Ghanche District (Balti: Gangchay) is the easternmost district of Gilgit–Baltistan, Pakistan. To its northeast is Xinjiang (China), to the north and northwest is Skardu District, to its west is Astore District and to its south is Ladakh of Indian administered Jammu and Kashmir.

The Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL) at the easternmost part of Ghanche District is located across the Saltoro Ridge. Territory east of the AGPL is currently controlled by India including the entire Siachen Glacier. It has been proposed by moderates in Pakistan and India to make the Siachen Glacier region a Peace Park. Pakistan controls west of Saltoro Ridge.

 

The capital of Ghanche District is Khaplu. This region is the coldest place within Pakistan also called the "Third Pole" with temperatures reaching below -20 °C in the winter. Khaplu Valley and Hushe Valley form the gateway for the great Baltoro Muztagh, the subrange of Karakoram that includes the mighty peaks of K2 (8,611 m), Broad Peak (8,047 m), Gasherbrums (8,000+ m) and Masherbrum (7,821 m) (all of which are included in the Skardu District).

Etymology

The word Gangchay is Balti and means "glacier". It is locally used by natives of the Khaplu Valley for Shyok river which flows the length of Khaplu town. When the Pakistani government gave it the grade of district, people of the valley selected the name of "Ghanche" willingly.

Religion

All the people living in Ghanche are Muslims and mostly people belong to Nurbakhshi (90%) branch of Islam whereas there are Shia Ithna-ashri and others (10%) Muslims as well. The scholar is religious leader called ‘Bowa’ in local language and has very important place in society.

Culture

Gilgit-Baltistan is home of diversified cultures, ethnic groups, languages and backgrounds. It is home to people belonging to all regions of Gilgit-Baltistan as well as other areas of Pakistan. Major Cultural events include:

  • Shandoor Polo Festival
  • Babusar Polo Festival
  • Jashn-e-Baharan / Harvest Time Festival (Navroz)

Following are the dances of Gilgit-Baltistan:

  • Old Man Dance: In this dance more than one person wears old-style dresses.
  • Cow Boy Dance (Payaloo): In this dance a person wears old style dress, long leather shoes and a stick in hand.
  • Sword Dance: In this unique dance the participants show taking one sword in right and shield in left. One to six participants as pair can dance.

 

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