Shaksgam: This valley in India is not open to Indians!
Travel and Leisure  

A beautiful country that transforms itself in every few miles - India has got everything that you wish to see - mountains, deserts, canyons, beaches, marshes, mangroves and rainforests. However, there are some spectacular places in India which are off the limits for the citizens. One such place is Shaksgam. You might have heard its name for the first time, but when you look at the map of India, it has always been there.


Where is Shaksgam?
Shaksgam Valley lies to the north-west of Siachen glacier, north of Baltistan, east of Gilgit and south of Chinese province of Xinjiang. Towards its south is the Karakoram range and to the north is Kun Lun mountain range, and as such Shaksgam is surrounded by some of the highest mountains in the world. The harsh terrain of the region has preserved Shaksgam's beauty from easy encroachment. However, though India officially recognises it to be a part of the Indian territory, the region is being administered by China since 1963 until which Pakistan claimed it to be a part of Kashmir.
While there is a lot ongoing with regards to the political scenario at this juncture where international boundaries of India, Pakistan, China, Afghanistan and Tajikistan find a convergence, let's gasp at the beauty that we hope will find a liberation from people fighting for land.

Pakistan’s Karakoram mountains: that time where we struggled to reach the #Shaksgam river on the border with China, 10 years ago. I saw the river. I was chasing an old dream: entering the realm of “Blank on the map”, one of my all time favorite book, from Eric #Shipton. “ As I studied the maps, one thing about them captured my imagination... Across this blank space was written one challenging word, “Unexplored” " That was in 1937. The blanks have been filled since then, but the feeling of rawness and remoteness are all the same. My friend Bruno and I ended up on top of a 6000m unclimbed peak. I tore a muscle coming down and finished that trek on my behind. Not very glorious; the 3 weeks on instant noodles didn't help my body. #Karakoram #Pakistan #trekking #exploration #mediumformat - Share your images and experiences using #NatGeoInspires for a chance to be featured in the @natgeomuseum and more. This is part of the lead up to the Instagram @natgeobook coming out Tuesday, featuring some of my images. See link in my profile. #paleyprints

A post shared by Matthieu Paley (@paleyphoto) on


It was a really good experience. #Shaksgam Valley - 2010 north face Gasherbrum Expe attempt. Still unclimbed!

A post shared by Hervé Barmasse (@hervebarmasse) on

If only this paradise was open for tourism, Shaksgam would have beaten Switzerland and Iceland as the most favoured exotic travel destination. The world is a beautiful place, and sometimes this beauty becomes the reason for conflict among admirers. Shaksgam is that enchantress who has been veiled.







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Thought of the day

Mistakes are very painful, but after a time later a collection of mistakes become an experience and this leads to success.