The Wilderness – Deosai Plains
Deosai Plains is known to be one of the top three highest plateaus in the world situated over 4000 meters (14,000 feet) located in Pakistan lying between three well known points Minimurg in the East, Astore Town towards north west and City of Skardu in westerly direction. It is approximately over 60 KM long and 40 KM wide land mass of gradually rolling hills and plain grounds. In 1993 it was declared as a National Park to preserve the wild life specially the Brown Bear whose population started dwindling. With strict enforcement from wild life authorities it is believed the number has risen to about 50. The growth in number is gradually rising. Other animals and birds are also rising steadily. I consider it one of the treks which should be part of any trekkers plan when visiting Pakistan.
Himalayan Trekking – The Deosai Plains 13700 feet / 4150 Meters
In May 1960 U2 spy plane was shot down by Soviet Union while flying over Svedlovsk, Soviet Union. The plane flew from an Air Base near city of Peshawar. It has been said that the Americans asked the Pakistan government hand them over the area of Deosai Plains to facilitate construction of an airbase against the Soviets. The permission was not granted. Deosai is in my opinion a mini natural wonder. A plateau higher than 4000 Meters in height offers a unique experience to tourists. Easily accesible from two directions is a tourist paradise. Since being declared a National Park the most prominent habitant of the park , the Brown Bears have seen a steady increase in population. A welcome sign and support from WWF.
In 2000 I was posted at Skardu, located in Northern Areas of Pakistan. The nature of my job provided me abundant opportunities to travel to perform my duties and at the same time see the beauty and the wilderness of Pakistan’s Northern Areas. It also afforded my family to join me on holidays and enjoy. One of the memories they cherish is their trip to the Deosai Plains.
On Gilgit -Skardu Road about 30 KMs short of Skardu city is a quiet and beautiful resort of Shangri-La. For trekkers visiting Deosai an option is available to spend quiet night here at serene surroundings of Shangri-la. The resort has also has a fuselage of an aircraft which had crashed nearby and used as a restaurant.
Image Credit : rizwanmedia.forumotion.com
Sadpara Lake Skardu
A few kilometers outside the city of Skardu on the way up to Deosai Top you drive hugging the mountain along the beautiful Sadpara Lake. It is situated about 9 KMs from the city. Here are some of very ancient Buddhist engravings on the rock walls. A popular resort for those interested in trout fishing. lately a dam has been built on this lake to cater for electricity needs of Skardu city. There has been resentment against its construction.
During the months between November and May the Deosai receives lots of snow and when thawing starts early June everything starts turing green, flowers start blossoming in hundreds of varieties and the plain offers a great spectacle at the height of 4000 meters. The radiance of colours of Deosai always leave an ever lasting imprint. The nature is unspoiled at Deosai, the beauty is in the wilderness. This is the time when all the melting snow in form of small streams join a crossing made over fast flowing water called Bara Pani. The bridge is not the best of bridges as is the case in so many other places in the North. But this is the fun of crossing Deosai. You can be lucky to get a sighting of a Brown Bear. They say ” Do not leave anything on Deosai except your foot prints. Do not bring anything except pictures”.
In the local dialect Sheosar Lake means White Lake. It is situated at the height of 4150 meters. It is about 2.5 KMs long and 1.8 KM wide. When approaching Deosai from the direction of Astore the first stop is at Sheosar. This place offers great views of the plateau and one can see Nanga Parbat’s Rupal Face the highest wall on the face of the earth. Nanga Parbat is 9 highest mountain in the world at 8126 Meters.