About Khaplu and Gilgit-Baltistan
About Khaplu and Khaplu Palace & Residence
Khaplu is the eastern most part of Baltistan. It was the second largest kingdom in old Baltistan. The town of Khaplu is the capital of Ghangche District in Gilgit-Baltistan. It guarded the trade route to Ladakh along the Shyok river. The Shyok River divides the valley into two halves. The valley has steeper slopes and there is lesser land available than in other valleys in Baltistan.
However in terms of architectural heritage and cultural expression it has arguably more treasures than Shigar and others areas of Baltistan, possibly as a result of its closeness to both Leh in Ladakh and Srinagar in Kashmir.
Khaplu region is rich in cultural heritage and the Khaplu Palace is certainly the finest surviving example of a royal residence in Baltistan. It stands above the town of Khaplu amidst terraced apricot orchards, surveying the river Shyok below and the mountain peaks in the distance.
Built by the Yabgo Raja Daulat Ali Khan in 1840, it replaced an earlier fort constructed 600 meters above the present location, of which little now remains. Its significance lies in its cultural importance as a former seat of royal government in the area, and in its quality as a building, both aesthetically and as an exemplar of traditional building typology.
Baltistan is a beautiful land spread over 26,227 km in the north of Pakistan. It borders Ladakh to the East, Kashmir to the South, and Xinxiang province of China to the North. It has the most awe inspiring landscape with breath taking scenery of the Karakorum mountain range, sublime & picturesque terraced fields, the worlds 2nd highest mountain K2, some of the world’s largest glaciers outside of the North & South poles and the world’s largest high altitude plateau - the Deosai Plains.
In addition to its amazing natural beauty, Baltistan is rich in history and culture. Its historical treasures include forts, palaces, mosques, and archeological treasures such as Buddha stupa’s and thousands of ancient petrol glyphs (rock carvings). Due to its isolation from the rest of Pakistan, Baltistan has not developed at the dramatic pace of its neighbouring provinces and has managed to preserve its culture adding to its charm and character.
The relative lack of development and friendly nature of the Balti people make the north the perfect destination for those looking for a varied and stimulating holiday. From stunning landscapes, a vast amount of historical & religious sites, beautiful flora and fauna, amazing architecture, trekking, horse riding and many other adventures for the more active traveller.
Beautiful Baltistan is small enough to explore in 4 to 10 days yet large & diverse enough to offer infinite variety and the holiday of a life time.
The Gilgit Baltistan is now divided into seven administrative districts: Diamer, Skardu, Ghizer, Gilgit, Ghanche, Astore and Hunza & Nagar and Gilgit town which is the headquarters of the Gilgit Baltistan administration.
Khaplu is situated at an elevation of about 2,560 m (8,400 ft). It is the capital town of the Ghanche District of Gilgit-Baltistan, lying 103 km from Skardu town. The town is base for trekking into the Hushe valley which leads to Mashabrum and K2
The temperature in May is a maximum of 20 °C (68 °F) and a minimum of 14 °C (57 °F); the temperature in October is maximum 8 °C (46 °F) and minimum -12 °C (10.0 °F). Khaplu's tourist season is generally from April to October. The Karakoram Highway is available to travel from Gilgit to Skaru and Khaplu.
The famous Karakoram Highway is open through the year. Travelling up the valley is from Skardu. Regular bus and van services operate between Gilgit and Skardu and onward to Khaplu. Northern Areas Transportation Corporation (NATCO) office at Islamabad, Gilgit, Skardu, Ghizer, Hunza and Sost arrange tours and transport for visitors from Islamabad to Gilgit and Skardu.
Khaplu is base for trekkers in Gilgit Baltistan Pakistan. Hushe is the last village of the Ghanche District of Gilgit Baltistan. It is the highest village in the region. Hushe Valley offers various exciting trekking routes in the central Karakoram are Mashabrum Glacier , Gondogoro and Saraksa, The Gondogoro have excellent views of central Karakoram peaks including Mashabrum 7,821m (25,659 ft), Baltro Kangri 7,800m (25,590 ft), Saltoro Kangri 7,742m (25,400 ft), K-7 6,934m (22,749 ft), Chogolisa 7,665m (25,148 ft), K-12 7,428m (24,370 ft), Sherpi Kangri,7,380m (24,212 ft), K-6 - 7,281m (23,887 ft), Linksar 7,241m (23,367 ft), Snow Dome 7,150m (23,458 ft) Mt Depak 7,150m (23,458 ft), Chumik 6,753m (22,155 ft), ), Gharkun 6,620m (21,719 ft), Khor 6100m (20,013 ft), Laila Peak 6,096m, (20,000 ft), Moonlight 6000m (19,685 ft) highest peaks of the world.
Polo is the favorite game of the people of Khaplu, Skardu, Gilgit Chilas, Astore, Ghizer and the surrounding areas.
The population consists of diverse linguistic, ethnic, and Nurbukshi and Shia Isnashri Muslim religious groups. Urdu is the lingua franca of the region. Populations living in Khaplu valley are called Balti, who speak Balti, an archaic form of Tibetian language. The Balti dialect, a sub-dialect of Ladakhi and part of Tibetan language group, is spoken by the entire population of Baltistan.