Hunza Valley

Hunza sub division of Gilgit District with 48000 population., is situated at an elevation of 2,438 meters (7,999 feet).  It neighbors Chinese Xinjiang Region and Afghanistan’s Wakhan Corridor in the north and runs along the Hunza River originating from Khunjerab, Kilik, Mintika and Shimshal passes.  The territory of Hunza is about 7,900 km² [3,050 sq, miles]. Karimabad is the main town which is a popular tourist attraction in Pakistan because of the spectacular scenery of the surrounding mountains like Rakaposhi 7,788 m (25,551 ft), Ultar Sar (7,388 m), Bojahagur Duanasir II (7,329 m), Ghenta Peak (7,090 m), Hunza Peak (6,270 m), Darmyani Peak (6,090 m) and Bublimating (Ladyfinger Peak) (6,000 m). The Hunza Valley is one of the most beautiful regions in Pakistan. Coming from Giligit you first pass the majestic Rakaposhi mountain, one of those 8K giants of the Western Himalaya. Once in the valley, you see the capital city of Karimabad on the left bank, with its fort perched high on the top of the hill.

Hunza was easily defended as the paths were often less than half a metre (about 18″) wide. The high mountain paths often crossed bare cliff faces on logs wedged into cracks in the cliff, with stones balanced on top. They were also constantly exposed to regular damage from weather and falling rocks. These were the much feared “hanging passageways” of the early Chinese histories that terrified all, including several famous Chinese Buddhist monks.For many centuries, Hunza has provided the quickest access to Swat and Gandhara for a person traveling on foot. The route was impassable to baggage animals; only human porters could get through, and then only with permission from the locals.

As much as the valley is famous for its beauty, the people of Hunza are noted for their friendliness and hospitality. The local language is Brushuski but most people understand Urdu and English. The literacy rate of the Hunza valley is believed to be above 90%, virtually every child of the new generation studies up to at least high school. Many pursue higher studies from prestigious colleges and Universities of Pakistan and abroad. The valley is popularly believed to be the inspiration for the mythical valley of Shangri-la in James Hilton’s 1933 novel Lost Horizon.

The Hunza region is home to people of three ethnicities:
The Gojal area is mainly populated by Wakhi speakers;
The Shinaki area is mainly inhabited by Shina speakers;
The Kanjut area is mainly inhabited by Burushaski speakers.
The Burushaski language is understood throughout Hunza. It is a language isolate. In addition to Burushaski, there also speakers of Wakhi, Shina and Domaaki.

Popular Attractions:

Duikar: is a charming hamlet above the village of Altit which is situated next to Baltit, Karimabad. Karimabad is the capital of the former state of Hunza.One of the main attractions of Duikar is the viewpoint (2900 m) which is a 5 minute climb up behind Eagle’s Nest Hotel. Here you have the best views during sunrise and sunset, if you have the chance come to Eagle’s Nest Hotel at full-moon. Starting from Eagle’s Nest Hotel it is a 1 ½ hours climb up to Hosht (3600 m). From the Hosht viewpoint you have great views of Ultar Mountains and Hopper glacier. The Hunza panorama is wider and dearer here.It is a pleasant hour stroll to the Hazrat Abbas shrine near Shabbat village. From here there are spectacular views down to Karakorum Highway and an awesome views of Golden peak, Rakaposhi, Ultar and Lady’s Finger mountains.
The Ultar glacier trek can be done as long day trek or one can camp for a night at Ultar meadow. It is recommended to take a guide on this trek.

Baltit Fort or Balti Fort is an ancient fort in the Hunza valley in the Northern Areas of Pakistan. In former times survival of the feudal regimes of Hunza was ensured by the impressive Baltit fort, that sit on top of Karimabad. The foundations of the fort are said to date back around 700 years, but there have been rebuilds and alterations over the centuries. In the 16th century the prince married a princess from Baltistan who brought master Balti craftsmen to renovate the building as part of her dowry. The architectural style is a clear indication of Tibetan influence in Baltistan at the time.
The Mirs of Hunza abandoned the fort in 1945, and moved to a new palace down the hill. The fort started to decay and there was concern that it might possibly fall into ruin. Following a survey by the Royal Geographic Society of London, a restoration programme was initiated. The programme was completed in 1996 and the fort is now a museum run by the Baltit Heritage Trust.

Altit Fort is an ancient fort in the Hunza valley in the Northern Areas of Pakistan. It was home to the hereditary rulers of the Hunza state who took the title Mir.
The Altit Fort is in great disrepair, but is currently being restored by the Agha Khan Restoration Program.

Accessibility:

Gilgit is well connected by air with Islamabad( weather dependent) and by road with Islamabad/Rawalpindi, Skardu and Chitral. You can take a flight to Gilgit from the capital of the country and reach Gilgit. From Gilgit three hours traveling on KKH towards north crosses Hunza, connecting Pakistan to China via the Khunjerab Pass. Travelling up the valley from the south, Hunza is the land to the left, and the former state of Nagar to the right of the Hunza River.

Get Updates & More

Thoughtful thoughts to your inbox

en English
X