Day 7: Hunza Valley ( Hoper Glacier – Nagar Valley)
Author: Nawab Tanweer Ahmad (More Trip Reviews by Nawab Tanweer Ahmad)
Date of Trip: September 2015
Date: 21st September 2015
Hoper Valley is a part of Nagar Valley and is at nearly 10 KM from Nagar Khas, the capital of Nagar Valley. Nagar Valley is situated at an altitude of about 8000 feet (2,438m) and is also one of the most beautiful and scenic valleys of this region. Hopar Valley is the site of the Rush Lake, Bwaltar Peak, Kapldongs, Shaltar Peak, Hispar Muztagh, Spantik, Barpu, Bualtar and Hopar (Hopper) glaciers.
Driving on Karakorum Highway toward the direction of Karimabad, we stopped at the point to see the famous Rock Carving by the Brigade of Alexzander the Great when they traveled on the Silk Route for entering China. There are more than 50,000 pieces of rock art (petroglyphs) and inscriptions all along the Karakoram Highway in Gilgit-Baltistan, concentrated at ten major sites between Hunza and Shatial. These inscriptions, mostly belong to the time when this area served as a connecting route between Gandhara and the Tarim Basin, especially under the great Kushans (2nd Century AD and later). These carving shows single animals, triangular men and hunting scenes in which the animals are larger than the hunters. These carvings were pecked into the rock with stone tools and are covered with a thick patina that proves their age.
Before reaching the Hunza Bridge on left-side of Karakorum Highway there is another road going toward Nagar Valley. Now our drive is toward Nagar Valley with Hunza River flowing in parallel to the right side of the road. After a couple of kilometers, there is a spot where the Nagar River merges with Hunza River, we did not stop at this spot as we have to reach the Hoper as early as possible. The surrounding panorama of this route is magnificent, on one side is beautiful villages of Nagar and on the other side is the deep valley and snow-covered mountains can be seen at some distance.
Stopping at Nagar Khas for a couple of minutes, we reached Hoper in 2 Hours. Hoper is a village with lush green plain surrounded by snow covered mountains. We stop at “The Hopar Hilton” hotel and restaurant and the Hoper Glacier can be seen below in a shape of slop coming down from the mountain. We have seen a little portion of a glacier in Naran, but this glacier is so huge. Only solid snow mixed with mud can be seen till miles, this glacier is far below in the valley from where we are sitting. Our jeep driver informed us that it will be of about one and half hour of trek if we wish to get to the glacier, but we choose not to chase down because it seems really tough and exhausting. Thus, we remain at the glacier view point and admire the beauty of the area. The glacier at the place we are sitting is mixed with mud and snow, therefore, look black but the part of the glacier that can be viewed on the mountain is white and neat.
At that place were many foreign tourists from Germany, USA, Australia, China, Korea and other countries who come to this place either to summit the highest peaks, reach the glaciers coming down from the mountains or to camp on the lush green plains along the beautiful lakes. The lakes that exist in between these mountains, like the famous Rush Lake, situated at an altitude of 4,694 meters, it is one of the highest alpine lakes in the world.
We have placed the order for the lunch as soon as we arrived here since we know it will take some time for food to be prepared. Spending about one hour at the glacier view point we return back to the restaurant, the restaurant itself is very beautiful with loads of trees and flowers. After finishing the lunch we simply sit there for half an hour more to admire the beauty of the spot and then began our journey back toward Karimabad.
Going along the same route via Nagar by which we reached Hoper and taking some snaps on the way we again turn over at the “Confluence of Hunza & Nagar River” and this time, we stop at this spot to get some pictures. The Hunza is the only river to slice through the western Karakoram Range. It was there before the mountains and has maintained its flow through a cluster of 7,000m peaks to meet Nagar (Hispar) river at this point. Major tributaries of Hunza River up to this point are Khunjerab, Misgar, Chapursan and Shimshal. Nagar River is also known as the Hispar, originating as it does from Hispar glacier and Chalt River. Then we continued our journey toward Altit.