Deosai Plains

by - August 22, 2014

Deosai Plains are one of the most well-known tourist destinations up north. The plains are in fact, a plateau and the entire area is known as the Deosai National Park. The park is at an average elevation of 13,500 feet above sea level, making it the second highest plateau in the world, after the Tibetan Plateau.

Deosai is the combination of two words ‘Deo’ (giant) and ‘Sai’ (shadow). For centuries, it is believed that this place is haunted by giants, thus the name ‘The Land of the Giants’ came into being. 

One of the most astounding things of these plains is that it is completely silent and almost cut off from civilization, which is a rarity in populated Pakistan. This area remained unhabitable and remote for a long while, likely due to the temperamental weather and the abundance of wildlife.  

The best time to visit is in the summer or early fall, because between November and May - Deosai is snow-bound and hence, closed for you and me.

There are a number of organized tours that go to Deosai nowadays. Back when I went. which is when I was a wee little girl, that was not the case and Deosai was a tad bit difficult to reach. Fortunately, that is not the case anymore.

In the summer months, it is accessible from Skardu in the north and the Astore Valley in the west. If coming from Skardu, a road from Skardu Bazaar turns to the Sadpara village. If you continue onwards, you'll make your way to the plains.

Legend has it that when Herodotus was reporting the story of 'Gold-digging ants', it was in fact based on the golden Himalayan Marmot, which are small squirrel like creatures, and the habit of local tribes such as Minaro to collect the gold dust excavated from their burrows. No one knows if there is any truth to this.

There is a lot to see here and nearby. The Sheosar Lake is in the park and offers a panoramic view of Deosai Plains with the mountains as a backdrop! Sheosar in local language means ‘andhi’ (blind). This lake is one of the highest lakes in the world, and with deep blue water.

You'll get to see very unique flora and fauna, including the golden marmots. The Himalayan brown bear also lives in these plains. Other animals that call the Deosai Plains their home include the Siberian ibex, Snow Leopard, Kashmir Musk Deer, Himalayan wolf, and many migratory birds. 

There are also lots of flowers, so the plains are not as plain as they may sound.  The locals are friendly and kind so definitely say hi!  

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