SKARDU, Aug 21: Babar Khan won the first highest cold desert jeep rally at the Sarfa Ranga desert of Shigar District on Sunday after a tough competition between 72 jeep drivers and 20 motorcyclists coming from different cities of the country.
In A category, driver Babar Khan won the 30km race in 18 minutes and 25 seconds followed by Qadir Nawaz and Aamir Magsi who finished second and third positions, respectively.
The final round of the race began at 9am and continued till 4pm, which was viewed by thousands of spectators coming from various parts of Baltistan, besides a large number of foreign and local tourists who had converged on the highest desert from cities.
The GB administration had made elaborate arrangements for the rally.
Rescue teams were deployed at several points of the 30km track where doctors and their staff were alert to provide first aid in case of any incident with the car drivers.
The qualifying round was held on Saturday.
Two foreigners also participating in the final rally.
A unique and old tradition of Zakh (raft) competition was also held at Jharba Tso (Blind Lake) located near the rally venue.
Traditional local food competition, photography competition and gems and minerals exhibition were also held.
Sarfa Ranga Desert
The Sarfa Ranga sand dunes also known as the cold desert are situated at an altitude of 10,000 feet in Shigar District of Baltistan Division, about 20km off Skardu. It is one of the highest cold deserts in the world, surrounded by snow-capped mountains, #Jharba #Tso beautiful lake, the mighty River Indus and Sarfa Ranga village.
Strong winds shift the dunes, forming different shapes each time. This cold dessert is extended from Khaplu Valley to Nubra Ladakh and Shigar and Skardu valley to Zanskar in India.
This desert holds a unique place in the hearts of travellers due to its high altitude and cold region. The shooting stars and the moving galaxy spread in the sky in cold nights of Sarfaranga. The Indus River beside crystal clear water reflects the image of colourful trees, enhancing the beauty of Sarfa Ranga village.