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CARBS Business Review

The Cultural Treasures of Skardu: Exploring the Khaplu, Shigar, and Kharpocho Forts

Saud Mahboob Nutkani

29 May, 2023

The Cultural Treasures of Skardu: Exploring the Khaplu, Shigar, and Kharpocho Forts

Skardu is a cold desert region located in the northern part of Pakistan, in the Gilgit-Baltistan province. The area is known for its stunning natural beauty, including towering peaks, lush valleys, and glistening glaciers. It is a popular destination for trekkers and mountaineers, as well as for those looking to experience the unique culture and history of the region.

 

One of the main attractions in Skardu is the Karakoram mountain range, which is home to some of the world’s highest peaks, such as, Broad Peak, and Gasherbrum. The trek to the base camp of these peaks is a popular activity among tourists, as it offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.

 

In addition to the natural beauty, Skardu is also known for its rich cultural heritage. The region is home to a diverse population, including the Balti, Shina, and Burusho peoples, each with their own unique customs and traditions. Visitors can learn about the history and culture of the region by visiting local museums, such as the Skardu Fort and the Skardu Museum, or by attending cultural festivals, such as the Shandur Polo Festival, which takes place annually in July.

 

Another popular activity in Skardu is white-water rafting on the Indus River. The river offers a wide range of rapids, making it suitable for both novice and experienced rafters. Additionally, the region has a number of hot springs, such as the Katpana Hot Springs, which are believed to have therapeutic properties.

 

Skardu is also a popular destination for those interested in spiritual and religious tourism. The region is home to several notable shrines and mosques, such as the Khaplu and Shigar forts, and the Kharpocho Fort.

 

Khaplu Fort and Shigar Fort are two of the most notable historical sites in Skardu, Pakistan. The Khaplu Fort, also known as the Yabgo Khar, was built in the 19th century and served as the residence of the Raja of Khaplu, who ruled over the region at the time. The fort is a beautiful example of traditional architecture, with intricate carvings and paintings decorating the walls. The fort also has a small museum that displays historical artifacts and provides visitors with an insight into the history of the region.

 

Shigar Fort, on the other hand, is a 17th-century fort that was built by the Raja of Shigar. The fort is located in the Shigar Valley, and it is considered one of the most significant cultural and historical sites in the region. The fort has been beautifully preserved and is open to visitors, who can explore the fort’s rich history and admire its architecture.

 

Kharpocho Fort is also located in Skardu and is believed to be over 400 years old. The fort was built to protect the ancient trade route that connected Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent. The fort has been well-preserved, and it offers visitors a glimpse into the rich history of the region. The fort also offers a panoramic view of the surrounding landscape, making it a popular spot for photography.

 

Khaplu Fort, Shigar Fort and Kharpocho Fort are three must-visit historical sites in Skardu. These forts offer a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage and history of the region, and they are also architectural masterpieces that are worth admiring. Visiting these forts will provide visitors with an opportunity to learn about the region’s past and to appreciate the traditional architecture that has been preserved in these forts.

 

Overall, Skardu is a must-visit destination for those looking to experience the natural beauty, cultural heritage, and adventure of Pakistan. The region offers a wide range of activities, from trekking and mountaineering to cultural exploration and river rafting, making it a perfect destination for tourists of all interests and backgrounds.

 

However, it is important to note that Skardu is a remote and underdeveloped region, and tourists should be prepared for limited infrastructure and facilities. It is also important to be aware of the local laws and customs, and to respect the rights and beliefs of the local people.

Saud Mahboob Nutkani

Saud Mahboob Nutkani is a traveller and Phd Scholor at Superior University, Lahore. He is serving as Assistant Manager, Admin & HR at Punjab Educational Endowmwnt Fund

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