Pakistan the Land of Beauty
Since the first century BC Gilgit has been an important transactional platform on the Silk Route from China. According to Chinese Tang Annals Gilgit remained under Buddhist rule from 4th to 11th century AD and together with Yasin was called Little Bolor while Baltistan as Great Bolor.
The Shins – European Shina-speaking people, invaded Gilgit in the 10th century and Shina language is still the most important dialect spoken in Gilgit.
At the time of Mahmood Ghaznaviâ€™s invasion in the 11th century, Gilgit was part of the powerful independent mountain stronghold of Dardistan. Most of the population started turning to Islam after the 15th century.
Giving Laddakh, Baltistan and Gilgit under his rule, Gulab Singh was appointed as the first Maharaja of Kashmir in 1846 by the British government of India but the repeated campaigns held by the Muslims of the area against the rule of the Maharaja in 1850s and 1860s could never be silenced by the forces of the Maharaja.
Being conscious about the strategic importance for its nearness to China and Russia the British set up the Gilgit agency in 1877 which was the most isolated outpost of the British Empire. When the route from Srinagar via Astore was improved and Gilgit had established a telegraphic link with other areas, the second agency was set up in 1889. In order to maintain peace in the area, the British formed a force (Gilgit Scouts) of 600 scouts in 1913.
At Partition in August 1947, the Gilgit Scouts were left in the charge of Major William Brown, a British officer who had volunteered to see them through Independence. On October 31st, Subedar Major Babar Khan and Mirzada Shah Khan arrested Ghansara Singh, the then Governor, in Gilgit under the order of Major William Brown and Gilgit was then declared as â€˜the Independent Republic of Gilgitâ€™, which later acceded with Pakistan. At the end of 1948 Indo-Pak war, Pakistan issued a proclamation separating Northern Areas from Azad Kashmir replacing them under the administration of the Federal Government, naming them as the Northern Areas of Pakistan.
PLACES AROUND GILGIT
Near Gilgit, located about10 km west, is the Kargha Buddha, a 7th century relic of the areaâ€™s Buddhist past, carved out on a solid rock. The 10 ft Buddha figure carved on the rock is worth viewing.
Spreading over 3000 meters with clad pine forests and alpine meadows, Naltar is the ideal camping spot with a distance of 32 KM from Gilgit. The village is also the starting point of treks across the 4000 meter Naltar Pass. The Lake above the camp is a perfect fishing spot.
Â Karimabad, 112 km from Gilgit, is marked for its terraced fields and fruit orchards. View of Rakaposhi (7788 meter), from the KKH en-route Karimabad, is spectacular. One can also have the splendid view of the peaks of Ultar, Balimo and a few other great peaks from Karimabad. The historical Altit and Baltit forts in Karimabad are worth visiting