By:Shehzad Ahmed Sahir
Tourism is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world. Tourists around the globe try to explore new places where they could visit and be fascinated with the beauties of nature. As the world has become artificial and materialistic. Modern men are surrounded by artificial beauty. They need a place where they can enjoy real rustic life. For the admirers of nature, Gilgit-Baltistan is a perfect place to visit. Gilgit-Baltistan (GB), an administrative unit of Pakistan, has a great potential to attract international tourism. Its longitude and latitude have great importance. Its borders are connected with “Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province to the West, a small portion of the Wakhan Corridor of Afghanistan to the North, Xinjian, China to the Northeast, and Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh to the Southeast, and the Pakistani-administered state of Azad Kashmir to the South.”
This fairyland attracts people from other regions or countries because of several reasons. The Karakoram Highway (1300KM) connects GB with the rest of Pakistan in the South and China at its North end. The major part of this highway passes side by side with the Karakoram ranges (77,156KM2) and the Indus River (3180KM). It has historical importance and is termed as the 8th wonder of the world. It is the highest paved road in the world which connects the remotest valleys of GB. Because of its demography and natural beauty, it can be considered the epicenter of tourism.
This eye-catching place is home to the mountains. In GB, five out of the eight thousand meter gigantic mountains are found. In addition to this, more than fifty peaks above 7,000 meters are also found in this region. Gilgit and Skardu are considered as two main hubs for the national and international mountaineers’ expeditions. The region is famous for its world’s highest mountain ranges. These include the mighty Karakoram, the enormous western Himalayas, the Pamir Mountains to the North, and the Hindu Kush to the West. Amongst the highest mountains, K2 (Mount Godwin-Austen), the second-highest mountain of the world, and Nanga Parbat (Killer Peak) are the most significant. Killer Peak is considered one of the most dangerous peaks in the world.
GB has world recognition because of the massive glaciers. Outside the polar regions, three of the world’s longest glaciers are found here. Among them, the Biafo Gyang Glacier is 67KM in length; the Baltoro Glacier is 63KM in length, and the Batura Glacier is 57KM in length. Furthermore, Naltar Valley has international acclaim because of its natural beauty and national and international ski games. Pakistan Air Force (PAF) and Ski Federation Pakistan (SFP) play a pivotal role in promoting winter tourism in Naltar Valley Gilgit. Recently, World Snow Day 2020 has been observed here with the support of PAF and SFP. In this auspicious event, several national and internationally renowned ski players have participated.
This beautiful region is also famous for lakes. Several high-altitude lakes are also found in GB. The most famous are; Shoesar Lake in Deosai National Park, Skardu; Satpara Tso Lake in Skardu, Baltistan; Katzura Tso Lake in Skardu, Baltistan; Katpana Lake in Skardu, Baltistan; Zharba Tso Lake in Shigar, Baltistan; Phoroq Tso Lake in Shigar, Baltistan; Lake Kharfak in Ganche, Baltistan; Sozgung Lake in Thalay Valley, Baltistan; Byarsa Tso Lake in Gultari, Astore; Bortih Lake in Gojal, upper Hunza, Gilgit; Rama Lake Near Astore; Rush Lake near Nagar, Gilgit; Karambar Lake at Kromber Pass Ishkoman Valley, Ghizar District; Barodaroksh Lake in Bar Valley, Nagar; Ghorashi Lake in Ghanus Valley, Kharmang; Attabad Lake, Hunza; Khalti Lake, Ghizar
Lastly, there are several other explored and unexplored places like, Sarfaranga Cold Desert, Deosai Plains (roof of the world); Jandaroot Lake, Phandar Valley, and hundreds of other tourist spots are found here which have great potential to attract international tourism. If attention is paid to this region, it can enormously contribute to the economy of Pakistan.