Gilglit-Baltistan is a land of mountains, peaks, glaciers, lakes, rivers and full of natural beauty. More than 20 peaks over 20000 feet situated in this single province of Pakistan. K2 and Nanga Parbat are also among them. Different valleys are there, each of with its unique art, tradition and attractiveness. Hunza valley is one them located in the extreme northern side of Pakistan. I will write about places to visit in Hunza but first let us go throw a short history of this valley.
You have heard about Hunza but the actual accent of this word is (Hunzu ہنزو). In 1881, when the British army captured this area, they named valley as the Hunza in their official documents. According to historical sources, about 2500 before a very few Hunz tribe from China came and settle here. After that, they started living there. The language spoken by people of Hunza is (Burushaski بروشسکی). If you are coming directly from Islamabad it is about 602Km journey to Karimabad, Hunza. Travelling to Hunza is 99.99% safe, a number of hotels and guest house are there for tourist. Even travelling in any area of Pakistan is safe that is why Pakistan is listed in tourism country.
Valley is divided into three region currently:
1- Upper Hunza
2- Central Hunza
3- Lower Hunza
Places to visit in Hunza Valley:
2- Baltit Fort
3- Altit Fort
5- Eagle Nest
6- Attabad Lake
7- Hussaini Bridge
8- Passo Cones
10- Rush Lake
11- Borith Lake
12- Karakorum Highway
Karimabad, Hunza should be your first place to see and stay in Hunza. It is the capital of Hunza. Originally this place was known as Baltit later named it Karimabad. The Gaurdian ranked the best tourist place in Pakistan. You will find hotels where easily there Serena Inn is also located there. Popular girls Aga Khan College is at walking distance from the center.
2- Baltit Fort:
A famous fort Baltit situated at 15 minutes’ walk from center Karimbad, Hunza. According to historical data, this fort is second oldest of a valley and about 800 years old. Baltit means ‘upper side’ which is at nearly 8200 feet. Over the period of time different addition were made in the fort and the last by the British army. Until 1945, fort was used as a living residence and now fort is public property. You can enjoy views of different peaks and mountains from the top of fort like Rakaposhi, Sakardu mountains, Golden Peak, Ulter peak and lady finger peak.
3- Altit Fort:
Altit village is about 6kms from Hunza, Nagar. Altit means ‘lower side’. The well-know Altit fort is in this village. This fort was built for the security and defence purpose. In the ancient time, Silk route more familiarly known as Karakorum Highway passes throw near this village. Silk route is also known as eight wonder of the world. So, in order to keep sight on caravans of Mongols, Russians and Chinese this fort was built. The oldest monument of Gilget-Baltistan Altit Fort was built about 1100 years ago. For Rs 600/- you have to buy the pass and enjoy all the scenes along with guide.
Rakaposhi mountain is situated in between Nagar and Bagrote valley of Gilgit-Baltistan. The altitude of this mountain is 25,550 feet (7,788m). It is the 26th largest in the World and 11th largest in the Pakistan. There are different sites to hike this peek but most beautiful location passes from Pissan and Minapan. In your whole journey river Minapan will flow with you till Minapan Glacier. Most of the days in the year Rakaposhi is covered with clouds and that why also named it as ‘Mother of Mist’. Sometimes the tourist has to wait for days to sight a complete this mountain. Pack your bag to ‘Zero Point of Rakaposhi’ and enjoy adventurous journey.
5- Eagle Nest:
Watching sunset is always a satisfying moment of day either you are watching it from window or seaside. But imagine being at a height of 10000feet and covered with snowy mountains right above Karimabad valley and watching the sunset. Eagle nest view ideal point for watching the sunset. You have to book a car for about Rs4000/- to Rs5000/- it takes about 45minutes to top of peak. Proper hotels are available to spend the night near Eagle Nest Hunza Valley. So, being at good height it is finest place to enjoy the picnic in Hunza.
6- Attabad Lake:
Attabad lake was formed in the result of disaster. Land sliding in Attabad village in 2010 causes the foundation of this lake. Attabad since then is a famous tourist place for boating, jet sekiing, fishing and other enjoyment activities.
7- Hussaini Bridge:
Hussaini village is in Gojal valley more popularly known as Upper Hunza. 48Kms drive from Karimbad, Hunza. Hussaini village and Zarabad connects by this amazing Hussaini Suspension Bridge. It was built in year 1968 by the orders of President Ayub Khan. Bridge is included in the most dangerous bridges of world but I think relatively safe as on daily basis many tourist cross it and enjoy the advanture.
8- Passu Cones:
In Upper Hunza Passu Cones is situated. These mountains are a about 58Kms from Karimbad, Hunza. 20,033 (6,106m) unique shapes mountains most resemblance to cone shape. Villagers and local people named it as Tupopdan means ‘Hot Rocks’.
9- Gulmit Village (Gojal):
Gulmit village is one oldest and beautiful village of this valley. Before merging in Pakistan this village serves as the capital of Hunza valley. 54Kms drive from Karimabad. Due to its altitude of 8000 feet approximately whether here remain pleasant and cool throw out the year. Vegetables like Potatoes along with Apricots, Apples, Walnut any many other fruits increase the beauty of this village in their respective season. Walk in irrigated land covered and watching high peaks of Passu cones gives you everlasting memory of life.
10- Rush Lake:
If you are trekking lover person so why to not trek the highest altitude lake of Pakistan and 27th highest in the World. Rush lake is located near Rush Pari valley at an altitude of 15,400 feet (4,694 meters). In your whole trek a series of different mountains and peaks you will see. Once you their you will capture the panorama view of mountains take rest and forgot all your worries.
11- Borith Lake:
Another saline water lake near Hussaini Village in Upper Hunza is Borith. You have to go 2Kms throw an unpaved road even trekking or by jeep.
12- Karakorum Highway:
The Eight Wonder of the World Karakorum Highway Pakistan is constructed at the same place where earlier Silk Route passes. Karakorum Highway now is in CPEC agreement. Pakistan section is 806KMs in length starts from Abbotabad N-35 till end of Pakistan China Border Khunjerab Pass. Due to different mountain views till border of Pakistan with China this route is a famous tourist attraction.
Things to Buy from Hunza:
Different people from different region of Pakistan living in a unique way. They are enjoying their lives in every aspect. The art and culture makes them unique so when you are in any place of Pakistan first you should buy their local dresses. You will find many stores in main street of Karimabad selling tradional dresses of Hunza. Don’t miss to buy stone from there of your own zodiac sign. Unique Gems only found in those mountains. You can also buy carpets, shawls, different kind of handicrafts.
Also Read: Best Places to visit in Swat Valley