HUNZA VALLEY OF PAKISTAN

"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 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 kilometers 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. The economy of the Valley is largely depending over the tourism, subsistence agriculture and livestock rearing. Fruits are also most important crops, apricots, apples, cherry, peaches, grapes and mulberry are some of the famous fruits in the Valley. Potatoes are the main crop of the Valley to easily sell in the market to earn some money and this crop is now more popular in this Valley.

TOURISTIC PLACES IN AND AROUND HUNZA VALLY: 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 waskn camping-site here can do the camp, but due to huge landslide in Ultar gorge, everything is now destroyed for the moment it is better to not visit this placelo.

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 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 center 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. Here is famous suspension bridge on the Hunza River that is 30 minutes walking distance, at the end of village is Tupoqdan Peak that inspires by its unique structure. From the Karakorum Highway can have very close view of Passu and Batura Glaciers, those touching their snouts to down village!

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. The main Shimshal village is at the elevation of 3100M in Karakorum Range. To the north and north east of Shimshal lies Chinese Turkistan, to the south east Baltistan, to the south Nagar and to the west Gojal. The population of Shimshal is approximately 1400 of Wakhi speaking. This remotest village of Hunza has become accessible by jeep able road in October 2003. The area is well known for its tradition and culture, can visit to local traditional houses, walk around the villages and meet with local population. This is starting place for many trekking and climbing expeditions to high mountains. It is the home of many strong and experienced high altitude porters and Pakistani mountaineers.

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 snowcapped 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 and for the climbing expeditions, suitable period is June to end of October. The Valley is connected with Islamabad by road, Karakoram Highway and by flight 1hrs flight to Gilgit then 3 hrs drive to Hunza-Karimabad. It is also connected to China via Khunjerb Pass to Tashkurgan-Kashgar by KKH, so you may also enter by this route. There is bus service from Rawalpindi to Hunza Aliabad daily and also from Kashgar and Tashkurgan-China to Hunza-Sost via Khunjerab Pass (4733M), after the 1st May, because border opens on 1st May normally.

ITINERARY:
Day-01: Arrive at Islamabad airport, sightseeing of Islamabad and Rawalpindi/hotel
Day-02: Fly to Gilgit or drive to Chilas/hotel
Day-03: Continue to Hunza Karimabad/hotel
Day-04: Drive to Hopar in Nagar back to Karimabad then drive to Duikar/hotel
Day-05: Drive to Passu/hotel
Day-06: Drive to Khunjerab Pass and back to Passu/hotel
Day-07: Drive to Shimshal Valley/local guest house
Day-08: Drive to Karimabad, overnight at hotel
Day-09: Drive to Naran via Babusar Pass/hotel
Day-10: Drive to Peshawar and sightseeing/hotel
Day-11: Drive to Swat Valley, en-route visit to Takhet-e-Bahi/hotel
Day-12: Day free in Swat Valley to visit sites/hotel
Day-13: Drive back to Islamabad, en-route visit of Taxila/hotel
Day-14: Departure from Islamabad (drop to the airport),

 

ITINERARY-01:
Day-01: Arrive at Islamabad airport, sightseeing of Islamabad/Rawalpindi/ hotel
Day-02: Fly to Gilgit and local visits or drive to Chilas/hotel
Day-03: Continue to Karimabad-Hunza/hotel
Day-04: Drive to Hopar and back to Karimabad then to Duikar/hotel
Day-05: Drive to Gulmit/hotel
Day-06: Drive to Borite Lake, walk to view point and drive to Passu/hotel
Day-07: Back to Karimabad/hotel
Day-08: Drive to Gilgit /hotel
Day-09: Fly to Islamabad or drive to Besham /hotel
Day-10: Day free in Islamabad/visit to Taxila or drive from Besham to Islamabad/hotel
Day-11: Departure from Islamabad (drop to the airport)

ITINERARY-02:
Day-01: Arrive at Islamabad airport, sightseeing of Islamabad/Rawalpindi/ hotel
Day-02: Fly to Gilgit and local visits or drive to Chilas/hotel
Day-03: Continue to Karimabad-Hunza/hotel
Day-04: Drive to Hopar and back to Karimabad then to Duikar/hotel
Day-05: Drive to Gulmit/hotel
Day-06: Drive to Borite Lake, walk to view point and drive to Passu/hotel
Day-07: Back to Karimabad/hotel
Day-08: Drive to Besham /hotel
Day-09: Drive to Swat Valley via Shangila Pass/hotel
Day-10: Drive to Peshawar, en-route visit to Takhat-e-Bahi /hotel
Day-11: Day free in Peshawar to local visits
Day-12: Drive to Islamabad, en-route visit to Taxila/hotel
Day-13: Departure from Islamabad (drop to the airport)

This mountain valley is starting point for many trekking and climbing expeditions to the high mountains in the range of the Karakorum and the Pamirs. There is easy access from this valley due to the Karakoram Highway, KKH and there are many link roads to various regions of Hunza like to Shimshal, Misgar and Chupursan which are remotest places of the valley. There are many day hikes around the villages, in the morning you may start and evening will come back to hotel for overnight in the village. The snouts of the glaciers are just touching the Karakorum Highway and can start your day hike from there. Besides the long and technical treks, there are short and easy treks too that suitable for the people of all the ages and level of fitness.

Hunza –Ultar Meadow Hon Pass
Hunza- Altit Khuwat Trek
Hunza- Pasu Patundas Trek
Hunza- Boibar trek
Hunza- Shimshal Lupgar Sar BC;

Hunza- Passu Batura Trek
Hunza-Borite-Padundas Trek
Hunza- Passu Werthum Pass
Hunza Shimshal- Pamir Trek
Hunza Shimshal–Chupchungol
Hunza Shimshal-Lupgar BC
Hunza- Shimshal Mai Dur Pass
Hunza Kilik and Mintika Trek
Hunza- Chilinji Pass Trek

Nagar- Minapin Rakaposhi Trek
Nagar- Rush Lake Trek
Nagar- Golden Peak BC
Nagar-Suymmar Pass Trek
TREKKING IN HUNZA AND NAGAR VALLEY
Hunza- Passu Batura Trek
Hunza-Borite-Padundas Trek
Hunza Shimshal- Pamir Trek
Hunza Shimshal–Chupchungol
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

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