Lost and Found in Skardu: Where Mountains Meet the Soul

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They say rivers have memories. After experiencing the Mathoka Waterfall, I can say that this statement holds true. Skardu, a place where the mountains reach the skies and the soul finds solace, is a destination that will leave a lasting imprint on your heart.

Skardu, located in the heart of the Western Himalayas at an elevation of 4,114 meters or 13,497 feet, is home to the second-highest plateau in the world, known as the Deosai Plains. To reach this majestic place, one must embark on a four-hour journey through ancient rocks and rugged terrain. The road to Skardu may be challenging, but the destination is well worth the effort.

Upon arriving in Skardu, you are greeted by a city bustling with activity. Downtown Skardu, nestled in the Karakoram range, is a vibrant place filled with sun-tanned mountaineers and friendly locals. One of the things that struck me the most about Skardu was the hospitality of its people. Muhammad Iqbal, our driver, proudly told me that the crime rate in Skardu is zero and that if you lose something, the locals will go out of their way to find it and return it to you.

The beauty of Skardu lies in its stunning landscapes and breathtaking mountains. Everywhere you look, you are greeted by towering white and brown peaks that seem almost within reach. The landscape of Skardu is diverse and ever-changing, from lush green mountains to jagged boulders. The Indus river, a constant companion to the towering peaks, adds to the beauty of the region.

Skardu offers a myriad of attractions that will leave you awestruck. One such attraction is the Shigar Fort, a 17th-century palace turned museum and luxury hotel. The intricate woodwork on the doors and windows of the palace tells a story of a bygone era. As you stand by the window, you can almost imagine the maharani waiting for her raja to return from wars.

Another must-visit place in Skardu is the Manthoka Waterfall in the Kharmang district. This 180-foot tall waterfall is a hidden gem that will leave you spellbound. The freezing water droplets soothe your sunburned skin as you sit on the sharp rocks, taking in the beauty of nature.

The journey to Skardu would be incomplete without a visit to the Deosai Plains, also known as the roof of the world. This dazzling plateau is a contrast of vibrant grass, colorful flowers, serene streams, icy peaks, and cotton clouds. The sheer beauty of the Deosai Plains is like something out of a fairy tale.

Skardu is a place that will change you. It will make you realize how insignificant humans are in the grand scheme of things. It will make you appreciate the beauty of nature and the kindness of its people. Skardu is not just a travel destination; it is an experience that will stay with you long after you leave.

So, if you’re looking for a destination that will touch your soul and leave you with memories to last a lifetime, look no further than Skardu. Let the mountains embrace you and the rivers guide you to a place where the beauty of nature meets the depths of the soul.

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