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Day 7: Hunza Valley ( Altit Fort)

Author: Nawab Tanweer Ahmad
Date of Trip: September 2015

Date: 21st September 2015

Joining back on Karakorum Highway and crossing the Hunza Bridge our next destination is Altit Fort. Altit Fort is an 1100-year-old Fort built and ruled by then Mir of Hunza in the town of Altit, later they moved to nearby Baltit Fort. Altit means “this side down” and the town is considered to be inhabited by Huns from the Persian Empire around 47 A.D. The fort is built on top of a high cliff and is over 1,000 feet above the Hunza River. The fort is at some 30 minutes’ walk or a 15 minutes’ drive from Karimabad city and is surround by the friendly and courteous population of Altit.

Riding up in the mountains we reach the Altit village in about 45 minutes. At the start of the Altit village, there is a small office where you can buy the ticket to enter the Altit Fort. From that point, we were assisted by a well-trained and knowledgeable guide who provide us the complete tour of the Altit Fort. Walking toward the fort there are many local houses and shops where local population is busy in their daily tasks. At the entrance of the fort, there is a workshop run totally by the women of the Altit, where they craft and sell handicraft items made with wood. Outside the workshop is a large garden in front of the fort, that garden is planted with grass, pine trees, peach trees and many other types of trees that constitute the environment of the garden a marvelous spot to sit and enjoy the surroundings. Crossing the garden we entered the fort made of rock, clay, and wood. The fort is well maintained by the Agha Khan Foundation and represents as a museum as well. The guide gives us the tour of every piece of the fort and explains in detail about the history and items present in the fort. The views of Hunza Valley, Karakorum Highway, Hunza River, snow covered mountains and of the other areas seen from the fort is extremely magnificent and breathtaking.

At Altit Fort there were many local and foreign tourists, in them there was a Japanese lady and she asked us to have a group photo with us. After touring the fort we came back to the garden of the fort, in the garden there is a café that is also run by some really nice local ladies.

After today’s long and marvelous tour we return back to Karimabad. On the way back we bought some bakery items from a nearby bakery by the name “Café de Hunza”. It is a well maintained and nice restaurant in the area, serving a variety of cakes, coffee, and other bakery items. Their specialty Walnut Cake is excellent and must to eat. Very nice atmosphere and friendly staff.

One other fascinating thing in Karimabad is the availability of Pure Mineral Water everywhere. When asked from the locals we were told that this water is coming directly from the Ultar Sar Glacier and is distributed all over Karimabad through pipelines and is used as everyday tap water. The water is icy cold and extremely refreshing. We spend our rest of the day roaming around Karimabad before we got back to our room for dinner and the night’s sleep.

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