Naltar Valley is famous for its magnificent beauty and superbly awesome lakes. People believe it to be true heaven on earth. It is one of the most visited valleys by travelers who travel across the Silk Road, the Karakorum Highway, and the CEPC. Another thing that makes Naltar valley stand out from the rest is the naturally rich woody region and the splendid mountain views. The 5 lakes of the Naltar Valley are also world-famous. Naltar Valley is well known worldwide for its Ski competitions that are held at the Naltar Ski Resort.
Geographic location, culture, and ethnicity of the valley:
Naltar is a valley that is situated almost 21 miles (34 kilometers) from the famous city of Gilgit. The tourists who plan to visit the Naltar Valley, have to leave behind the Karakoram Highway in the Gilgit region for an adventurous two-hour jeep ride to the Naltar Valley.
Naltar Valley consists of two villages Naltar Bala (Upper Naltar) and Naltar Payan (Lower Naltar). Naltar Paain is 34-kilometers, whereas, Naltar Bala is at a distance of 40-kilometers from Gilgit. Nomal and Faizabad connect the Naltar Expressway with Gilgit city. A small town between Gilgit and Naltar Valley is called Nomal. A road goes from Nomal to “The Silk Route” and to China. The literacy rate of the Naltar Valley is 94% as compared to the overall literacy rate of Pakistan which is 45%. The primary school enrollment in Naltar Valley is 89% for girls and 100% for boys. Two ethnic groups here speak two major languages Gujjri and Shina.
Naltar Hydropower Plants:
Naltar also has an 18MW hydropower plant called Naltar Hydropower Plant-IV, which was made operational in 2007. Three small hydel power generating plants named Naltar I, Naltar II, and Naltar IV are currently fulfilling the power needs of the Gilgit area. Two more hydropower projects Naltar-III and Naltar-V were under construction a few years back.
Naltar wildlife sanctuary:
Another thing to look out for, in the Naltar Valley, is the Naltar Wildlife Sanctuary which was established on 22 November 1975. The sanctuary is completely covered in forests. This sanctuary supports the comfortable growth of mixed montane broadleaf, coniferous like Picea, and Juniperus. Other famous trees of this area include Fraxinus, Salix, Populus, Oleas, Sagretia, Betula, and the ceratoid. Besides the trees, a few numbers of Astor Markhor, Alpine Ibex, snow leopard, brown bear, grey wolf, beech martin, red fox, and leopard cat also live in this wild reserve at the sanctuary. Nearly 35 species of birds, including Brook’s leaf warbler, are also present at this sanctuary.
The Satrangi Lakes or 5-lakes of the Naltar Valley:
One of the most famous attractions of the Naltar Valley is its 5 lakes. These lakes are collectively known as the Satrangi Lakes. Halima Lake, Bodo Lake, Dhudia Lake, Pari lake, and Blue lake are situated at a distance of 13 kilometers from the Naltar Bala. There is bad news for those tourists who intend to visit these lakes using the roads from the village in the winter season, it is impossible to reach the lake using any vehicle due to the snow falling on the roads.
Halima Garden and the guest houses:
Some of the major tourist attractions of this Valley are flora, fauna, and natural scenery. “Halima Garden” is a natural green garden that is also very famous. Besides the rest houses built by the government, FCNA, GB Scouts, and PAF, there are several other private guesthouses to facilitate the customers, visitors, and tourists coming to the valley.
Naltar Ski Resort:
One of the major tourist attractions of this valley is the Ski Competition that is held at the Naltar Ski Resort. Although the one-hour journey from Gilgit to Naltar is kind of impossible, still, ski enthusiasts from around the globe travel there using a 4-wheel jeep. A 1.5-kilometer long chairlift was also constructed for the public here back in 2015.