Hunza in People

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Hunza is a fairy tale land and a lot of myth and reality has been associated to it. One thing is true of all that Hunza people are probably the most friendly people in the region. In the past it was quite common to see people crossing 100 and more years this indeed is true and can still be seen to some extent however the modern civilization has changed a lot in this valley of the longativity.


The Hunza people, or Hunzakuts are people who have lived centuries in their very own isolated valleys. They speak 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 could have come from Chilas, Gilgit, and other Shina-speaking areas of Pakistan many centuries ago.

 
The Hunzakuts and the region of Hunza have one of the highest literacy rates as compared to other similar districts in Pakistan due to the interest of His Higness Karim Aga Khan whom most of the Hunzakuts follow as their spritual leader.

Local legend states that Hunza may have been associated with the lost kingdom of Shangri La which was mentioned in the Novel of James Hilton "The Lost Horizon". The people of Hunza are by some noted for their exceptionally long life expectancy, others describe this as a longevity myth and cite a life expectancy of 53 years for men and 52 for women, although with a high standard deviation.

The Broshuski or 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 and Macedonia

The local Burusho legend says that the people of Hunza descend from the village of Baltit, 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. In 1996 an ex-patriate Macedonian linguist attempted to demonstrate a link between Burushaski and the modern, Macedonian language, and told the Hunza about the modern state of Republic of Macedonia. His proposed linguistic connection has not been accepted by other linguists, and 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 They were greeted by the Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski and heads of the church, but the opposition dismissed the visit as populism. This political support of a connection with the Hunza parallels Greek relations with the neighboring Kalash people of Pakistan, who also claim Alexandran ancestry. The issue may thus have more to do with nationalism and the Macedonia naming dispute than with the Burusho themselves

Here is an Exert from the Book "An Ethnohistorical Dictionary of China" By James Stuart Olson

BURUSHO. The Burushos also known as Hunzus, Hunzukuts, and Burushaskis are a mountain people who live primarily in Hunza State and Nagir State in Pakistan. They live in deep valleys and gorges cut by the Hunza River and its tributaries, Currently, the population of the Burushos exceeds 60,000 people. Some live across the Pakistani-Chinese frontier in the immediate border region of Tibet. Ethnolinguists are unable to classify the Burusho language. but it is divided into two dialects that reflect Burusho locations in I-lunza and Nagir. Burusho legend claims that they descend from three European soldiers left behind when the armies of Alexander the Great began their retreat from the region. Each of these soldiers founded a viIlage?Ba]tir. Ganesh, and Altit- and all Burushos claim to descend from the peoples of one of these villages. Burushos live in heavily fortified villages constructed 9.000 or 10,000 feet in altitude and hundreds of feet above the Hunza River gorge. Most Burushos are subsistence farmers who plant their crops in carefully attended terraced fields, Their major crops are potatoes. beans, wheat, barley, millet, rye, buckwheat, rice, and a variety of fruits and vegetables. They also raise cattle, goats, sheep, and chickens, and they continue to hunt to supplement their diets. Burusho society revolves around four major patrilineal clans. all of them located in the city of Baltit, and several minor clans distributed widely through- out the region. The four major Burusho clans are the Buroongs,* the Diramitings.* the Baratilangs,"? and the Khurukuts.* In addition to the clan system, Burusho society is divided into live classes, including the Thamos. the royal family; the Uyongko and Akabirting, who lil] most government posts; the Bar, Bare. and Sis groups, who farm the land; the Baldakuyos and '1`silgalashos, who are teamsters and carriers for other groups; and the Berichos, who are ethnic Indians. The Baldakuyos and Tsilgalashos are the Burushos most likely to {ind their way across the border into China because they help transport commodities along the Pakistanti-Chinese trade routes. Burushos are virtually all Muslims of the Ismaili tradition. They look to the Aga Khan as their spiritual leader. They are less likely than other Pakistani Muslims to observe their daily prayers, fast during Ramadan, and regularly attend the local mosque.

For centuries, the l-Iunza Valley in the Karakoram Range was one of the most isolated territories of the world. ln 197*8, however, Chinese and Pakistani work- ers completed construction of the Karakoram Highway, which cut directly through the Hunza Valley, linking up the region to commercial trade routes between Pakistan and the People`s Republic of China. The total Burusho pop- ulation today totals only approximately 60,0lI] people. of which only a few hundred live at the end of the Karakoram Highway in China. SUGGESTED READING5: J. T. Clark, "Hunza in the Himalayas: Storicd Shangri-La Undergoes Scrutiny." Natura! Htstmjv 72 (l963l. 38-45: David Larimer. The- Burushaski Language. 1938; John McCarry, "High Road to Hunza," National Geographic l85 {March l994). ll4??34; Hugh R. Page. Jr., "Burushos." in Paul V. I-lockings. ed., The Eucyrlripedia of World Cultures. vol. 3. South Asia. 199l. 

Hotels in Hunza
  • Hunza Baltit Inn Hunza
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  • Hunza Baltit Inn Hunza
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  • PTDC Motel Sust Hunza
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