HUNZA (APP) – Standing atop the 700-years old Baltit Fort which overlooks a large swathe of spectacular landscape of Karimabad beneath, a visitor is spell bound with the mysterious whispers of cool pleasant gusts of winds trying to convey in softer tones the untold tidbits of centuries old tales of valour, hospitality, magnanimity and typical game of thrones tussle.
The ever-blowing breeze heavily laden with scents of seasonal fruits and floral permeates in an impalpable way through the Hunza valley at the elevation of about 8,200 feet. The pristine valley
is circled by the serpentine Hunza river flows pensively though at times splashes its might at the heels of mighty mountains like Ultar Sar, Hunza Peak, Passu Peak and miraculous pointing Ladyfinger Peak etc, which can serve an ideal sojourn for the inquisitive souls who ‘want to drink the last dregs
of adventurous life.’
The drive to the scenic valley from Gilgit city took about one and half hour on a perfectly laid down NHA macadamized road, meandering through the craggy and leviathan like mountains with all shapes, sizes and shades hugging each other and certainly holding back the untold stories of yonder past when the caravans used to tread the old Silk Route (Shahrah e Raisham), stretches of which are still visible running parallel at the feet of mountainous region on the opposite side of the modern day route.
After entering the main venue in Karimabad, a visitor finds himself or herself in the midst of a mono bazaar with ascending level height leading to the Baltit Forte. The small shops cater to the needs of casual visitors with traditional items ranging from variety of precious stones to warm wooly apparel especially for womenfolk.
“We sell the locally dug up precious stones, besides the imported gems from China. A connoisseur can easily discern their genre while the rest of the visitors depend upon our knowledge regarding significance of each ring stone in one’s life cycle,” replied Mujeeb Karim, an owner of small shop.
The local populace admirable for their genteel and affectionate looks, envious characteristic of a race that rightly boost of being descendents of a royal race, feel joyous over the return of visitors in large numbers recently. Zafar Ali, a senile elder squatting on a stony bulwark with other fellows,
comments that they have seen unprecedented groups of tourists during Eid ul Fitr holidays and hopes that the trend will continue in the future.
“We warmly welcome all the incomers and would feel satisfied by extending hospitality as the guests are always a beacon of good fortune,” a streak of smile appears on his otherwise sturdy looks.
Deputy Commissioner Hunza, Burhan Afandi informed that according to a data about 20,000 tourists alone thronged Karimabad during Eid ul Fitr holidays. “Such an inflow of tourists will bolster the hotel industry and other business for the local people,” he opined. The owners of hotels like Rupal Inn also witnessed ‘a peak season load’ as they were full to the capacity with visitors arriving mainly from Punjab and Sindh provinces.
A tourist with ready-to-go approach will find himself or herself short of breathes, gasping on the uphill pavements leading to Baltit Fort through narrow alleys with sights of old ladies, having thick layers of wrinkles on their faces and hands and casting occasional looks on the passersby but without distracting from their daily business of weaving clothes or sorting out grains in front of their centuries old abodes of stones and wood.
A visit to the historic Baltit Fort of Mir of Hunza is an exhilarating experience, centuries old wooden stairs unravels the mysterious centuries-old dungeon, weaponry, rare photographs of ruling family, and other household items.
Other attractions for the tourists are the Altit Fort of the same ruling family with famous Shikari tower estimated to be 1000 years old and its lies at the closer proximity to the main bazaar. The Haldeikish sacred rocks located on left bank of Hunza River near the Karakoram Highway have historic engraving dating back to 1st millenium AD.
While the mother of mist Rakaposhi always stands tall with about 6000 meters height and its snow covered head like white headed sage appears to merge with the overhanging sky.
From its feet gushes a cascade of clamour and sound in the shape of fresh crystal cool water which soothes the minds boggle with the modern hectic chores.
The visitors can have snaps and of course, the aroma arising out of simmering traditional cup of tea, will not turn you into a spend thrift rather an additional recreation to memorize the fleeting moments of hitting the road in this remote region.
Upward, the rowing in Atta Abad lake can be an envious experience, making one to impress his fellas as being the ‘privileged one’ who bears witness to the diversity of nature which forms such spectacles to ‘load our life from time to time’. The travel in the recently constructed five tunnels alongside the Atta Abad lake with the Chinese assistance will also be a joyful experience.