Astore Valley

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Astore is one of the six districts of the Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan. The district contains the Astore Valley and is bounded to the west by Diamer District (from which it was separated in 2004), to the north by Gilgit District, to the east by Skardu District and to the south by Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Neelum District of Azad Kashmir. According to the 1998 census of Pakistan the population was 71,666.
Astore valley, adjoining the eastern side of Nanga Parbat (8,126 m), is about 120 km long and 5,092 sq. km in area. The entrance of the valley is located about 60 km southeast of Gilgit with four side-valleys. The valley has more than 100 villages with a total population of 71,666 (Census 1998. Some of which are Chilm, Bubin, Gorikot, Eid Ghah, Fina, Bulen, Chongra and Tari Shing. Chilm is the most beautiful village among all the villages of Astore, because it is the starting point of Deosai, the world's second highest plane. The majority of people practice subsistence agriculture and livestock is the main source of livelihood complemented by seasonal work in down districts of the country. Due to its diverse landscape and climatic conditions the valley provides excellent habitat for a variety of commercially important medicinal plants.

History

Ghāzī Mukhpun, a Persian adventurer, is said to have married a princess of the Skārdu reigning family. The four sons born of this union became Rās of Skārdu, Astor, Rondu, and Kharmang respectively, and from them are descended the families of the present chiefs of those places. Afzal, Guada,Chilma respectively was sons of Astor.They was live in Juttay,Ganda gam(Arzal abad),Gudai(Guada abad) ,Chilm(Chilma abad) respectively. The independence of Astor ceased at the Dogra conquest.

Climate

Astore valley has a moderate climate during summer. In winter it can snow up to 6 inches (15 cm) in the main valleys and up to 2–3 feet (60–90 cm) in the mountains. In Mirmalik valley it snows up to 6 feet (1.8 m) in February.

Languages

The main language spoken in the valley is Shina (also known as Tshina). Urdu, which is the National language of Pakistan, is the second most frequently spoken language.There are different dialect of Shina spoken in the region. Since Astore has a history of modest tourist traffic in the summer months, local guides and police in Tarashing or Astore may speak some English.

Accessibility

Astore is connected to Gilgit which is well connected by air with Islamabad (weather dependent) and by road with Islamabad/Rawalpindi, Skardu and Chitral. You can take a flight to Gilgit from the capital of the country and drive to Astore from Gilgit on metalled road.

Popular Attractions

Astor lie at the junction of several mountain routes, providing ample and varied trekking opportunities, including many short walks through this beautiful area. Tracks head eastwards from the Bulashbar area, up towards the wild but beautiful Deosai Mountains and Plains. To the north west, a trekking route leads to the Muthat Pass and continues on to Fairy Meadow. In the southwest, Rupal valley provides numerous opportunities for short and long treks. Rama lake is a must see! Accessibility: Astore is connected to Gilgit which is well connected by air with Islamabad( weather dependent) and by road with Islamabad/Rawalpindi, Skardu and Chitral. You can take a flight to Gilgit from the capital of the country and drive to Astore from Gilgit on metalled road.
There are a number of attractive places in Astore which have a range of tourist spots and places to see. Rama valley is located in Astore approximately 112 KM from Gilgit, 56 Km from the KKH at jaglot and 134 KM from Skardu via Deosai plain. The region includes a range of high altitude mountains and ecologically falls in to the transition of alpine to dry temperature zones.

Rama Lake

Rama  is home to some famous species like: ibex, musk deer, snow leopard and rock partridge .The area is also considered to have plethora of medicinal plants. This valley offers a number of tourist attractions including: sight seeing, trekking, wild life, forest, glaciers and above all the beautiful Rama Lake which is spectacular and eye catching. Rama valley with lush green pastures and tall pine trees is an ideal camp site for the independent travellers. The inhabitants of Rama valley are also very hospitable and friendly. They are motivated to promote environment friendly tourism in their area. Thareshing is yet another interesting place for tourists. It is 42 kilometres away from district headquarters Astore. It has a jeepable road and leads up to Rupal and Mazino pass. Thareshing glacier and zipur are places of interest here. In Rupal, a wooden water channel has been constructed about 500 -600 years ago. From main Astore, jeep can also be hired to get to Rupal. This place is at a distance of 18 KMs from Astore headquarters. Nanga Perbat Inn is the nearest hotel.