The Hunza of today is vastly different from that of long ago. The high mountains that surround my homeland have protected and preserved the beautiful Hunza, it’s traditions, culture and foods from  outside influences.  With the digital world we live in today even my mountains homeland is now only a click away from the rest of the world.

We do have, power shortages and sewerage problems but these are small factors compared to the richness of Hunza life.  We, even in this modern world live in traditional stone houses as did our forefathers before us, in family compounds, often with two or three families inhabiting the same home.  We hold our family and community values high even though our land is opening up to tourism with motels being built to meet the growing demand of the million or so tourists that travel to Hunza each year.  Tourism is bringing in much need injections of cash and the new generation of Hunzukuts are finding new ways to generate a living fro their families other than relying on the family small acreage to provide all.

We strive to uphold our traditions with arts and craft centres being built and managed by local people and groups.  The Sharma centre near Aliabad is a perfect example, where men of low intellect are given a trade and income for life, giving them pride as the produce the famous Sharma rugs.  There is a similar centre in Karimabad for women who create jewelry, shawls and tapestries.  Our traditional tapestry culture is also being kept alive by women within their homes giving them an income of their own.

The Hunza boast a literacy rate of over 90% with both boys and girls being taught equally.  Virtually every child of the new Hunza studies to at least higher school level and speak 5 languages or more with a big emphasis being put upon learning English.  A large number like myself travel beyond our homeland to attend universities and colleges in Gilgit, Islamabad, Karachi and often abroad.  Our learning can be attributed to His Royal Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan iv and his charities who have built schools for boys and girls throughout the valley.

In 2010, a landslide dammed the Hunza River flooding the upper valley and partially engulfing Ayean Abad village and creating the beautiful Attabad Lake.  At the time of the landslide it was considered a disaster but now Attabad Lake is a major tourist attraction.  With its aqua blue, mineral-rich waters, it makes for a photographers dream landscape, high mountains and colourful boats add to the picturesque scene.

Hunza has for many many years been protected by its treacherous mountain roads, but now with the construction of the KKH(Karakoram Highway), a joint venture between Pakistan and China, access to the valley and its wonders is more easily reached.  Regular bus and van services operate from Gilgit to Aliabad.  Whereas once it would take hours if not days to travel to and from Hunza to Gilgit it is now not more than an hour’s drive along a bitumen road following the contours of the mountains and river.


The present-day Hunza has a bit of both worlds the new, with its phones, computers, television and digital communications and the old, culture, dance, music, family, health and food.  Hunza is the modern day Shangri-la.