Danyore Suspension Bridge
Posted in Gilgit-Baltistan Monuments

Danyore Suspension Bridge

The Danyore Suspension Bridge near Gilgit is one of the oldest suspension bridges in Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan. The 510 ft long bridge has served as a source of commute to the people otherwise had to take the local raft or a detour to travel to Gilgit city – the administrative headquarter and the capital of Gilgit-Baltistan, formerly northern areas. It is now serving as one of the major tourist attractions in Gilgit-Baltistan used only by the pedestrians and motorcyclists.

History

The construction work of the Karakoram Highway completed in 1978 while before the construction of the highway, Gilgit-Baltistan was a remote territory. Access to the region from other parts of the country was hard and the poor infrastructure within the region made things tough for the residents.

Gilgit being the headquarters and business centre attracted people from immediate and far surroundings for many reasons – education, jobs, merchandise selling, medical treatment and for other purposes. For the people settled to the immediate south of Gilgit Town otherwise separated by the Hunza River, along with the northern bank of Gilgit river, that include Danyore, Oshikhandas and Bagrot, crossing over to Gilgit was a tough job. Before installation of the local raft (Jaalo) on the Hunza River in 1945 to cross over to Gilgit, these residents would make a long detour to reach the town and that would cost almost an entire day as compared to about 15 to 20 minutes today.

The need for construction of a bridge was conceived and a hefty fund of Rs. 20,000 was generated through the contribution by the residents of Danyore and southern regions in the late 1950s.  As soon as the suspension bridge was erected, it was washed away by the Hunza River being extremely low to the riverside. It was indeed a huge loss.

The location for another bridge, on a fair altitude from the river, was selected and again through the contribution of funds and donation of construction wood by each household, the construction of current suspension bridge was accomplished in 1960.

The Danyore suspension bridge has for more than five decades served as a reliable source of commute to the people travelling to Gilgit and reduced the ordeals of frequent travellers. The local raft could provide transfer only in daylight; the bridge provided a 24-hour hassle-free service and made the lives of the people easy. Its construction proved as a big relief.

Construction

The bridge was constructed by Ahmed Ali (late), well-known as “Thikedar Bereno”, a renowned constructor and self-taught engineer from Hunza who had earned name and repute for his construction expertise and projects, particularly of bridges, across Gilgit-Baltistan.

The construction of Danyore suspension bridge began in 1957 and completed by the end of 1960. Principal work included the construction of the bridge itself over the Hunza River and the annexing single lane curved tunnel to the south leading access to Danoyre which was dug by locals without proper engineering equipment.

The bridge is situated over the Hunza River almost 2 km short of its confluence with Gilgit River. It was only meant to use for mini vehicles since it was constructed until an alternate concrete bridge was built. The western end of the bridge is connected to KIU campus that further leads to Gilgit town while the eastern end is connected to a single lane tunnel in Danyore side that further meets the Karakoram Highway.

The location, length, and design of the bridge make it one of the spectacular bridges in the world. Driving on the bridge and passing through the tunnel, abruptly connecting the bridge, is quite a technical job and a test the skill and nerve of local drivers.

The bridge has been closed for conventional transportation recently and only pedestrians and motorcyclists can pass through after it was declared unsafe by local administration.  For general traffic, a concrete bridge has been constructed nearby that can sustain the flow of all type of traffic.

Attraction

The Danyore Suspension Bridge was renovated in 2018 and the sections of road on both ends of the bridge have been refurbished and decorated to turn it as a tourist attraction. To the Gilgit side, there is a significant Buddhist rock carving site preserved for the visitors that further adds to the attraction of the site. The nearest attraction to the Danyore side, on the KKH, is the Chinese Graveyard which is a must visit tourist site.

The views of the bridge from both elevated sides are quite spectacular as the bridge itself has been built on a comparatively lower setting. Likewise, the views from the bridge are equally amazing. For new visitors, visiting this site is simply a memorable experience.

Victory monument of Taj Mughal
Posted in Gilgit-Baltistan Monuments

Victory Monument of Taj Mughal

The 700 years old Victory Monument of Taj Mughal is a commemorative tower, measuring 21’-10” high and 14’-4” wide, located on a mountain lap in Gilgit town, Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan. The monument was named after Taj-ud-Din Mughal, an Ismaili ruler from Badakhshan, who came to Gilgit -Baltistan during the 13th century AD. The monument was built by his soldiers to celebrate his victory.

Location and access:

The victory monument of Taj Mughal is sited on the backdrop of the southern mountains of Gilgit city, about 1000 feet above Gilgit town, overlooking the Gilgit and Danyore towns. The monument can be reached by foot from the southern end of Jutial by crossing the water channel followed by a rocky track in about 45 minutes hike. It is about another 10 km drive if you plan to visit from Gilgit town. There is an alternate route from Jutial Nalah, yet very perilous, and is hard to trace. It is perhaps only used either by shepherds or local people. This track leading from Jutial Nalah is not recommended for anyone including tourists.

The monument is erected on the ridge of the Rocky Mountains using local stone and clay.  The tower is round in shape yet gradually losing its composition and may come down to disappear at some point. Although the base of the tower is given temporary support by mending some sections, however, the southern face has almost worn down and an immediate renovation is required.

The site offers a scenic view of the entire stretch of Gilgit town from Bagrot in the east to Baseen in the west with Gilgit River running across the length of the city. The tower is called “Shikaari” in local Shina language. One can enjoy the picturesque views of Gilgit and surrounding valleys covered by guarding mountain peaks.

Best time to visit:

The monument should be visited either in the early morning or in the afternoon if planned in peak summers (May to August). The best season to visit is between February and November. It is a half day rewarding excursion for tourists. Erected on the barren mountain, there is no water available; a bottle of water is must to carry.

Gilgit Town:

At an elevation of 1454 meters, Gilgit, the district and provincial administrative headquarter of Gilgit-Baltistan, is a spectacular quaint little town gradually a modern city. The town is located amidst three mountain ranges – the Karakoram, Hindukush, and the Himalayas – and has for centuries been a prosperous trading center and a melting pot of ancient civilization.

Gilgit is surrounded by beautiful lakes, gushing rivers, longest glaciers and some of the world’s highest mountains such as Nanga Parbat (8,125 meters) and Rakaposhi (7,788 meters). It is one of the world’s multi-lingual regions where more than 10 languages and several dialects are spoken. The local dialect is Shina, however, Urdu and English are also spoken and understood widely.

Besides the Victory monument, there are a number of attractions in Gilgit including the 7th century Karga Buddha, Hal ga Naal, Hanzal Stupa, Gilgit Suspension Bridge, Chinar Bagh, Buddhist Rock Carvings near KIU, Danyore Suspension Bridge, Rock inscriptions in Danyore, and Chinese Graveyard Danyore.

Gilgit has an airport and flights are operated from Islamabad on a daily basis though subject to weather condition. Gilgit can be reached by road from Islamabad along the KKH, Chitral via Gilgit-Chitral road, and from Kashgar in China along the KKH. The best season to visit is from May to mid-October.

Things to carry:

  • Water bottle
  • Sunburn cream
  • Shoes with good grip
  • Glasses and cap/hat
  • Camera/cell phone
National symbols of pakistan
Posted in Tourism Blogs

Pakistan

Pakistan is a unique and blessed state made up of Asia’s most remarkable landscapes. It has diverse geography blended with rich cultures and a long tradition of hospitality mirrored by the people of its country. There is no other country in the world presenting more prospects to trace roots of modern-day humans than Pakistan.

History

The territory that constitutes today’s Pakistan has for centuries been a cradle of ancient civilizations and home to ancient cultures and dynasties. Tracing its history back from the 9000 years old Neolithic Mehergarh civilization followed by the 5000 years old bronze age Indus Valley Civilization, the 3000 years old Buddhist Gandhara Civilization, the 16th century Mughal Era, the brief Sikh rule, and the 200 years British occupation, until independence in 1947, Pakistan has seen unprecedented events that no other independent sovereign state might have gone through.

Geography

Officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is the world’s 6th most populous country in South Asia housing more than 212,742,631 people (as per 2017 census). It is the 33rd-largest country encompassing 881,913 square kilometres (340,509 square miles). The country has four provinces – Sindh, Baluchistan, Punjab, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa – and three territories – FATA, Kashmir, and Gilgit-Baltistan – surrounding a well-planned modern capital city, Islamabad, located in the heart of the state.

Pakistan is strategically placed on the crossroads of Asia and divided into three major geographic areas – the northern highlands, the Indus River plains, and the Balochistan Plateau. The country is bordered by the 1046 km coastline of the Arabian Sea in the south, India to the east, China to the northeast, Afghanistan to the northwest, and Iran to the southeast. From the mighty glaciated mountain ranges in the north (Gilgit-Baltistan) to the coastal areas of the south the diverse landscape of Pakistan is rich in alluvial fertile planes, vast deserts, dense forests, plateaus, jungles, flora and fauna, rivers, and lakes.

Tourist Attractions

Pakistan is abundant in tourist attractions.

The northern mountainous part of the country constitutes some parts of KPK (Chitral, Swat, and the Kaghan Valley), Azad Jammu & Kashmir, and the entire Gilgit-Baltistan (formerly northern areas) – making up the westernmost edge of the great Himalayas – a unique playground for adventure lovers. The region is ideal for adventure sports and is known as a haven for nature and adventure lovers.

Gilgit-Baltistan has the honour of hosting world’s highest mountains and longest glaciers located outside the polar region famous for trekking, mountaineering, climbing, white water rafting, mountain & desert jeep safaris, and paragliding. The junction point of three mighty mountain ranges – the Karakoram, the Hindukush, and the Himalaya – and the Pamir mountain range exist in Gilgit-Baltistan. The region has been the melting pot of Buddhism and remained one of the several trade routes of ancient Silk Route – currently the Karakoram Highway connecting Pakistan and China Pakistan and China at Khunjerab Pass as a trade and tourism artery embellished by more than 100,000 petroglyphs and rock carvings testifying the Buddhist rule, towering mountains with tiny valleys and terraced fields in the backdrop, ancient forts featuring architectural dexterity, and hundreds of years old rich history of the natives.

The central territories of the country feature mostly, dense forests, vast deserts, and fertile lands so abundant in history and culture housing unique landmarks. Its archaeological heritage making up ancient sites such as Moenjo-Daro & Harappa of Indus Valley Civilization as well as Taxila & Takht-i-Bahi of Gandhara Civilization are the spotlights drawing domestic and international visitors in volumes. In addition to these sites, Pakistan boasts a wealth of architecturally significant landmarks, many dating from the Islamic era, Moghul Empire, Sikh rule, and from the British era, located in Lahore, Multan, Bahawalpur, Karachi & Peshawar.

Its southern region constituting Sindh and Baluchistan make up archaeological sites, religious landmarks, architectural heritage, lakes, and some of the world’s best golden beaches stretching along the coastal line. The Makran Coastal Highway from Karachi to Gwadar and Jiwani is a unique highway in the world crowned with exclusive tourist attractions. Pakistan hosts six of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites and several dozens of sites still lined up to be declared the World Heritage.

Culture

The country’s major cities reflect historic and modern influences. The people of different colors and creeds having diverse cultural backgrounds living in different parts of these cities belonging to diverse ethnic groups, practicing their own faiths, wearing colorful costumes speaking some of the world’s distinct languages, consuming rich diet, maintaining and harmonious society are known as the most hospitable people present a true image of the country.

Access

Pakistan is accessible by road from China via Khunjerab border, from Afghanistan via Khyber Pass (currently closed), From Iran via Taftan border and from India via the Wahga border. By air, Pakistan is accessible from several countries directly and indirectly. A number of international flag carriers fly to the major airports of Pakistan including Islamabad, Lahore, Multan, Peshawar, Sialkot, and Karachi.

Seasons

The region’s four distinct seasons, its countless landmarks including the highest mountain ranges and longest glaciers outside polar region, crystal blue lakes, gushing rivers, longest highways, trekking routes, terraced fields, monuments, cuisines, and cultural diversity are what make it a distinguished region and draw tourists in volumes.