Baltistan (Urdu: بلتستان, Hindi: बल्तिस्तान) , also known as بلتیول (Baltiyul) in the Balti language, is a region in northern Pakistan (administratively situated in Gilgit-Baltistan. It was a part of Jammu and Kashmir and came under Pakistani control in 1947) , bordering Xinjiang Autonomous Region of China. It is situated in the Karakoram mountains just to the south of K2, the world’s second highest mountain. It is an extremely mountainous region, with an average altitude of over 3,350 m (11,000 ft). The inhabitants of this region were converted int islam from Buddhism prior to the 16th century. Baltistan was an independent state but was occupied by the Raja (King) of Kashmir in the nineteenth century. In 1947 when India and Pakistan gained independence, it was still part of Kashmir. Now the region is divided between Pakistan and India. The districts of Skardu (Skardo) and Ganche, which is a part of the Northern Areas of Pakistan, its main town is Skardu. It contains the highest peaks of the Karakoram, including K2. Indian-controlled Baltistan (the district of Kargil) which is disputed and claimed by Pakistan is located in the north of Indian-administered Kashmir
GEOGRAPHY OF BALTISTAN
NATURAL BEAUTY OF BALTISTAN
The region of Baltistan is bestowed with some of the greatest bounties of Nature. Tourists from all over the world have a great attraction toward this region because of its beautiful valleys, plains, peaks and heritage sites.
The capital of Baltistan, Skardu welcomes the visitors with its ethereal tourist resorts, dounting plains, wonderful lakes and alpine mountains. Shangri-la, Deosai plain, Satpara, Basho etc. are adorable places to visit. in the north of Skardu, Shigar valley fascinates the people by its splendid plains, hiking tracks , tempting peaks ad camping sites. other worth mentioning valleys in Baltistan region are Khaplu, Rondu, Kachura and Kharmang.
Baltistan is a paradise for mountaineers and anglers. The area is surrounded by the mighty ranges of The Karakuram and The Himalayas .Towering mountains are spread throughout the region. Four out of fifteen highest peaks of the world are situated in this region. whic are, K2 (8611m), Gashabrum-1(8080m), Broad peak (8051m) and Gashabrum-2 (8035m). 108 peaks ofheight above 7000 meters ar situated in this regin. This figure is matchless in the world. Some of the gigantic glaciers are also present in this region. some of them are Siachin(the highest battle field in the world), Baltoro, Batura, Hisper and Biafo. these glaciers aways remain seducing for hikers and trekkers.
This area enjoys a sound cultural heritage which depicts its great past. Forts, Monestries, Mosques and Stone carvings are present in every valley telling us the tales of early inhibitors.
In accordance with the climatic effects and available resources the traditional Balti food is different from others. The balti dishes are liked not only by its people but by the outsiders as well some of famous balti dishes are:
Pra-pu, Baley, Khurba, Marzan, Hlsab-Khur, Azoq, Kulaq etc.
Baltistan is famous for producing best quality fruits because of its clean environment. Apples, apricots, cherries, mulberries, pom-granades, grapes, melons, walnuts and many other fruits are produced here and are famous all over the world. Dry fruits are exported in large quantities from baltistan to other regions.
There are several Balti communities located in Pakistan’s urban areas further south, notably in Lahore, Islamabad and in Karachi
The people of Baltistan are very hospitable , peaceful and courteous. their altruistic and selfless behavior is always commended by the outsiders. Inspite of intermingling of different sects and castes, the inhibitants of Baltistan keep a great peace and har mony which makes its environment more serene.