HUNZA VALLEY

Hunza Images

Monday, October 7, 2013

Hunza Valley



Hunza Valley is a mountainous valley in Gilgit in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of the Northern Areas of Pakistan. The Hunza valley is situated at an elevation of 2,438 metres (7,999 feet). The territory of Hunza is about 7,900 km² {3,050 mi²) . which is a very popular tourist destination because of the spectacular scenery of the surrounding mountains like Ladyfinger Peak, all 6000 m (19,685 ft) or higher.


HISRORY

Hunza was formerly a princely state bordering China to the North-East and Pamir to its North-West, which continued to survive until 1974, when it was finally dissolved by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. The state bordered the Gilgit Agency to the south, the former princely state of Nagar to the east.
Hunza was an independent principality for more than 900 years. The British gained control of Hunza and the neighbouring valley of Nagar between 1889 and 1892 followed by a military engagement of severe intensity. The then Thom (Prince) Mir Safdar Ali Khan of Hunza fled to Kashghar in China and sought what can be called political asylum.   
                                                              
               

Hunza river The most authentic and dependable notables and the best of oral tradition narrator of Hunza, through generations, have narrated the tale of Alexander the Great. When he conquered all the cities and countries and brought them under his sway, he finally consolidated and established his court of justice. The hordes of the armies of the king were returning through this place (Hunza Valley) from the direction of China, While this army was passing through this valley, four persons of this force Shaano, Safar, Mamoo and Fulolo fell ill. On this the commander of this Army appointed and detailed the fifth person Mughal Titam as the caretaker of this small ill group. He was tasked to look after the remaining four persons until they all had recuperated from their diseases. He was ordered that once, by the grace of God, when they all were healthy and normal they were to make efforts to reclaim and settle this valley and make it irrigable and inhabitable.

After that every horseman and the foot soldier of the rest of the passing army was ordered to contribute a fistful of barley and flour as a contribution from each man respectively, as the rations for the sustenance of these five men, It is said that the amount of barley and flour collected in this manner had lasted for next three years as rations for this group of five men. After this stop over the rest of the army left this place and marched towards Gilgit. Once this army arrived at Gilgit a commander. named as Shah Raees, was detailed and appointed to reclaim and inhabit Gilgit valley. He managed to reclaim Gilgit valley and commenced to rule this valley, It is since this period /era that the family /clan of rulers of Gilgit have been named With the title of “Raeesay”.

However the second version of this tale has been narrated thus; that when Sultan Sikander (King Alexander the great) conquered most of the countries of this side of the world and brought them under his reign, he turned towards his mother land with great pomp and show During this Journey back home when he reached the city of Babal (Babylone) he fell fatally sick. However,. before his death and while on his death bed. he equally allotted (apportioned and granted) his conquered lands among four of his trusted commanders of his army. Among them there was a commander by the name of Bakhtaria and he was the ruler of Tartaristan. After passage of a number of years this very military commander passed through this valley at the head of his army while returning from his campaign. The five above mentioned persons left behind at this place were from this army who had fallen sick and had reclaimed and inhabited this valley after they had fully recovered from their illness.

Yet another version of the "first settlers" of Hunza Valley is narrated by the ancient era oral tradition as follows: That a great revolution (of unspecified nature) occurred in the country of "Tartar" having its capital in a city called Takla Makan. This country was also known/called as "Bakhtaria" by some, and it was Inhabited by various clans and tribes; like Mughuls and Hunns. Because of the above mentioned great revaluation the people of this country were compelled and forced to flee in great numbers. it was during this large scale exodus and forced migration by the people of the Tartaristan/ Bakhtaria (Bactria) that a large group of these fleeing refugees comprising men, women and children along With their entire belongings and domestic animals passed through the present day valley to Hunza, which was during that era called and known as "Hari Yol" or "Ha Ha Yol, meaning the valley of happiness, and merry making. It was from amongst this passing group of fleeing refugees that one Mr. Mughal Titam of Mughal tribe was injured and temporarily disabled to walk as a result of his horse's kicking blows to his leg/thighs. He was therefore unable to proceed further and to undertake a long journey. Hence the leader/commander of the entire group of refugees detailed the four men, namely Messrs Safar, Shaano, Mamoo and Fulolo as the servants and caretakers of Mr. Mughal Titam and left them behind Rest of the migrating refugees group continued its march towards Gilgit Valley and on arrival reclaimed and inhabited this valley. Many of the refugees then dispersed into many other directions and Surrounding valleys.

In short; when Mr. Mughal Titam recuperated and recovered from his injury he and his four companions commenced their work to make this barren valley irrigable and inhabitable. Messrs Shaano, Safar and Mamoo remained in the company of Mughal Titam in Baltit and Mr. Fulolo made his abode in Ganish. It is said that Mughal Titam had a son by the name of Mughal Diram. This Mughal Diram had three sons, their names were; the first was Diram Pun, second Diram Budin, and the third was called Diram Muko. Following is the family tree of one of the first settlers of Hunza Valley (who was the leader):-

Mughul Diram - 1,Diram Pun (Poon) 2. Diram Budin 3. Diram Mukko

By the grace of Almighty there reached a stage and era when the children of all these three brothers grew info a large tribe, This tribe became known as "Diram hupkuyantsze" (DIRAM THAP KUYANTS). The tribe was also called as Diram Harai (DIRAM HARA'Y). This tribe ruled the remaining people of Hunza. However they remained under the sUzarainty of heirs of Shah Raees, the ruler of Gilgit.

The other four persons i.e. Shaano, Safar, Mamoo and Fulolo also had many children and offsprings and over a period of time each of them grew Into a separate whole tribe. The generations of children of Mr. Safar are called as Safar Harai (SAFAR HARA'Y) tribe. The offsprings of Mr. Shaano became known as SHAHNO KUTZS (SANO KUTS). In the present era, they are called Barataling (BARATALlNG). Their abode or village is named Shaano Kushal (SANOKUSHAL).

However Mr. Fulolo's generation did not grow into a large tribe as his subsequent generations had less offsprings Hence as of present time this family consists of a few houses settled in village Ganish However as a tradition every event of importance and festival is inaugurated and initiated from the hands of members of this noble clan even till the present day. This clan or family is called "Fulolokutzs" (FULLOLOKUTS).

Although never ruled directly by neighbouring Kashmir, Hunza was a vassal of Kashmir from the time of Maharaja Ranbir Singh of Jammu and Kashmir. The Mirs of Hunza sent an annual tribute to the Kashmir Durbar until 1947, and along with the ruler of Nagar, was considered to be among the most loyal vassals of the Maharaja of Kashmir

FIRST MUSLIM THUM

The ruling family of Hunza is called Ayeshe (heavenly), from the following circumstance. The two states of Hunza and Nager were formerly one, ruled by a branch of the Shahreis, the ruling family of Gilgit, whose seat of government was Nager. Tradition relates that Mayroo Khan, apparently the first Mohommedan Thum of Nager some 200 years after the introduction of the religion of Islam to Gilgit, married a daughter of Trakhan of Gilgit, who bore him twin sons named Moghlot and Girkis. From the former the present ruling family of Nager is descended. The twins are said to have shown hostility to one another from birth. Their father seeing this and unable to settle the question of successio, divided his state between them, giving to Girkis the north, and to Moghlot the south, bank of the river.
THUM
The traditional name for the ruler in Hunza was Thum which is also a respectful appellation used by people of both Hunza and Nager who belong to the caste of Boorish. The Shin use the term Yeshkun for the Boorish. Both Thums are still addressed as Soori, as a title of respect. This appears to be the same [in meaning] as Sri, an appellation of Lakshmi, the Hindoo goddess of wealth, commonly prefixed to the names of Hindoo princes in India, to denote their honour and prosperity. The Thum's wives are styled ghenish which is almost identical with the original Sanscrit word for mother, and their sons are called gushpoor.

GEOGRAPHY

The Hunza is situated at an elevation of 2,438 metres (7,999 feet). For many centuries, Hunza has provided the quickest access to Swat and Gandhara for a person travelling on foot. The route was impassable to baggage animals; only human porters could get through, and then only with permission from the locals.                  
                                                                           

Hunza was easily defended as the paths were often less than half a metre (about 18") wide. The high mountain paths often crossed bare cliff faces on logs wedged into cracks in the cliff, with stones balanced on top. They were also constantly exposed to regular damage from weather and falling rocks. These were the much feared "hanging passageways" of the early Chinese histories that terrified all, including several famous Chinese Buddhist monks such as Xuanzang.

CLIMATE

The temperature in May is maximum 27 °C (81 °F) and minimum 14 °C (57 °F) and October maximum is 10 °C (50 °F) and 0 °C (32 °F). Hunza's tourist season is from May to October, because in winter the Karakoram Highway is often blocked by the snow.
                                                                                        









TRANSPORT
Today, the famous Karakoram Highway crosses Hunza, connecting Pakistan to China via the Khunjerab Pass. Travelling up the valley from the south, Hunza is the land to the left, and the former state of Nagar to the right of the Hunza River. Regular bus and van services operate between Gilgit and Central Hunza (Ganish Village, Aliabad and Karimabad) and also between Gilgit and Sost Gojal. PTDC Office at Gilgit, Sost and Islamabad arranges tours and transport for visitors.



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 ARTS AND CULTURAL

Traditional music, arts and festivals were on the decline due to lack of patronage and insensitiveness towards cultural heritage. In order to transform dying traditions into economic opportunities to revive traditional music, musical instruments, folk dance and festivals. .
                                                                                    The project established a workshop to manufacture musical instruments and training instrumentalists. The project was started in Mominabad, a village of musicians who are economically and socially deprived community in Hunza and remained in the lowest class during Hunza state time. The music was their hereditary profession.
                                                                         


The Northern Areas of Pakistan are rich in different Gems, precious and semi precious stones.           
So far only raw materials are sold in down markets so the most chunk of profit goes to agents, traders, cutting and finishing people. To bring more revenue to local Hunza economy and also to attract investment in longer run it was mandatory to establish an institute which develops a cadre of technical experts in Gems sector and also paves the way for further product value addition. .
GEM CUTTING AND POLISHING CENTRE:




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