Craftsman's Desk

All the happenings, stories and snippets from the vibrant world of Serena Hotels Pakistan

Cultural Travel Series | Serena Khaplu Palace (2)

Our featured blogger Nageen Hyat continues her journey through the beautiful town of Khaplu here…

Baltistan… Experiencing our Rich and Diverse Heritage

DAY 2 – That morning, I was given an extended tour of the Serena Khaplu Palace and its complex of ancillary buildings…the major one being converted into a Museum. Let me share some details…The primordial core building appears to have followed the archetypal configuration that informs the great monastic architecture of the Himalayas. (Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan, Baltistan) This is found in numerous palaces and this pre-existing core was used as the site of the new Palace in 1840, and is now integrated into the multiple layering of the expansion of the Palace.

ImageMost of the building material used is said to be salvaged from Thoqsi Khar, the old fort on the mountain south of the present site. Beams and decorative friezes with pre-Islamic animist and central Asia decorative symbology proliferates with later period ornate Persianate idiom of the Kashmiri Mughal court; a testimony to using carved wooden elements from older buildings as a time honored tradition. Additionally, certain vibrant cultural forms that are common to a vast region along the Indus River are also used profusely in the Palace building. My reference here is to the panjara work, to be found all the way from Tibet to Lower Sindh….yet it houses a rugged, simple way of life.

ImageDAY 3 – Visited the 14th century Chaqchan Mosque…

Image…UNESCO’s award winning tomb of the saint” Astana Mir Muhammad”. Khaplu Khanqah. Womens vocational Center. Royal Suites.

ImageLoved the Balti local cuisine…fields of wild flowers….shy, hospitable people…this is a place to return to…again and again!

Khaplu 2 007

Khaplu 2 008Enjoying my morning at Khaplu as time closes in to depart. Feeling enriched…leaving a part of myself in this serene and lovely place.

ImageImagePleased that we linked up with various community centers, home based workers and discussed the aspect of training some enterprising women in Islamabad to improve their designs, marketing of their crafts through exhibitions. The winter season is dead here, they need buyers to sustain their families so links outside of the region are crucial particularly at this point with fewer tourists.

We then drove to our next destination ‘Shigar’ before stopping over at the Bara wool spinning and weaving Center…


Keep following us for more posts in this Cultural Travel Series!

One comment on “Cultural Travel Series | Serena Khaplu Palace (2)

  1. Tahira Piracha
    July 26, 2013

    Thanks for sharing this beautiful album and description of this serene and tranquil place of our country. Makes me want to visit and see for myself. Please keep more information coming.


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