Skardu Valley – Pakistan
Skardu Valley is part of the Baltistan. Baltistan is spread over an area of 26,000 square kilometres – just right below the jagged and glaciated ramparts of the Karakoram. Once part of Laddakh, it was known as Tibet-i-Khurd – Little Tibet. Archaeological exploration has proven that it was encompassed by the Silk Trade Route.
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 — these 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 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. it is the parof the Pakistan occupied Kashmir.
Skardu is in the 10 kilometres (6 miles) wide by 40 kilometres (25 miles) long Skardu Valley, at the confluence of the Indus river (flowing from near Kailashin Tibet and through neighbouring Ladakh before reaching Baltistan) and the Shigar River. It is at an altitude of nearly 2,500 m (8,200 ft). The town is surrounded by grey-brown coloured mountains, which hide the 8,000 metre peaks of the nearby Karakoram range.
Skardu is accessible by two methods, road or air. The normal road route into Skardu is via the Karakorum Highway and a linkroad into the Skardu Valleyfrom it. There are four or five road links to Srinagar and Leh. Alternatively, there are one or two flights daily between Skardu Airport and Islamabad.
A famous all-weather road, the Kargil-Skardu road linked Skardu with Kargil, a city in Ladakh. Since the annexation of Gilgit Baltistan by Pakistan, the road has been closed. Whilst the Indian government has been interested in opening the road as a humanitarian gesture, this initiative has been refused by the Pakistani government.
The climate can have adverse effects on transport in and out of the Skardu Valley, as Skardu becomes snowbound during the winter months. The roads in and out of Skardu (and other Northern Areas locations) can be blocked for weeks at a time depending on conditions (though two to five days is more normal), sometimes leaving air travel as the only feasible alternative. However, air travel in winter is also subject to disruption due to the unreliable Skardu weather. Flights can occasionally be delayed by several days.