“A JOURNEY THROUGH OUR PAST”
HUNZA:For majority of foreign visitors to Pakistan, reaching Hunza is one of their main aims, with reputation for outstanding natural beauty, welcoming people endless trekking and hiking potential, and tourism infrastructure that is sufficiently developed so that you don’t have to ‘rough it’. Hunza is considered to be the centre-piece of tourism industry of Pakistan.
Karimabad: The center-piece of Pakistan tourism industry, Karimabad is a delightful village set in a wonderful location. Panoramic across the Hunza and Nagar Valleys incorporated snow-capped mountains over 7000 meters (Rakaposhi 7788m, Diran 7200m, and Ultar 7388m providing a contrast to the colorful natural environment of Karimabad that includes fruit trees, poplars and other trees. The view of the Hunza valley from Karimabad in spring & autumn is incredible, though it remains spectacular at any time of the year. Karimabad is base for a number of short walks and excursions, as well as being a popular place with visitors to relax and unwind.
The People: More than 98% of the population of Karimabad belongs to the Ismaili (A Modern & progressive Sect of Islam), with His Highness Shah Karim al-Hussaini Aga Khan IV as their spiritual leader. Unlike the Nagar subdivision to the South, there is no purdah system in Karimabad and women work along the men in the fields. Local myths and folklore that pre-date Islam – particularly belief in wizards, fairies, (paris) and the power of shaman are the important cultural aspect of Hunza life.
The predominant language in Karimabad is Burushashki, although increasing opportunities in education and government service means that Urdu and English are widely spoken. The people of Hunza are justifiably proud of their achievements in the field of education and with 99% of all children attending school, the implication for future literacy rate are encouraging. The Aga Khan academy for Girls is the show piece school.
Foreign tourists find the Hunzukuts (Hunza People) amongst the most friendly and warm welcoming people in Pakistan.
Baltit Fort – Our Great Heritage: The Baltit fort was inspiration of the princess of Baltistan who married the then reigning Mir of Hunza. She brought in Balti masons, carpenters and Crafstment to build it and it’s sister for of Altit. The Altit Fort is well over 1000 years old. Altit Fort is a three kilometers jeep drive from Karimabad-Hunza. According to local legends Baltit Fort is close to 1000 years old and was build by 300 laborers that was part of dowry of the Princess from Baltistan who married the Mir of Hunza. The impression of the Hunza is further reinforced by the turrets of the Baltit Fort, the traditional seats of Mir for over centuries. The fort was property of Mirs of Hunza for over several centuries. The present Mir of Hunza, Mir Gazanffar Ali Khan presented this historical monument to H.H. Aga Khan through Baltit Heritage Trust for complete restoration into museum, demising the lifestyle of the ruling Mir family and the people of the kingdom of Hunza.
The state of Hunza ruled for over 1000 years by the same family from their seat of the power from Baltit Fort. It is located on rocky outcrop at the base of mighty Ultar Peaks. This Fort was renovated and opened in 1997 and gives a magnificent view of the Hunza Valley.
The Aga Khan Trust for Culture has restored the prime historic landmark of Baltit Fort on the terraced slopes in Hunza, in Northern Pakistan. The main theme of the project is to preserve this setting despite natural decay and the inevitable impact of recent changes, such as urbanization which has began to threaten the integrity of the build heritage. The Fort is now a museum and cultural center. Moreover, culturally and environmentally compatible small enterprises are being promoted which provides gift items, local woolen rugs and hand-knotted vegetable dyes carpets for visitors. These activities are playing a major part in reinvigorating the traditional community spirit and restoring the residents’ pride of their heritage. A self paying waste management project has been set up to safely dispose human waste and garbage. The project now attracts over 20000 visitors, half of which are from outside the country. Access to the Fort is limited to pedestrians and only 25 visitors are allowed at any one time. To reduce the pressure on the environment there is a break from tourists during 4-5 months of winter.
Ultar Meadows/Glacier: The view from the pasture sided below the imposing Ultar Peaks is one of the highlights of a visit to central Hunza (Karimabad). The main Ultar Peak, at 7388m and 73rd highest mountain in the world, is one of the lowest unclimbed peaks. It also has fearsome reputation and has claimed three Japanese lives in the last few years. Bubulimiting which is also called Lady Finger, the 6000m high granite spire to the left, is so sheer that it can not hold snow.
Altit: A one and half hours walk to the east of Karimabad leads you to the charming village Altit. A sort of scaled down, quieter version of Karimabad. The village is very popular among visitors as a place to spend time relaxing. Altit fort is one of the most historical tourists spot in the village attract thousands of visitors every year. It is thought to be about hundred years older than the one at Baltit (Baltit Fort)
Duikar: Duikar is one of the nice places in Karimabad Area, for the some of the finest view in the whole of Hunza Valley, a climb up to Duikar is highly recommended; don’t miss the place. On a clear day the scene at sunrise and sunsets are unrivalled, particularly late on a summer’s afternoon when the rays of the setting sun illuminate the 7027m Spantik Peak far to the east. It is easy to see why the local people refer to this mountain as Golden Peak. From Duikar a pathway to the west a good two hours walks to the Hosht, the spectacular ridge high above Baltit Fort.
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