Introducing Gilgit Region
This section begins in the southernmost unit of the NA, Diamir district. It’s best known for the 8125m massif of Nanga Parbat, the eighth-highest mountain in the world (Diamir is its local name). It also includes the remote Astor Valley, running along the east side of Nanga Parbat to the Indus, and 100km of the Indus Valley from there to the NWFP line, taking in some of Pakistan’s harshest terrain and most ungovernable peoples.
Gilgit Town is the administrative headquarters for the NA and a major hub of the KKH. This bustling town offers information, transport, friendly hotels and good restaurants. The town is an interesting melting pot of northern peoples, and there are historical spots and good walks within day-trip distance.
Surrounding Gilgit are some beautiful valleys: Haramosh on the Indus, Bagrot just downriver, Naltar to the north, and the upper Gilgit River system – comprising Punial and the tributaries of Ishkoman, Yasin and Ghizar, the last stretching west to the Shandur Pass into Chitral. The lower reaches of these valleys are austere and brown, though poplars and orchards brighten them in spring and autumn. But the higher you go the better it looks; many glacier-fed nalas (Urdu for tributary canyons) above 2000m harbour pine and juniper forests and luxuriant meadows.