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LOCAL AREA ACTIVITIES
Guests of Khaplu Palace & Residence (KPR) have a multitude of activities to enjoy at their doorstep. Local points of interest, all within walking distance from the KPR include:
- Exploring the nearby historic settlements of Hundili, Banpi and Khanqah.
- Visiting historic mosques – the finest examples in the whole region
- Viewing the tomb of a saint named “Astana Mir Muhammad” which was restored by AKCSP with the help of local community. This project has won UNESCO award of Distinction in 2005.
- Visiting the imposing historic Khaplu Khanqah and its newer addition being built by the community in the traditional style.
- Walking/hiking up to the “Hanjor Brok” an alpine pasture dwelling of lush green fields, domestic livestock that provides great views of Khaplu.
- Only a few minutes’ drive distance to Mashebrum Peak view point to get a glimpse of this 7,821 meter high peak.
- Climb the “Thoqsikhar”, a panoramic view point and ancient seat of Yabgo rulers where ruins of the old 400-years old castle are still visible.
- Drive to “Saling”, a picnic point next to Shyok River, where one can taste the deliciously cooked fish and outdoor Barbeque.
- See and witness “Polo”; the game of kings. Sword dances chanting with traditional folk music on special days (23rd March, 14th August, Jashen Ghanche) at Shahi Polo Ground next to the Khaplu Palace & Residence.
Within easy distance for day excursions from the Palace building are many more spectacular sites, including:
- Thallay Valley: A valley on the right bank of Shyok river can be approached by Jeep after passing through the terraced agricultural fields, curling with foam producing crystal blue stream and mountain zigzags. At the end of the last inhabited hamlet, some tracks lead towards shepherd huts and indigenous glacier.
- View the UNESCO award winning 300 year old mausoleum of the saint “Astana Mir Muhammad” - one of the finest in the area. Astana’s are among the most fascinating structures in Baltistan. They are places of eternal rest for saintly persons.
- Macholo Valley: A village next to Saling where vernacular architecture and landscape leaves one spellbound. This is also where the historic Khanqah towers itself in the middle of the old settlement, and a fierce icy stream flows down to join Hushey River. In spring, apricot blossom in Macholo has extraordinary appeal for visitors and photographers.
- Hike to Thoqsikhar: the route leads to a panoramic view point where the ancient seat of Yabgo rulers and ruins of the 400 year old castle still remain.
- Hushe Valley: Locals believed Hushe valley was the route to get to Yarkand, the Chinese Turkistan. In olden days, climatic changes and breeding of glacier restricted the passengers to cross the mountain pass. At the end of the valley, Hushe village preserves the traditional setting of the area. Standing in a field or in a pathway, one feels as though they are sitting next to Mashebrum.
- Chorbat Valley: In this valley, hamlets and villages are located on either side of Shyok River that flows down from Nubra Ladakh and enters Ghanche from Frano, the last village on the Line of Control. In this valley “Chorbat La” the pass leading to Piun village was used in olden times to go into Dah and Hanu, the Buddhist Dard villages of Ladakh that still celebrate their ancient customs and rituals. It may be noted that currently only domestic tourists are allowed in this valley.
- Chak Chang: a carved wooden mosque, supposedly the oldest in Baltistan. The mosque shows Buddhist influence and is reminiscent of Tibetan architecture.
- A short walk in Saling to see one of Central Asia’s largest Buddhist Stupa’s and rock carvings.
- Bara: a small village just 20 minutes from Khaplu. Visit a wool spinning & weaving centre that trains and supports local women. Purchase a local Baltistani topi and enjoy the traditional weaving styles.