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"The Himalayan Shangri La"
HUNZA is the high mountain valley of the Karakorum, which contains many small villages, located in the extreme north part of Pakistan, bordering with China and Wakhan Corridor of Afghanistan. It spreads along the Hunza River right up to its source at Khunjerab Pass (4733M), "Roof of the World". The Karakorum Highway (KKH) comes through this Pass and follows the bank of Hunza River to Danyor, where Hunza River joins the Gilgit River, then joins Indus River that comes from Skardu Baltistan. Hunza was formally in-depend state ruled by an old dynasty of Mirs, to-day is a newly district with Nagar Valley (Hunza-Nagar) in Gilgit-Baltistan of Pakistan.
Hunza Valley has three main areas
1- The Lower Hunza, the areas from Khizerabad Village to Nasirabad, towards the Gilgit, is mainly inhibited by the Shiniki and here the people speak Shina language.
2- The Central Hunza, the area from Murtazaabad to Attabad Village is called Central Hunza, is mainly inhabited by Burushoski speaking people.
3- The Upper Hunza, also known as Gojal, the area from Ayeenabad Village to the Khunjerab, mainly populated by the Wakhi people.
The territory of Hunza Valley is around 7900 square kilometer with population about 65000 inhabitants. The settlement of Hunza people is basically located on river terraces and alluvial fans, mountains and glaciers cover most of the area. Hunza hosts some of the longest glaciers outside the polar belt. Their snouts come down to very low elevation almost touching the valleys bottoms. Some of the important glaciers are Batura Glacier, Passu Glacier, Gulkin Glacier, Malangute Glacier, Ultar etc. Melting of the ice and snow is the major source of draining water. Due to high altitude some of the rivers flow with strong force and cut deep valleys and gorges. The large numbers of the population around 85 percent are involved in the tourism business directly and indirectly, few are engaged with government jobs and NGOs
TOURISTIC PLACES IN AND AROUND THE HUNZA
KARIMABAD (2500M), the capital of Hunza is the only town in the world, where you may view five peaks above 7000M in all four directions. The Mount Rakaposhi 7788M, Diran 7256M, Golden Peak 7027M, Ultar- I 7388M, and Ultar -II 7310M with princess Bobulimuting reaches as Hunza skyline. In Karimabad, you will explore the Hunza Valley and neighboring areas see the daily life of hard-work people. The Baltit Fort is former palace of Mirs (Rulers) of Hunza until 1960, which is recently restored by Aga Khan Trust for Culture. The Altit Fort that is 900 years old (now restoring, can see from out) was built by the people of Baltistan when Queen of Baltistan was married to the prince of Hunza, as a presentation they built this Fort, which is on cliff of the Ruby Marble rock. It is also worth to visit Ganish Fort.
ULTAR MEADOW 3280M, is around 3hrs walk from Karimabad to Ultar Nala and 770M ascent, with good view of peaks of another-side of Valley, Nagar. There is camping-site here can do the camp, below the herders huts at Ultar, a rock wall usually keeps livestock, out of established camping area.
DUIKAR - ALTIT, is around half an hour drive from Karimabad on new metaled road that is highest point (3000M) of the Valley, which gives majestic view of the mountains and valleys in 360 degree angle (in all the directions). This is the most magnificent view point, sunset and sunrise views are remarkable and incredible, which is the especial attraction of this place, if weather is clean. You can have the view of Mountains, surrounding glaciers, Hunza River, Karakorum Highway, Altit and Baltit Forts, and valley of Nagar and Hunza. The view in the moonlight and walking in the moonlight are unforgettable. There is a hotel and restaurant, Eagle Nest, is the most popular in the Valley and can have also Hunza local food.
HOPAR-NAGAR is located in Nagar Valley, just across the Karimabad, one of touristic place in Nagar Valley and starting point of some trekking routes in the region of Nagar Valley. There are some restaurants and hotels here, is around one and half hour drive from Karimabad and that lies along the Bualtar Glacier, south-west margin, can walk on the glacier
GULMIT VILLAGE is the old capital of the Upper Hunza- Gojal. The meaning of the Gulmit in local language is a nest amidst the followers and it is like that as it blooms in the spring season with the blossoms of fruit trees and variety of the flowers that stay in the whole summer. There is local cultural museum with unique collection of Hunza history, music instruments, maps, gems and that is worth to visit . Walking in the village is great experience of cultural value and easily mixes up with the local population.
BORITH LAKE, is about 1.5 km off the Karakorum Highway, link road from the Hussani Village, here you may enjoy seeing the migratory birds that come from as far as Siberia, lakes receives glacier water in the summer. This is also starting point of the some treks. This is quite place and possibility to walk around, also there is small restaurant to have meals
PASSU VILLAGE, sits between the Passu and Batura Glaciers along the Hunza River's true right west bank, is the centre of the real trekking in Gojal. This village is famous to have trekking to Passu Glacier and on Batura Glacier, which is 4th longest and largest Glacier in the world, here 95 percent people are involved with tourism directly and indirectly
The CHUPURSAN VALLEY, is consists of 11 villages with 300 householders, 70km long valley, running along the top of the country, parallel to the Chinese and Afghanistan borders. This Valley is still not much discovered, so long and it connects via a number of passes to so many other valleys. We can enter from Sost (from Karakorum Highway) and passing through many small settlements, the end point is BABA GHUNDI, also called Baba ghundi Ziarat, this is the pasture, where jeep able road ends. The Baba Ghundi Ziarat, a small shrine said to contain the sword and holy books of the preacher from the Tajik Village of Ghund who entered Chupursan Valley from Afghanistan in 16th century. There are two famous passes from Baba Ghundi, one is Irshad Pass to Afghanistan and Chillinj Pass to Chitral along the Wakhan Corridor.
SHIMSHAL VALLEY is the remotest area of the Hunza, from Karakorum Highway at Passu there is link road of 53 kilometers through the narrow gorge along the Shimshal River leads to a wide valley
KHUNJERAB PASS 4733 M, “Roof of the World” the border between China and Pakistan, highest border crossing on paved road in the world. It was opened to official traffic in August 1982 and tourism in May 1986. All water on Pakistani side flows down to the Indian Ocean through Indus River while that from Chinese side is swallowed by the Taklimakan Desert in Tarim Basin. There is Khunjerab National Park, can get chance to see the Himalaya Ibex, Himalayan marmots as well as yaks. From Sost to the Kuksil the road passes in narrow gorge, Kuksil is the place where police check post before going up to Pass and gives very beautiful view of snow capped mountains.
For tour and jeep safaris the suitable period is from end of March to end of October, two seasons are very famous to visit this Valley, one is apricot blossom from end of March to end of April and autumn season mid of September to end of October
TREKKING IN HUNZA AND NAGAR VALLEY
Hunza- Passu Batura Trek
Hunza Shimshal- Pamir Trek
Hunza Shimshal-Lupgar BC
Hunza Kilik and Mintika Trek
Nagar- Minapin Rakaposhi Trek
Nagar- Rush Lake Trek
Nagar- Golden Peak BC
Nagar-Suymmar Pass Trek
RECENT SITUATION OF HUNZA VALLEY:
There is very huge landslide in this valley on 4th January 2010 that engulfed 20 people and many more people became homeless
The Karakorum Highway is repairing by the Chinese people and almost completed the section between Gilgit and Hunza- Karimabad that takes time around 2-3 hrs. The Chinese are working still in few parts of this section.
Postal address :
NORTH PAKISTAN ADVENTURE
Trekking, Tours and Expeditions
P.O Box 746, Islamabad - Pakistan
CONTACT IN FRANCE:
Cell: 00 220.127.116.11.60.79