human settlement in Pakistan

The Kharmang Valley is a region in Baltistan in North-western Pakistan, an agricultural area with many small villages and a total population around 95,000. Olding is the largest and the most important village. Tolti is the district administrative centre.

The area is on the eastern side of Gilgit-Baltistan, on the disputed border with India, and is therefore of some military importance. Travellers should be cautious near the border.


The word Kahrmang is Balti; khar means "fort" and mang means "abundant".

The region was predominantly Buddhist, strongly influenced by Tibet, for centuries. Islam came into Baltistan via Sufi missionaries, starting in the 16th century, and today the region is mainly Shia Isn e Ashri Muslims.

For centuries, Baltistan consisted of small independent valley states that were connected to each other and to Ladakh through blood relationships of the rulers (rajas), trade, common beliefs and strong cultural and language bonds. These states were subjugated by force by the Dogra rulers of Kashmir in the nineteenth century.

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