The Cold Desert Lake Katopana, also known as the Katopana Desert or Biama Nakpo, is a high-altitude desert in Skardu.
Wonders abound to satisfy any visitor to the world’s coldest desert, the Katopana Desert
When you hear the word ‘desert’, you probably think of vast stretches of sand, scorching heat and little or no rain.
Panoramic view of Skardu Satpala valley and lake
Have you ever heard of a desert with cold temperatures, cold winds, clear blue skies and white grains of sand?
If that sounds like fiction, you’ve probably never heard of Pakistan’s enchanting Katpana Desert.
Nestled among the mighty Karakoram and Himalayas is the Katpana Desert, also known as the “Cold Desert”. The largest areas of the Katpana Desert are located in the Skardu and Shigar valleys of the Gilgit He-Baltistan region of Pakistan. In the local language, this area is also called He Biana Naqpo or Katpana Biana.
Skardu Mantar Rock
At about 7,303 feet (2,226 meters) above sea level, the Katpana Desert is one of the highest, highest and coldest deserts in the world. The desert is endowed with stunning natural beauty because of its white sand dunes. Yes, the sand dunes of the Katpana Desert are white and often covered with snow during the winter months. The strong winds in the region change the position of the dunes frequently, giving the desert an ever-changing and dynamic landscape, making it a fascinating desert with new vistas on every visit.
Desert temperatures can get very cold in the winter, with temperatures dropping to minus 25 degrees Celsius (minus 13 degrees Fahrenheit). Average summer temperatures remain at 08°C (46°F) at night, rising to 27°C (81°F) during the day, although some dunes remain covered in snow in summer. is. Irresistible for snow lovers.
winter snow in katopana desert
The surroundings of the Katpana Desert are another miraculous wonder. The desert is surrounded by huge mountain ranges, beautiful lakes Sadpara and Katura, and vegetation. This natural setting of the world’s highest desert makes it a prized destination for nature lovers. Katopana offers desert serenity with beautiful views of the sun setting over the dunes. If you are lucky, you can also see the Milky Way at night. Local food is organic and popular with tourists.
Skardu is the first destination to reach the Katpana Desert. It is accessible by road and air. The road distance between the capital Islamabad and Skardu is about 600 km. Enjoy a journey of approximately 12 hours as you drive through breathtaking scenery. The air distance between the two points is 292 km and it takes about 1 hour to reach the destination. Pakistan’s national airline, PIA, operates scheduled flights weather permitting. Driving distance from Skardu Airport to Katpana Desert is only 32 minutes.
Not to be missed
Skardu offers attractions for everyone, so there is something for everyone. The region has history, mountains, lakes, waterfalls and delicious local cuisine.
Skardu is the gateway to four 8,000-meter peaks, attracting climbers and trekkers from all over the world. These are his K2, Broad He Peak, Gasherbrum and Nanga Parbat, his second highest mountains in the world.
History students will find the iconic Cigar Fort and Mantar Buddha Rock. Shigarh Fort is located about 44 km from Skardu and is built on a rock. It served as the palace of the Rajah of Sigar some 400 years ago. Recently, it has been transformed into his 20-room guest house for tourists with a hall and a museum representing Balti culture.
The Mantar Buddha Rock is a large granite rock carved with a Buddha dating back to the 8th century. Located 3 km from Sadpara road in Manthal village of Skardu.
For nature lovers, aside from the wonders of Katpana is Lake Sadpara. Located at an altitude of 2,600 meters, it is a beautiful, calm natural body of water that stretches for 2.5 kilometers. Located about 9 km north of Skardu, the lake is another popular tourist attraction.
The Gilgit-Baltistan region is known for its delicious fresh and dried fruits. Apricots, apples, almonds, pears, cherries and walnuts are produced in this valley. People in this area are kind, helpful, and kind.
Pakistan continues to be a travel enthusiast’s dream with its diverse natural attractions, cradle of ancient civilizations, climbers’ paradise, and regions brimming with diverse religions and cultures. The British Backpackers’ Association (BBS) has declared Pakistan as her 3rd best adventure destination in the world for 2020. The year before, the BBS declared: nations of the earth”. Pakistan was ranked #1 on Condé Nast Traveler magazine’s list of 20 Best Holiday Destinations for 2020. Forbes ranked Pakistan one of the “10 coolest places to go in 2019”. The World Economic Forum has ranked Pakistan in the top 25% of UNESCO World Heritage destinations. Skardu offers a glimpse of just about everything from nature to culture to history. You will definitely find yourself abode of pristine beauty in this stunningly gorgeous part of the globe.
— Shazia Siraj is the Press Advisor to the Consulate General of Pakistan in Dubai.