I t’s natural how when you think of deserts, the first thing that pops into your mind is that scorching heat and the dry air hitting your face. Doesn’t sound so much fun does it? That might be true but then there isn’t only one kind of desert out there. Ever heard of a cold desert? And interestingly, there is a beautiful one right in the heart of Pakistan. A marvel which is all set to be explored. Blue skies, strong winds, and white granules…Katpana Desert” in Skardu is what adventurers seek and it is something you can plan to head out for. Not convinced yet? Well keep on reading and Social Diary is going to give you a peek into the endless surprises as to why this is the ultimate place you need to get off your checklist :
So to start off, let me just come off and say how Katpana Desert is the world’s highest desert in Skardu, Gilgit Baltistan. The high sand dunes of Katpana have given it the name of the cold desert. Yes it is quite literally cold in there. As you move from West Pakistan to North the topography is very pleasing with the colors of the lush plantation, giant mountains, rocky plains, flowing, curvy streams, waterfalls, cloudy skies, and picturesque landscapes. This all adds into making this place so incredibly interesting and happening. Yes this combination is rare but it can happen at a desert on the top of mountains.
The North of Pakistan is actually full of so many endless surprises but the Katpana desert has stunned visitors for years with its high altitude and strong winds hitting the dunes hard. The granules of sand in Katpana desert are white, not yellow which has marked this desert as a wonder on earth. This is why you would call it a wonder of white even. When the sun shines on these granules, it almost looks like you are surrounded by lush pearls. People who see this desert once are mesmerized by its beauty and wish to see it again and again. The Katpana desert is spread widely from Khaplu depression to Nubra, Ladakh, Shikar, Skardu, and Zanskar in occupied Kashmir. Its biggest region is located in Skardu and Shigar also known as Biana Naqpo and katpana Biana according to locals. This makes it relatively easy for you to reach and explore. There are actually a lot of travel groups that can take you to these amazing, breathtaking locations. You just need to check out what best groups are out there and what itineraries suit according to your plan and agenda.
An interesting thing to know is how the sand dunes keep on shifting due to strong winds. You should know how this place has a very strong and strange fascination of people due to unique weather and high altitude. It is a mysterious place at an elevation of 303 meters which is surrounded by blackish grey rocky mountains, suburbs and bushes. The whole scene just dawns up on you – it is very strange yet at the same time, it is miraculous to see. It is definitely something that will give you goosebumps to see revitalizing and dry creations at the same place. It will seem no more than a dream if you haven’t visited this place before. Just like this unique desert, its weather is also very unique. This stunning cold desert has mesmerizingly cold nights and sandy views, making it one of the best, coldest deserts. It also has lush plantations and vegetation and interestingly temperature which is on the average of 8 degree Celsius to 26 degree Celsius in October which falls to -10 degree Celsius in December to January. Its temperature can sometimes decrease to extreme low as -25 degree Celsius making it colder than any hill station. You need to work out the time frame on when you plan to visit, so that you don’t freeze out! So how to reach there: well there are two ways to reach Skardu. You can go by road or even by air. And if you wish to take in all the sights, you can also plan to go by road.
It will take two days to reach Skardu but these two days are going to be memorable for your whole life. The tracks are very beautiful and comfortable to go on. So it is best that you witness the hidden details of this marvel and be able to soak in all that you can marvel into during the summers rather than winters. Know this- this beautiful, breathtaking cold desert is a wonder even international wanderlust comes craving for!