Heaven on the Earth

Baltistan (Urdu: بلتستان), also known as بلتیول (Baltiyul) in the Balti language, is a region in northern Pakistan, bordering Xinjiang Autonomous Region of China. It is situated in the Karakoram mountains just to the south of K2, the world's second highest mountain. It is an extremely mountainous region, with an average altitude of over 3,350 m (11,000 ft). It is inhabited principally by Balti Shia Ithna Ashri, of Tibetan descent who converted from Tibetan Buddhism prior to the 16th century. There is a small minority of Gilgit-Baltistan (formerly Northern Areas). Its links with Kashmir as a subjugated people today continues to be an impediment in granting its population citizenship of Pakistan. The Kargil district of this region is located in the north of Indian-administered Kashmir, while the districts of Skardu and Ganche, whose main town is Skardu, are located in the Pakistan-administered Gilgit-Baltistan region. The region has the highest peaks of the Karakoram, including K2.