Wednesday, July 8, 2009


The Burusho or Brusho people live in the Hunza, Nagar, and Yasin valleys of northern Pakistan. There are also over 300 Burusho living in Srinagar, India. They are predominantly Muslims. Their language, Burushaski, has not been shown to be related to any other. They have an East Asian genetic contribution, suggesting that at least some of their ancestry originates north of the Himalayas.

The Hunza people, or Hunzakuts, descend from the principality of Hunza. They live alongside the Wakhi and the Shina. The Wakhi reside in the upper part of Hunza locally called Gojal. Wakhis also inhabit the bordering regions of China, Tajikstan and Afghanistan and also live in Gizar and Chitral district of Pakistan. The Shina-speaking people live in the southern part of Hunza. They have come from Chilas, Gilgit, and other Shina-speaking areas of Pakistan.

The Hunzakuts and the region of Hunza has one of the highest literacy rates as compared to other similar districts in Pakistan. Hunza is a major tourist attraction in Pakistan, and many Pakistani as well as foreign tourist travel to the region to enjoy the picturesque landscape and stunning mountains of the area. The district has many modern amenities and is quite advanced by Asian standards. Local legend states that Hunza may have been associated with the lost kingdom of Shangri La. The people of Hunza are by some noted for their exceptionally long life expectancy, others describe this as a longevity narrative and cite a life expectancy of 53 years for men and 52 for women, although with a high standard deviation.

The Hunza and Macedonia

Burusho legend maintains that they descend from the village of Baltir, which had been founded by a soldier left behind from the army of Alexander the Great—a legend common to much of Afghanistan and northern Pakistan. However, genetic evidence only supports a Balkan genetic component in the Afghan Pashtun,not the Burusho. Nonetheless, in 2008 the Republic of Macedonia organized a visit by Hunza Prince Ghazanfar Ali Khan and Princess Rani Atiqa as descendants of the Alexandran army, part of the post-independence nationalist ideology of the ruling party. They were greeted by the Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski and heads of the church. Academics dismiss the idea as pseudoscience, and doubts exist that party leaders actually believe the claims either. This political support of a connection with the Hunza parallels earlier Greek relations with the neighboring Kalash people of Pakistan, who also claim Alexandran ancestry.

People of Hunza

People of Hunza

As much as the valley is famous for its beauty, the people of Hunza are noted for their friendliness and hospitality. The local languages spoken are Burushaski, Wakhi and Shina, many people understand Urdu. The literacy rate of the Hunza valley is believed to be more than 90%. Virtually every child of the new generation studies up to at least high school level. Many pursue higher studies from prestigious colleges and Universities of Pakistan and abroad.

Most of the people of Hunza are Ismaili Shia Muslims, followers of His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan IV, while in Ganish Village more than 90% are Shia Muslims. The Hunza region is home to people of three ethnicities:

* The Lower Hunza area - (from khizerabad to Nasirabad is mainly inhabited by the Shinaki people who are Shina speakers;
* The Central Hunza area - (from Murtazaabad to Ahmed Abad) is mainly inhabited by Burushaski speakers.
* The Upper Hunza area, known as Gojal - (from Shiskat to Khunjerab is mainly populated by Wakhi speakers;

The majority of the people are Ismaili Shia Muslims who are followers of the Aga Khan. The present Aga Khan IV has provided a lot of funding for the area to help with agriculture and the local economy through the Aga Khan Development Network.

Hunza valley consists of many small villages. The first village is Khizerabad. The people of the Hunza valley had an amazing average lifespan of 160 prior to the early 20th century. This group of people were highly associated with nature, especially regarding dieting habits and lifestyle. They highly acknowledged the apricot seed, using it as currency. The women would squeeze out the liquid of the seeds, and spread it over their foreheads, eliminating their wrinkles even at an extraordinary age. Unfortunately with more contact to the outside world, the Hunzus' average lifespan increasingly dropped, due to different ideas and lifestyle their group was obtaining from other peoples. The Hunzu valley is frequently referred to as Shangri La, and is also known as "The Valley Where you Live Forever"

Baltit Fort

Baltit Fort

In former times survival of the feudal regimes of Hunza was ensured by the impressive Baltit fort, that sit on top of Karimabad. The foundations of the fort are said to date back around 700 years, but there have been rebuilds and alterations over the centuries. In the 16th century the Thum married a princess from Baltistan who brought master Balti craftsmen to renovate the building as part of her dowry. The architectural style is a clear indication of Tibetan influence in Baltistan at the time.

Historical Background

In olden times a number of small independent states existed in the history of Northern Areas of Pakistan. Among them Hunza and Nager were the traditional rival states, situated on opposite sides of the Hunza (kanjut) river. The rulers of these two states, known as Th?mo / Mirs (Th?m=S), built various strongholds to express their power. According to historical sources (Ref: Tarikh-e-Ehd Atiiq Riyasat Hunza by Haji Qudrarullah Baig, Pub: S.T.Printers Rawalpindi 1980 Pakistan), the Hunza rulers initially resided in the Altit Fort, but later as a result of a conflict between the two sons of the ruler Sultan, Shah Abbas (Sh?boos) and Ali Khan (Aliqh?n), Shaboos shifted to the Baltit Fort, making it the capital seat of Hunza. The power struggle between the two brothers eventually resulted in the death of younger one, and so Baltit Fort further established itself as the prime seat of power in the Hunza state.

The rich beauty of Baltit Fort can be traced to over seven hundred 700 years ago. Ayasho II, Tham / Mir of Hunza in the early 15th fifteenth century married Princess Shah Khatoon (Sha Qhatun) from Baltistan (In Moghul history Baltistan is called Tibet Khurd mean, little Tibet), and was the first to modify the face of Altit and, subsequently Baltit Fort. Baltistan meaning land of Balti people had a very strong cultural and ethnical relation with the Ladakh territory of India then. Consequently, the structure of Baltit Fort was influenced by the Ladakhi / Tibetan architecture, with some resemblance to the Potala Palace in Lhasa. Then additions, renovations and changes to the building were being made through the centuries by the long line of rulers of the Hunza that followed.

A veritable treasure house for ancient forts, the Northern Areas of Pakistan lost most of its glorious built heritage around the 19th century as a result of the destructive attacks by the Maharaja of Kashmir. However, in this regard people of Hunza were exceptionally fortunate to successfully defend against the invasions of Maharaja Kashmir four times. One of the biggest changes in the structure of Baltit Fort came with the invasion of the British in December 1891. Tham / Mir Safdarali Khan, ruler of Hunza his wazir Dadu (Thara Baig III), fled to Kashgar (China) for political asylum with their fellows and families. With the conquest of Hunza and Nager states by the British forces in December 1891, the fortified wall and watch towers of the old Baltit village and watch towers of the Baltit Fort on its north-western end were also demolished as desired by the British authorities. The British installed his younger brother Tham / Mir Sir Muhammad Nazim Khan K.C.I.E, as the ruler of Hunza state in September 1892 [1].

During his reign, Tham / Mir Nazeem Khan made several major alterations to the Baltit Fort. He demolished a number of rooms of third floor and added a few rooms in the British colonial style on the front elevation, using lime wash and colour glass panel windows. The Baltit Fort remained officially inhabited until 1945, when the last ruler of Hunza, Mir Muhammad Jmamal Khan, moved to a new palace further down the hill, where the present Mir of Hunza Mir Ghazanfar Ali Khan (Current Chief Executive of Northern Areas) and his family are residing.

With no proper authority entrusted to care for it, the Fort was exposed to the ravages of time and over the years its structure weakened and began to deteriorate. His Highness Aga Khan IV initiated the restoration efforts for Baltit Fort in 1990, when Mir Ghazanfar Ali Khan the son of last ruler of Hunza, Tham / Mir Muhammad Jamal Khan and his family generously donated the Fort to the Baltit Heritage Trust, a public charity formed for the explicit purpose of owning and maintaining the Fort. The restoration undertaken by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture in Geneva in association with the Aga Khan Cultural Service Pakistan (Pakistan), took six years to complete. The project was supported by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture as the main donor through its Historic Cities Support Programme, as well as by the Getty Grant Program (USA), NORAD (Norway) and the French Government.

The restored Fort, resplendent in its regal glory was inaugurated on September 29, 1996 in the presence of His Highness the Aga Khan IV and the president of Pakistan Farooq Ahmad Khan Laghari. It is now operated and maintained by the Baltit Heritage Trust and is open to visitors. Preservation at its best, the Baltit Fort serves as a perfect example of culture restored and preserved for the future generations of the mountain people.

Altit Fort

Altit Fort

Altit Fort is an ancient fort above Karimabad in the Hunza valley in the Northern Areas of Pakistan. It was home to the hereditary rulers of the Hunza state who took the title Mir. Today Altit Fort is a tourist site. The Altit Fort was in great disrepair, but is currently being restored by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture Historic Cities Support Programme.
Altit Hunza remained the capital village of Hunza for 800 years in history.this is a cultural village where mostly cultural activities can be ancient time Bo faw(Wheat spreading)festival Ginani Festival and other festivals were celebrated with zeal and zest in this village.

The history of Altit Fort is interesting.Although in ancient time the rulers of this area were not so much rich,but the diginity was there due to rulers.In this situation a princes namely shah khatoon who was the daughter of abdullah khan from Bultistan ruling family got married with a prince of Hunza. that time tha situation of Hunza was very poor even Rulers also.The people who were come with princes told the poor situation of that time of Hunza.Shamim baltistani says that this was happend in 1442.while the date of construction also written on the main gate of fort in sasecret languge,but now people can not read this language.I was talking about the construction of Altit fort,yes when these people discribed the situation infront of abdullah khan ruler of Baltistan who determined to build a glorious house for his daughter.Shah khatoon herself also felt the dearth of residence,So on the request of shah khatoon her father abdullah khan sent a famous construction master namily Alio from baltistan with some experts of construction means labores. some people says the total number of these were 60 and some says more than hundred.Who start this construction work on a rock and complete it in three years.Due to use of material in the form of mud and stones a big water tank which is called Fari in local language came in to existance.Up to60 years before this Fari was exsisted on a wast area atleast 5 cannals but now it has shrinked by people due to lack of cultivated land.Now this water tank Fari has been repeared by AKCSP in the time of Ayashoo ruling families last Raja (Ruler) shifted this residence to Baltit.Although there was also a fort Baltit Fort was there, divided families of Raja were living there.No one look after of this Fort its distruction was started At the moment AKCSP take resposibility of this Fort,Now renevation work is in progress.We hope this fort will complete with in few years.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Gasherbrum Peak 1 2 3 4

Gasherbrum 1 Peak ( 8,068 M )

These four peaks are in Sequence 1st K-2 8611m, Broad Peak 8047m, 3rd Gasherbrum II 8035m, 4th is Gasherbrum I 8068m, these peaks are surrounded by Baltoro Kangari /Golden Throne, 7422m and Sherpi Kangari 7380m.
This peak situated opposite Golden thrown or Baltoro Kangari, on the North west of Baltoro glacier beside G-IV- and G-I. Its approach for Skardu-Dassu –Askoli –Johla –Paiyu-Lilgo –Urdukas –Goro Concordia –Bae camp of Gasherbrum II 8035m.
Goodwin Austen, who visited this area in 1858, with his surveying party, he got a huge Knowledge about this area and put them in the map.

Gasherbrum II Peak ( 8,035 M )

Goodwin Austen, who surveyed this area in 1861 with the other survey party Mintugmerri from the British army, they crossed different passes and reached to Shimshall valley, Hunza and the Ladak area.
In 1934 an international, Himalaya expedition of G.O Dyurent furth a German American Geologist, climber and winner of 1936 Gold Medal visited the area after doing photographic work, they attempt the summit and became the first climbers. The route adopted by the party passed through Siri Nagar Zoji Pass, Drass, and along-Johla –Paiyu –Baltoro glacier.
In 1956 an Austrian expedition team arrived in Pakistan to climb G-II 8035m, Peak to approach was not so easy but they managed to reach the base camp passing through Skardu, Shigar-Thongal –Johla –Paiyu-Urdukas-Goro –Concordia –Base camp.

Gasherbrum III Peak ( 7,952 M )

Gasherbrum III is situated between Gasherbrum II and IV and has a height of 7,952m/26,089ft. It was the highest unclimbed peak up to 1974, before a polish ladies expedition, under the leadership of Mrs. Wanda Rutkiewics, climbed it on the 11th August, 1975. The leader, along with Alison Chadwick, Janusz Onyszkiewicz and K. Zdzitowiecki, reached the top. The party claims that it was an all ladies expedition. The claim of which has not been authenticated

Gasherbrum IV Peak ( 7925 M )

Gasherbrum IV With an elevation of 7,929 meters (26,014 ft), is referred to as the most beautiful peak in the Karakoram. It is located in the Baltistan region and the best climbing months can be July and August. Gasherbrum IV is ranked 17 in the world and was first climbed on August 6th 1958.

Hunza Mountains

Rakaposhi Peak 7885 M

Towering over the green and fertile oasis of the Hunza Valley are the ice ridges and peaks of one of the Himalayan giants, Rakaposhi (7788m). Two rewarding and contrasting treks combined with a breathtaking ride up the Karakoram Highway provide a classic Pakistan experience
Dumani /Rakaposhi which is the local name, the shining wall, Rakaposhi lies half way of Nagar from Gilgit town on the right edge of the Karakorum highway at the left bank of Nagar River.
It is one o the magnificent peak in the world. The peak dominates the horizon and is constantly visible from the Karakorum highway, it looks so beautiful that the first ever glance at it inspires charms and lures an on looker to be in its abode, it is also one of the easy accessible peak being lying on the Karakorum highway.
Famous glacier valleys, like, Biro, Barpu, Bagrot and Pissan surround the peak, it has 3 faces to climb, from South east face biro glacier Goglot Goh, valley from North West Pissan glacier from west Ghulmet face which is a long route to reach to the main summit.
Technically it begins with ice and later on with rock steep and over hung walls, only easy from Juglot side from which several expeditions got on the summit.
In 1938 it was explored by British India with a German man R Campbell Scord who have scaled a small peak of Rrakaposhi group 6858m that was first attempt of Rakaposhi group from Juglot Nala.
The 2nd attempt was by RCF Schaumburg in 1946 –47 reached up to 6096m. RCF Schaumburg a famous explorer of Karakorum and Himalaya from British India.
It was 1954 the German Austrian climbers tried Mount Rakaposhi but they couldn’t find an easy route, in the same time another expedition from Cambridge University attempt a small peak ranging 6340m.
In 1958 British Pakistan combined expedition climbed Rakaposhi and valid the medal of Pride. Two of the members Gol Frost bite one has died, with hard injuries. It depends to the climbers climbing experiences and physical fitness to choose routs.

Ultar Peak (7388 M)

Ultar Peak is situated in the Batura groups of mountains the Karakorum range, which starts from Chalt village Bar valley to Kampir Dior in Kurumbar valley, which cuts Pamir Hindu Kush ranges from Karakorum, These beautiful mountain lies in center Hunza region 113 km, from Gilgit and 715 km from the capital city of Islamabad. The surrounding peaks are ladyfinger, Marble Peak, Harchinder Peak -Passu Peak-Diran- and other famous peaks. The surrounding glaciers are Attabad -Ultar, Hussan Abad and Batura.Technically its known hard steady, ice and rock falls, over hanging rocks and sheer Ice, crevasses, Sharp ridges. It was attempted by many expedition in the past, but all of them were failed, the only expedition from Japan, who climbed this peak in 1997.

Diran Peak ( 7266 M )

This peak is situated between Rakaposhi & Haramosh Massif of karakurom Range one of the most beautiful Mountain in Nagar valley with easy climb of snow dome.
This peak has a reputation sitting beside the Rakaposhi and Haramosh high peaks which surrounded by Minapin Barpu Boulter glacier, it offer a panoramic view to the Hunza valley. Accessible from Gilgit on KKH to minapin-Gultens-Hapakum- B.Camp. to the pasture land on a beautiful meadow with Extra ordinary view for the green land of Nagar valley, the down hill of villages gives the picture seek view of agricultural fields orchard.
In 1968 the three member of Austrian Expedition attempted Diran, and they have got on the summit successful. They found Hidden crevasses and high snow Domes on the Northwest ridge.
In 1964 another Austrian Expedition tried to get on the summit from Northwest face the couldn’t succeeded, the bad weather effect them, no injuries has happened.
Technically it is known difficult because the ice walls and hidden crevasses or the heavy soft snow.

Passu Peak (7284 M)

Passu peak situated at the extreme west of Batura Mouztagh at upper Hunza beyond Passu village about one hundred km beyond the china border and 150 km from Gilgit its on the Karakorum high way clearly visible, the surrounding peaks are Batura-I 7885m Shisper 7619m, Balter peak 7400m Kampir Deyor peak 7611m.
It lies between Batura glacier the 6th longest glacier of the world, Passu glacier, Ghulkin glacier, Kamaris glacier.

K-2 / Chogari,

K-2 / Chogari

K-2, "mountain of mountains," as referred to by Reinhold Messer in the account of his 1979 ascent of this giant, is 8611 m. high.

K-2 is located in the heart of the Karakoram Range and can be seen in its entirety from Concordia. This sublime pyramid sits at the head of the Godwin Austin Glacier which unites with a second glacier at Concordia to form the mighty Baltoro Glacier.

Galen Rowell described Concordia as the "throne room of the mountain Gods" after viewing the exceptional mountain needles ripping open the clouds in blue expanse from the 5000 m. floor. Four peaks above 8000 m. sit within a radius of only 21 km. from Concordia, honoring this site with the largest concentration of the highest peaks on earth.

journey to the second highest mountain in the world begins with an flight to Pakistan's capital, Islamabad. One night is spent in Islamabad to obtain trekking permits and then it's off to Skardu. Weather permitting, we will fly to Skardu; otherwise, we will travel by road.

The mountain flight offers fantastic views as the plane follows the Indus River Valley and brushes past the ninth highest mountain in the world, Nanga Parbat. Looking out the aircraft window one sees a vast ocean of peaks stretching endlessly into the horizon. This area exemplifies "continents in collision" with four of the world's greatest mountain ranges (Himalaya, Karakoram, Hindukush and Pamir) emerging below.

Don't fret if bad weather bars this magnificent plane ride for the drive to Skardu over the famous Karakoram Highway (KKH, the old silk route) is just as spectacular. The drive takes two days with an overnight near Gilgit.

Skardu (2500 m.) is the capital of Baltistan and gateway to the high peaks of Northern Pakistan. After purchasing supplies and an overnight rest in Skardu we will proceed by jeeps as far as the track is passable towards Askolie. Askolie is located at 3300 m. and is the last village before reaching K-2.

Beyond Askolie is complete wilderness consisting of glaciers spouting the beginnings of rivers with mountain guards of unimaginable heights lining their beds. From Askolie we begin the walk taking two to three days to reach Paiyu Campsite (3666 m.) situated under the majestic Paiyu Peak (6660 m.) with the tip of the 58 km. long Baltoro Glacier visible in the distance.

The next stage of our journey takes us over the Baltoro Glacier to our destination, Concordia. The walk on the Baltoro provides one with ultimate mountain scenery with such well known mountains as Masherbrum (7852 m.), Uli Biaho Tower (6190 m.), Trango Towers (6300 m.), the Grand Cathedral (5228 m.) and Muztagh Tower (7273 m.) shooting up from this immense highway with sheer vertical lines that defy reality.

After four to five days we will reach 4691 m. at Concordia. Here one is encircled by Marble Peak, K-2 (8611 m.), Broad Peak (8047 m.), Gasherbrum Group, Golden Throne (7312 m.), Chogolisa (7654 m.) and Mitre Peak (6038 m.). Indeed, this is "Throne room of the mountain gods." We will spend two to three days at Concordia and then begin our return to Askole via the same route. Upon reaching the lush green fields of Askolie a walk ends and a new way of viewing our earthly existence begins.