Scenic Deosai National Park Guide 2022

Deosai National Park

Deosai National ParkDeosai National Park is located in the Great Himalayan Range, Northern Areas, Pakistan. The Deosai plateau is conveniently placed between the western massif of the Himalayas and the central Karakoram.

Deosai Plain Height/altitude

Deosai Plains are situated at an average elevation of 4,114 metres (13,497 ft) above sea level and considered as the second highest plateaus in the world.

It is a high-altitude plain with the word ‘Deosai’ literally translating into ‘The Land of Giants’. it is in UNESCO heritage tentative list.

Deosai geography

The park is spread over approximately 3,000 square kilometres, encompassing a mix of hills, mountains, plains, plateaus, streams, rivers, and lakes.

Bound by Astore Valley in the west, Gultari and Kharmang Valleys in the southeast, and Skardu Valley in the north, Deosai is only reachable via 4×4 jeeps.

The park is not only about wildlife but also about stunning scenic views of the snow-clad mountains and streams. The natural beauty and impressive grandeur of the Deosai plains have made it world famous.

As the natural habitat of the Himalayan Brown Bear, Deosai National Park was established in 1993 with the aim to protect the endangered species nestled here from poachers and hunters. Spread over an area of 3,000 square kilometres, at an altitude of 13,500 feet above sea level, the plains are home to unique species of plant and animal life, of which the Himalayan Brown Bears are the most famous.

In the words of Aleister Crowley, “In front of us lay the Deosai, an absolutely treeless wilderness of comparatively level country framed by minor peaks. It gives a unique impression of desolation.

To the south of and visible from both the Burji and Satpara approaching areas is a 700-foot hill, on top of which is a 500 foot-high-rock cairn. This unnamed hilltop in the northern deosai region produces a clear panorama of the Himalayan Kangri Range and sections of the Karakoram. As you ascend its gentle, grass covered slopes, Nanga Parbat will come into view far to the west of you.

In ‘Gypsy Davy’s’ words, “It was such an expanse of immensity as I have hardly imagined…It seems you cannot talk in a matter-of-fact way in a place like that…I thought the Sierras were large, but here, where we could see three or four score miles north, south, east and west, and see only mountains, and most of them above twenty thousand feet, the Sierras seem like sand dunes”.The park remains wrapped in the white sheet of snow from November to May and it is only in the summer months one gets an opportunity to visit the park.

It is home to unique high altitude flora and fauna, including the Himalayan Brown Bears. Deosai is thought to have created a special habitat where this endemic species has evolved over time. Most of the plateau is a common grazing ground for the rural communities that live around it. There are sixteen villages that are settled on the periphery of Deosai.

It is accessible to them only for a few months every year during the brief spring and summer. During the cold season, it stands aloof and forlorn, a vast and magnificent wilderness, one of the few that have remained in Pakistan. The park can be reached from Astore Valley in the west and Skardu in the north.

Deosai Wildlife: 

Deosai Plains make up one of the last frontiers of natural habitat for the Himalayan brown bear, a creature that once roamed the mountains freely. The park currently has in between 20-28 Brown bears. This park was established to protect these endangered bears. Recently a research project has started by Himalayan Wildlife Foundation (HWF) and the Northern Areas Forests, Parks, and Wildlife Department to secure the survival of the brown bear in the Deosai Plains and to monitor their population. The Deosai Plains are also home to the ibex, red fox, golden marmot, wolf, the Ladakh urial, the snow leopard, and a number of resident and migratory birds.

Mammals: Mammals in the park include–Brown bear , Snow leopard , Himalayan Musk deer  Golden marmot , Pika , Migratory hamster  and Ermine.

Deosai Weather

The weather in Deosai is unpredictable, to say the least. While the place is accessible only during summer, sometimes travelers will experience snow in the middle of summer too. One moment you would be enjoying the majestic views of sunlight and clouds playing hide and seek in the sky. The next moment the sky could be overcast, starting icy winds and thunderstorms.

Besides the weather and the place’s majestic splendor, Deosai is also known for its deafening silence. Many have tried to describe it, but it is something one has to experience to truly understand. If you hear slow drumming while here, there is a high chance that it is just the sound of you heartbeat.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit the area is during June and July but the tourist season is open until October. The park then becomes snow-bound for around half the year, between November to May.

How to Reach Deosai

  1. From Skardu

If you want to visit Deosai National Park, the shortest route is from Skardu city, which is approximately 30 kilometres away. An hour’s drive from there will take you all the way to the top of the plains.

      2. From Astore Valley

Another route that is often used is via Chilam in Astore Valley. A few other routes also lead to the park but are mostly used by locals and are not advised for tourists unless they are well versed with the local geography and routes.

TOP THINGS TO DO

Deosai is known for its unique flora and fauna. While wildflowers cover its plains in the spring with butterflies fluttering about, the region gets hidden under a thick blanket of snow in winter. When the weather is favorable, here are some of the top things to do in Deosai :

  • Stargazing
  • Visit Sheosar Lake
  • Cross the bridge at Bara Pani
  • Fish for trout
  • Trek on well-trodden trails
  • Interact with the local wildlife

STARGAZING

If you plan on setting up camp after reaching Deosai National Park, head towards Bara Pani or Sheosar Lake, both of which offer lush green surroundings that are ideal for a camping trip. The night sky here is clear, making stargazing a sheer pleasure, especially if you’ve travelled from one of the more populated cities of Pakistan.

VISIT SHEOSAR LAKE

Several water bodies dot the park throughout, but the largest among them is Sheosar Lake. It is not only the largest lake in the park but also one of the highest lakes in the world at nearly 13,600 feet. The lake is located amidst a field of wildflowers, and you can discover a backdrop of the Nanga Parbat behind it on a clear day.

Cross the bridge at Bara Pani

Deosai is home to several water bodies and Bara Pani, and Kaala Pani are two streams that you must cross to reach the lake. While Kaala Pani is fairly shallow and passable in a jeep, Bara Pani is crossed with the help of a wooden bridge. However, the challenge here is that the bridge can only bear a certain amount of weight, so the jeep must cross over the bridge without any passengers on-board. Thus, you must traverse the swaying wooden bridge on foot, moving to the melody of the raging river below.

Angling

The region is home to several species of trout, with snow trout being particularly common. You can generally acquire a license from the park authorities for a fee if you are interested in trout fishing. The best location for fishing is Bara Pani.

Trekking

A number of trails lead into and out of Deosai, and if you have a local guiding the way, you can explore the region on foot. It is advised that you avoid trekking in the area alone because there are no marked trails and some parts of the park have restricted access to protect the wildlife.

Wildlife

Deosai is home to several local species, including the Himalayan Brown Bear. The local wildlife includes the Himalayan ibex, grey wolf, red fox, snow leopard, Ladakh urial, and golden marmot. The park is also home to about 125 species of birds including the golden eagle, peregrine falcon, griffon vulture, Eurasian sparrowhawk, as well as a variety of snowcocks, kestrels, and pheasants. While it is advised that you keep a safe distance from the wildlife you might encounter on your travels to Deosai, the picturesque landscape with its native residents makes it a scenic memory to capture on film.

 what to wear

It is important to note that the elevation results in cold weather throughout the year and you might also find snowy spots within the park in the midst of the summer season. Thus, you should dress warmly and carry plenty of food and water with you if you plan on staying overnight, as the closest village is at least an hour’s drive away.

Another important thing to keep in mind when you visit Deosai is to leave the area just as you found it, acting like a responsible tourist and cleaning up after yourself to ensure that the next person enjoys the scenic beauty just as much as you did.

Deosai Map

en English
X