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Shigar valley, If you are looking for a destination that offers stunning natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and thrilling adventure opportunities, look no further than Shigar Valley. Located in the Gilgit Baltistan region of northern Pakistan, Shigar Valley is a valley that is watered by the Shigar River and the Braldu Glacier, and is the gateway to the high mountains of the Karakoram, including the world’s second highest peak, K2.

Shigar Valley is not only a paradise for mountaineers, trekkers, and hikers, but also for anyone who appreciates the diversity and charm of nature. From verdant orchards and fields, to barren deserts and moraines, from serene lakes and hot springs, to roaring rivers and waterfalls, from ancient forts and rock carvings, to hospitable villages and festivals, Shigar Valley has something for everyone.

Here, you will discover the best places to visit, the best time to go, the best ways to get there, and the best tips to make your trip to Shigar Valley unforgettable. But before you dive into the details, take a look at this teaser image that captures the essence of Shigar’s beauty.[/vc_column_text]

Shigar valley Location

The Shigar Valley is a valley in Gilgit Baltistan in northern Pakistan that is watered by the Shigar River and centred on the town of Shigar. The valley stretches about 170 km from Skardu to Askole and is the gateway to the high mountains of the Karakoram. The valley is located at the coordinates of 35°25′32″N 75°43′59″E

The Shigar Valley, 32 kms (20 miles) from Skardu and 40 minutes by jeep, is watered by the Shigar River, falls in Pakistan’s Northern Areas.

The secluded Shigar Valley is wedged between the Karakoram, Hunza and Rondu ranges. Amidst the strikingly beautiful and majestic mountains, slowly merging into an oasis of green fields, Shigar is situated on the banks of the Indus, at a height of 2798 meters.

Shigar Valley Weather

Average temperatures in Shigar vary drastically. Considering humidity, temperatures feel cold for about half of the year and otherwise nice with a low chance of precipitation most of the year.

The area is somewhat temperate — in the 44th percentile for pleasant weather — compared to tourist destinations worldwide.

If you’re looking for the very warmest time to visit Shigar, the hottest months are July, August, and then June. The warmest time of year is generally early August where highs are regularly around 87.9°F (31.1°C) with temperatures rarely dropping below 67.1°F (19.5°C) at night.

Shigar valley Weather Today


The valley’s topography is dominated by rugged mountains, deep gorges, and glacial moraines. The surrounding mountains include some of the highest and most spectacular peaks in the world, such as K2, Broad Peak, Gasherbrum I and II, Masherbrum, and Trango Towers. The valley also has diverse flora and fauna, including medicinal plants, orchards, and wildlife. The valley is a popular destination for hiking, trekking, and mountaineering, as well as for exploring the cultural and historical heritage of the region

Climate and Best Time to Visit

Shigar Valley has a cold desert climate, which means it has hot and dry summers and cold and snowy winters. The average temperature ranges from around 20°C in the summer to -17°C in the winter. The valley receives most of its rainfall in March and April, while May, June, and July are the driest months.

The best time to visit Shigar Valley depends on your preferences and activities. If you want to enjoy the greenery, orchards, and flowers, you can visit from May to August, when the valley is in full bloom. If you want to see the snow-capped mountains and glaciers, you can visit from September to November, when the weather is clear and crisp. If you are interested in trekking and mountaineering, you can visit from June to September, when the trails are open and accessible.

However, you should also be prepared for unpredictable weather conditions and road closures, especially in the winter months. It is advisable to check the weather forecast and road status before planning your trip to Shigar Valley. You should also bring warm clothes, sunscreen, and water, as the valley can be very cold, sunny, and dry

Cultural Heritage

  • Overview of Shigar Fort and its historical significance
  • Exploration of local traditions and festivals celebrated in Shigar

Shigar Fort is a 17th century fort and palace that was built by the Raja of Amacha Dynasty of Shigar. It is located on a rock overlooking the Shigar River and the town of Shigar. The fort is a masterpiece of Balti architecture and art, featuring intricate wood carvings, stone masonry, and paintings. The fort was restored by the Aga Khan Cultural Service Pakistan and converted into a museum and a luxury hotel managed by Serena Hotels.

Shigar is rich in cultural heritage and traditions, which reflect the influence of Tibetan, Persian, and Central Asian civilizations. Some of the local festivals celebrated in Shigar are:

  • Navroz: This is the Persian New Year festival, which is celebrated on March 21st. It marks the beginning of spring and the renewal of nature. People wear new clothes, decorate their houses, exchange gifts, and enjoy special dishes like halwa, pulao, and samosa.
  • Mela: This is a local fair that is held in different villages of Shigar during the summer months. It is a time for socializing, entertainment, and trade. People display their handicrafts, livestock, and agricultural products, and enjoy music, dance, and games.
  • Eid: This is the Islamic festival that is celebrated twice a year, after the month of Ramadan and after the pilgrimage to Mecca. It is a time for prayer, charity, and celebration. People wear new clothes, visit their relatives and friends, and enjoy special dishes like biryani, korma, and sheer khurma

Top Attractions in Shigar Valley

  • Shigar Fort: Detailed exploration of the historic fort
  • Amburiq Mosque: Highlighting the architectural beauty

Shigar Valley is home to some of the most fascinating and historic attractions in the Gilgit-Baltistan region. Here are two of the top attractions that you should not miss when visiting Shigar Valley:

  • Shigar Fort: This is a 17th century fort and palace that was built by the Raja of Amacha Dynasty of Shigar. It is also known as Fong-Khar, which means the Palace on the Rock. The fort is a masterpiece of Balti architecture and art, featuring intricate wood carvings, stone masonry, and paintings. The fort was restored by the Aga Khan Cultural Service Pakistan and converted into a museum and a luxury hotel managed by Serena Hotels. The fort offers a glimpse into the history and culture of Baltistan, as well as stunning views of the Shigar River and the surrounding mountains. You can explore the fort’s museum, which displays original carvings, indigenous artefacts, and architectural history. You can also enjoy the fort’s historical garden, which has seasonal BBQ and cherry ice cream. You can even stay at the fort’s hotel, which has 20 rooms and suites that are steeped in Balti culture and furnished with handmade period furniture, fabrics, and antiques.
  • Amburiq Mosque: This is a 14th century mosque that is located in the Amburiq village of Shigar Valley. It is one of the oldest mosques in Baltistan and is considered a UNESCO-protected heritage site. The mosque was built by Sayed Ali Hamdani, a famous Sufi saint who introduced Islam to the region. The mosque is made entirely of wood and is built in the traditional Balti style of architecture. The mosque’s prayer hall is divided into two sections, with the front section reserved for men and the back section for women. The walls of the mosque are decorated with colorful frescoes, which depict scenes from Islamic history and tradition. The frescoes are believed to have been painted by local artists, using traditional techniques and natural pigments. The mosque also has a small museum, which helps to create awareness of the historical significance of the site and to instill a conservational approach among the local community. The mosque is a symbol of the Islamic heritage and spirituality of Shigar Valley.

Shigar Valley Attractions:

The valley has an extremely picturesque landscape, and abounds in fruit such as grapes, peaches, pears, walnuts and apricots.

Shigar bears the distinct stamp of its history as the administrative, commercial and cultural valley of Baltistan.

The wild and lush green hauntingly beautiful landscapes of this hidden land are often likened to Tibet – Ladhakh used to be known as ‘Little Tibet’ – and are every bit as dramatic and enticing.

Khanqah Moalla Shigar

Shigar posses several of the outlying historical and cultural gems of Baltistan, including the 500 year old Khanqah Moalla, Fong Khar,Shigar Fort Vertical Explorers Raja palace and mosques.

A memorable sight of the Shigar bazaar is the group of men , traditionally attired , selling fruits, vegetables and  household articles, spinning and knitting, and exchanging gentle banter between themselves and with passers-by.

The mosque ( Khanqah Moalla ), Raja Palace, the bazaar and the hill top monasteries, are all within walking distances of each other. Niali, Churkah and Mamotonma, Jarba zhou lake are quite close while Chutron, Seisko, Gulabpur, and Hashupi are all a day’s touring distance.

Niali, Sharba monasteries and the royal palace at Sharba all of which provide an insight into the rich heritage of the region.
Niali Mirpi top (highest point to see K2 and other peaks) and Thale La offer exciting treks starting from Shigar center, while countless treks and climbs (inlcuding K2, Gashabrum I, II, III, IV, Trango Tower, Broad Peak, Hispar La, snow lake, Spangtik and countless peaks and trek routes)  are the best world over for trekking  and climbing.

This valley is home to endless numbers of glaciers and small, nameless streams. Both of the upper river valleys, the Basha and the Braldu, that confluence to form the Shigar River are an absolute delight for someone with an adventurous spirit, love of big mountains and the unique cultures that form in their nooks and crannies.

Boating and river running too are possible on the Shigar River.

Shigar offers the magnificent sight of the lovely lake, Jarba zhou in close proximity near to Lamsa. Soothed by the sound of water lapping against the hull, you can relax around the lake or better still, savour the peaceful ambienceThe beauty of Shigar is that it introduces you best to Balti’s ways while you head out for short walks or drive around. Shigar stands accessible, surrounded by the majesty of the Karakoram enclave. The experience can best be described as a peek into the delights that make up this ancient trade route towards Lhasa Tibet.

Outdoor Activities

  • Trekking and hiking trails in and around Shigar Valley
  • Opportunities for fishing and boating in Shigar River

Shigar Valley is a great destination for outdoor activities, especially for trekking, hiking, fishing, and boating. Here are some of the options that you can enjoy in and around Shigar Valley:

  • Trekking and hiking trails: Shigar Valley offers several scenic and challenging treks and hikes in the Karakoram mountain range. Some of the most popular ones are:
    • K2 Base Camp Trek: This is one of the most iconic and difficult treks in the world, which takes you to the base camp of the world’s second highest peak, K2. The trek starts from the village of Askole and passes through several stunning valleys, including the Baltoro Valley, where you can enjoy magnificent views of several towering peaks, including K2, Broad Peak, and Gasherbrum. The trek takes around 14-20 days to complete and covers a distance of approximately 100 km.
    • Baltoro Glacier Trek: This is another popular and challenging trek in the Karakoram range, which takes you along the Baltoro Glacier, one of the largest glaciers in the world. The trek also passes through Concordia, a plateau surrounded by some of the highest peaks in the world. The trek also includes crossing several high mountain passes, including the famous Gondogoro La pass, which stands at an altitude of 5,585 meters. The trek takes around 12-14 days to complete and covers a distance of approximately 110 km.
    • Shigar Valley Thale La Trek: This is a shorter and less difficult trek than the K2 Base Camp and Baltoro Glacier treks, but it still offers stunning views of the Karakoram range. The trek takes you through the Shigar Valley, where you can enjoy the greenery, orchards, and flowers and ends in Thaley valley Khaplu. The trek also passes through the Shigar Fort, a 17th century fort and palace that is a masterpiece of Balti architecture and art. The trek takes around 4-6 days to complete and covers a distance of approximately 50 km.
  • Fishing and boating: Shigar River is a tributary of the Indus River and flows through the Shigar Valley. The river offers opportunities for fishing and boating, as well as enjoying the scenic views of the valley and the mountains. Some of the places where you can enjoy fishing and boating are:
    • Blind Lake: This is a scenic lake between Skardu and Shigar, which is also known as Jarba Zhou lake. The lake has a live fresh trout farm in its center, where you can buy live trouts and get them cooked. You can also enjoy boating and swimming in the lake, as well as camping and picnicking on the shore.
    • Shigar River Bridge: This is a bridge over the Shigar River, which is a popular spot for fishing and boating. You can rent a boat or a raft and explore the river, or try your luck at catching some fish. You can also enjoy the views of the Shigar Fort and the surrounding mountains from the bridge.

Local Cuisine

  • Introduction to traditional Balti cuisine
  • Recommendations for must-try dishes in Shigar Valley

Shigar Valley is a part of Baltistan, a region in the northern part of Pakistan that borders China and India. The cuisine of Baltistan, also known as Balti cuisine, is influenced by Tibetan, Indian, and Central Asian cuisines, and features unique dishes that reflect the culture and terrain of the region.

Balti cuisine is characterized by the use of local ingredients, such as wheat, barley, buckwheat, apricot, walnut, almond, and various herbs and spices. Balti cuisine also uses a lot of dairy products, such as butter, cheese, and yogurt, as well as meat, especially goat, lamb, and chicken. Balti cuisine is usually cooked in a cast-iron wok called a balti, which gives the name to the cuisine and some of its dishes.

Some of the must-try dishes in Shigar Valley are:

  • Muskut and Prapo: Muskut is a sauce made of walnut paste, mint, and other Himalayan herbs. Prapo is a noodle dish made of wheat flour. The noodles are boiled and then served with the muskut sauce. This dish is a specialty of Shigar Valley and can be found at Dewan e Khaas Hotel and Restaurant.
  • Tras Pa: Tras Pa is another noodle dish made of hand-made noodles. The noodles are cooked with vegetables or meat curry and seasoned with local herbs and spices. This dish is popular and widely available in Baltistan.
  • Rdung Bhalay: Rdung Bhalay, also known as Kro Balay, is a dish made of cooked wheat, mutton, apricot oil, mint, and other Himalayan herbs. This dish is rich and hearty and can be enjoyed at Dewan e Khaas restaurant.
  • Apricot Cake: Apricot Cake is a dessert made of dried apricots, sugar, and flour. The apricots are soaked, mashed, and mixed with sugar and flour, and then baked in an oven. The cake is moist and sweet and can be found at Khaplu Fort and Shigar Fort Serena hotels

Getting There and Transportation

  • Travel options to reach Shigar Valley
  • Local transportation within the valley for sightseeing

Shigar Valley is a beautiful and historic valley in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan, which offers various attractions and activities for tourists. If you are planning to visit Shigar Valley, here are some information and tips about getting there and transportation within the valley:

  • Travel options to reach Shigar Valley: The nearest airport to Shigar Valley is Skardu Airport, which is about 52 km away from the valley. You can take a domestic flight from Islamabad or Lahore to Skardu Airport, which takes about an hour. From Skardu Airport, you can take a taxi or a bus to Shigar Valley, which takes about an hour and a half. Alternatively, you can also take a road trip from Islamabad or Lahore to Shigar Valley, which takes about 20-24 hours. You can either drive your own car or rent a car from a reputable company. The road trip is scenic and adventurous, but also challenging and risky, as you have to pass through narrow and winding roads, high mountain passes, and unpredictable weather conditions. You should also be aware of the security situation and road closures along the way.
  • Local transportation within the valley for sightseeing: Shigar Valley is a small and rural valley, where public transportation is not very developed or reliable. The best way to explore the valley and its attractions is to hire a local taxi or a jeep, which are easily available near the Shigar Fort or the Shigar River Bridge. You can negotiate the price and the itinerary with the driver, who can also act as a guide and show you the best places to visit.

Travel Tips and Guidelines

  • Cultural etiquettes and respectful behavior in Shigar
  • Health and safety tips for visitors

Shigar Valley is a beautiful and historic valley in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan, which offers various attractions and activities for tourists. If you are planning to visit Shigar Valley, here are some travel tips and guidelines that you should keep in mind:

  • Cultural etiquettes and respectful behavior in Shigar: Shigar Valley is a part of Baltistan, a region that has a rich and diverse cultural heritage and traditions. You should respect the local customs and norms, and avoid any behavior that might offend or embarrass the locals. Some of the cultural etiquettes that you should follow are:
    • Dress modestly and conservatively, especially when visiting religious or historical sites. Avoid wearing shorts, sleeveless shirts, or revealing clothes. Women should cover their heads with a scarf or a shawl when entering a mosque or a shrine.
    • Greet people with a smile and a handshake, and use titles and surnames when addressing elders or strangers. Avoid using first names unless invited to do so. Use the Urdu word “Ju” after the name as a sign of respect, such as “Ali Ju” .
    • Do not point at someone with your finger, as it is considered rude. Use your whole hand instead. Also, do not point at anything with your feet, as they are considered unclean. Avoid touching someone’s head, as it is considered sacred.
    • Do not show public displays of affection, such as kissing, hugging, or holding hands, as they are considered inappropriate and disrespectful. Also, do not make eye contact or stare at someone of the opposite sex, as it might be misinterpreted as flirting or harassment.
    • Do not eat or drink with your left hand, as it is considered unclean. Use your right hand or a spoon or a fork. Also, do not eat or drink in public during the month of Ramadan, as it is the holy month of fasting for Muslims.
    • Do not refuse an offer of food or drink, as it is considered rude and impolite. Accept it with a smile and a thank you, and try to taste a little bit of everything. Also, do not waste food, as it is considered disrespectful and wasteful.
    • Do not take photos of people without their permission, as it is considered intrusive and offensive. Ask politely and respect their decision. Also, do not take photos of military or government buildings, as it is prohibited and might cause trouble.
  • Health and safety tips for visitors: Shigar Valley is a remote and rural valley, where the health and safety facilities and services are limited and basic. You should take precautions and be prepared for any emergencies or challenges. Some of the health and safety tips that you should follow are:
    • Get vaccinated for common diseases, such as typhoid, hepatitis A and B, polio, and tetanus, before traveling to Shigar Valley. Also, carry a first-aid kit and some essential medicines, such as painkillers, antiseptics, antibiotics, and anti-diarrhea pills.
    • Drink only bottled or boiled water, and avoid ice cubes, tap water, or unpasteurized milk. Also, avoid eating raw or uncooked food, such as salads, fruits, or street food. Eat only hot and cooked food, and wash your hands before and after eating.
    • Protect yourself from the sun, as the valley is located at a high altitude and the sun rays are strong and harsh. Wear sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat, and long-sleeved clothes. Also, drink plenty of water and stay hydrated, and avoid alcohol and caffeine.
    • Beware of altitude sickness, as the valley is located above 2,000 meters and the oxygen level is low. Symptoms include headache, nausea, dizziness, fatigue, and shortness of breath. To prevent or reduce altitude sickness, ascend slowly and gradually, take rest breaks, and avoid exertion. If you experience severe symptoms, descend immediately and seek medical help.
    • Be careful of the road conditions, as the valley is accessible by narrow and winding roads, high mountain passes, and unpredictable weather conditions. Travel only by reliable and experienced drivers, and avoid traveling at night or during rain or snow. Also, check the road status and security situation before planning your trip, as there might be road closures or security issues along the way.
    • Respect the wildlife and the environment, as the valley is home to diverse flora and fauna, including medicinal plants, orchards, and wildlife. Do not disturb, harm, or feed the animals, and do not litter or damage the plants. Follow the rules and regulations of the national parks and the protected areas, and do not collect or remove any natural or cultural objects.


Map of Shigar Valley

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