Hunza is probably Pakistan’s most visited valley, by the tourists. It is a fairy tale land surrounded by beautiful rugged & snow capped mountains. Only at a distance of 100 Kms. from Gilgit Hunza is a small town on Karakorum Highway. At the altitude of 7000 – 800 feet it is the first main town or stop if you are entering Pakistan from China.
The central Hunza known as Karimabad is basically a town of just 6 villages. The first main villages as you come from Gilgit on the main Karakorum Highway is Aliabad. There there are spectacular views of Rakaposhi mountain (7788 meters), PTDC Motel Hunza and other small hotels are located on the main Karakorum highway here. Just above Aliabad on the hill are Altit and Baltit villages the heart of Hunza. There is a very interesting Bazaar and two Forts in Altit & Baltit Villages. The Baltit fort has recently been restored and converted into a guided museum.
Hunza is undoubtly the Shangri-la of James Hilton’s novel The Lost Horizon. It is probably the most Photogenic point in the world. There are numerous tours and activities available from Hunza Below you will find some options for bus/culture tourist where as for the adventure lovers.
Places in Hunza
Karimabad: As described above is the main bazaar of Hunza full of colorful shops with local dry fruits (Dried Apricots, Apricot Nut, Almonds, Walnuts Mulberry, etc.) At the end of bazaar is the Baltit village and Baltit fort which are restored by the Aga Khan fund for Culture & heritage. The fort has been brought into a guided museum you can spend time in the for visiting different sections of the fort and viewing the slide show in the small hall of the fort.
Duikar: At an height of 10000 feet above sea level this is a beautiful spot to see sunrise. You can see 8 peaks above 7000 meters from here each gets the sun light one by one as sun rises.
History of Hunza Valley & Kingdom
Hunza was formerly a princely state bordering China to the north-east and Pamir to its north-west, which continued to survive until 1974, when it was finally dissolved by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. The state bordered the Gilgit Agency to the south, the former princely state of Nagar to the east. The state capital was the town of Baltit (also known as Karimabad) and its old settlement is Ganish Village.
Hunza was an independent principality for more than 900 years. The British gained control of Hunza and the neighbouring valley of Nagar between 1889 and 1892 followed by a military engagement of severe intensity. The ruler of Hunza (Prince) Mir Safdar Ali Khan of Hunza fled to Kashghar in China and sought political asylum there, while British apponted Mir Jamal Khan as the new Mir of Hunza under the rule of British Government
The traditional name for the ruler in Hunza was Thum, which is also a respectful appellation used by people of both Hunza and Nager who belong to the clan of Boorish. The Shin use the term Yeshkun for the Boorish.
First Muslim Thum (Ruler)
The ruling family of Hunza is called Ayeshe (heavenly), from the following circumstance. The two states of Hunza and Nagar were formerly one, ruled by a branch of the Shahreis, the ruling family of Gilgit, whose seat of government was Nager. Tradition relates that Mayroo Khan, apparently the first Muslim Thum of Nagar some 200 years after the introduction of the religion of Islam to Gilgit, married a daughter of Trakhan of Gilgit, who bore him twin sons named Moghlot and Girkis. From the former the present ruling family of Nager is descended. The twins are said to have shown hostility to one another from birth. Their father seeing this and unable to settle the question of succession, divided his state between them, giving to Girkis the north, and to Moghlot the south, bank of the river. ?
? Both Thums are still addressed as Soori, as a title of respect. This appears to be the same [in meaning] as Sri, an commonly prefixed to the names of Hindu princes in India, to denote their honour and prosperity. The Thum’s wives are styled ghenish which is almost identical with the original Sanskrit word for mother, and their sons are called gushpoor