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Shingar valley

About half an hour drive out of Skardu, you take a left turn and cross the bridge over the wide basin of the Indus River to enter the Shigar Valley.

As soon as you cross the bridge, you find yourself in the world’s highest cold desert. Locally known as the Katpana or Sarfranga Desert, it continues on both sides of the Indus and into Ladakh on the other side of border.

After passing through a few gorges, you enter the lush green oasis of Shigar, an ancient principality on the banks of the Braldu River, which comes straight from Braldu glacier at the base of the 8,611 metre-high K2, the second highest mountain in the world.