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Sketch map of Fa-Hien’s Travels

Skardo ("star stone, meteorite") is a town and capital of Skardu District, in Gilgit, Gilgit-Baltistan, formerly known as the Northern Areas of Pakistan. Skardu was Visited by Fahian in 402 AD mentioned as K’eeh-ch’a.[1]

Variants of name


Skardu is in the 10 kms wide by 40 kms long Skardu Valley, at the confluence of the Indus and the Shigar River.[2] Skardu is at an altitude of nearly 2,500 metres. The town is surrounded by grey-brown coloured mountains, which hide the 8,000 metre peaks of the nearby Karakoram range.


Visit by Fahian in 402 AD

James Legge writes that When the processions of images in the fourth month were over, Sang-shao, by himself alone, followed a Tartar who was an earnest follower of the Law, and proceeded towards Kophene. Fa-hien and the others went forward to the kingdom of Tsze-hoh, which it took them twenty-five days to reach. Its king was a strenuous follower of our Law, and had (around him) more than a thousand monks, mostly students of the mahayana. Here (the travellers) abode fifteen days, and then went south for four days, when they found themselves among the Ts’ung-ling mountains, and reached the country of Yu-hwuy, where they halted and kept their retreat. When this was over, they went on among the hills for twenty-five days, and got to K’eeh-ch’a, there rejoining Hwuy-king and his two companions. [3]

Watters approves of Klaproth’s determination of K’eeh-ch’a to be Iskardu or Skardo. There are difficulties in connexion with the view, but it has the advantage, to my mind very great, of bringing the pilgrims across the Indus. The passage might be accomplished with ease at this point of the river’s course, and therefore is not particularly mentioned. [4]


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