Ghizer is one of the ten districts of Gilgit Baltistan (GB). It is a blessed land with tremendous natural treasures. It is widely known as peace loving and deeply hospitable and natural beauty around the globe. Ghizer valley is also famous for beautiful lush green landscape, eye catching fresh water lakes and high peaks of Hindukush and Himalayas touching the sky.
Ghizer is the western most part of GB, connecting GB and Chitral. It also connects Tajikistan via Wakhan and China through Kurumbar pass. Tajikistan is also accessed through Darkut via Borogil passing through Wakhan. To the south it connects to Diamer district and to the south-west to the swat valley. Historically Ghizer was ruled by British Rajgi syste until 1970, when Bhuto the then PM Pakistan declared it a separate district. Gahkuch was made it’s head quarter. Currently this district has four tehsils named Punial, Ishkoman, Gupis and Yasin. Three major languages Shina, Khowar and Brushaski are spoken here. Population of Ghizer is more than 200,000.
The people of this area are simple, hard working , very hospitable, peaceful, loving and caring. They welcome tourists with warm hearts and smile. People are united despite having different ethnic backgrounds and culture. This is considered as a strength by them.
Ghizer is a beautiful and yet unexplored region of GB due the lack of basic infrastructure. People are hopeful for proper development in future. So that the beauty of the area will be exposed to the world. This may be true saying that the area bears an unknown beauty but the lack of resources and approach has left it still earthed. The paradise paragrade valleys and dangling glaciers attract tourists globally. Phander, Gupis and Shandur valley are famous tourist spots,
It take 5 to 6 hours to reach Phander from Gilgit city travelling on the Gilgit to Chitral road. Khowar language is spoken by the people. Phander lake is a source of fresh water and trout. The area of lake is around 3 Km. Thousands of tourist visit Phander every year for enjoying the natural beauty, trout fishing, camping and boating. The snow caped peaks present the valley with a tremendous view.
Nature has bestowed beautiful natural lakes in Ghizer District. These lakes are source of fresh water and trout fish. Listed below are the famous lakes located in this area.
Also there are so many small lakes in different Nallahs. Gupis valley is 112 Km from Gilgit city. Khalti lake is near Gupis. The lake view from the PTDC hotel is very charming and eye catching. Khuskush lake is located to the south of Shandur. It is about 2 to 3 hours traveling distance on foot from the left to Gilgit to Chitral Road after finishing Langar area. Khukush lake is the largest fresh water lake in GB. About 5 Km long and 750 m deep, this lake is home to the big trout in GB.
There are some historical places in Ghizer. The old forts which were symbol o defense in ancient times. To protect the area from invaders, theses forts played a key role.
Shandur Polo Ground
Gupis fort, Stones circles of Megaliths and Shingalot village are the historical places to visit. Shandur polo ground is the highest play ground in the world located at an altitude of 12,500 feet. When British was ruling Sub-continent first time polo was played at this venue. The polo ground is natural with a lush green mountainous surrounding. The lake near the ground provides a serene view. The snow capped mountains and glacier attract visitors every year from all over the globe to attend the Shandur polo festival. This festival takes place in summer after summer solstice for three days.
Ghizer bears an extreme chilled condition during winter. The mercury may fall below -13 degree Celsius. Snow fall can reach up to 15 feet. Summer remains moderate. The sun could retain its scorch for only three months i.e; June, July August. After August the temperature starts falling again.
People meet the weather demands through proper dress. the cultural dress include “khoi” a hand spun cap and “Choga” a long overcoat touching ankles long sleeve & a colorful embroidery over are worn in winter. In summer casual “shalwar qameez” is preferred by men and women.
Ghizer is abundant in Himalayan Fruits (best in taste). Famous fruits are Almond, Nuts, Apricot, Pomegranate, Peach, Grapes, Cherry, Pear, etc. Punial Valley is famous for Kilaw, grapes and Grape wine (Red wine).
Different NGOs and Government agricultural department guides people with funds and knowledge to better growth and amplification of local fruits. AKRPS and ETIGB are trying their level best in growing best fruits and agricultural fundings in the area for empowering locals.
There are many luxury hotels in the area. Which provide best facilities to the tourists in affordable charges. Some of the hotels, guest rooms and restaurants are listed below:
PTDC Hotel (Gupis & Phander
Green Palace Hotel (Gahkuch)
Khalti Hotel (Khalti)
Ghizer Inn (Gahkuch)
Karim Guest House (Gahkuch)
Three Star Hotel (Gahkuch)
Rest House (Gulagmuli, Teru)
Lake Inn Hotel (Phander)
Some of the best dishes prepared in Ghizer, which have unique taste. Diram which is cooked for about 12 hours on slow heat has a fantastic taste. Some other dishes are Goli, Golmandi, Mool, Khisht, Dishaw etc.
People of the area have some unique talents in handicrafts which are on the verge of extinction are Locally prepared carpet which is so so durable called as “Pales” and Locally prepared cap and choga with wool called as “Ring”.
The arts council Ghizer has the best Drama Team in GB. The squad under the captaincy of Akhtar Hussain Raja (writer and choreographer) always presents best plays on social, economic and political issues. Similarly voice of the singer is also melodious. Singers with lyrical and sweet voices are Jan ali, Ayub Mutasir, Nisar Chahat, Ibrahim Mukhlish, Karim Jeewan, Iqbal Hussain, Shakeel Ahmad Sameen, Sabir Hayat and Raja Babar. Voice of GB and Nightangle of GB Nishwa karim and Ayzee Baig are young emerging female vocals.
Tours and Treks
The famous picnic points in Ghizer are Phander, Gupis , Khalti lake, Phander lake, Hopar park, ishkoman, City park gakhuch, Singal, Gitch, Kini Singal etc. The hiking lovers would go to Darkut village, and Hundur (Mizar Lalik Jan Shaheed Nishan-e- Haider). For Trekkers the Nallahs which connect Ghizer to other areas are famous trekking points. The Nallah of hatoon, Assumbar, Ishkoman and Darkut are interconnected. These treks ultimately meet at Borogil valley and connected to Pamir Plateau and then Tajikistan. Hundrub Nallah, Khukush Nallah and Shandur pass connect Ghizer to KPK.
In almost all directions Ghizer has trekking routs. Even some of the routs need to be explored yet. Qurumbar pass, Zindikharam pass, Panji pass, Pakora pass, Attor pass, Assumbar pass, Nazbar pass, Thoi pass, Zagar pass, Darmader pass etc are the routs used from the start to travel from different areas.
More like the other areas of GB, Ghizer is an epoch making serene land. It only needs exposure to place itself in the beauty ranking of the world.