Phander Valley
Posted in Gilgit-Baltistan

Phander Valley

The Phander Valley is a scenic valley well-known for its ultimate grandeur and sheer beauty. The valley is famous particularly for its manifestation of diverse natural colors in four distinct seasons. The calmly flowing deep blue rivulet making way through the center of the valley makes the entire vista extremely striking. Nature has blessed the valley so uniquely that its landscape simply displays a panorama of a dreamland.

Geography

Phander is situated in the Gupis valley of Ghizer district in Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan. Ghizer is one of the 10 districts of Gilgit-Baltistan bordering Gilgit District to the east, Hunza-Nagar to the northeast, Diamer to the south, and Chitral district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to the west.

Attractions

The entire gorge making up the Ghizer District, all the way to the Shandur Pass, is dotted with tiny valleys mostly nestled by the bank of Gilgit River. The landscape of Ghizer district is diverse; contracting and stretching from Gilgit to Lunger near Shandur. Each stretch before Lunger is adorned with a settlement of traditional houses surrounded by gardens, fruit orchards, and terraced fields.

There are numerous attractions on the way to the Phander Valley making the trip so enjoyable without causing a feeling of fatigue throughout the journey. The lush green fields, fruit orchards and gardens, beautiful lakes including the Khalti Lake and Phander Lake, gushing blue river running along the bases of valleys connected by suspension bridges, clear glacial waters, and numerous channels of natural springs along the way feast the eyes of travelers with a unique experience.

Like the diversity in landscape, there is also an absolute variation in cultures in the entire district which makes it even more alluring. People speak different languages including Shina, Khuwar, Burushaski, and Wakhi in different regions and practicing slightly diverse cultures. People are friendly and welcoming, living a simple lifestyle, eating rich food with agriculture as a source of living for most of the residents.

Although the entire district is scenic with striking beauty; the Phander valley, in particular, is heavenly blessed. The section of the gorge making Phander a bowl-shaped valley is because of the barricade at the eastern end crest perching the PTDC Motel and holding the Phander Lake. The government rest house built on a ridge poking in and separating the valley from the Phander lake provides a gorgeous view of both sides – the valley and the lake.

The valley poses a unique natural setting nowhere can be observed. Beautiful lush plain fields make up the entire base of the bowl-shaped valley separated by the deep quiet blue water flowing downstream. The water is full of trout fish which is an important source of food of the region and a great local dish every tourist would love to enjoy.

Access and Location

Phander is majestically located about 173 km west of Gilgit town. The access to the valley is easy, usually takes about 5 hours to reach yet depending on the speed. Most of the road section is asphalted while some sections are still under the process of construction. However, generally, the road condition is fine and recommended for all kinds of vehicles. Phander is also accessible from Chitral via the Shandur Pass.

 

Khalti Lake
Posted in Gilgit-Baltistan Lakes

Khalti Lake

Named after the alluring village of Khalti, located on the bank of Ghizer River, the Khalti Lake in Ghizer District of Gilgit-Baltistan is a prominent lake at 2,217 m above sea level. The lake is a famous tourist attraction partly surrounded by lush green terraced fields and a tree line, and partly bordered by the Rocky Mountains.

The westernmost part of Gilgit-Baltistan makes up the Ghizer district and the road through Ghizer leads to the well-known Shandur polo ground and further to Chitral district of KPK. The Ghizer district is made up of tiny independent villages inhabited by people from different cultural backgrounds. Khuwar, Wakhi, and dialects of Burushaski and Shina are spoken in the region.

Access

Khalti Lake is located about 116 km from main Gilgit town taking about 3 to 4 hours by car. The lake is accessible by a tapered asphalt road running parallel to Ghizer River – almost half the way through a scenic gorge leading to Shandur Pass. Khalti Lake, Phander Lake and the Phunder valley are major hotspots also famous for a day excursion from Gilgit. The scenery along the road is simply amazing to feast eyes with.

Attractions

Khalti Lake was formed due to the stretch of river near the village of Khalti. It portrays picturesque views in all four seasons. During the spring season, the Khalti village, making the western bank of the lake, all magnificently blooms; summers, the lake and surroundings are a great retreat and awe-inspiring with lush green surroundings, fall is the most colorful and romantic season around the lake; and in winters the hard crest on the lake serves as a playground for local youth to play and celebrate cultural events.

The turquoise colored lake is an important source of fresh water. Khalti Lake is abundant in local trout fish and so is the entire Ghizer River. Originally, the trout was injected into the river near the westernmost Golaghmuli Village. It increases in numbers and reaches almost every part of Gupis Valley. Hence, fishing can be a great pastime for tourists visiting the area.

The lake has great potential for water sports. The local people and the tourism department of Gilgit-Baltistan organize different sports activities most of the year for the local community. Moreover, there is great potential for private investors to invest in water sports activities. There are some places for eating out and accommodation but there are still ample opportunities to invest in standard boarding and lodging in the region. PTDC has a limited accommodation facility near the lake.

Weather

Summers are quite pleasant to visit Ghizer district. Temperature remains reasonably good from May until October until the end of fall season. Winters, however, are harsh with the temperature plummeting 10 degrees below freezing point on average which freezes virtually everything in and surrounding the lake. It snows quite often in the region.