Surmo valley : Exploring Nature's Paradise

 Surmo valley : Exploring Nature's Paradise

Surmo Valley  is a valley in the Ghangche District in Gilgit–Baltistan, Pakistan. Etymologically, the name is get from sermo : ser means gold and mo feminises the word. A human who lives in Surmo is called Surmopa. 

This article serves as a comprehensive tell you for the general public to explore the fascinate Surmo Valley and its awe-inspiring surroundings. Whether you are an adventure enthusiast, a nature lover, or simply seeking peace , Surmo Valley provide an memorable experience that will leave you in awe.

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Surmo is around about 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) from the district administrative capital of Khaplu. Its areas are Choghogrong, Tarkari, Khar, Gond, Langkhung, Tishari, and Ghazi-Thang, containing 800 houses and 10,000 people. Cultural symbols as well as  Rgyalmo Khar, Shagharun khar, and Minduq Sar (flower garden). It is adjacent to the river Shiok.

How to reach Surmo valley?

Accessible Routes to Surmo valley

Surmo Valley is well-connected to major cities and towns, allowing tourist to reach this enchanting destination conveniently. Here are the most common routes to reach Surmo Valley.

By Air: The nearest airport to Surmo Valley is Gilgit Airport. From there, you can hire a private car or take a public bus to reach Surmo Valley.

By Road: Surmo Valley can be reached via the Karakoram Highway (KKH). It provide breathtaking sight throughout the journey and is examine one of the most beautiful routes in the world.

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Weather and Best time to visit

Experience Surmo Valley's Varied Seasons

Surmo Valley experiences distinct seasons, each offering a unique charm to its tourist. Here's a breakdown of the weather conditions and the best time to visit:

Spring (March to May): During spring, Surmo Valley blossoms with vibrant flowers, creating a picturesque landscape. The weather is pleasant, with moderate temperatures, making it an ideal time for nature walks and photography.

Summer (June to August): The summer season in Surmo Valley brings warm and sunny days, perfect for exploring its stunning trails, camping, and enjoying outdoor activities. 

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Surmo is  very important with respect to army and transportation networks in the mountainous region. Its largest bridge, Surmo Bridge, links the Siachen region with the district capital of Khaplu, as well as Chorbat Valley, making this valley strategically important.

 A new reinforced concrete cement (RCC) bridge has been constructed over the Shiok River from the Reebothang side and is expected to be operational in 2021. The bridge is economically and militarily very important to the region. The Choghogrong-Khar link road construction began in 2023 after several failed attempts in past.

Surmo was formerly a fertile and prosperous area. A well-known local expression was Surmo ma drang na gar ma drang ("if your stomach is not full or stuffed in Surmo, there is no other place it would be"). The shifts in the flow of the glacier-sourced Shyok River (literally the river of death) have caused considerable damage and slow and steady devastation that resulted in landslides.

 Many fields were lost in this way in the past century, leaving only 20% of the fields on the river bank which are not cut off due to flooding. Measures have been taken to stop erosion, such as defensive walls of stone. However, these seem inadequate before the large river. In 2010, the river threat reached an alarming situation where many houses had to be demolished because the river came too near.

Surmo valley  Flora and Fauna

Surmo Valley is famous for its wealthy biodiversity, surround a wide range of flora and fauna. The valley's pristine ecosystem supports a type of plant species and provides habitat to many wildlife species. Let's delve into the charm flora and fauna of Surmo Valley:

Alpine Meadows: The valley is furnish with lush alpine meadows that showcase a vibrant tapestry of wildflowers during the blooming season. Delicate primroses, edelweiss, and irises carpet the meadows, creating a breathtaking sight.

Forests: Surmo Valley boasts heavy forests filled with towering trees like cedar, juniper, and pine. These forests provide shade, habitat, and a haven for many bird species.

Surmo Broque

A broque in Baltistan denotes a place entirely dedicated to agricultural activity, usually far from the population. People don't live in a broque permanently and keep shifting positions between the village and broque.  For the Lower-class families this is primary source.

Surmo Broque, with terraced fields hundreds of feet above the valley, is one of the most beautiful broques in Baltistan, and attracts many tourists from all over Baltistan in the summer when the broque is lush green. Khaplu Broque neighbors Surmo Broque and is approximately five times larger.

 With the passage of time, people's interest in the broque started to plunge. They turned their attention away from farming to more progressive ideas like education, business, etc. Today only a small percentage of the population farms in the broque and earns their living there. Today, machinery has taken over the majority of the work.

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Welfare Organization

The people of Surmo are considered one of the more well-organized and educated people in Baltistan. Aga Khan Development Network and Anjumane Falah o Behbood Surmo are among the oldest welfare organizations in Baltistan working in the area for the welfare and development of the locals for many decades.

The young generation of Surmo is struggling in education, and dreams of Surmo as a well-developed village in the future. Youth organization "Skarchan" is playing a vital role in various fields of life like healthcare and education as well as in the better environment of the area. 

Skarchen was established in 2000 and has since helped build Madrsa Shah Hamdan and Faizbukhsh Public Schools. Skarchen is a youth organization and includes many of the youth of Surmo. Askari Tanzeem is a group that includes retired army personnel who would play there in welfare. The main achievement of the organization is the construction of Jamia Masjid Surmo.

Unfortunately, no student welfare organization has ever existed in Surmo. This has resulted in a low literacy rate and increased unemployment. Surmo is in dire need of a student welfare organization to make students develop a high interest in education. Currently, the Tarkari and Gond localities are among the most educated. Education should be given full attention.

Local culture and Traditions

Surmo Valley is not only precious with natural wonders but also show off a lively local culture that adds to its charm. The valley is home to various ethnic communities, including the Balti and Shina people.  Here are some aspects of the local culture and traditions to experience in Surmo Valley:

Local Cuisine

Exploring the local cuisine is an key part of experiencing the culture of Surmo Valley. Traditional Balti dishes, such as "Skardu Soup," a hearty meat and vegetable broth, and "Gyaling," a savory pancake made with buckwheat flour, offer a unique culinary experience. Tourist can also savor the flavors of traditional Shina cuisine, which includes dishes like "Goshtaba," a meatball curry, and "Diram Phitti," a sweet bread served with ghee.

Handicrafts and Artistry

Surmo Valley is known for its graceful handicrafts, prove the skill and creativity of the local artisans. Visitors can explore markets and shops to find complex carved woodwork, sew textiles, and handmade pottery. These handicrafts not only make for wonderful prompt but also offers a glimpse into the artistic traditions of the area.

Traditional Music and Dance

Music and dance are integral to the cultural fabric of Surmo Valley. Traditional musical instruments like the "Rubab" and "Surnai" produce melodious tunes that go with lively dance performances. Attending a local cultural event or gathering provide a chance to onlooker the captivating performances and immerse oneself in the rhythmic beats and beautiful colors

Hospitality and Warmth

The people of Surmo Valley are renowned for their warm hospitality and welcoming nature. It is common to be invited into a local home for a cup of traditional butter tea, known as "Gurgur Cha," and engage in conversations to gain insights into their traditions and way of life.

By respecting the local customs and embracing the cultural diversity, visitors can forge connections and create lasting memories in Surmo Valley.

What is the meaning of Surmo?

Surmo was formerly a fertile and prosperous area. A well-known local expression was Surmo ma drang na gar ma drang

Where is located Gilgit Baltistan?

Gilgit Baltistan region has a total area of 72,496 sq km with around 2 million population and rest at the extreme north of Pakistan. China north side, East of India, and Afghanistan and Central Asian nation on the west. Gilgit Baltistan is famous for its striking natural beauty.

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