock to Skardu to enjoy its scenic beauty, outdoor activities, and warm weather.

Overall, the climate in Skardu is diverse, ranging from cold and snowy in winter to warm and humid in summer. Visitors to the region should be prepared for sudden changes in weather, and be sure to pack appropriate clothing and gear for the season.


The Skardu region has been ruled by various dynasties and empires over the centuries, including:

  • Tibetan Empire: Skardu was part of the Tibetan Empire in the 7th and 8th centuries.
  • Muslim Conquest: In the 16th century, the Skardu region was conquered by the Mughal Empire and became part of the Muslim-ruled region of Baltistan.
  • Dogra Rule: In the 19th century, the Skardu region became part of the Dogra Kingdom, which was ruled by Hindu Dogra rulers from Jammu.
  • Independent Baltistan: After the fall of the Dogra Kingdom in 1947, the Skardu region became part of independent Baltistan, which was later incorporated into Pakistan in 1948.
  • Pakistani Administration: Since 1948, the Skardu region has been administered by the Pakistani government.

Throughout its history, the Skardu region has been influenced by a variety of cultures, including Tibetan, Muslim, Hindu, and others, resulting in a rich and diverse cultural heritage that is still evident in the region today.


Skardu is a must-visit destination for its natural beauty, stunning mountain ranges and glaciers, rich cultural heritage influenced by multiple cultures, adventure opportunities like trekking, hiking and skiing, diverse topography, serene glacial lakes, proximity to Deosai National Park and Nanga Parbat, one of the world’s highest peaks.


Kachura Lakes are a pair of scenic glacial lakes located near Skardu in northern Pakistan. The lakes are known for their emerald green color, surrounded by lush greenery and snow-capped peaks. The two lakes, known as Upper Kachura Lake and Lower Kachura Lake, are located at different altitudes and offer unique landscapes and experiences for visitors.


Shangrila Resort is a popular tourist destination located in Skardu, Pakistan. It is known for its stunning scenery, peaceful surroundings, and luxurious amenities, making it an ideal choice for visitors looking for a comfortable and memorable stay.

The resort is set amidst the beautiful scenery of the Skardu valley, surrounded by towering peaks, lush greenery, and rushing rivers. Visitors can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities, such as trekking, rock climbing, and wildlife viewing, as well as take in the breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.

Shangrila Resort is a popular destination for tourists visiting Skardu, offering a luxurious and memorable stay in one of Pakistan’s most beautiful and serene locations. Whether you’re looking for adventure, relaxation, or a combination of the two, this resort is sure to provide an unforgettable experience.


Constructed in the 17th century by the Raja of the Amacha Dynasty of Shigar, the fort has undergone a restoration by the Pakistan branch of the Aga Khan Cultural Service Pakistan (AKCSP-P) through its Historic Cities Programme. Following the restoration, the fort was transformed into a museum and luxury hotel, managed by Serena Hotels.

The fort is made of mud and stone, and is situated on a hilltop overlooking the Shigar River. It has a unique architectural style, blending elements of Tibetan and Islamic architecture. The fort has several rooms, halls, and courtyards, as well as a mosque, a bathhouse, and a stable.

Today, the fort serves as a museum, showcasing the rich cultural heritage of the region. Visitors can see traditional clothing, weapons, jewelry, and other artifacts from the region, as well as learn about the history of the fort and the Balti people. The fort also offers panoramic views of the surrounding landscape, including the Karakoram mountain range. Shigar Fort is a popular tourist attraction, offering a glimpse into the history and culture of northern Pakistan. It is a must-visit for anyone interested in history, architecture, and culture, and is a unique and memorable experience for visitors to the Skardu region.


Perched at an average elevation of 4,114 meters (13,497 ft) above sea level, the Deosai Plains are regarded as the second highest plateaus in the world. Only 80 kilometers from Skardu, it takes approximately 3 hours to reach the Deosai Plains, with the added bonus of being able to take in the sights of the Manthal Buddha Rock and Sadpara Lake along the way.

Deosai National Park is a protected area located in the Skardu district of northern Pakistan. It is known for its diverse ecosystem, including high-altitude grasslands, forests, lakes, and glaciers. It is home to a variety of flora and fauna, including the Himalayan black bear, snow leopard, marmot, and over 300 species of birds. One of the highlights of Deosai National Park is its scenic beauty, with vast expanses of grasslands and rolling hills surrounded by snow-capped peaks. Visitors to the park can enjoy trekking, camping, and wildlife viewing, as well as explore the park’s many lakes and glaciers. Deosai National Park is a unique and rugged landscape, offering a true wilderness experience for visitors. It is a must-visit for anyone interested in nature and adventure, and is a unique and unforgettable experience for visitors to northern Pakistan.


Sadpara Lake is a high altitude lake located near Skardu in Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan. It is known for its scenic beauty and is a popular tourist destination for trekkers and nature enthusiasts. Perched atop Skardu city lies Sadpara Lake, serving as the primary source of both drinking and agricultural water for the residents. Only a 30-minute journey from Skardu, Sadpara Lake can be reached on the way to Deosai.


Kharapuncho Fort is a historical fort located in the Skardu Valley of Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan,  just 1 kilometer from Skardu bazaar, was built in the 16th century by the Raja of Skardu, Ali Sher Khan Anchan, for defensive purposes. To reach the fort, one must undertake a 30-minute trek along a steep path from Skardu bazaar.

The fort is known for its unique architecture, featuring a mix of Tibetan and Islamic styles. It is a popular tourist destination and attracts visitors who are interested in history and architecture. The fort provides a panoramic view of the surrounding mountains and the Indus River with a breathtaking 360-degree view of the Skardu city.


The Manthal Buddha Rock Carving is situated 3 kilometers from Skardu city, along the route to Deosai Plains via Sadpara Lake. One of the oldest rock carvings in the region, it depicts the story of Buddhists who once lived and practiced their religion in the area.The carvings are believed to date back to the 7th or 8th century AD and are considered to be some of the earliest examples of Buddhist rock art in the region.

The carvings depict various scenes from the life of the Buddha, including scenes of his birth, enlightenment, and teachings. They also feature intricate patterns and designs, including decorative borders and floral motifs. The Manthal Buddha Rock Carvings are significant not only for their artistic and cultural value, but also for their historical importance. They offer a glimpse into the rich Buddhist heritage of the region and provide insight into the spread of Buddhism in this area during ancient times.

Picture courtesy:


Skardu Bazaar is a bustling market located in the town of Skardu in northern Pakistan. It is a hub of activity and a must-visit destination for visitors to the region, offering a wide variety of goods and services.

The bazaar is home to a diverse range of shops, selling everything from traditional clothing and textiles to jewelry, spices, and local handicrafts. Visitors can also find a range of restaurants and street food vendors, serving up delicious local cuisine and snacks.

In addition to its shopping and dining options, Skardu Bazaar is also a cultural hub, providing a glimpse into the local way of life. Visitors can explore the bazaar’s narrow alleys and busy streets, observing the local residents as they go about their daily business. Overall, Skardu Bazaar is a vibrant and colorful destination, offering a glimpse into the rich culture and history of northern Pakistan. Whether you’re looking for unique souvenirs, delicious food, or an immersive cultural experience, this market is sure to deliver.


Located just 2 kilometers away from the town of Skardu city in northern Pakistan, the Katpana Desert is a high-altitude desert. It is one of the world’s highest deserts, with an elevation of over 2,500 meters above sea level. The desert is characterized by its vast, barren landscape, with sand dunes that can reach up to 30 meters in height. Despite its remote location and harsh conditions, the desert is home to a variety of flora and fauna, including nomadic communities who make a living from herding livestock. The desert is also a popular spot for stargazing, with clear skies and minimal light pollution providing optimal conditions for observing the stars. Katpana Desert is a unique and unforgettable destination for visitors to Skardu, offering a chance to experience a high-altitude desert and explore one of the world’s most rugged and beautiful landscapes.


Mashabrum Base Camp is located in the Hushe Valley near Skardu city in the northern region of Pakistan, and is a popular destination for trekkers and mountaineers. The base camp offers breathtaking views of the surrounding peaks and glaciers, and is the starting point for the trek to the Mashabrum summit.

The Mashabrum peak is considered to be one of the most challenging and difficult peaks in the world, and is only accessible to experienced mountaineers and climbers. The trek to the summit is strenuous and requires a high level of physical fitness, as well as technical mountaineering skills.

Visitors to Mashabrum Base Camp are sure to be inspired by the beauty and majesty of the surrounding peaks, and will appreciate the opportunity to explore this remote and unspoiled region of the world.


Hushe Valley is a scenic valley located near Skardu city in the northern region of Pakistan. The valley is famous for its natural beauty and is a popular destination for trekkers and hikers. The valley is surrounded by towering peaks and glaciers, and is home to several scenic meadows, including the popular Mashabrum and K7 Base Camps.

One of the most popular trekking routes in the valley is the Hushe Valley Trek, which takes trekkers from the valley up to the Mashabrum Base Camp, where they can enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding peaks and glaciers. The trek is considered to be a moderate to challenging trek and is well suited for experienced trekkers and mountaineers.


Khalti Lake is a beautiful and serene lake located near Skardu city in the northern region of Pakistan. The lake is surrounded by towering peaks and lush meadows, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding scenery.The lake is fed by a small stream and is surrounded by a dense forest of pine and birch trees. This peaceful and serene environment makes it a popular destination for picnics, camping, and fishing.

Khalti Lake is also a popular destination for trekkers and hikers, as it is located near several popular trekking routes, including the famous K2 Base Camp trek. Visitors to the lake can enjoy scenic walks along the shore, take in the stunning mountain views, and soak in the peaceful and serene atmosphere. In addition to its natural beauty, Khalti Lake is also known for its cultural and historical significance. The lake and its surrounding area are considered to be sacred by local residents, and there are several shrines and temples located nearby.

Located in the Gilgit region near Phandar Valley, this lake can be reached in approximately 7 to 8 hours from Skardu.


K2 Base Camp refers to the area near the base of K2, the second-highest mountain in the world, located on the border of Pakistan and China. It serves as a starting point for climbers attempting to summit K2 and also provides a base for research and exploration of the surrounding region. The base camp is situated at an elevation of approximately 5,000 meters (16,400 ft) above sea level and is typically only accessible on foot or by air.

Reaching K2 Base Camp requires a journey through the Shigar district, starting from Skardu. Traveling by 4×4 jeep for a full day, followed by a 5-day trek, will bring you to the base camp located in the district of Shigar.


Sassi Valley is a scenic and historical valley located in northern Pakistan, in the Gilgit-Baltistan region. It is named after the famous folktale character Sassi Punnun, who is said to have lived in the valley many centuries ago. The valley is known for its unique landscape and diverse culture, as well as its rich historical heritage. Visitors to Sassi Valley can explore its natural beauty, including towering mountains, pristine lakes, and lush green forests, as well as visit ancient cultural and historical sites, including old Hindu temples and Buddhist rock carvings.


What is the best time to visit Skardu?

The best time to visit Skardu depends on the type of activities you are interested in and the weather conditions in the region.

For trekking and hiking, the best time to visit Skardu is from June to September, when the weather is warm and dry. This is also the peak tourist season in the region, so visitors can expect to find a range of trekking and camping facilities, as well as plenty of other visitors.

For those interested in photography and sightseeing, the best time to visit Skardu is from April to June, when the weather is mild and the surrounding scenery is lush and green. This is also a good time to visit for those interested in exploring the local culture and traditions, as there are several festivals and events taking place in the region during this time.

For winter sports such as skiing, the best time to visit Skardu is from December to February, when the weather is cold and the snow is deep. Visitors can expect to find a range of ski and snowboarding facilities, as well as a variety of other winter activities.

Regardless of the time of year, visitors to Skardu should be prepared for changes in weather conditions, as the region is known for its rapidly changing weather patterns. It is also important to be mindful of the local cultural and religious customs, and to respect the natural environment and wildlife in the region.

What are the Visa requirements to travel to Skardu?

Depending on your country of origin, you may need a visa to enter Pakistan. Check with the Pakistani embassy in your home country for more information. Citizens of many countries are eligible to apply for an electronic visa (e-Visa) to enter Pakistan. However, the exact list of eligible countries may change and it’s always best to check with the Pakistani embassy or official immigration website for the most up-to-date information.

What to wear in Pakistan?

Pakistan is a predominantly Muslim country, and visitors are expected to dress modestly and respect local customs and traditions.

Currency used in Skardu?

The currency used in Pakistan is the Pakistani Rupee (PKR). It is divided into 100 paisa. Banknotes come in denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100, 500, and 1000 Rupees, while coins come in 1, 2, and 5 Rupee denominations, as well as  1 Rupee coins.

Visitors to Pakistan can exchange foreign currency at banks, money exchange bureaus, and authorized dealers. International credit and debit cards are widely accepted in urban areas and at large tourist attractions, but it’s always a good idea to carry some cash for smaller transactions and when traveling in rural areas

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