Jun 25

Hunza – A Hub of Mystery

EST. Reading time : 3 minutes

Did you know that the average life expectancy of Hunza people is 100 years old? You are not alone if you didn’t. This is just one of the secrets of this mysterious region in the North of Pakistan. The nomadic people of Hunza for the most part live at the subsistence level. Their age longevity is associated in part with their isolated lifestyles, whereby they tend to do as little with the outside world as possible. 

The concept of processed food is not at all common among the Hunza people. Their diet comprises only what nature offers i.e. milk, vegetables, grains and fruits, with apricots being the staple food. Apricots are rich in vitamin b-17, which is a natural deterrent to cancer. Since apricots are a staple for Hunza people, their immunity to cancer is remarkable. 

Hunza is located in the Gilgit-Baltistan region, which also connects China with Pakistan. until 1974, Hunza used to be a princely state with its capital in Baltit, known also by the name of Karimabad. The princely state status of Hunza was later dissolved by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. Urdu is the most common language in Hunza. However, other local languages are also spoken in the region including Burushaski, Shina, and Wakhi.

The Hunza valley is further subdivided into three geographic subdivisions, namely Lower Hunza, Upper Hunza, and Gojal valley. Hunza valley’s raw natural beauty has rendered it a popular tourist destination. Crowds of tourists visit the valley and its peripheries each year to bask in its natural air and beauty. 

Another attraction for tourists visiting the valley is the famous forts of Altit and Baltit. Situated in Altit village, the ancient Altit Fort is a hallmark of the architectural finesse of our ancestors. It stands majestically on a mountain with the Hunza River flowing behind it. The Baltit Fort is situated in the most elevated position in Karimabad. Following renovations, the fort has been transformed into a heritage museum. 

The list of tourist destinations in Hunza valley would not be complete without accounting for the Khunjerab Pass and Khunjerab National Park. The Khunjerab Pass meets the neighbouring countries of Pakistan and China. Situated above sea level, the pass is located in the Karakoram mountain range. 

Nature works in mysterious ways. Attabad Lake, which is situated in Gojal valley, was formed after an enormous
landslide in 2010 blocked the flow of water into river Hunza. The lake has since caught the attention of both, domestic and foreign tourists, with boating being its distinctive feature. Some of Pakistan’s most prominent glaciers can also be found in Hunza. These include Hussaini Glacier, Passu Glacier and Batura Glacier, all of which are located in Gojal valley.

Hunza experiences agreeable weather throughout the year. The climate is temperate in summers, with temperatures reaching a maximum of 14-degrees. However, the temperature reaches 31-degrees in Central Hunza in the mid of the year when the weather is the hottest. In winters, temperatures fall to below 10 degrees. 

The Karimabad bazaar is renowned for local handicrafts, handcrafted carpets, shawls, gemstones, handwoven
fabrics, and traditional caps. 

An interesting theory associated with the Hunza people is that they are the direct descendants of Alexander the Great. Quite the feather in their cap if it were true, but this statement is surrounded with innumerable doubts and historical inaccuracies. The mere fact that the people of Hunza are some of the most peaceful, quiet and introverted people around refutes this theory! The fact is, Hunza people are some of the friendliest, cooperative and hospitable people around.