karakoram highway tourist attractions
Posted in City Breaks Gilgit-Baltistan Roads & Highways

Karakoram Highway Tourist Attractions

The Karakorum Highway (KKH), N-35, is the greatest wonder of the modern world. The highway is also dubbed as the 8th wonder of the world. It is a human determination and ingenuity and considered a great feat of engineering by Chinese and Pakistani workers. It runs along the Indus for 310 kilometers and leaves the Indus at the Junction of three mountain ranges for Gilgit, Hunza, and Khunjerab rivers to take on the Karakoram range where 12 out of 30 highest mountains in the world overlook the KKH. The Karakoram Highway tourist attractions are worldly known and there is no other highway in the world crowned with such rich attractions.

The 1300 kilometers (800 miles) long KKH originates from Hassan Abdal, a historic city some 45 kilometers from Islamabad on the Islamabad – Peshawar Highway. The asphalt ribbon runs through the cities of Abbottabad, Manshera, crosses the River Indus at Thakot, on to Gilgit through rugged mountains of Besham, Pattan, and Sazin and Chilas, and snakes through Hunza and Sost before crossing the Khunjerab Pass at 4,733 meters (15,750ft). The Khunjerab top is also named as Zero Point between Pakistan and China. The highway then enters the high Central Asian plateau before winding down through the Pamirs to Kashgar, at the western edge of the Taklamakan Desert.

The Karakoram Highway is crowned with a huge number of attractions ranging from ancient rock carvings and petroglyphs, natural beauty, and manmade marvels. Major attractions along the Karakoram Highway include:

Ashoka Rocks Mansehra

ashoka rocks mansehra
ashoka rocks mansehra

The three granite boulders bearing 14 edicts engraved by order of the Mauryan King Ashoka in the 3rd century BC are located on the north side of the town of Mansehra. The inscription bearing Kharoshti script is fading away and almost impossible to see despite the shelters to protect.

Petroglyphs in Chilas

Petroglyphs in Chilas
Petroglyphs in Chilas

The town of Chilas is surrounded by striking petroglyphs and are easy to access. The jeep bridge leading to Thalpan is the ‘Chilas I’ site with inscriptions found on both sides of the KKH. The most striking art is found on the large stupa bearing banners flying. And across the river, there are boulders bearing art of mythical animals, battle scenes, royal lineages, and Buddhist tales. The ‘Chilas II’ site near the police check post on the KKH, less than 1km down the jeep track, is a huge rock bearing hunting and battle scenes and Buddhist stupa, the long-horned ibex, symbols of fertility, and elusive trophy animals.

Fairy Meadows and Nanga Parbat

The Karakoram Highway
The Karakoram Highway

About 80 km short of Gilgit placed the Thakot Bridge on the Karakoram Highway which is also the place of departure for Fairy Meadows and Nanaga Parbat (the Killer Mountain) base camp. There are several places along the Karakoram Highway and Thalechi viewpoint is a designated point to make a short stopover to enjoy superb views of Nanga Parbat.

Partab Bridge

Partab bridge
Partab bridge

The Partab Bridge (Pul, in urdu), located at about 40 km southeast of main Gilgit city near the Junction Point of Three Mountain Ranges on the KKH, served as a major source of communication for the entire region. It was built to connect Gilgit with Bunji, Astore and Kashmir, years before the construction of the Karakoram Highway (KKH). The bridge was named after Maharaja Partab Singh, Maharaja of Kashmir in the 1890s.

The suspension bridge was constructed during 1889 and 1893 by a British agent named Col Algernon Durand who also inaugurated it and was used mainly for defense and trade. However, during the revolt of 1947 when Gilgit won its independence from Dogra raj, it was burnt down. Later it was rebuilt but again it had nearly collapse from a decade long neglect and was rebuilt after 2010 floods.

Junction Point of Three Mountain Ranges

Junction Point of three mountain ranges
Junction Point of three mountain ranges

The junction point of three mountain ranges is situated near Jaglot on the Karakoram Highway (KKH), only 40 km southeast of Gilgit, Pakistan. It is here that the world’s three famous mountain ranges – the Karakoram (the black gravel), the Himalaya (home of snow), and the Hindukush (the killer of Hindus) – make a knot popularly known as the “Junction Point of the world’s three mountain ranges”. This exclusive site also serves as the junction of Gilgit and Indus Rivers and the Skardu road branches out from the KKH near this place.

Uprising Memorial Gilgit

The Uprising Memorial is the final resting place of local heroes who rose against the Maharaja in 1947. The local heroes Mohammed Babar Khan and Safiullah Beg of the Gilgit Scouts, and Mirza Hassan Khan of the Kashmir Infantry. Through a rebellion, these heroes were able to emancipate Gilgit-Baltistan by arresting Governor Ghansara Singh on Nov 01 from the Maharaja of Kashmir.

The Victory Monument of Taj Mughal

Victory monument of Taj Mughal
Victory monument of Taj Mughal

The 700 years old Victory Monument of Taj Mughal is a commemorative tower, measuring 21’-10” high and 14’-4” wide, located on a mountain lap in Gilgit town, Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan. The monument was named after Taj-ud-Din Mughal, an Ismaili ruler from Badakhshan, who came to Gilgit -Baltistan during the 13th century AD. The Taj Mughal monument was built by his soldiers to celebrate his victory.

Danyore Suspension BridgeDanyore Suspension Bridge

The Danyore Suspension Bridge near Gilgit is one of the oldest suspension bridges in Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan. The 510 ft long bridge has served as a source of commute to the people otherwise had to take the local raft or a detour to travel to Gilgit city – the administrative headquarter and the capital of Gilgit-Baltistan, formerly northern areas. It is now serving as one of the major tourist attractions in Gilgit-Baltistan used only by the pedestrians and motorcyclists.

Danyore Rock Inscription

Danyore Rock Inscriptions1
Danyore Rock Inscriptions1

The Danyore Rock Inscriptions is a gigantic boulder bearing inscriptions from the 7th and 8th centuries A.D. The inscription is the most important discovery of Danyor and was seen for the first time by Karl Jettmar in 1958. The inscribed rock is situated in the premises of a private house in Danyore, across Gilgit city in Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan and is locally known as “Likhitu Giri”. The archaeological site is not very much popular and known only to a limited count of individuals/organizations related to archaeology and tourism.

Chinese Graveyard Danyore

Chinese Graveyard
Chinese Graveyard

Locally known as China Yadgar, the Chinese graveyard (The memorial Park) is the final resting place of mighty Chinese engineers and workers who sacrificed their lives during construction of the mighty Karakoram Highway (KKH) in the 1960s and 1970s. The cemetery is located in Danyore, about 10 km across main Gilgit town – the capital city of Gilgit-Baltistan in Pakistan. To be exact, the graveyard can be accessed in the residential area on the KKH, adjacent to Sehat Foundation Hospital.

Memorial Monument on the KKH

Memorial monument on the KKH

Memorial monument on the KKH

At a distance of about 35 km from Gilgit, on the main Karakoram Highway, a monument bearing the symbol of a Drilling Machine has been erected in memory of the brave people who lost their lives during the construction of the Karakoram Highway. The monument reads:

MEMORIAL 103 EB (Engineering Battalion)

In memory of their gallant men who proffered to make the Karakorams their permanent abode.

There shall be-

In that rich soil a richer dust conceals.

1966-1972

Silk Route segments

Running parallel to the Karakoram Highway, across the river between Gilgit and Hunza, several sections of the ancient Silk Route still exist retaining the rich legacy of ancient trade. It is only being used by the locals mostly to graze heard or to travel locally to annexing valleys. These sections can be utilized to draw in tourists.

Collision Point of Continental Plates

Collision point of continental plates
Collision point of continental plates

The collision point of continental plates is located near Chalt Valley on the Karakoram Highway (KKH), some 53 km north of Gilgit town. The Indian and the Eurasian continental plates collided along a line which passed through this point giving rise to the Himalayan mountain range and formed Tibetan plateau some 50 million years ago. The tremendous pressure forced the earth’s crust to produce the towering Karakoram Mountains in Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan.

Kino Kutto

Kino Kutto
Kino Kutto

Kino Kutto” or the Black Knee in local Shina language, is a section of the historic Silk Road which is now not in use. Located high up on the cliff side between Budalas valley of Nagar and Khizrabad village of Hunza, the section can easily be seen from the KKH. Once a footpath, then evolved to a pony track, it was later widened to a single jeep road in 1958-60 but remained unused since the construction of the Karakoram Highway. However, to show the nature of the historic connection, the Aga Khan Cultural Services Pakistan (AKCSP), with funding from the Royal Norwegian embassy Islamabad, restored the visible section of the road in partnership with Budalas and Khizerabad (Hunza) communities. Kinu Kutto has great views of Rakaposhi.

Rakaposhi View Point

Rakaposhi View Point
Rakaposhi View Point

Rakaposhi View Point or “the Zero Point of Rakaposhi” is a prominent viewpoint offering the closest view of Rakaposhi and the natural beauty lies in its scenery. This remarkable viewpoint is located right on the Karakoram Highway (KKH) in Ghulmet village of Nagar Valley.

Nilt Fort

Nilt fort
Nilt fort

The Nilt Fort was a fort once existed in Nilt, Nagar, on the main KKH about 65km from Gilgit. It was destroyed in the famous Anglo-Brusho war fought between locals of Hunza-Nagar and the British during 1891revolt. The Nilt Fort withstood for days but the offensive from a far superior army, duly supported by a local conspiracy, apparently lead to its destruction. However, a lasting history still remains. It’s not just the Nilt Fort that disappeared and only seen in the literature but the historic Maiun Fort in lower Hunza (Shinaki) across the river and the forts in Chaprote, Thol, and Pisson have all disappeared gradually even without any historical accounts. The Nilt Fort site is easily overlooked by travellers, even though it is easily accessible on the way to Hunza from Nagar.

Queen Victoria Monument

Malika mo Shikari
Queen Victoria Monument Hunza

Locally known as Malika mo Shikari, the Queen Victoria Monument on the shoulder of the rock face over Karimabad is a tower believed to be erected by Nazim Khan.  The tower can be reached in an hour from Baltit village by going straight up to the base of the cliff.

Kha Basi Cafe

Kha Basi Cafe
Kha Basi Cafe

The Kha Basi Café is a unique restaurant located under the shadow of Altit Fort in the ancient royal garden called “the Kha Basi” – a gorgeous and very well-kept-up fruit orchard full of apricot trees – located on the edge of the Altit town in Hunza Valley, Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan. It was a nice piece of simple old-fashioned architecture almost falling to decay. The Café was recently renovated and turned into a classic restaurant. Standing at the verge of the royal garden, overlooking the majestic mountains of Hunza/Nagar and the Karakoram Highway running along the Hunza River, the Kha Basi Café has both majestic views and a traditional taste.

Altit Fort

Altit fort Hunza
Altit fort Hunza

Perched on the edge of a 1000 feet high rocky cliff rising sharply from the Hunza River, the epoch-making 900 years old impressive Altit Fort is one of the ancient forts surviving today in Gilgit-Baltistan (formerly northern areas), Pakistan. It has, for centuries, served as a palace to the local Mirs – the hereditary rulers of the state of Hunza – and later as a fort following some subsequent additions. The award-winning Altit Fort is a major tourist attraction not only because of its longstanding rich history but also for its unique architectural design facing the Karakoram Highway and for its strategic location on the ancient Silk Route.

Baltit Fort

Baltit Fort
Baltit Fort

Standing arrogantly on the moraine of Ultar glacier, with a commanding view of Hunza valley and its tributaries, the over 700 years old Baltit Fort featuring the Tibetan influenced architecture, is a glorious structure purposefully built for defence and definition of the then rulers of Hunza. The majestic fort now serves as a museum and a cultural centre. Baltit Fort is the recipient of several international awards and holds a global recognition.

Ganish Historic Settlement

Ganish Historic settlement
Ganish Historic settlement

Ganish (derived from Ghenish which in local brushaski language means Gold) is the oldest and the very first known settlement on the ancient Silk Road (now the Karakoram Highway) in the Hunza Valley. The town is located about 100 km (approx 2.5 hours traveling time) from Gilgit and about 180 km, approx 3.5 hours) from the Chinese border and situated on the right bank of Hunza River. It is one of the striking valleys bearing a rich history. The  more than 1000 years old settlement (now renovated) houses various homes, narrow streets, imposing watch towers, traditional mosques with striking floral designs, modern religious centers, and a water reservoir near the main entrance.

Haldikish

Sacred rocks of Hunza
Haldikish – petroglyphs and rock inscriptions on the KKH

Haldikish – the sacred rocks of Hunza – is a 30 ft high and 200 yards long huge boulder on the left bank of Hunza River located at a distance of 1.5 km from Ganish village and about a kilometre from Ganish Bridge on the KKH. The rocks are inscribed with the scripts and carvings of many different eras from past. Divided into two major portions, the upper portion of the sacred rock consist of inscriptions carved in Sogdian, Kharosthi, Brahmi, Sarada and Proto Sarada languages while the lower portion is engraved by the images of Ibexes. These ibexes are shown in different situations, including being hunted. There used to be many Buddhist shelter caves in ancient times which later collapsed or fell over time.

Attabad Lake

Attabad Lake
Attabad Lake

The Attabad Lake in Hunza, on the main Karakoram Highway, is a gorgeous lake and a major tourist attraction. It was created as a result of a massive landslide on January 04, 2010. The incidence claimed precious human lives and properties appearing a doomsday at the time of occurrence, but the entire scenario changed over time and unlocked a range of opportunities in the region. The lake has earned a great reputation and already placed itself as a leading tourist hotspot drawing a multitude of visitors on a daily basis.

Borith Lake

Borith Lake
Borith Lake

At 2,600 meters (8,500 ft) Borith Lake is a natural lake surrounded by Borith hamlet in Gulmit, upper Hunza Valley in Gilgit–Baltistan, Pakistan. The lake can be reached via a 2 km unpaved uphill jeep track from Husseini village, adjacent to Ghulkin village, on the KKH. The lake is a sanctuary for migrating wildfowl and is often visited by bird-watchers and nature lovers. The site is also a launching pad for beautiful Patundas trek and walking trails to nearby villages of Gulkin and Kamaris in Gulmit Village.

Husseini Suspension Bridge

Husseni Suspension bridge
Husseni Suspension bridge

The Husseini Suspension Bridge over the Hunza River in upper Hunza (Gojal) is a rickety cable and plank bridge with huge gaps between them. The long bridge connects Husseini village with Zarabad hamlet and used by locals mostly with heavy loads on. Tourists flock from around the world to test their nerves on this crumbling structure. It is probably the worst still-functioning bridge in the world located at about 45 km from Aliabad Hunza and 132 km from Gilgit.

Passu Glacier

Passu Glacier
Passu Glacier

The 20.5 km long Passu Glacier spreading over 115 sq km can be seen as soon as one enters the Passu village while travelling from the south to north along the Karakoram Highway. The glacier is located to the east of the highway displaying a panoramic view. At the same time, one has the best ever views of the entire Passu valley and the Passu Cones (Cathedrals) from this point. The Passu Glacier flows directly from the 7,478m (24,534 ft) Passu Peak which itself is positioned in the back end of the glacier.

Passu Cathedral

Passu Cones
Passu Cathedrals

Passu Cathedral or the Passu cones are the jagged spires rising from a set of mountain peaks located to the north of Passu Valley in the Karakoram mountain range of Pakistan. Standing to the other side of the Hunza River, the cones present a majestic view from different points along Karakoram Highway passing through the Gulmit and Passu Valleys. The sun-drenched mountain peaks are known by several names including Passu Cones, Cathedral Spires, and locally called Tupopdan but are still prominent among the tourists as Passu Cathedral. Passu Cathedral is the most photographed peak scaled for the first time by the British in 1987.

Sost

Sost
Sost

Sost is a beautiful village in upper Hunza and the last town on the Karakoram Highway before the Chinese border. At 2800 m above the sea level Sost is now a busy bazaar, has Pakistani immigration and customs departments based here, and all the trade goods and passengers pass through this town. It is almost a melting pot of diverse people, mostly traders, from different geographic backgrounds. Local inhabitants speak Wakhi Language but here almost every language is spoken which is spoken in all major cities of Pakistan besides some dialects of Chinese language and also English as a tourist language. Sost has a couple of good hotels providing accommodation facilities for domestic and international tourists.

Khunjerab Pass

Khunjerab Pak-China Border
Khunjerab Border

At 4700 m the Khunjerab Pass is the highest paved international border crossing in the world. It is the meeting point of two sections of the Karakoram Highway connecting Gilgit-Baltistan area of northern Pakistan and Xinjiang province of western China. Out of the 1300 km highway, 887 km traverses through Pakistan while rest of the 413 km passes through the Chinese territory.

Danyore Rock inscriptions
Posted in Gilgit-Baltistan

Danyore Rock Inscriptions

The Danyore Rock Inscriptions is a gigantic boulder bearing inscriptions from the 7th and 8th centuries A.D. The inscription is the most important discovery of Danyore and was seen for the first time by Karl Jettmar in 1958. The inscribed rock is situated in the premises of a private house in Danyore, across Gilgit city in Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan and is locally known as “Likhitu Giri”. The archaeological site is not very much popular and known only to a limited count of individuals/organizations related to archaeology and tourism.

The town of Danyore is located on the main Karakoram Highway towards Hunza, south of Gilgit and separated only by Gilgit River and Hunza River from two sides. Danyore is accessible by car in 10 minutes from Gilgit yet finding the exact location of the Danyore Rock Inscription can be a challenge as the signboard showing the direction to the exact location has been disappeared and the rock is located off the main Karakoram Highway leading through a narrow street to a private house in the settlement.  The family living in the house didn’t know much about the worth of the rock.

Measuring 13 x 7 feet, the gigantic rock bears the names of the Tibetan kings who ruled in Gilgit during the 7th and 8th centuries in a five-line Sanskrit inscription in the late Brahmi character. The inscriptions, as per the renowned Pakistani archaeologist Dr Ahmed Hasan Dani, were engraved by the prince Kumaramatya and belonged to the line of rulers mentioned in the Hatun inscription in the Ghizer Valley. It confers royal titles of Patola Shahi Shahanushahi and Parama-Bhattaraka to the ruler Jayamangala Vikramaditya Nandi of the Vikramaditya family.

According to Dr Dani, the purpose of this inscription appears to commemorate some conquest of a local ruler, probably the overthrow of a raid by Tibetans in the upper Indus valley. Moreover, the Kingdom of Great and Little Bolor merged under Tibetan suzerainty in 725. The rock, however, has deteriorated with the passage of time and the inscription faded badly. It shows that Sanskrit was once a part of this land and bears significant evidence of the past that needs to be preserved.

Phander Lake
Posted in Gilgit-Baltistan Lakes

Phander Lake

Phander Lake is a striking Lake situated in the majestic Phander Valley of Ghizer district in Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan. The Lake is an important source of fresh water and trout fish, fed by the Ghizer River and located on the Gilgit-Chitral Road.

Locally known as Nango Chatt, the 44 meters deep crystal clear water of the lake is filled with grass and plants easily visible from a distance. The lake is surrounded by poplar trees that further add to the entire beauty. The curvy lake is sandwiched between two ridges that create a scenic view of the entire valley and the lake itself. One end of the lake is closed and the other is the major source of water passage from the river that keeps the lake water fresh.

The lake showcases panoramic views in four distinct seasons and is a major source of tourists’ attraction in the region. The western ridge of the lake has a government rest house while the eastern ridge has a small unit of PTDC motels offering best views of the lake and the valleys downstream.

Both for day excursionists and for overnight staying visitors, the valley has much to offer. Besides scenic views, the food, particularly the local trout fish, and fruits or various kinds are some of the other attractions of the region.

The lake is situated on the crossroads between Gilgit and Chitral and can be easily accessed from both sides. From Gilgit, it is about 173 km taking around 5 hours.

Gilgit-Baltistan
Posted in Gilgit-Baltistan

Gilgit-Baltistan

Formerly known as the Northern Areas, Gilgit-Baltistan, is the northernmost territory hosting some of the world’s highest mountains and longest glaciers outside the polar region. Besides housing an unmatched natural beauty and glorious manmade landmarks, the region populates a diverse range of ethnic groups proudly exercising respective cultures and speaking various languages and dialects. The land is worldly famous for its tourist attractions.

Geography

Geographically the territory stretches over an area of 72,971 km (28,174 sq miles) bordered by the Xinjiang province of China to the east and northeast, the Wakhan Corridor of Afghanistan to the north, the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to the west, and Indian-administered state of Jammu & Kashmir to the south.

Geologically this region is considered unstable. The region is the meeting point of Indian and Eurasian plates and the 5 cm annual northward movement of Indian plate gives rise to Nanga Parbat an average of 7mm annually.

Major Districts

Gilgit-Baltistan comprises of three main divisions known as Gilgit, Baltistan, and Diamer. The three divisions further constitute ten districts. Gilgit division encompasses four districts including Gilgit, Hunza, Nagar, and Ghizer; Diamer division has Diamer and Astor districts; and Baltistan division incorporates Skardu, Shigar, Kharmang and Ghanche districts.

History

Historically, Gilgit-Baltistan has been the crossroads of ancient trade routes and a melting pot of ancient civilizations. The region has for several centuries remained an important Buddhist centre of learning. The Silk Route, one of the routes making up networks of ancient Silk Routes, is now the Karakoram Highway (KKH) has more than 50,000 petroglyphs and inscriptions located between Hunza and Shatial. These carvings were left by travellers including invaders, traders, and pilgrims who passed along the upper Indus. The earliest known carvings date back to between 5000 and 1000 BCE are the figures of triangular men, hunting scenes and single animals usually larger than hunters.

Gilgit-Baltistan has remained independent until British colonization in the 19th century. It was divided into many mountain principalities. During colonial period it remained under the dual control of the British Indian Government and Jammu & Kashmir state. After the partition of Indian subcontinent and creation of Pakistan, a local revolt overthrew Kashmir rule and claimed independence. Since then the area is administered by Pakistan and functioning directly under the federal government.

Festivals

There are cultural festivals and religious festivals celebrated in Gilgit-Baltistan with zeal and zest. Major cultural festivals celebrated in the region are:

Naltar Ski Festival is an international Ski competition takes place at Naltar every year in February.

Navroz is celebrated on 21 to 23 March to welcome the new beginning of the year with blossom.

Ginani/Ganooni is celebrated from 21 to 25 June to offer gratitude for the wheat crop and is celebrated with fervour by making local dishes and villagers all meet in one place to celebrate.

Shandur Polo Festival is a legendary event takes place every year in July on the highest and historic polo ground between the two arc rivals of Gilgit and Chitral polo teams.

Eid ul Adha

Eid ul Fitr

Eid Milad un Nabi

Shab e Meraj

Shab e Qadar

Shab e Barat

Jashan e Ramadan

Youm e Ashura

Attractions

Gilgit-Baltistan is home to five of the 14 world’s highest peaks more than 8000m above sea level, more than 50 peaks above 7,000 m, a countless number of peaks above 5000m and 4000m successively besides three longest glaciers outside the polar region.

Kha Basi Cafe
Posted in Gilgit-Baltistan

Kha Basi Cafe

The Kha Basi Café is a unique restaurant located under the shadow of Altit Fort in the ancient royal garden called “the Kha Basi” – a gorgeous and very well-kept-up fruit orchard full of apricot trees – located on the edge of the Altit town in Hunza Valley, Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan.

The café has in the past served as a summerhouse of the royal family of Hunza. It was a nice piece of simple old-fashioned architecture almost falling to decay. It was recently renovated and turned into a classic restaurant. Standing at the verge of the royal garden, overlooking the majestic mountains of Hunza/Nagar and the Karakoram Highway running along the Hunza River, the Kha Basi Café has both majestic views and a traditional taste.

For the tourists visiting the town and the fort, the Kha Basi Café is the top choice that proudly presents traditional Hunza cuisine as well as light snacks and refreshments. Although the range of choices is quite extensive, the real specialities indeed are the top of the line local traditional dishes. Dawdo, Chap Shuro, Burus Shapik, Diram Phitti, Berikutz, and Tumuru Chai are some of the recommended food choices that one must taste at the Kha Basi Café.

The café is run solely by local women and remains open 7 days a week. The staff is trained by Serena Hotels and the property itself functions under the administration of Serena Hotels. The cafe has a small indoor dining space and an “L” shaped veranda providing majestic views of the orchard and surrounding mountains. There is no better place to enjoy traditional Hunza food and relax and enjoy the atmosphere before or after visiting the nearby Altit Fort.

The Kha Basi Café is not only a place to eat local food in a serene atmosphere, yet it is a place truly representing the traditional warmth and cultural beauty of the Hunza Valley. For tourists seeking to soak into local tradition, there is a group of trained young artists to entertain guests on special occasions. There is also a small traditional house, a unique piece of architecture, offering exclusive accommodation for tourists who wish to enjoy their stay in a traditional house with modern facilities. It was a successful pilot project of CIQAM – a social enterprise of local women – particularly built using indigenous material. The facility provides a serene and sophisticated atmosphere not many had the pleasure to enjoy.

The orchard has a repute for being one of the gorgeous places for photography. During the blossom, the entire garden emanates the romantic fragrance and presenting an exquisite look; during summers, it is lush green and cool; in autumn it turns as a place must visit to see the diverse colours and it wears a white blanket of snow during winters.

Location and Access

There is a single entrance gate to visit the Kha Basi and the café itself, the traditional house, and the Altit Fort. Kha Basi is accessible at the end of the streets of Altit town. The Altit Town is located across Karimabad, on the Ahmedabad road approachable from the Karakoram Highway.

Contact details

Call for booking during the business hour at (0581) 3457012

For further information about the Kha Basi Cafe, Hunza, please visit http://serenagilgitbaltistan.com/altit-fort-cafe/

Danyore Suspension Bridge
Posted in Gilgit-Baltistan Monuments

Danyore Suspension Bridge

The Danyore Suspension Bridge near Gilgit is one of the oldest suspension bridges in Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan. The 510 ft long bridge has served as a source of commute to the people otherwise had to take the local raft or a detour to travel to Gilgit city – the administrative headquarter and the capital of Gilgit-Baltistan, formerly northern areas. It is now serving as one of the major tourist attractions in Gilgit-Baltistan used only by the pedestrians and motorcyclists.

History

The construction work of the Karakoram Highway completed in 1978 while before the construction of the highway, Gilgit-Baltistan was a remote territory. Access to the region from other parts of the country was hard and the poor infrastructure within the region made things tough for the residents.

Gilgit being the headquarters and business centre attracted people from immediate and far surroundings for many reasons – education, jobs, merchandise selling, medical treatment and for other purposes. For the people settled to the immediate south of Gilgit Town otherwise separated by the Hunza River, along with the northern bank of Gilgit river, that include Danyore, Oshikhandas and Bagrot, crossing over to Gilgit was a tough job. Before installation of the local raft (Jaalo) on the Hunza River in 1945 to cross over to Gilgit, these residents would make a long detour to reach the town and that would cost almost an entire day as compared to about 15 to 20 minutes today.

The need for construction of a bridge was conceived and a hefty fund of Rs. 20,000 was generated through the contribution by the residents of Danyore and southern regions in the late 1950s.  As soon as the suspension bridge was erected, it was washed away by the Hunza River being extremely low to the riverside. It was indeed a huge loss.

The location for another bridge, on a fair altitude from the river, was selected and again through the contribution of funds and donation of construction wood by each household, the construction of current suspension bridge was accomplished in 1960.

The Danyore suspension bridge has for more than five decades served as a reliable source of commute to the people travelling to Gilgit and reduced the ordeals of frequent travellers. The local raft could provide transfer only in daylight; the bridge provided a 24-hour hassle-free service and made the lives of the people easy. Its construction proved as a big relief.

Construction

The bridge was constructed by Ahmed Ali (late), well-known as “Thikedar Bereno”, a renowned constructor and self-taught engineer from Hunza who had earned name and repute for his construction expertise and projects, particularly of bridges, across Gilgit-Baltistan.

The construction of Danyore suspension bridge began in 1957 and completed by the end of 1960. Principal work included the construction of the bridge itself over the Hunza River and the annexing single lane curved tunnel to the south leading access to Danoyre which was dug by locals without proper engineering equipment.

The bridge is situated over the Hunza River almost 2 km short of its confluence with Gilgit River. It was only meant to use for mini vehicles since it was constructed until an alternate concrete bridge was built. The western end of the bridge is connected to KIU campus that further leads to Gilgit town while the eastern end is connected to a single lane tunnel in Danyore side that further meets the Karakoram Highway.

The location, length, and design of the bridge make it one of the spectacular bridges in the world. Driving on the bridge and passing through the tunnel, abruptly connecting the bridge, is quite a technical job and a test the skill and nerve of local drivers.

The bridge has been closed for conventional transportation recently and only pedestrians and motorcyclists can pass through after it was declared unsafe by local administration.  For general traffic, a concrete bridge has been constructed nearby that can sustain the flow of all type of traffic.

Attraction

The Danyore Suspension Bridge was renovated in 2018 and the sections of road on both ends of the bridge have been refurbished and decorated to turn it as a tourist attraction. To the Gilgit side, there is a significant Buddhist rock carving site preserved for the visitors that further adds to the attraction of the site. The nearest attraction to the Danyore side, on the KKH, is the Chinese Graveyard which is a must visit tourist site.

The views of the bridge from both elevated sides are quite spectacular as the bridge itself has been built on a comparatively lower setting. Likewise, the views from the bridge are equally amazing. For new visitors, visiting this site is simply a memorable experience.