Skardu valley (Little Tibet is located in the Gilgit-Baltistan region, Pakistan. Skardu is 10 kilometres (6 miles) wide by 40 kilometres (25 miles) long. Skardu is at an altitude of nearly 2,500 m (8,200 ft). The town is surrounded by grey-brown colored mountains, which hide the 8,000 metre peaks of the nearby Karakoram Range. Skardu is the gateway to world’s second highest peak “K2/Godwin Austen, 8611” and other three peaks which are above 8000 meters ( Gasherbrum I/K5 8080m, Broad Peak 8051m, Gasherbrum II/K4 8035m) and many other wich are below 8000m. There are also some beaufitul and famous lakes in the vicinity (Upper Kachura lake, Lower Kachura Lake, and Sadpara Lake).
Skardu is linked to the national capital, Islamabad by PIA, which operates one flight daily. The air journey is full of thrills and would itself be regarded as the highlight of the visit. After following the same air route, which connects Gilgit to Islamabad/Rawalpindi, the plane turns right and flies over the gorge of the Indus River. Enormous rock faces rise on either side or at times it seems as if the wing tips of the plane would almost scrape against them. They never do. Baltistan is known as the “Tibet-e-Khurd”.
The first mention of Skardu dates to the first half of the 16th century. Mirza Haidar (1499-1551) described in his in the forties of the 16th century wrote Tarikh-i-Rashidi Baltistan and called Askardu as one of the districts of this country. With the conquest of Kashmir in 1586 by the Mughal Emperor Akbar (1556-1605) were starting with Ali Sher Khan Anchan, the kings of Skardu mentioned as ruler of Little Tibet in the historiography of the Mughal Empire. These are, in particular, histories of Al-Badaoni, Abu’l Fazl, ‘Abdu-l Hamid Lahori, Saqi Must’ad Khan and Inayat Khan.
The first mention of Skardu in a European literary work of Frenchman François Bernier (1625-1688). Bernier was a physician and world traveler who reached India in 1659 and 1663 in the wake of the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb (1658-1707) traveled to Kashmir. In 1670, publishing his travel experiences, he describes the encounter with a King of Little Tibet, related to Murad Khan and mentions Eskerdou (Skardu) as one of the places of Baltistan. After this mention of Little Tibet and Skardu through the country, Little Tibet and Skardu were quickly shot into the Asia maps produced in Europe. Skardu was first mentioned as Eskerdow in the map “Indiae orientalis nec non insularum adiacentium nova descriptio” by Nicolaes Visscher II, published 1680-1700, and the first recorded Baltistan as Tibet Minor.
Best time to Travel:
Skardu valley (Baltistan) is accessable in all four seasons (throughout the year) but the best time to Travel there is from March to Novermber.
Seasons of Skardu valley:
Skardu is one of those palces which is blessed with four seasons,
1) Spring (March – April)
2) Summer (May – August)
3) Autumn (September – Novermber)
4) Winter (December – February)