Gilgit-Baltistan (Formerly Northern Areas of Pakistan) is a mountain kingdom stretching over 72,000km well-known for its mountain grandeur and its ultimate scenic beauty. Geographically the territory is comprised of ten districts, stretching over an area of 72,971 km. The region borders the Xinjiang province of China to the east and northeast, the Wakhan Corridor of Afghanistan to the north, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan to the west, and the state of Indian-administered Jammu & Kashmir to the south.
Gilgit-Baltistan is the hub of mighty mountains and longest glaciers in a knot of four famous mountain ranges – the Himalayas, the Karakorams, the Hindukush and the Pamirs – has come to be known as a paradise for mountaineers, climbers, trekkers, hikers and holidaymakers. Five of the world’s 8 highest mountains– K2, Broad Peak, Gasherbrum-I, Gasherbrum-II and Nanga Parbat (the Killer Mountain) – and four longest glaciers – Batura, Biafo, Baltoro, and Siachin – are located in Gilgit-Baltistan. There are scores of over 7,000 m peaks in the Karakoram Range and hundreds of nameless summits below 6,000 m, mere points on the map. The entire Gilgit-Baltistan is also well-known for its four distinct seasons with contrasting colours and for the charming history it holds. Gilgit-Baltistan has historically been part of the Silk route and remained centre of Buddhism. Today, there are more than 50,000 inscriptions, carvings and petroglyphs scattered along the Karakoram Highway testifying the movement of traders, preachers, and people from other walks of life through this region.
Gilgit, at 1500 m, is the capital and headquarter of the region. The region is accessible by air and by road. PIA operates daily flights to Gilgit and Skardu although subject to weather condition. However, the Karakoram Highway – the major trade and tourism artery connecting China with Pakistan on this 1300 km long highway where 887 km falls in Pakistan – runs mostly through Gilgit-Baltistan. The other seasonal land connection through the Kaghan valley and Babusar Pass, which only remains open from mid-June till October end, is a scenic connection mostly used by tourists.