The ruins of long-vanished civilizations dot the landscape and ancient canals still flow from water source to field. Gigantic trees shade bare rocks from relentless sun, their leaves whispering as they catch and tame the fierce morning breezes. There are places where geologic time and natural rhythms merge to create a place that seems to take you a step outside of time. Such place is the majestic Hunza Valley, situated in Gilgit Baltistan, amidst grand Himalayas and Karakorum mountain ranges, visited by both local and international tourists for its immense and breath taking natural beauty.
Rich History of Hunza Valley
The valley’s exceptionally fertile land and verdant landscape has been a part of the rich historical patronage. It is reported that Alexander the Great discovered Hunza amid Karakorum in 325 B.C. Travelers can find evidence of early history carved on a huge rock near Ganesh village. History enthusiasts can find scriptures splendidly carved and engraved in various languages including Tibetan and Brahmi.
By the 15th century, the Nagar Sovereignty ruling Hunza, broke away due to religious conflicts and the land was divided into two regions namely Nagar and Hunza Valleys. Thus Hunza was then ruled by the Chinese for a long time. Chinese scripture indicates Hunza being ruled by a royal ambassador, Tua Wei. The land was connected to the famous Silk Route, also their main source of income. It is reported that the Chinese used to raid caravans and sell young hostages as slaves to adjoining kingdoms. However, the Russians were the first to realize Hunza’s strategic importance. Therefore they wanted to set up a post in exchange to military training and weapons. The British considered this as a viable threat, thus they wanted to negotiate a deal with the Chinese, which did not work out, forcing the British to conquer Hunza.
Until 1870’s, the pass to reach Hunza was dangerous and treacherous. With twisty turns and a laborious trail the valley was surrounded by sharp rocky sides. However, there were garden plots adjoining the Hunza Valley and a replenishing aqueduct system was used for irrigation. The difficult path to Hunza, kept the inhabitants isolated for a long time. They had their own language known as ‘Burushaski’, customs and traditions. The people of Hunza were basically poverty ridden thus, lack of resources was imminent. Fuel for cooking and heating was severely limited, animal dung was used as a fertilizer and there were no roads or easy routes for bringing goods from any neighbouring village.
Now Hunza is divided into three regions i.e. upper, central and lower region. The majestic valley is situated in the upper region, also known as Gojal. The region is surrounded by lofty mountain peaks and glaciers. Various hotels and shops have opened to encourage tourism. The most populous region is central Hunza wherein the lower region is home to various government and private institutions.
Book your hotel accommodation and visit this century old historic yet mesmerizing valley for an enriching and enlightening experience!