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Adventures With True Asian Spirit

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Cultural Tourism

Khaplu Palace (Yabgo Khar), Ghanche, Baltistan

The Palace is a four story structure built with interlaced wooden cribbage with infill of mud blocks and stone. Labyrinth spaces, richly embellished timber balcony, verandahs screened with intricate Jalis, carved timber posts, fascias and fenestrations and variety of decorative timber-paneled ceilings with sophisticated detailing make this building unique in the region.

 

“Royal family Yabgo used this five-storey structure for residential, official and storage purposes. The original ground floor, which is now the basement, was used as grain storage with some chambers used for collecting night soil from the traditional dry latrines. The ground floor was used for a official engagements like waiting areas, grain collecting spaces and some rooms for the officials of palace. The first floor was used mostly as a guest space but at later years the Yabgo family also used some rooms after the extension of their family, as they needed more space. The second floor was used specially by the Yabgo family as their private residence. Top floor of palace is now left with a small pavilion called Phurgon Khang which means pigeons room”.

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Shigar Fort, Shigar, Baltistan

The 400 years-old Shigar Fort-Palace was selected for adaptive reuse and restoration as a major strategic investment that would re-establish community pride, identity, confidence and self-belief by conserving and putting into use one of the major heritage assets of Baltistan

Built upon a huge boulder, Shigar Palace is locally known as Fong Khar – literally, the Palace on the Rock.

The palace is located on the right bank of a mountain stream that flows through the village and discharges into the Shigar river, which then joins the Indus river near Skardu. It stands slightly elevated above the nearest hamlets of Shigar, at the foot of a steep cliff (over a hundred metres high), on which the main stronghold of the Amachas was once built. According to various writers and the present Raja, it was Hassan Khan, the twentieth ruler of the Amacha dynasty, who constructed Fong Khar in the seventeenth century. The Amacha dynasty has its origins in the Hamacha tribe of Ganish, Hunza, and it is likely that the Amacha came to Shigar using the passageway across the Hispar glacier and the Amndo valley.

The content was originally published by Agha Khan Cultural Services Pakistan

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Altit Fort, Hunza, Gilgit Baltistan

The people of the ancient city of Altit are said to be the descendants of the progressive agricultural Turkic tribe of Huns from the Persian Empire, A.D 47. It is believed that the first name of the city was Hunukushal, meaning the village of Huns. Considering their mixed ancestry, it is no wonder that the locals have such striking features.

The great Altit Fort was built by the Mirs (ruling family) of Hunza as a display of power to the Mirs of Nagar (twin state) and has stood tall in front of Karakoram since the 11th century.

Not only has it survived many attacks from aggressors but also withstood several earthquakes since it was built, perhaps making it one of the most astonishing architectural structures of its time. Keeping in mind the technology of the time, it is unthinkable that a task like this was even conceivable in the 11th century.

 

A testimony of advanced engineering, the walled fort is the strongest structure of its time and is considered to be the birthplace and capital of Hunza city.

 

The content was originally published here http://www.dawn.com/news/1228746

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Kharpocho Fort, Skardu, Baltistan

Nestled between the mighty Karakoram and Himalayan mountain ranges, Skardu district of Baltistan is a traveller’s paradise. From trekking on tricky trails fringing enormous mountains to lazing in the green fields dotting the roads or watching a polo match at the local stadium, the trip is never boring.

A testament to the strength of the people of Baltistan, Skardu city’s crown jewel, Kharpocho Fort stands at a height of nearly 1,400 metres above the city. A brute fist of stone and rock, the rough edges of the fort make it seem like it was forged out of the mountain itself.

 

The content was originally published here http://tribune.com.pk/story/756649/trekking-through-history-the-king-of-forts-beckons/

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Chaqchan Mosque, Khaplu, Baltistan

The historical Chaqchan mosque situated in Khaplu is one of the most important built heritages of national monuments in Pakistan. Its construction is attributed to Mir Syed Shamsud Din Iraqi , a very famous preacher who came from Iran and stayed in Baltistan for nearly five years The oral traditions describe that this building was a Buddhist Gompa before and when the whole population of the area converted to Islam and even a single Buddhist was found, the Gompa was rebuilt as a mosque in present shape.

It is one of the most famous wooden structure in the whole Asia for its exquisite and rich wood curving in door frames, pillars, and ceiling and for the beautiful screens/lattice in the most beautiful patterns of Tibetan and Persian traditions. People have painted the ceiling and the inner walls in recent years which have protected the wooden works from dampness and weathering.

This structure has been built in a slope, this it is partially a double story-building. From its upper story-veranda, one can have the heart taking view of  the beautiful lush-green  Khaplu town, the Shayok valley and some of the lofty peaks of Karakoram mountain.

 

The content was originally published here http://www.cknp.org/cms/culture-play/cultural-routes/things-to-do

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Buddha Rock, Manthal, Skardu, Baltistan

Resting at the edge of Manthal village on the left of a stream from Satpara Lake, the granite – known as the Buddha Rock – is pale and smooth. Believed to be carved between 8th and 10th centuries, the relic represents the glory of the past, of a time when men and women meditated in the footsteps of the ‘One Who Woke Up’.

 

It has the makings of a heritage site – bearing testimony to a tradition which has disappeared. Its significance goes beyond nationalities. Yet, it sits at the border of Manthal village, ignored and forgotten by the world.

 

The content was originally published here http://tribune.com.pk/story/922014/in-skardu-siddhartha-sings-on/

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