Skardu is situated at an elevation of nearly 2,500 metres in the Skardu Valley, at the confluence of the Indus and Shigar Rivers. The city is an important gateway to the eight-thousanders of the nearby Karakoram mountain range. The Indus River running through the region separates the Karakoram from the Himalayas. Skardu is also a home of some historical places. Today in this blog we take your eyes towards 3 major Historical Fort.

Here we are listing some of the 3 major Historical Forts that are most visited by the tourist in any Skardu Tour Plan.

1 Kharphocho Fort

Kharphocho means or Skardu Fort, Kharphocho means “The king of Forts” , is in Skardu city in Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan. Fort 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.
Moreover Kharphocho fort is the ancient architecture of Skardu. Most importantly the whole of Skardu city can be seen from the top of Kharphocho.

Construcion and Architectural Work of Kharpocho Fort :

The fort 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.
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. Read More

2 Shigar Fort

Shigar Fort locally known as Fong Khar, which is local baltic language means the palace on rocks. It is an old fort of Baltistan and Pakistan located in the town of Shigar. Hassan Khan the 20th ruler of the Amacha Dynasty built this fort, in the early 17th century. This historical Fort is Located on the legendary route to the world’s second highest mountain K-2 in Shigar valley. Moreover it is located in oasis-like surroundings, irrigated by the waters from the glaciers of Baltistan.
The fort was restore by Aga Khan Cultural Service Pakistan (AKCSP-P), the Pakistan arm of the Aga Khan Historic Cities Programme from 1999 to 2004.

Historical Background of Shigar Fort :

Hassan Khan the 20th ruler of the Amacha Dynasty built this fort, in the early 17th century. In addition the Amacha family have ruled Shigar for thirty-three generations, with origins in the “Hamacha” tribe of Ganish, Hunza. When the Hamacha tribe was massacred in Hunza. A few of its members managed to flee to Shigar across the Hispar glacial pass. Where they gain power and establish as the Amacha Dynasty in the 13th century.
Fong-Khar is the last remaining structure associated with the ruling Amacha family. The oldest of them was Khar-e-Dong. The fort whose ruins can still be seen high up on the cliffs overlooking the present site. In addition it is thought that Khar-e-Dong was captured and destroyed by Mughal forces. Which was sent by Shah Jehan, in aid of Hassan Khan to regain his throne which was lost to marauding invaders. In all probability, the destruction of Khar-e-Dong necessitated the construction of the present Fong-Khar.
Afterward Hassan Khan brought a variety of artisans, goldsmiths, carpenters, stone carvers, and textile weavers from Kashmir to Shigar to build his Fort-Palace. Therefore it resulted in a blend of Kashmiri-influenced carving and details with local Balti architecture. One of the unique features which make Fong-Khar a significant historical and architectural treasure. Read More

3 Khaplu Fort

Khaplu Fort or Khaplu Palace locally known as Yabgo Khar. It is an old fort and palace located in Khaplu, a city in Gilgit−Baltistan, Pakistan. The palace, considered an architectural heritage site and a significant tourist attraction. In addition it was built in the mid-19th century to replace an earlier-dated fort located nearby. It served as a royal residence for the Raja of Khaplu. From 2005 to 2011, Khaplu Palace underwent a restoration project carried out by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture under the Aga Khan Historic Cities Programme.

Historical Background of Khaplu Fort :

Further more Khaplu Palace was built in 1840 by the Yabgo Raja Daulat Ali Khan of Khaplu after the Dogra of Kashmir. Who captured the region decided to move the seat of government from the old fort. The site of the palace was chose by rolling a large stone down from a nearby cliff. It stop at the Doqsai village, and the palace where the palace locate. The earlier fort was located near the location of the present-day palace. Khaplu Palace replaced the former fort as the royal residence after its completion. According to Jane E. Duncan, the people of Khaplu used to live inside this fort. As they were not allowed to build their homes outside its premises. This practice was change after Maharaja of Kashmir took control of the area, resulting in a cessation of conflict among neighbouring rulers.
Therefore the former fort was capture by Murad Khan of Maqpon Dynasty, the ruler of Baltistan, in the Conquest of Khaplu in the 1590s by cutting off the water and other supplies to the fort. The troops of Murad besieged the fort for three months, resulting in the surrender of Rahim Khan, the 62nd Yabgo dynasty ruler of Khaplu. The fort again fell to invaders in the 1660s and 1674.
In addition the Yabgo descendants continue to live there even after their kingdom was destroy in 1972. The last Raja of Khaplu who lived in the house was Raja Fatah Ali Khan, who died in 1983. His son Raja Zakria died in 2020.

Architectural Work of Khaplu Fort :

The palace was constructed with the help of Kashmiri and Balti craftsmen. Being on the border of multiple regions, therefore the structure of the palace has Tibetan, Kashmiri, Ladakhi, Balti, and Central Asian influences.
Furthermore the palace building consists of four floors built with timber, mud bricks, clay, and soil mortar. A carved wooden gate that Yabgo Raja Hatim Khan took from a fort in Skardu. After he conquering most of the Baltistan. The passage beyond the main gate, which formerly housed a stable, leads to the front lawn of the palace. Which was use by the musical band during festivities in the reign of Yabgo Rajas. The wooden ceiling of the palace was make with designs using chisel and paint, without the use of nail. A hall at the top floor that was use as a leisure room overlooks the Karakoram mountain range and the lawns around the palace. Moreover other notable rooms of the palace include the Royal meeting room (Chogoraftal), Royal balcony (Chogojarokh), Princess dressing room (Lainakhang), and Queen room.
Following the renovation of the palace, a section of residential area is use as a hotel. Which operate by Serena Hotels and employing people from 35 local households. Read More

Hotels in Skardu :

If you are planning a trip towards Skardu then we recommend you to Book your Hotel Rooms From where you can find best Hotels at reasonable prices.