Lakeshore City

Exploring The Valley of Gahkuch

December 26, 2023

Nestled in the Gilgit-Baltistan area is the tranquil city of Gahkuch. It is the principal city of Ghizer District and lies roughly 72 kilometers northwest of Gilgit, the capital of the area. Gahkuch, which has 20,000 residents, is a culturally varied place that is a melting pot of several ethnic groups.

Gahkuch is more than simply a lovely face, though. As the administrative center of Ghizer District and a link between Gilgit, Chitral, and the borders with China and Tajikistan, it plays a crucial role. Speaking languages like Shina, Wakhi, and Khowar, this location is also a linguistic treasure trove.

Location of Gahkuch

Less than 73 kilometers separate Gilgit Town in Pakistan from the quaint town of Gahkuch, which boasts an amazing natural beauty and a rich historical background. It is the entrance to the lovely Ishkoman Valley and is home to Ghizer District’s prominent headquarters. 

The settlement starts at the China Bridge, which is the entrance to this magical valley, and ends at an impressive hanging bridge that provides further access to the same valley.

Gahkuch is blessed with an amazing site by the Gilgit River, which meanders through the center of the town. Since a road network was built to connect it to Gilgit, Phander, and other valleys in the area, the town that was formerly little in 1998 has experienced tremendous development. 

Gahkuch has thus developed into a tourist destination, providing a vast array of amenities and services for travelers wishing to experience its natural beauties and engage in a variety of activities. 

Encircled by a range of small hills, mountains, and glaciers, Gahkuch offers an ideal environment for those who enjoy being outside. While taking in the breathtaking scenery of the area, visitors can enjoy outdoor pursuits including hiking, fishing, and seasonal duck shooting. 

It is a must-visit spot in the stunning region of Gilgit Baltistan because of its advantageous location as the capital of Ghizer District. Therefore, Gahkuch need to be on your travel itinerary if you’re looking for a location that skillfully combines history, scenic beauty, and contemporary conveniences.

Navigating the Path to Gahkuch: Routes and Accessibility

The journey to Gahkuch, the historic town in the heart of Gilgit-Baltistan, is an adventure in and of itself. Traveling to this historical treasure provides stunning vistas and an understanding of the distinctive geography of the area. The following describes how to go from several starting points to Gahkuch:

From Gilgit:

Driving from Gilgit to the destination should take about 2.5 hours, covering a distance of about 100 kilometers. A smooth and pleasant journey is guaranteed by the well-maintained road.

From Islamabad:

It takes longer but is still quite worthwhile to travel from Islamabad to Gahkuch. There are 562 kilometers separating the two cities, and it takes about 16 hours to travel there.

Route from Islamabad:

To start the journey from Islamabad, travel to Kaghan via the Islamabad-Hazara Motorway and arrive at the scenic Babusar Top. Your route then goes on to Gilgit and, at the end, Gahkuch.

A Memorable Adventure

You will quickly realize that the ancient town is situated at a place known as upper-Gahkuch, high above the modern town, as you approach Gahkuch. The last part of the ride reveals an amazing scene: the river opens out and trees grow in the riverbed, surrounded by snow-capped mountain peaks.

Because of the wide valley, strong winds frequently blow over the area, bringing with them a welcome dip in temperature. This breathtaking natural wonder accentuates the surrounding scenery and provides a welcome break from the travel.

Options for Transportation

Due to its excellent road connectivity, Gahkuch is easily accessible for visitors. From Gilgit, you can choose to get to this fascinating location by bus or automobile. A comfortable and safe trip is ensured by the good condition of the road infrastructure.

It’s simple to visit the area since there are many transportation alternatives from Gilgit’s major bazaar that may take you to Gupis during the day and back before dusk.

Traveling to Gahkuch is more than simply a method to get somewhere; it’s an adventure through breathtaking scenery and a doorway to learning about Gilgit-Baltistan’s rich natural history.

Ancient Treasures of Gahkuch

Rich in natural beauty and rich in history, Gahkuch has several historical places that will take you back in time.

Shuwarun Chilla

One of Gahkuch’s old palaces, Chilla Shuwarun provides a window into the past. History lovers should not miss it because of its historic heritage and historic architecture.

Khat Shawotai and Kalmakoi

The historical sites in Gahkuch are a valuable addition to the city’s legacy. Shawotai Khat and Kalmakoi are stories from another era that will intrigue you.

Gahkuch Fort

The Upper Gahkuch Fort is among the most popular tourist destinations in Gilgit Baltistan. With a broad riverbed as its view and situated amidst snow-capped mountains, this historic fort is full of tales to tell.

This fort is a representation of regional defense and strategic significance. Investigate the towers and reinforced walls that originally served as essential security measures. A cunning defensive tactic to keep potential attackers away from the water supply is the fort’s distinctive feature: a hidden tunnel that leads to a water fountain perched atop a sheer rock face.

According to local folklore, children suffering from polio used to seek sanctuary in the spring water cave, since it allowed them to live productive lives.

Zeeratai Thoko, Xaramarik, and Sujo Thoko

By providing a glimpse into the rich history and culture of the area, these sites enhance Gahkuch’s historical appeal.

Exploring Nearby Villages

Gahkuch is a starting point for exploring the neighboring regions, each of which has an own beauty and attraction.

  • Driving along the Ghizer Ishkoman route will take you to villages like Golodass and Ishkoman, which provide breathtaking scenery and year-round tourism prospects.
  • Tajikistan is not far from the Ghizer district, which provides access to Central Asia.
  • Located 64 kilometers from the town center, Phander Valley is a popular tourist destination because of its scenic surroundings and Phander Lake.
  • Yasin Valley: Just 2.5 hours’ drive from Gahkuch’s main office, this area beckons with sights like Modori Fort, Darkut, Taus, Gojalti, Sandi, and Silgan. It’s a great place for exploring and picnics.
  • Gahkuch Bala: Also referred to as Ayeshi, Gahkuch Bala is a charming village that is only a short 30-minute drive away.

Fruit Paradise

In addition to its historical landmarks, Gahkuch is well known for its delicious fruits. With so many different fruits to entice your taste buds, the area is a fruit lover’s paradise.

A plethora of fruits, including strawberries, pomegranates, almonds, beeyew, grapes, apricots, kalail, showtee, peaches, chawttor, gunnair, walnuts, and other regional fruits, are abundant in the rich regions of Gahkuch.

Optimal Time for Your Visit

The best months to visit this charming location are April through September for those who are organizing a trip. The weather is at its most favorable during this time, making exploring of the area easy. 

It’s crucial to remember that as September approaches, there will be more rain, which can be difficult, particularly when traveling over off-road trails. Thus, if you want to get the most out of your vacation to this gorgeous location, think about planning it for the spring or summer.

Weather Conditions

The daytime high in the summer can get as high as forty degrees Celsius. But it cools down considerably in the evening, reaching about 25 degrees Celsius. This area does not receive a lot of rain.

Places to Visit & Things to Do in Gahkuch

Gahkuch provides a plethora of locations to see and things to do, so your trip will be both enriching and unforgettable. The following are some of the best activities in this fascinating area:

Hunting and Watching Birds

Gahkuch is a popular destination for hunters who come from the south to hunt wild pheasants and birds. These amazing animals have a natural haven in the lush woodland along the river.

Upper Gahkuch Village 

Upper Gahkuch Village is still a peaceful, pristine paradise. Freshwater streams wind through the settlement, adding to its charming tranquility. The residents are renowned for their friendly hospitality.

Ruins of Upper Gahkuch Fort

Rich in history, Upper Gahkuch Fort was formerly the local Raja’s safe haven during dangerous times. It has an intriguing secret: during sieges, the Raja is kept safe and the enemy is kept guessing thanks to a subterranean passage that leads to a water fountain atop a sheer rock face.

The Cave of Forgotten Children

There is a local tradition about a cave where, long ago, polio-affected children were sent to die since their condition would not allow them to live useful lives. This moving narrative provides some historical context for the area.

Discover the Story of the Century’s Only Murder

One special feature of Upper Gahkuch is that it was the scene of the only murder in the region in the last 100 years, and the victim is a woman. This captivating story enhances your exploration with a layer of local history.

Enjoying Exotic Fruit Gardens

Upper Gahkuch is dotted with verdant farm plots and beautiful fruit gardens, with popular fruits like walnut, mulberry, and apricot trees. Your taste buds will be delighted by the fresh fruits.

Visit the Upper Gahkuch Tombs

Ancient, locked tombs can be found close to the fort’s remains. According to local customs, the dead were entombed in tall buildings and arranged in a circle. The lowest basements of these towers still contain mummies and historical secrets, but the highest floors have long since vanished.

Archaeological studies in this area may yield important new information on the customs and practices of the Gilgit Baltistani people several centuries ago. Gahkuch offers an amazing voyage of exploration and adventure because of its distinct cultural heritage, stunning natural surroundings, and rich historical background.

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