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Gilgit, Pakistan - July 2009

Gilgit, Pakistan - July 2009
Made by SaffyH - Uploading Dorset Photo's
Gilgit is the largest city in the Northern Areas of Pakistan but still it is quite small. It is over 8 hours from Besham in Swat on the Karakoram Highway. The journey to Gilgit is long and aftera while boring. It is an adventure but I personally tired off the narrow Indus valley with mountains walled closely. After Dassu in Kohistan and all the way to Gilgit itself the journey is through treeless river valley. Gilgit city is set in mountains whose grey towering peaks guard the city. The bottom of the valley in and around the city its suprisingly green because of the abundant trees. There are many cheap hotels in Gilgit and its one of the few places in Pakistan where you will see foreign tourists in quite a number. They are from neighbouring China as well as Europe too. Most tourists have come to trek in the many mountainous regions or travel onwards to China. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gilgit Gilgit (Urdu: گلگت, Hindi: गिलगित) is the capital city of the Northern Areas, Pakistan. Gilgit City forms a tehsil of Gilgit, within Gilgit District. Its ancient name was Sargin, later to be known as Gilit, and it is still called Gilit or Sargin-Gilit by local people. In the Burushaski language, it is named Geelt. Ghallata is considered its name in ancient Sanskrit literature. Gilgit City is one of the two major hubs in the Northern Areas for mountaineering expeditions to the Karakoram and other the peaks in the Himalayas, the other hub being Skardu. Gilgit has an area of 38,000 square kilometres (14,700 sq mi). The region is significantly mountainous, lying on the foothills of the Karakoram mountains, and has an average altitude of 1,500 metres (4,900 ft). It is drained by the Indus River, which rises in the neighbouring regions of Ladakh and Baltistan. Gilgit was an important city on the Silk Road, along which Buddhism was spread from South Asia to the rest of Asia. The Dards and Chinas appear in many of the old Pauranic lists of peoples who lived in the region, with the former also mentioned in Ptolemy's accounts of the region. Two famous travellers, Faxian and Xuanzang, traversed Gilgit according to their accounts. “The former rulers had the title of Ra, and there is reason to suppose that they were at one time Hindus, but for the last five centuries and a half they have been Mohammedans. The names of the Hindu Ras have been lost, with the exception of the last of their number, Shri Buddutt. Tradition relates that he was killed by a Mohammedan adventurer, who married his daughter and founded a new dynasty, since called Trakhàn, from a celebrated Ra named Trakhan, who reigned about the commencement of the fourteenth century. The previous rulers—of whom Shri Buddutt was the last—were called Shahreis. Gilgit was ruled for centuries by the local Trakhàn Dynasty, which ended about 1810 with the death of Raja Abas, the last Trakhàn Raja.[2] The rulers of Hunza and Nager also claim origin with the Trakhàn dynasty. They claim descent from a heroic Kayani Prince of Persia, Azur Jamshid (also known as Shamsher), who secretly married the daughter of the king Shri Badat. She conspired with him to overthrow her cannibal father.[3] Sri Badat's faith is theorised as Hindu by some[3][4] and Buddhist by others.[5][6] However, considering the region's Buddhist heritage, with the most recent influence being Islam, the most likely preceding influence of the region is Buddhism. Though the titular Sri and the name Badat denotes a Hindu origin of the this ruler. Prince Azur Jamshid succeeded in overthrowing King Badat who was known as Adam Khor (lit. man-eater)[7][8], often demanding a child a day from his subjects, his demise is still celebrated to this very day by locals in traditional annual celebrations[9]. In the beginning of the new year, where a Juniper procession walks along the river, in memory of chasing the cannibal king Sri Badat away[10]. Azur Jamshid abdicated after 16 years of rule in favour of his wife Nur Bakht Khatùn until their son and heir Garg, grew of age and assumed the title of Raja and ruled, for 55 years. The dynasty flourished under the name of the Kayani dynasty until 1421 when Raja Torra Khan assumed rulership. He ruled as a memorable king until 1475. He distinguished his family line from his step brother Shah Rais Khan (who fled to the king of Badakshan and with who's help he gained Chitral from Raja Torra Khan), as the now known dynastic name of Trakhàn. The descendants of Shah Rais Khan being respectfully known as the Ra'issiya Dynasty.[11] The period of greatest prosperity was probably under the Shin Ras, whose rule seems to have been peaceable and settled. The whole population, from the Ra to the poorest subject lived by agriculture. According to tradition, Shri Buddutt's rule extended over Chitral, Yassin, Tangir, Darel, Chilas, Gor, Astor, Hunza, Nagar and Haramosh all of which were held by tributary princes of the same family. [12] ” The area had been a flourishing tract but prosperity was destroyed by warfare over the next fifty years, and by the great flood of 1841 in which the river Indus was blocked by a landslip below the Hatu Pir and the valley was turned into a lake[13]. After the death of Abas, Sulaiman Shah, raja of Yasin, conquered Gilgit. Then, Azad Khan, raja of Punial, killed Sulaiman Shah, taking Gilgit; then Tair Shah, raja of Buroshall (Nagar), took Gilgit and killed Azad Khan. Tair Shah's son Shah Sakandar inherited, only to be killed by Gaur Rahman, raja of Yasin of the Khushwakhte Dynasty, when he took Gilgit. Then in 1842, Shah Sakandar's brother, Karim Khan, expelled Gaur Rahman with the support of a Sikh army from Kashmir. The Sikh general, Nathu Shah, left garrison troops and Karim Khan ruled until Gilgit was ceded to Gulab Singh of Jammu and Kashmir in 1846 by the Treaty of Amritsar,[2] and Dogra troops replaced the Sikh in Gilgit. Nathu Shah and Karim Khan both transferred their allegiance to Gulab Singh, continuing local administration. When Hunza attacked in 1848, both of them were killed. Gilgit fell to the Hunza and their Yasin and Punial allies, but was soon reconquered by Gulab Singh's Dogra troops. With the support of Gaur Rahman, Gilgit's inhabitants drove their new rulers out in an uprising in 1852. Gaur Rahman then ruled Gilgit until his death in 1860, just before new Dogra forces from Ranbir Singh, son of Gulab Singh, captured the fort and town.[2] The rule of Jammu was restored. Gilgit came under British rule in 1889, when it was unified with neighbouring Nagar and Hunza in the Gilgit Agency. In 1877, in order to guard against the advance of Russia, the British Government, acting as the suzerain power of Kashmir, established the Gilgit Agency. The Agency was re-established under control of the British Resident in Jammu and Kashmir. It comprised the Gilgit Wazarat; the State of Hunza and Nagar; the Punial Jagir; the Governorships of Yasin, Kuh-Ghizr and Ishkoman, and Chilas. In 1935, the British demanded Jammu and Kashmir to lease them Gilgit town plus most of the Gilgit Agency and the hill-states Hunza, Nagar, Yasin and Ishkoman for 60 years. Maharaja Hari Singh had no choice but to acquiesce. The leased region was then treated as part of British India, administered by a Political Agent at Gilgit responsible to Delhi, first through the Resident in Jammu and Kashmir and later a British Agent in Peshawar. Jammu and Kashmir State no longer kept troops in Gilgit and a mercenary force, the Gilgit Scouts, was recruited with British officers and paid for by Delhi. In April 1947, Delhi decided to formally retrocede the leased areas to Hari Singh’s Jammu and Kashmir State as of August 15, 1947. The transfer was to formally take place on August 1. The Indo-Pakistani War of 1947 affected Gilgit as well. The Pakistani forces advanced against the Indian army quickly. In Gilgit, the Gilgit Scouts joined with them, thereby granting control of northwestern Kashmir to Pakistani forces. Gilgit Scouts progressed with Pakistani troops from north through High Himalayas and contributed in attacking of Skardu in summer 1948, pushing further towards Ladakh area. After Pakistani good progress of early 1948, Indian troops gathered momentum in late 1948. Finally, the newly-formed India asked UN intervention, and a ceasefire was agreed in December 31, 1948. This conflict left Pakistan with roughly two-fifths of Kashmir, leaving three-fifths to India. This agreement left Gilgit to Pakistan territory. Weather conditions for Gilgit are dominated by its geographical location, a valley in a mountainous area, southwest of Karakoram range. The prevalent season of Gilgit is winter, occupying the valley eight to nine months a year. Gilgit lacks significant rainfall, averaging in 120 to 240 millimetres (4.7 to 9.4 in) annually, as monsoon breaks against the southern range of Himalayas. Irrigation for land cultivation is obtained from the rivers, abundant with melting snow water from higher altitudes. The summer season is brief and hot. The piercing sunrays may raise the temperature up to 40 °C (104 °F), yet it is always cool in the shade. As a result of this extremity in the weather, landslides and avalanches are frequent in the area.[14] The Gilgit Manuscript[15] was nominated[16] in 2006 to be included on the UNESCO Memory of the World register, but without success. The Gilgit manuscripts are among the oldest manuscripts in the world, and the oldest manuscript collection surviving in Pakistan, having major significance in the areas of Buddhist studies and the evolution of Asian and Sanskrit literature. The manuscripts are believed to have been written in the 5th to 6th Century CE, though some more manuscripts were discovered in the succeeding centuries, which were also classified as Gilgit manuscripts. This corpus of manuscripts was discovered in 1931 in Gilgit, containing four sutras from the Buddhist canon, including the famous Lotus Sutra. The manuscripts were written on birch bark in old Sanskrit language in the Sharada script. The Gilgit manuscripts cover a wide range of themes such as iconometry, folk tales, philosophy, medicine and several related areas of life and general knowledge. Gilgit city is one of the two major hubs for all mountaineering expeditions in the Northern Areas of Pakistan. Almost all tourists headed for treks in Karakoram or Himalaya Ranges arrive at Gilgit first. Many tourists choose to travel to Gilgit by air, since the road travel between Islamabad and Gilgit, by the Karakoram Highway, takes nearly 24 hours, whereas the air travel takes a mere 45–50 minutes. There are several tourist attractions relatively close to Gilgit: Naltar Valley with Naltar Peak, Hunza Valley, Ferry Meadows in Raikot, Shigar town, Skardu city, Haramosh Peak in Karakoram Range, Bagrot-Haramosh Valley, Deosai National Park, Astore Valley, Rama Lake, Juglot town, Phunder village, Yasin Valley and Kargah Valley. Gilgit lies about 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) off the Karakoram Highway (KKH). The KKH connects it to Chilas, Dasu, Besham, Mansehra, Abbottabad and Islamabad in the south. In the North it is connected to Karimabad (Hunza) and Sust in the Northern Areas and to the Chinese cities of Tashkurgan, Upal and Kashgar in Xinjiang. There are various transports companies i.e. Silk Route Transport Pvt, Masherbrum Transport Pvt and Northern Areas Transport Corporation (NATCO), from these NATCO offers most coverage. It offers passenger road service between Islamabad, Gilgit, Sust and Tashkurgan, and road service between Kashgar and Gilgit (via Tashkurgan and Sust) started in the summer of 2006. However, the border crossing between China and Pakistan at Khunjerab Pass—the highest border of the world—is open only between May 1 and October 15 of every year. During winter, the roads are blocked by snow. Even during the monsoon season in summer, the roads are often blocked due to landslides. The best time to travel on Karakoram Highway is spring or early summer. Pakistan International Airlines flies ATR 42-500 flights twice daily between Gilgit Airport and Islamabad International Airport and the journey offers one of the most scenic aerial views in the world as it passes close to Nanga Parbat and the mountain peaks are higher than the aircraft's cruising altitude. There are two routes that the aircraft takes. First one is a direct route from the capital Islamabad that takes the plane over the Margalla Hills then over the town of Haripur directly over the Kaghan Valley from where it heads towards Nanga Parbat mountain. Finally, after passing the mountain, descent starts into the Indus valley. The second route takes along the Indus valley, which is also scenic but a little longer. These flights, however, are subject to the clearance of weather and in winters, flights are often delayed by several days due to bad weather. After a military Fokker F27 aircraft crashed near Multan in 2003, the Government of Pakistan banned all Fokker flights in domestic operations.[citation needed] The health system in northern areas is still in its primary phase with just a District Hospital in whole Gilgit city, supported by a military hospital. Some NGOs do play a minor role in uplift, but are catering for specific communities. Government has yet to fully develop a comprehensive health system in the area. Tuberculosis, endocrinal disorders with mainly iodine deficiency disorders, iron deficiency, and diarrheal diseases are more common. Sewage system has yet to be fully established, electricity and water supply are still faulty. These factors make a hindrance in developing a strong health care system. Colleges •F.G Degree college Jutial •F.G Degree college for women •Army Public School and College •Public School and Colleges Jutial University •Karakoram International University Gilgit

Pakistan, Northern Areas, Gilgit, Polo, horses 3

Pakistan, Northern Areas, Gilgit, Polo, horses 3
Made by Altaf Hussain
Pakistan, Northern Areas, Gilgit, Polo These Photos were taken at the army polo ground. There are four polo fields in Gilgit and in summer there is a practice game every day and tournaments before it gets to hot. The old polo ground is where practice is usually held and it is much better for photography as you are on a level with the horses chests and heads and sometimes they are in your lap. You have to sometimes shoot from the hip as you watch for incoming horses players mallets and balls. It is a high speed game with some interesting rules. It seems if you catch the ball you can pass it off to other players which ends up with all players pairing off and tackling each other and their horses. The aim of course is to break free with the ball and run it through the goals. Some of these photos show this happening. It is free to watch. According to flickr rules I cannot promote myself or my business. However I would like to promote Pakistan as a tourist destination and more photos and information can be found on my website at www.geocities.com/lifeadventuretours . Pakistan is a safe country to travel in despite what you here on the news and in consular travel advice. The Shandur Polo festival is the 3 day Chitral/ Gilgit grudge match/tournament held at a high altitude polo field between the two cities on July 7,8 and 9. It is a good camping trip with polo music and dancing.

Landing in Gilgit

Landing in Gilgit
Made by hkarrandjas
I spent a miserable night in Islamabad the previous night, and woke up at 4am to catch the Fokker 27 to Gilgit. Assuming this plane would be like any other, I reassured myself that the sleepless night I'd spent, terrified, and frozen, would be set right by the heat on the plane. Nope. There's no heat on these planes. Part-way through the flight, the stewardess asked if I wanted to come up and see the cockpit. Are you kidding? I spent the rest of the flight chatting with the pilot and co-pilot, as they pointed out K2, and the various other landmarks in the Himalayas. Amazing. When we saw the town of Gilgit approaching, I noted I should get back to my seat. No, no no they insisted - stay here - you'll be fine. Skeptical about my ability to stay in the plane as it landed, without a seatbelt, or anything to lean one - nonetheless - it seemed too good to be true. So I stayed - and snapped a few shots on final approach.

Worship Me

Worship Me
Made by Asad K
Dead center is the North Star. Long exposure to get the star trails. Dad pointed out the star using the W and the big dipper? tried a couple of times at 1so1600 with 30sec exposures to get the north star in the dead center. Didnt have a remote for the camera so had to hold down the shutter, which was a pain. Eventually when it was centered i took a 8.5 min long exposure at f8, iso100 and with long exposure nr on to get this. shot in raw and then pushed two stops while editing. Went up north for vacations, day1 islamabad to besham 6hr drive, day 2 besham to Gilgit 7hr drive, day three gilgit - khunjerab - hunza - gilgit 14 hrs drive, day 4 gilgit to pattan 6 hours drive, day 5 pattan to islamabad 6 hrs again. A lot of travelling, the only time to take pictures was either at night like this one or inside a moving jeep. Loads of fun. Post trip realizations, buy a polarizer, 4 stop nd filter, and a remote switch for camera.

Madina guest house

Madina guest house
Made by hkarrandjas
Mr. Yaqoob - the owner of the Madina Guest House - takes time every year to send postcards wishing peace to all the leaders of countries around the world. These are painstakingly written in English by the staff of the hostel. Having an English-speakier on hand that year to help out clearly made them pretty excited. I took the postcard destined for Arial Sharon of Israel and mailed it from Canada - since Israel and Pakistan don't recognize eachother as countries - and the mail wouldn't be delivered. That is a lantern at the front - a wick attached to a kerosene can.

Gilgit kids

Gilgit kids
Made by hkarrandjas
Habib invited me to the home of one of his aunts. We sat in the family's kitchen, which was also their bedroom, and she made tea and offered me treats. These kids were very shy at first, until I took their picture with my digital camera, and showed them the shots. Then they started to come out of their shells. I quickly realized that whatever food I couldn't finish - was going to the kids, so I tried a little of everything- but said I was full pretty quickly. Their little faces lit up as they dug into the leftovers.

Shower, Gilgit

Shower, Gilgit
Made by hkarrandjas
Hovering just below freezing, it was a pretty cold week in the mountains, with no electricity and no heat other than around a wood stove. Taking a shower by dumping cups of cold water over my head was sheer mind over matter. I calculated that after 5 days, I needed to get clean - but planned the rest of my day around what heat source I could hang out near, so I wouldn't get pneumonia. We wrote postcards to the leaders of various countries, pleading for world peace. Not your typical Tuesday afternoon.

Heater, Gilgit

Heater, Gilgit
Made by hkarrandjas
To say that the wood stove was the only source of heat is not entirely true. There were also a few of these contraptions around. Essentially - it's a grill attached to a can of kerosene. You turn on the gas, and light a match. I was so convinced I was going to blow myself up, that I shook too hard to light the match the first few times. It did start, though, but mercifully ran out of gas - leaving me cold - but reassured that I was not going to die in an explosion.

Madina Guest House, Gilgit

Madina Guest House, Gilgit
Made by hkarrandjas
My home away from home - the Madina Guest House in Gilgit, where I stayed for a week at New Years. The staff here were surprised to see any tourists at this time of year - even more so a white woman on her own, showing up at 8am, straight of the airplane. But they were incredibly friendly, and insisted I come in for some Welcome tea. After an hour of chatting- we finally discussed where I would sleep, and what I would like to see.

apatite with feldspar

apatite with feldspar
Made by fluospook
Apatite fluoresces yellow under short wave UV due to the presence of foreign ions. Most likely the activator is divalent manganese substituting for calcium. In some cases, however, dysprosium can cause the same fluorescence. I used a Superbright SW 2000 as illumination (go see www.uvsystems.com/checkout/agora.cgi?p_id=3_2&xm=on)

Stove, Gilgit

Stove, Gilgit
Made by hkarrandjas
The only source of heat in Gilgit - wood stoves. These are the true heart of all the homes, and the family typically cooks and sleeps all together in this room - to keep as warm as possible. As the guest at every house we entered, I was given the place of honour, which is just to the left of the stove. These families were so gracious, I felt right at home, and very welcomed.

Truck, Gilgit

Truck, Gilgit
Made by hkarrandjas
I accidentally caught this guy in the flash as he walked by. i wanted to show the ornate way they decorate the trucks. Apparently, if you know what to look for - you can tell exactly where every truck is from by the decoration. These are the equivalent of our 18-wheelers, and you see them all along the highway - always beautifully decorated.

Memory never fades

Memory never fades
Made by Danial Shah
I still remember those mountains, snow caped peaks and the water falls on the road sides. Khan, my Jeep driver loved to wash his ride on these roadside water falls while i loved to get my bottle refilled and enjoy drinking the natural water. The picture was taken en route to Gilgit by Naltar Valley, Gilgit Baltistan, Pakistan

Madina crew

Madina crew
Made by hkarrandjas
Mr. Yaqoob and Habib in front, and I feel terrible, but can't remember the name of the guy in behind. This is the main room of the Madina Guest House where we hung out, ate, and where the guys slept. Habib became my personal guide for the week, taking me under his wing, and making sure that I was ok, showing me the sights.

Traffic!

Traffic!
Made by rovinglight
This was taken in Gilgit, one of the main towns along the Karakoram Highway in Pakistan. This sight of the car (and its driver and passengers) being overridden by a herd of sheeps & goats on the road was really comical. The shepherd walking nonchalantly behind also tickles me, haha!

The Terraced Fields.

The Terraced Fields.
Made by W A R P D R I V E
View Large at aQs` Outskirts of Gilgit, neighboring the mighty Mount Rakaposhi (7788m). Bagrot valley, North Pakistan - June 2010.

APATITE SW_small

APATITE SW_small
Made by fluospook
Another Pakistan apatite. The crystals are set in between a criss-cross of mica. The mica plates are higly reflective, almost metallic. Look at the foot of the left crystal where you can see the smaller crystal's reflection.

Paths and Ways!

Paths and Ways!
Made by W A R P D R I V E
View Large at aQs` Hattupeer Hill (3130m), District Asthore, North Pakistan - June 2010.

Nomal Valley

Nomal Valley
Made by Danial Shah
I'm always in search of some beautiful landscapes, the best possible light and a clear sky during my travels. This View was the perfect one that I caught in the Nomal Valleys while going to the Cherry Orchard

Gilgit kids

Gilgit kids
Made by hkarrandjas
These three were adorable - and laughed their heads off when I took a picture and showed them the results. I love the look on the little guy in front.



Nearest places of interest:

الارض للبيع
Chilas چلاس
CHAMUGHR VILLAGE BAGROTE
Parri Bangla
  Datuchi Dass
Bagrote Valley
Muhammad Abad Danyore
Imamia Eid Gah Jutial Gilgit

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