In this journey of 'Dreamland Skardu', I am going to visit Kaplu City and its historical and beautiful places.
Let me tell you distance, duration and transport from Skardu to Khaplu.
Total distance from Skardu to Khaplu is 115 kilometers and it takes around 3 and half hours.
You can find both local and private vehicles here.
Local transport charges PKR 200 to 220 per person but it takes 4 hours to reach Khaplu.
Private car can be booked from PKR 4000 to 5000.
Let's go to Khaplu.
Last night I stopped at Shigar that's why my journey will start from Shigar and Khaplu is 110 kilo meters away from Shigar which is almost equal from Skardu.
There is an Army check post right after Humayun Bridge You have to document your entry here.
Therefore one of the family members or friends must have identity card.
This is the one and only, the famous point Ghwari.
The formation of these popular trees is very famous.
The ideal weather to visit this place is September.
In September, the Popular trees behind me turn yellow as you can see the pictures.
Photographers come here especially in September and October.
Imagine that if you turn these trees to yellow with blue sky, an amazing colorful bonanza will appear.
I was eager to come here, will try to come in September.
but we are in Khaplu and it is green because of July.
Besides, they all turn white in Winter.
I will take you to Khaplu Palace, historical Chaqchan Mosque and amazingly beautiful Saling Valley.
Khaplu is 50 kilo meters away from Ghwari, we will explore it and come back same day.
It is better to spend night there but as per our plan we have to go to Skardu city and Sadpara Lake which is adjacent to city that is why we decided to come back to Skardu at night so that our next day plan gets easy.
We will cross Khaplu and reach Saling.
It is a very beautiful place with wide open view.
If your Google Map is not working, they have given a detailed map here as you can see that we are standing here at the moment and now we have to go to Saling.
I think Saling will give us a view of Haldi Cones as well.
The experience of crossing Saling Bridge is very thrilling and exciting as you are watching.
This bridge is on Shyong river which falls into Indus river.
The bridge starts shaking in strong wind so the traffic is stopped.
Water flow in the river is fast that's why the risk of traffic on the bridge is not taken and you have to wait for the wind to stop.
As the bridge is quite long and it swells in the middle.
A driver can't see traffic coming from the opposite side.
A man in the center of the bridge helps and ensure that one vehicle passes at a time.
Tourists from all over Pakistan and from all over the world come to Skardu but where do the residents of Skardu go for a picnic? It's answer is 'Sailing.
' I will go to Saling first which is 18km away from Khaplu.
As soon as we crossed Saling bridge, I suspected that these are the same trees, only some Popular trees are new here.
See how straight this road is, and these trees will turn red and purple in September and October.
We have reached Saling Point and it is water of a spring which is only 4 to 5 feet deep.
Locals are larger number than the tourists.
I have not seen any tourist except me.
All I think locals avoid places with more tourists.
The mountains of Haldi, not turmeric, it is the name of an area, Haldi Cones are also visible.
Families have brought food and are enjoying picnic.
The condition of road after Saling bridge is bad and you have to drive real slow for at least 35 to 40 minutes.
It brings you to this dead end but the road is going ahead into the resident area of Saling, we will stay here.
You cannot call it a lake, it is water of river which has spread in a plain.
It is maximum 4 to 5 feet deep.
You can see many people are taking bath in it.
This road leads to the village, if you come here you can have top view of this place.
Saling has only one hotel but offers all food varieties.
Besides Desi, here you can enjoy Balti food like Mamto.
If you order for trout, there is a pond of trouts inside this hotel, they will catch and cook it in front of you.
This hotel is matchless in its beauty.
There are separate lodges for the visiting families.
Saling lived upto my expectations.
I don't feeling like going back but I have yet to visit Khaplu Palace and Chaqchan Mosque.
There is an entry fee of PKR 300 for Khaplu Palace.
There is no parking and if you are on your own vehicle you might have to face trouble.
Good news is that there is a hotel inside Khaplu Palce and the bad news is it is very expensive.
I have seen red apples, so far all apples were small.
Finally we're 4km ahead of Khaplu city in Khaplu Palace.
It was a pleasant journey and the road was comparatively better, I also drove the car.
We have to search Chaqchan Mosque because our driver has no idea where it is so we will ask locals.
It attracts me a lot and I will definitely visit it.
A lot of tourists have come here and I told you that the color of the apples is red, I will see if I can get one.
I have ordered a traditional dish like 'Balti Gosht.
' It's name is difficult, I will tell you after reading it again.
Besides, I have also ordered apricot moose.
Both these dishes are their traditional dishes.
You can call it my breakfast and lunch as well.
I think there are almonds and walnuts in its gravy.
And there are local herbs in it with mutton.
Tandoori Roti is a fine find.
Khaplu is the largest and capital city of Ghanche region.
You can find all necessities of life in this city.
Hotel room for PKR 2000 to 25000 can be found here.
A PTDC Motel is also available here but you know that you have to book it in advance.
All kinds of transport is also available.
Zong and Telenor networks also work in this city.
My last destination of the day is Chaqchan Mosque.
We have reached Chaqchan Mosque with the help of the locals.
We are outside, let's go inside.
We will go its hall, the corridors are very beautiful.
It seems to be an ancient mask, we will try to find someone and ask about its history.
There are colorful prayer rugs in place of carpet.
Mashallah! I have seen such a mosque for first time in my life.
Chachqan Mosque was built 650 years ago in 1370 AD Sub-Continent was ruled by Tughlaq Dynasty in this era.
In this magnificent mosque, 500 worshipers can offer prayers at a time.
This style of architecture spreads over to Laddakh and Tibet.
Locals residents told me in Balti, Chaq means 'wood' and Chan means 'piece.
' This mosque has been built with small wooden pieces of attractive colors.
The design of the mosque has deep marks of Tibetan and Persian architecture.
It has reached upto Laddakh and Tibet.
I am sitting in Chaqchan Mosque which is not a very famous or big tourist point as nobody is present here.
Even my guide did not know that where this mosque is.
I had done a little research.
It is made of wood and its view is very beautiful.
It has colorful wooden carving, prayer rugs and carpet.
If you look outside, you find mountains and cones.
The sound of the water spring is mesmerizing, it is better to have a brief nap here.