Kharphocho Fort Kharphocho means “The king of Forts” , is in Skardu city in Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan. It is stands at a height of about 40m above the city on a mountain. The fort is located on the bank of the Indus river.

Near this Fort is the junction point of the Shigar river in the Indus river. This place has its own reputation, showing how the king and the queen used to live with their families.
It is the ancient architecture of Skardu. Most importantly the whole of Skardu city can be seen from the top of Kharphocho.

Historical background:
It was built by the king Ali Sher Khan Anchan in the end of the sixteenth century. General Zorawar Singh of the Dogra Rajput clan working under Maharaja Gulab Singh realized the importance of the fort’s location in the town and so he occupied the fort. It was part of his many military campaigns to annex the areas of Baltistan to the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir. The fort was razed to the ground in 1857 under the guidance of Ranbir Singh. Mughal emperor Aurangzeb also tried to occupy the fort, which went in vain.

First Kashmir War
During the First Kashmir War on 1947, Jammu and Kashmir State Forces were deployed inside the fort under the command of Lt. Col. Sher Jung Thapa. The Gilgit Scouts and rebel troops of the State Forces, under the command of Pakistan Army, laid siege to the fort. On 11 February 1948, the Pakistani forces battled with the Skardu garrison of the fort. After a six-hour-long battle between the two, the attackers retreated.

They came again on 14 February directing “harassing fire into the fort”. The siege lasted more than six months. Finally, having exhausted ammunition and rations, the Kashmir forces left the fort in small batches on 13 August 1948. The fort succumbed on the 14 August. All the remaining men were reportedly killed by the invaders, except for Col. Thapa and his Sikh orderly, who were taken prisoner. Skardu became part of the Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, eventually renamed Gilgit-Baltistan.

Different Dynasties

The history is divided into three periods, Maqpoon period, Mughual Period and Dogra Period. Skardu was ruled by these rulers and left historical imprints on social and political structure. There are three ethnic tribes Balti, Shina and Burushu. The national language of Skardu is Balti.

Architectural work:
The ancient construct has many rooms and a spacious area covered by a wall. Many of the rooms were burned during the war of independence of Gilgit-Baltistan due to artillery fire. Large stones have been used to build the walls. Above all, the use of wooden craftsmanship and artistic skills to build a castle is amazing.

A water channel was built to a point near the fort from the Sadapara lake known as “Gango pi Khrongh”. After the Dogra rulers occupied the region, Persian was declared the official language of Baltistan. There is some text written in Persian and is fixed on one of the walls inside the Fort.

Some review by foreign visitors:
American mountaineers Robert Bates and Charles Houston write that they were “lavishly entertained” as they visited the fort.
Australian mountaineer and film maker Greg Child writes that the fort is “perched above the junction of the rivers” and overlooks the Rock of Skardu.

How to reach Kharphocho Fort?
To reach the top of the fort you need to trek for about an hour from the Qatilgah Main Bazar Skardu City. There is a trekking path of about 30 minutes then after we reach at Kharphocho Fort.
Skardu is famous for climbers Paradise. Skardu is capital city of Baltistan region and comprised of three different ethnicity. Skardu is the center and it connects indus and shigar rivers. The city is gateway of thousand mighty mountains of Karakoram, Himalaya and Hindukush ranges.

 Hotel Near Kharphocho Fort