The remarkable Shighar Fort is located in Shigar Town of Gilgit-Baltistan at a good distance of 13 miles from Skardu City. The Fort is a beautiful landmark of architecture with chaotic heritage, historic and cultural values.
The meaning of its name and History
The Shigar Fort in Balti language means ‘the Fort on Rock’. It was built in the 17th-century by the Raja of the ‘Amacha Dynasty’ of Shigar. Due to its existence on rocks at a height of 5m from the ground, and surrounded by the gigantic cone-shaped rocks, this is also called ‘Fong-Khar’
More about its Structure
The complex at Shigar comprises the 400-year-old Fort/Palace has two more recent buildings, under the names of the “Old House” and the “Garden House”. Since its creation and after the demise of the Rajas who belonged there, this monument also was restored by the Aga Khan Cultural Service Pakistan (AKCSP-P) and make it vulnerable for public visits, tourists’ stay, and locals trademark. So the fort was transformed into a 13-room heritage guesthouse, with the grand audience hall serving as a museum of Balti-culture and featuring the delicately refined wood-carved objects. After the tremendous transformation, the fort has turned into a hotel as ‘Serena Shigar hotels/Fort’. The incredible part is that the furniture of rooms that include beds, tables, chairs, and roof ceilings are carved out of the original wood of the fort and transformed into a modern and comfortable utility of today.
The GARDEN HOUSE TRANSFORMATION
The “Garden-House” has been converted into a guesthouse with 7 modern rooms, each including television and viewpoints of the Amacha Garden.
THE OLD-HOUSE RECONSTRUCTION
The “Old House” features the reception, a guest lounge, terraces, and restaurant areas. There is easy access to the orchards and garden areas, which offer spectacular views and numerous areas for relaxation and leisure activities.
Best Time to visit the Shigar fort
The heavily visited months of Shigar Fort are from April to May end in floral spring season and autumn is in full swing from August to the end of November. And if you are a frost and ice-lover, then the frrezing months from Decemeber to February are best for you. But due to the influx of the locals, and Pakistanis on the north side, it is preferable for tourists to visit from April to Novemeber. The weather is very pleasant, roads are clear, and the Skardu gets in the mode of full flora during this time.
Accommodations in the Shigar Fort
The prices vary from economical and standard rooms to high-class luxurious suits. However, the price is different from standard rooms to Deluxe rooms and Heritage Royal suits. The rooms are airy, spacious, and very comfortable. The services are commendable to take your stay to next level of excitement and satisfaction.
Amidst a historic stone and wood design, Fong Khar Restaurant invites conversation among guests while savoring an innovative menu of Pakistani, Balti, Chinese, and Continental specialties. The garden area has plenty of apricots trees, ready to be plucked directly and enjoyed under the mesmerizing sun rays. The speciality of the fort is ‘ Khumani’ , (apricot) and the juiciest variety of apples ! The tea area is set in pure Turkish style while the private dinner areas are innovated in such a way that beautiful views of the Shigar stream and surrounding village are viewable, turning your events into special memories.
Surprisingly, the fort is designed in such a way that it gives a proper edge and space to the officials that want to book in for entertainment as well. For business travelers’ convenience, meeting and banquet facilities, a business center and a fax machine and a photocopier are available. And awesome is that the property offers a free airport shuttle service.
How can you get here?
For domestic travelers, the option is Pakistan’s own International Airlines (PIA) that operates, from Islamabad to Skardu on daily bases. Weekly flights are also booked nowadays from the cities of Lahore, Sialkot and Karachi. So in case, you don’t find any direct flight, you may ask for a connecting one from these top-notch and sound cities of Pakistan. A spectacular one-hour flight treats passengers to dramatic views of the Karakoram, Himalayan, and Hindu-kush mountain ranges, with views of five 8000+ meter peaks, including the famous K-2 and Nanga Parbat peaks. The beautiful Shigar is located 45 minutes by road from Skardu airport. Those visitors arriving by helicopter are met at the Shigar helipad and escorted to the residence.
More Fun at the Shigar Fort!
Other activities, awaiting you in the fort, are
- Trekking to k-2 base camp;
- a short hike to the “organic” village of Nangasoq on a rowboat;
- and lush green polo grounds are arranged as per your requirements.
Don’t you worry about the transport, the place has got you covered, small cars, bikes, wagons, and buses are spotted and booked for a whole day to reach these points.
All this could not have achieved if Shigar was not kept clean, as this is the motto of the government of Pakistan and the authorities are making hefty efforts in preserving the beauty of a place by highlighting the need of keeping the area clean for healthy stays. No litter! No waste!