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On my way to Hunza for a retreat, I can already smell the thin crisp air and picture the ornamented blossoms of the apricot. The tinkle of the goat-bells are faint but retelling. 8000 feet above, in a cushioned part of the Himalaya, Hunza is not just a place of splendor for all those who have witnessed its magnificence, it’s the place I proudly call home.
Being a native, the endless hours by road between Islamabad and Hunza never bored me. The drive had its own unique picturesque charm, but now the newly paved 900 kms highway with fancy signage and state-of-the-art tunnel network provides the traveller sights of the Khunjerab National Park, Nanga Parbat, Rakaposhi, Ultar Peak, Golden Peak and Passu Cathedrals.
At certain stretches of the highway, travellers are mesmerized by a distinctive experience, sometimes of total isolation and ruggedness, a form of raw natural beauty and then with hints of modern way fare.
To build a highway along these granite mountains was an incredible feat of engineering. It took a collaboration between Pakistani and Chinese engineers twenty years to complete this road. The progress was measured not in miles but in yards, given the difficulty of terrain. 1,500 Pakistani and 10,000 Chinese workers tirelessly worked to accomplish this. The Chinese concentrated on bridges and the Pakistan Army engineers on the road.
Unplug, take some time out, give yourself a break from work and drive out here. You will not be disappointed by the sheer beauty of Hunza and its wonderful people.
“The roads of Hunza are safer than our murderous motor roads; and the people of Hunza are better educated than the products of our costly schools” – Colonel Lorimer, the famous English author of Language Hunting in the Karakorum (1939)
Author: Shehryar Khan | Serena Hotels