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Katpna Desert
Katpana Desert

Katpana – The Cold Desert – Skardu

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Katpana falls in Skardu which is a town and also the capital of Skardu District, in Gilgit-Baltistan. It is a 10 kilometres (6 miles) wide and 40 kilometres (25 miles) long valley, at the confluence of the Indus and the Shigar river. Skardu is at an altitude of about 2,226 metres (7,303 feet). The town is surrounded by greyish-brown mountains. The famous Katpana desert lies in the suburbs of Skardu.

Katpana Desert:

There are sand deserts in Skardu and Shigar valleys, on the banks of Indus and Shigar rivers. Katpana Desert stretches from the Khaplu valley to Nubra, Ladakh and Shigar to Zanskar in Indian Occupied Kashmir. The area of Katpana desert is in Skardu and Shigar valleys. It is called Biana Naqpo and Katpana Biana, in the local language.

Katpana desert is Skardu while Shigar desert is on the way to Shigar valley. Its elevation is 2,226 metres above sea level. This is one of the most beautiful tourist attractions of Northern Areas of Pakistan. The other name of Katpana desert is Cold Desert. The mesmerising and magnificent sandy view makes it a majestic place to visit. The large sand dunes of Katpana Desert give it a spectacular look. Its elevation is 7,303 feet above sea level. This is one of the highest deserts in the world.

Means of Travelling:

By Air:

The flights to Skardu are operational on a regular basis. However these are operational only on a clear day.

By Road:

There are four routes to Skardu from Islamabad:

  1. Islamabad ^ Mansehra ^ Basham ^ Dasu ^ Chilas ^ Jaglot ^ Skardu
  2. Islamabad ^ Mansehra ^ Basham ^ Dasu ^ Chilas ^ Deosai ^ Skardu
  3. Islamabad ^ Mansehra ^ Balakot ^ Naran ^ Babusar Top ^ Chilas ^ Jaglot ^ Skardu
  4. Islamabad ^ Mansehra ^ Balakot ^ Naran ^ Babusar Top ^ Chilas ^ Deosai ^ Skardu

It is also possible to reach Skardu from Gilgit which is a 256 kilometre long route.

Sand Dunes Katpana
Sand Dunes of Katpana/Credits: Jaam Saqi

Hotels and Resorts:

Tourists can get access to accommodation facilities easily. There are so many Hotels, Motels and Restaurants which provide all the modern amenities and comforts to the tourists. Some places to stay are as follows:

Tourists can get access to accommodation facilities easily. There are so many Hotels, Motels and Restaurants which provide all the modern amenities and comforts to the tourists. Some places to stay are as follows.

  • Hotel One Skardu
  • Karakorum Inn Hotel & Restaurant, Skardu
  • Concordia II, Near K-2 Motel, Skardu
  • Hunza Inn, Naya Bazar, Skardu
  • Baltistan Tourist Cottage, Chowk Yadgar, Skardu
  • Baltoro Rest House, Satellite Town, Skardu
  • Northern Areas PWD Rest House, Hamid Garh, Skardu
  • Yak N Yurt Sarai, Satellite Town, Skardu
  • Skardu Inn, Main Bazar, Skardu
  • Indus Hotel
  • Hotel Karakorum, Main Bazar
  • Dewan-E-Khas
  • Shangrila Resort
  • Shigar Fort Residence
  • K-2 Motel is a PTDC
  • Motel in Skardu

ٓAuthor: Fehmeeda Farid Khan

About Fehmeeda Farid Khan

A freelancer, blogger, content writer, translator, tour consultant, proofreader, environmentalist, social mobilizer, poetess and novelist. As a physically challenged person, she extends advocacy on disability related issues. She's masters in Economics and Linguistics along with B.Ed.


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