Gilgit BaltistanSkardu Baltistan

Geographical introduction of Baltistan, Pakistan

Baltistan was known as Pololo, today is known as Baltistan until the 8th century. The people of Tibet and Ladakh use to call this region as BALTI and also call the inhabitants Balti-Pa. Below is the geographical introduction of Baltistan, Pakistan.

BALTI is the oldest name of Baltistan. In the second century AD, the Greek geographer Ptolemy mentioned BYLTAE, which according to researchers is pronounced as Balti. The Tibetans used the name Nang-Gong. The people of Kashmir call this region “Lakh Button‘,” and Suri Button means a region full of apricots.

For centuries Baltistan was the central hub of the Pololo Empire. That is why the people of Gilgit side use Pololu and Poloyu to address the Baltis.

Later on, when Arabs changed the name from Pololo to blour, the people of Gilgit named the area as Plour, Bilour and Blonter. As about 91% of the population of Baltistan is Tibetan generation, the area is known in the history of Kashmir and India as Tibet Khurd, Tibet Chak and Tibet Sagheer.

The word Tibet has also been used in local Baltistani writings until the middle of the twentieth century. Later on, the Persian interpretation of Baltiyul as Baltistan came into existence, which gradually became its permanent name.

It is known that the word Baltistan started appearing in the Balti writings after 1840.  The peoples of Ladakh use the name ”Skarkhud” (Valley of Sea) for Skardu as well. But the inhabitants of Baltistan feel proud to use Baltiyul for Baltistan (homeland of Baltis).

Geographical introduction of Baltistan, Pakistan

In the heyday of the state of Baltistan (1588-1673), its territory included Purang in the east and Chitral in the west. At that time it was bordered by Zolijah in the south and Mustagh Karakoram in the north. Later, other areas apart from Purig, Haramush and Astor were separated.

Later on, two areas were later administratively incorporated by the Dogra Government of the State of Jammu and Kashmir into the Ministry (District) of Gilgit. In Tarikh-e-Rashidi, Mirza Haider Gurgan also mentions one area in Tibet as Balti and the other area in Balti as Purig. The Dogras also considered Purig to be part of Baltistan.

But in November 1948, the Indian government seized it by force. Thus, present-day Baltistan is bounded on the west by the valleys of Gilgit and Diamer districts, on the east by the Indian-occupied districts of Kargil and Ladakh, on the north by the Chinese province of Xinjiang and on the south by Indian-occupied Kashmir.

Read also: The History of Baltistan

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