Astore District in the eastern side of Nanga Parbat (8,126 m), is about 120 km long and 5,092 sq. km in area. The entrance of the valley is located about 60 km southeast of Gilgit with four side-valleys. The valley has more than 100 villages with a total population of 71,666 (Census Report 1998). The majority of people practice subsistence agriculture and livestock is the main source of livelihood complemented by seasonal work in down districts of the country.
Due to its diverse landscape and climatic conditions the valley provides excellent habitat for a variety of commercially important medicinal plants.
This paper quotes various studies on medicinal plant surveys and these are as follows:
A detailed medicinal plants’ survey in Astore, Shigar and Khaplu valleys reported 39 medicinally important plants out of which 21 were found in Astore. Similarly another survey found 34 medicinal plants in Bulashbar nallah, Astore whereas 77 medicinal plants were reported from Chilim, Burzil, Minimarg and Deosai in Astore valley in a separate study.
Chillam Choki, Astore
Since the British era until to-date, Astore valley has been the largest exporting area of medicinal plants in Gilgit Baltistan. Over-exploitation, free grazing, deforestation, conversion of forest and pastures to other land uses and lack of proper management system are major issues in the conservation of medicinal plants. Compared with forests and wildlife, most medicinal plants are able to give economic return in a shorter term, future prospects to make them sustainable income generators are good through the introduction of suitable participatory management system including marketing.
This paper by Ibrahim Khan seeks to explore the potential of the valley in terms of medicinal plants and identify NGOs willing to work for their promotion and to bring the attention of various stakeholders including herbal industries to the conservation of these valuable but fast deteriorating natural resources.
Rama Valley, which is home to Rama Lake, with basic facilities for visitors. It has a hotel called the PTDC, constructed by the government of Pakistan. Astore valley is a unique area for tourists to visit, surrounded by the high peaks of the far western Himalaya. Nearby the two river junction the village Louze, popular for apples,apricot, cherry and other fruits especially the wild almond oil. Louze a small village with literacy rate of about 95%, the only biggest power house for electricity supply up to 1000 kW to whole district approx since 1987, nearby Louze a peaks include Nanga Parbat, Shaigiri, Rupal Peak, Chongra Peak and Laila Peak (Rupal Valley). Astore Valley ascends from the Indus River Valley near Jaglot, Pakistan. Deosai plains are the highest plateau in himalayas and are most picturesque with a bowl shapped lake ,wild flowers,and a habitat of brown bear.The easiest route from Astore is via, Gorikot, Gudai,Chilum and then a track leads to this area with little steep hike.Its been declared a Natural park ,a special status to preserve its fora and fauna.
Astore valley has a moderate climate during summer. In winter it can snow up to 6 inches (15 cm) in the main valleys and up to 2–3 feet (60–90 cm) in the mountains. In Mirmalik valley it snows up to 6 feet (1.8 m) in February.
The main language spoken in the valley is Shina (also known as Tshina). Urdu, which is the National language of Pakistan, is the second most frequentlyz spoken language.There are different dialect of Shina spoken in the region. Since Astore has a history of modest tourist traffic in the summer months, local guides and police in Tarashing or Astore may speak some English.
Villages in Astore District