All About Gilgit Baltistan

Hunza Valley

A Land Rich in Beauty and Culture!

If you are a kind of person who loves wondering and embarking on beautiful adventures, then the best thing that can happen to you is a visit to Hunza. A place where Mother Nature reflects itself in its sheer glory. One would see mighty mountains, touching the sky and kind of speaking to you their hearts out about their spectacular history and the events that they have witnessed. There would be the soothing sound of gushing streams that is just enough to cleanse the most reckless of the hearts. Also, a breathtaking sight of the crystal clear lakes would definitely leave you awestruck. And that is exactly why Hunza is known as the heaven on earth.

Location

Enveloped in the grand Himalayas and the Karakorum Range, it shares a border with the Gilgit city in the South, in the East with the maligned states of Nagar, Xinjiang (China) to the Northeast and in the Northwest with Afghanistan. The valley is situated to the North of the Hunza River, at an elevation of around 2500 meters (8,200 ft.). Hunza spreads over an extended area of 7,900 square Kilometres (3,100 sq. miles). Karimabad is its capital which is also known as Baltit.

History

Located at a distance of 100 Kilometers from Gilgit city, Hunza, also known as Kanjut, was a princely state in a subsidiary alliance with the Bristish India from 1892 to August 1947. It remained so, for three months and then from November 1947 until 1974 was a princely state of Pakistan. In the early 1890’s, the British embarked upon a mission to annex Hunza and Nagar. Hunza was an independent principality for centuries. It was ruled by the Mirs of Hunza, who took the title of Thum.
The Hunzas were tributaries and allies to China as its suzerain since 1761 which controlled all the foreign affairs of Hunza but the sovereign authority was still allowed in its internal affairs.
In the late 19th century, Hunza became involved in the Great Game- the battle between the Britain and Russia for control of the Northern parts of India. In 1891, the British established the Hunza-Nagar campaign, hence gaining control of Hunza and the neighboring valley of Nagar. The then Mir, Safdar Khan fled to China and in turn Mir Mohammad Nazim Khan, the younger brother of the former Mir was made the new ruler of Hunza in September, 1892. With the passage of time the growing interest in Hunza increased due to which the Republic of China strived hard to restore its previous relations with Hunza. But due to the outbreak of the Indo-Pak war of 1947 over the dispute of Kashmir, the Mir of Hunza acceded to Pakistan making this land of rich culture and beauty a permanent part of Pakistan.

Weather

Hunza proves to be a first hand choice to travel to because of its mild climate and moderate temperature all year long. Every season spreads its own enchanting colors all over the valley making the sight of all the hues a delightful treat to one’s eyes. With the arrival of the warm spring, thousands of blossoms (Cherry blossoms) garnish the valley with ravishing beauty and fragrance. Just like that, the months of September, October, and November bring along the magnificent autumn. The winter spell with lots of snow showers and snow peaked mountains also has its own magic. Hence, Hunza is definitely a dream place to visit during any season of the year because you will get to admire beauty and charm just the same all year long.

People

The people of Hunza are well known as Brushos, Hunzukuts, and Brushaskis. They are mountain people who live particularly in the Hunza State and the Nagar State of Pakistan. They mostly live in deep valleys and gorges cut by the Hunza River and its tributaries.
Cheerful, happy, active and full of life, it seems as if the people of Hunza belong to another planet. They eat fresh apricots, breath the clean mountainous air due to which they look youthful and they hardly get sick.
Most of the Brushos are associated with subsistence farming. The major crops grown by them include potatoes, beans, wheat, barley, millet, buckwheat, fruits and vegetables. They also raise cattle, goats, sheep, and chickens and they continue to hunt to supplement their diet.
One thing that everyone admire about the Hunza is their health and immunity. The secret behind this is the health lifestyle that they have adapted. They eat plenty of fresh fruits like mulberry, cherry, Apple, peach and pears etc. Also they grow their own organic whole wheat which is later converted into flour to make bread. Hence, the Brushos are not lazy. They are active and fast. They indulge themselves in strenuous and sporty activities and work hard from dawn to dusk. And that is exactly why the people of Hunza have an estimated longevity.

Historical Places

The valley of Hunza has been a great tourist attraction for many years due to its rich culture, wondrous enchanting sceneries, panoramic views and the many historical places that are located here. The following is the list of some amazing places that hold a historical significance for Hunza and that has attracted tourists from far flung areas.

Karimabad

The village being the capital of Hunza is famous for its rich history as it was the home to the formers of the Royal family. Surrounded by the snow capped mountain peaks such as the Ulter and Deep Gorges, Karimabad is accessible by the KKH (Karakorum Highway) from Gilgit. Snow leopards, Markhors, Ibexes, Yaks, Ducks and Marco polo sheep also inhabit the region.

Gulmit

According to the locals Gulmit means “the valley of flowers”. Gulmit, also known as Gul-e-Gulmit, is a town that is the headquarter of Gojal, well known as the Upper Hunza. It is a very historic town with various mountains, peaks and glaciers. It is surrounded by many mountains namely the Tupopodon in the extreme north, the Ghawush in the south, standing tall in the east is Mount Pulpul and in the west is the Gulmit Tower. Due to its many historic places, shops, and a museum Gulmit has remained a crowded tourist spot the whole year.

Rakaposhi

 This immense mountain is situated in the Nagar Valley. It is a part of the Karakoram Range and is 7,788 meters high. It can be spotted from any where in Hunza and is indeed a spectacular sight. The peak is surrounded by some of the famous glaciers like the Barpu, the Biro, the Bagrot, and the Pisan.

Baltit Fort

The Baltit Fort is also situated above Karimabad and is a must visit place in Hunza. The foundation of the building dates back about 600 years. But the building has been renewed and is now a historic place to visit for the tourists. The amazing view of the whole valley from the windows of the fort is worth it all.

Attabad Lake

It is a lake in the Gojal Valley. The lake was formed due to a massive landslide at Attabad village in Hunza on 4 January, 2010. This lake has become one of the biggest tourist spots in Gilgit Baltistan. One can enjoy boating, jet skiing and fishing on the lake and can not resist being spellbound by the crystal turquoise water of the lake.

Altit Fort

It is an ancient fort above Karimabad in the Hunza Valley. It served as the home to the hereditary rulers of the Hunza State known as the Mirs. But now it serves as a museum over there. It attracts a lot of people due to its amazing architect and craft.

Sost Border

It is a magnificent symbol of the Pak-China relationship. Sost or Sust is a village in Gojal, Upper Hunza on an altitude of 2,800 meters. Being the last town inside Pakistan before the Chinese border, it proves to be an important place in the highway as all traffic passes through this town while crossing the Pak-China border.

So the next time you plan to go out and have a break from the hustle and bustle of your busy lives, consider the drop-dead beautiful valley of Hunza atop the list.

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