Gilgit is the largest city and regional headquarter of Gilgit Baltistan. Gilgit is located at a distance of 10 KM from Karakoram Highway at Danyor. If you are coming from Islamabad-Mansehra, you have two options to reach Gilgit. One is via Naran-Babusar Top, which is closed in winters and only opens in summers due to heavy snowfalls. Islamabad-Naran-Gilgit is 512 KM in length but takes lesser time while Islamabad-Besham-Gilgit is shorter in length but takes a lot of time due to construction of road and Dams at Dasu as well as at Bhasha. The road is only 482 KM to Gilgit. There is also a direct flight between Islamabad and Gilgit and would take 1 hour 15 mins to reach. Although, the flight each day, depends on the weather conditions and often cancels.
Gilgit is historically the seat of Government since ages due to its geographical location on the maps. The city is at the confluence of the Hunza & Gilgit rivers and is the main city in the region.
This post is about spending a day exploring this city on your itinerary of northern Pakistan. The city has a lot to offer but I would only mention locations with utmost importance and with a history to remember. History & Tourism combined would benefit everyone a lot.
If you are residing in Jutial/Danyore areas, you can start with the attractions in your nearby areas. The main attractions in this area include:
- Hunter’s Tower, Jutial Nullah
- Chinese Cemetry, Danyore
- Bireno Bridge & Tunnel, Danyore
- Rock Carvings, Danyore
Starting with the Hunter’s Tower, the tower is located at the start of Jutial Nullah Track in the Jutial Forest Conservation Area. The tower offers unique views of Gilgit city. It is an old structure and was constructed by British Government, back in the days. The hike to the tower is good and offers serenity and natural beauty. You can start walking beside the road from Khomar Chowk upwards to Jutial area. After reaching the Military Checkpoint, turn right and walk for another 45 minutes to reach the tower. The best time to do the hike is just before sunset so that you can view the sunset over Gilgit city from this amazing location.
Chinese Cemetry is a burial place of the Chinese engineers and labors, who died while constructing up the Karakoram Highway or N-35 between 1966 & 1978. There are 88 graves in the cemetery and is a major visitor attraction. These men laid there lives to construct this beautiful China Pakistan Highway within the Karakorams. You can reach Pakistan to China by road after the construction of this highway. Before 1966, one can reach China from Pakistan either by air or by sea.
Bireno Bridge or Danyor Suspension Bridge is the oldest make shift bridge in the region. The bridge connects Gilgit with the Danyor over River Hunza. The bridge was constructed in the early sixties by the locals. On danyor side of the bridge is a tunnel also constructed by locals. The bridge is 510 Feet long and is 8 Feet wide. It is closed for vehicles since 2013.
Rock Carvings or Keno Daas is a historical site located within the Karakoram Internation University. The carvings are located nearby Bireno Suspension Bridge.
If you are residing in Kashrote area, you can start with the attractions in Kashrote or Baseen. The main attractions include:
- Kargah Buddha
- Kargah Cave
- Kargah Fish Farms
- Jamia Masjid
- Gilgit Color Bridge
- Talib Shah Cake & Tea
- Clock Tower or Ghari Bagh
- Raja Mamtu Corner
- I Love Gilgit Sign
- Jinnah Bridge, Kashrote
Kargah Buddha is a rock carving in the Kargah area near Baseen. The carving is believed to be around 500 years old. There is only a similar carving of this buddha, which is located at Ladakh, Indian Occupied Kashmir. The buddha is also a sacred site of pilgrimage for Buddhists from around the world.
Kargah Cave is a cave in the kargah valley. The cave is famous for the chilled air coming out. The cave is considerably colder from outside. It is a famous tourist attraction for locals during the summers.
Nearby the cave is located a Fish Farm, operated by the Fisheries department of the regional government. The farm offers a unique insight into the habitat of Trout Fishes. The farm also serves as a fishes hatchery.
Jamia Masjid is the central Mosque of Gilgit city. The mosque represents a centuries-old Islamic history in the region. It is constructed in the center of the city. The mosque is designed on Islamic architecture influenced by the modern approach. The seat of the mosque is occupied by the highest Islamic Seminary in the region. The Islamic Seminary holds together the Muslims in the region.
Gilgit Color Suspension Bridge is the wooden suspension bridge connecting the areas on sides of the Gilgit River. The bridge was constructed initially to connect Konodas area with the Jamia Mosque. The adjacent area of the bridge is now the central market for meat in the city.
Talib Shah is the oldest manufacturer of traditional cakes in the city. The shop is located in the center of the city, near the administration offices. They are serving customers for over 70 years now. The cake is still the most famous snack in the region. The taste resembles that of Prekmurska Gibanica to an extent. This shop is our main stop on the Gilgit City Day Tour.
Clock Tower or Ghari Bagh is the center of the Gilgit City. Once a garden with a clock is later demolished to construct roads and buildings on the outskirts. It is still a meeting point for locals in the city.
Adjacent to the Clock Tower is the central market in the Gilgit city, NLI Welfare Shopping Complex. The market is a one-stop-shop for your basic house needs. There are separate complexes for different kinds of products. There are electronics shops, mobile repairing & selling shops, interior decoration shops, superstores, banks and a lot more.
If you love to explore the local foods, you should taste local Dumplings or Mamtu, as known locally. The best Mamtu are made by Raja, which is located near Imran Hotel. He made the best mamtu with a unique taste. This dish is strictly not for you, if you are a vegan, as it has meat as the main ingredient. It is also included in our Gilgit City Day Tour.
Like in a lot of cities, across the globe, We also got our own I Love City sign. This is located just across Gilgit Airport. The sign is beautifully placed and decorated on the main road. They also installed lights, thus the night view of the signboard is just heavenly.
Jinnah Wooden Bridge in Kashrote connects Konodas over River Gilgit. The wooden bridge is famous for unique placement of wooden planks, thus creating a creepy sound when crossing it on the vehicle. This is a must-visit place in the city. Our Gilgit City Day Tour includes crossing this bridge at high speed.
We also organize a day tour across Gilgit city, covering all of these attractions and local food corners. You can book the tour on a day’s notice. Our guides are local celebrities and you would definitely enjoy talking to them. The guides would show you their home town like no one else could do. The tour would cost USD 85. There is no limit on the minimum persons on the tour. For single person, we would offer a bike tour while for a group we would arrange an SUV in this price tag. The tour would take 4-5 hours. Just give us a call or contact us via Whatsapp/Line/Telegram on +923154132296