The Shigar Valley, 32 kms (20 miles) from Skardu and 40
minutes by jeep, is watered by the Shigar River, falls in Pakistan's Northern
Areas. The secluded Shigar Valley is wedged
between the Karakoram, Hunza and Rondu ranges. Amidst the strikingly
beautiful and majestic mountains, slowly merging into an oasis of green
fields, Shigar is situated on the banks of the Indus, at a height of 2798
The valley has an extremely picturesque landscape, and abounds in
fruit such as grapes, peaches, pears, walnuts and apricots. Shigar bears the distinct stamp of its
history as the administrative, commercial and cultural valley of Baltistan.
The wild and lush green hauntingly beautiful landscapes of this hidden land
are often likened to Tibet - Ladhakh used to be known as 'Little Tibet' -
and are every bit as dramatic and enticing. Shigar posses several of the
outlying historical and cultural gems of Baltistan, including the 500 year
old Khanqah Moalla, Fong Khar, Raja palace and mosques. A memorable sight of the Shigar bazaar is
the group of men , traditionally attired , selling fruits, vegetables and
household articles, spinning and knitting, and exchanging gentle banter
between themselves and with passers-by.
The mosque ( Khanqah Moalla ), Raja Palace, the bazaar and the hill top
are all within walking distances of each other. Niali, Churkah and Mamotonma,
Jarba zhou lake are quite close while Chutron, Seisko, Gulabpur, and Hashupi
are all a day's touring distance. Niali, Sharba monasteries and the
royal palace at Sharba all of which provide an insight into the rich
heritage of the region.
Niali Mirpi top (highest point to see K2 and other peaks) and Thale La offer
exciting treks starting from Shigar center, while countless treks and climbs
(inlcuding K2, Gashabrum I, II, III, IV, Trango Tower, Broad Peak, Hispar
La, snow lake, Spangtik and countless peaks and trek routes) are the
best world over for trekking and climbing. This valley is home to
endless numbers of glaciers and small, nameless streams. Both of the upper
river valleys, the Basha and the Braldu, that confluence to form the Shigar
River are an absolute delight for someone with an adventurous spirit, love
of big mountains and the unique cultures that form in their nooks and
crannies. Boating and river running too are possible on the Shigar River.
Shigar offers the magnificent sight of the lovely lake, Jarba zhou in close
proximity near to Lamsa. Soothed by the sound of water lapping against the
hull, you can relax around the lake or better still, savour the peaceful
The beauty of Shigar is that it introduces you best to Balti’s ways while
you head out for short walks or drive around. Shigar stands accessible,
surrounded by the majesty of the Karakoram enclave. The experience can best
be described as a peek into the delights that make up this ancient trade
route towards Lhasa Tibet.
Shigar is indeed a trekker's paradise in North Pakistan. In case
adventure excites you then you must take up any of the many treks offered
Polo is another popular adventure you may indulge in at the Polo ground
while you travel of Shigar in Baltistan, Pakistan. Polo matches and
competitions are regularly held in Shigar. Then there is the ravishing
adventure sport of river rafting you may try in the Shigar River. The period
from the month of July to September is ideal for river rafting in Shigar.
Shigar also offers mountain biking to the daring on the second highest motor
able road in the world. The adventure in mountain biking from Shigar lies in
the most hostile terrains. The entire stretch of 342 km between Shigar and
Islamabad is an adventure for mountain bikers who have the opportunity to
travel across the majestic Karakoram and Himalayan ranges through Deosai
National park of Pakistan. To the daring adventurers Shigar-road rewards
spectacular and picturesque landscapes.
For regular shopping Shigar have several shops. For gift items and souvenirs
you may check out the Zehra Mohra Place in the old town, Fong Khar and some
shops behind the Main Bazaar road.
The entrance to the Shigar Valley is reached via Skardu,
which is accessible by 22 hour drive along the Karakoram Highway from the
capital of Pakistan, Islamabad; Or a 6 hours drive from Gilgit or alternatively by an easy 45 minutes plane
flight from Islamabad to Skardu.