Travels Through Pakistan: Gilgit-Baltistan

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April 1, 2014

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Here at Allshore, we like to be as educated as possible when it comes to our Pakistani team members and their homes. One of the first surprising things I learned about Pakistan was how beautiful of a country it is. Given its geographical location, not many people expect it to be home to such diverse natural and manmade wonders.

In an attempt to decrease the distance between our U.S. team and our Pakistani counterparts, we have started a blog series titled “Travels Through Pakistan.” In this series, we will feature travel destinations across the beautiful country of Pakistan.

Today’s destination is Gilgit-Baltistan.

Gilgit-Baltistan is the northernmost territory of Pakistan, and it features a number of geographical and cultural wonders.

Some of the more spectacular attractions in this region are the mountains, with two of the world’s highest mountain ranges, the Karakoram and the western Himalayas, being located in this area. In fact, the second highest mountain in the world, K2 (a.k.a. Mount Godwin-Austen), is shared between Gilgit-Baltistan and Xinjiang, China.


K2 is a popular challenge for seasoned mountain climbers, and over 300 have successfully ascended to its summit. It is less hazardous to climb from the Pakistan side, but it is still very dangerous. The mountain has the second highest fatality rate among the “eight thousanders,” or mountains that are more than 8,000 meters (26,247 feet) above sea level. Only Annapurna, part of the Himalayas, has a higher fatality rate.


Whether travelers want to attempt to climb the mountains or not, they provide amazing scenery, and there are many beautiful valleys to visit. Some of these valley destinations include the Ghanche Valley, the Skardu Valley and the Phandar Valley.


There are a number of cultural attractions in this region, too. One of the more intriguing occurrences is the Shandur Polo Festival, which takes place at Shandur, the highest polo ground in the world (3,734 meters or about 12,250 feet).


The festival takes place each July, and has been a tradition in this region since as early as 1936. The festival features a popular match between rival teams Gilgit and Chitral. Supporters of each team travel from many miles to witness the spectacle.


Additional activities at the festival include musical performances, horse riding, hiking, fishing and mountaineering. The festival is not particularly easy to reach, but it seems to be well worth the adventure.

The festival is one of many diverse cultural celebrations in Gilgit-Baltistan.

Gilgit-Baltistan is  a wonderful destination for world travelers, offering an excellent combination of geographical beauty and culture.