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Hunza valley
Hunza valley

Nestled close to the Chinese border, this immortalized Kingdom lends considerable age to the myths attached to it. Famous for, the longevity of its people, its `Hunza Water`, its fresh fruits, its atmosphere - for almost everything. Which of these rumours is true Hunza beckons you to find the answer yourself, and it is assured that though you face the road winding under the auspicious Rakaposhi with trepidation, you will return firmly convinced and believing in the majestic wonder that is Hunza.

Though remained important throughout known history for its strategic location, Hunza was first introduced in Europe in modern times, by British officers who traveled in the region in the 19th century. Inspired by the splendour of nature, these missions gave graphic accounts of Hunza in their travelogues and other publications and coined phrases like Shangri-La and the most spectacular mountain valley on the earth. Erec Shipton called Hunza the ultimate manifestation of mountain grandeur.

Today Hunza is a sub division of Gilgit District with 48000 population. It neighbours Chinese Xinjiang Region and Afghanistan's Wakhan Corridor in the north and runs along the

Hunza River originating from Khunjerab, Kilik, Mintika and Shimshal passes. The hospitable and friendly people of Hunza speak three different languages. The aboriginal Burushaski, spoken in central Hunza, is the main language while in lower Hunza, language spoken is Shina and Wakhi, an archaic Iranian language in upper Hunza or Gojal which is also spoken in parts of Xinjiang, Wakhan and Tajikistan. The legendary toughness and vegetarian diet of Hunzukuts, has perhaps contributed to the myth of their longevity.

Hunza was an independent state until 1891 when British colonized it. However it remained autonomous in its internal affairs until 1974 when this mountain princely state was abolished and merged with administration of Northern Areas. Spectacular Ganish,Altit and Baltit forts that stand guard depict its centuries old history. Baltit For has been recently opened to visitors after renovation with a collection of local antiques and artifacts displayed in its museum. Baltit renamed as Karimabad, is the capital of former state with commanding views of entire central Hunza. Its terraced fields lining poplar trees, apricot and apple orchards and irrigation channels along with awe-inspiring views of Rakaposhi, Diran, Golden, Ultar Peaks, present the most magnificent combination of natural and men made beauty.

The perpetual glacier of Rakaposhi on the opposite side gives a majestic appearance and adds thrill of delight that belongs to Hunza. Once in Hunza you can explore the beauty of nature and mythical legends of Hunzokuts walking in the village and trekking to some of its spectacular meadows and glaciers.

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