Thursday, March 24, 2016


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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Attabad Lake: Teardrop miracle

Popular myths surround the formation of several geographical landmarks in Pakistan. The lake at Katasraj, Choa Saidan Shah in Punjab, is said to have formed from the teardrop of Lord Shiva mourning the death of his wife Satti.
The Attabad Lake was formed following a massive landslide in 2010, which buried 20 people beneath it and blocked the flow of River Hunza, creating a natural dam. The water has displaced thousands of people and inundated over 19 kilometres of the Karakoram Highway. PHOTO Asmar Hussain

Ansoo lake in Kaghan is believed to have been created from tears of jealousy shed by Deuo Sufaid, the white giant, when he learnt that Badr Jamal, the fairy princess he was in love with, had chosen to marry Prince Saiful Mulook. Attabad Lake in Hunza, however, was born of less romantic circumstances. In January 2010, a massive landslide blocked the flow of River Hunza, creating a natural dam and burying 20 people beneath it. The rising water displaced thousands of residents and submerged countless villages, fields, orchards a well as a 19-kilometre stretch of the Karakoram Highway (KKH). In 2012, a spillway was created to release a steady flow of water and as the water receded, it revealed the villages that had been buried beneath. It is only now that people have started returning to rebuild their homes and lives.


The KKH is also being rebuilt. A new connection is being carved into the mountains around the lake. The highway begins in Abbotabad, runs through the mountain ranges of Gilgit-Baltistan, crossing over the Chinese border at Khunjerab and into China up to Kashgar. Reaching an elevation of 4,693 metres (15,397 ft), it is the highest paved international highway in the world. During its 20 years of construction, from 1959 to 1979, approximately 810 Pakistanis and 200 Chinese workers lost their lives mostly in landslides and falls.
Passenger boats ferry people, their belongings and even trucks from one side to the other, all through the day. Traffic is prohibited after dusk, and it becomes almost impossible to travel in winter when the lake freezes over

The reconstruction work is also being done by Chinese companies. Pakistani labourers work under the supervision of Chinese engineers in trying circumstances. The strong, howling gusts of wind often whip up dust, sand and tiny stones that sting the workers’ faces and eyes. They do not have a lot of protective gear other than scarves and sunglasses.

Until the connection is restored, the only way to reach the villages of Shishkat, Gulmit, Passu and places onward to the Chinese border is to cross the beautiful, blue lake by boat. Boats ferry people, their belongings and even cars from one side to the other, all through the day. Even the trucks coming from China, carrying material and equipment for the Karakoram Highway construction have to cross the lake on a barge.

Altit fort Hunza And Hunza river 

It’s easy to see how, once the road is functional, this place will become dotted with food points, restaurants and resorts. Tour guides will narrate the story of how the mountain fell and buried 20 people beneath it. Facts will become a story and the story will become a legend. The 20 people might become 20 suitors coming to win the hand of the princess of Gulmit, whose loud collective wail on finding out that she has already been betrothed, brought down the trembling mountains, while their tears flew into the crater and became a bottomless blue lake. If the tale takes a more contemporary twist, they might become 20 brave village women who encircle the mountain to stop evil corporations mining for the jewels beneath, who blast the mountain anyway and end up burying the women underneath.
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Saturday, April 25, 2015

5 PLACES TO MOVE ABROAD AND EXTEND YOUR LIFE

Today, there is skepticism whether any such place exists, but health scientists do scour the globe in search of medicinal remedies and other lifespan enhancements.

In fact, many “pockets” around the world have been identified as “Blue Zones,” where locals enjoy high quality of life and health in old age.

While failing to offer one “secret,” these regions share community factors such as diet, social integration, activity level, and outlook on life. While genetics plays a role in how long we live, researchers believe lifestyle factors account for 75% of our longevity.

 Hunza Valley, Pakistan

Surrounded by the Himalayas in Northeast Pakistan, the Hunza Valley was historically thought to be the mythical Shangri La. people live to 150 years old as claimed in the 1970s, but modern research supports that Hunza elderly boast enviable fitness levels. The diet is plant based, consisting mainly of wheat and barley and antioxidant fruits like cherries and plums. The rough terrain encourages high activity level among residents, leading to increased agility in old age. Residents are also known to have very positive outlooks on life and strong family ties.



Okinawa, Japan

Japanese rank high in lifespan studies, but Okinawans boast exceptional health. Inhabiting a tiny island in the East China Sea, locals have low rates of alzheimers, heart disease, and breast cancer, with 80% fewer cases of heart attacks and cancer than Americans.

The Okinawa diet has been studied intensely. Staples include fresh island fruits like pineapple and shikuwasa, bitter melon, sweet potato, seaweed, tofu, tea, green leafy vegetables, pork, and fish. Locals also follow the cultural tradition of hara hachi bu, or eating only until 80% full. The elderly are active, working on farms and exercising for leisure. Many live independent of nursing homes and daily connect with community.



Andorra

Situated between Spain and France, this small principality of 84,000 people has one of the longest life expectancies in world. Residents enjoy good water, a top-notch health care system, and Mediterranean diet. It is believed that stress levels are low due to Andorra’s remarkable social stability. There has been no standing army there for 700 years, and the region currently boasts full employment. Seniors take full advantage of public leisure centers, enrolling in art lessons and recreation classes.




Ikaria, Greece

Today people living on Ikaria, a mountainous Greek isle in the Aegean, reach the age of 90 at 4 times the rate of the average American. Their fitness is attributed to their activity level and unhurried lifestyle. Naps are taken regularly as locals have a laid back concept of time. The diet is low in meat, fish, and sugar and high in whole grains, potatoes, and green vegetables. People also regularly consume goat milk and herbal teas over their lifetime.




Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica

For the 75,000 people who live in the Nicoya Peninsula, modern life closely resembles that of a century ago. Residents maintain solid relationships, eat a plant-based diet, and recognize active work as essential to quality of life. Many residents are sabaneros (cowboys who work on ranches) and small farmers. It’s not uncommon for food to be cooked on wood-burning stoves.

Locals eat a “Mesoamerican Trifecta” diet, consisting of corn tortillas, beans, and squash. The water supply is high in minerals that increase bone health. Because of the dry sunny climate, locals suffer from few respiratory diseases and get plenty of Vitamin D.





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Friday, April 24, 2015

Mir Safdar Ali Khan


Mir Safdar Ali Khan as a poor man in exile in Kucha, Sinkiang. He fled to Sinkiang when the British invaded Hunza-Nagar. He was the Mir/Tham (ruler) of Hunza from 1886-1892, he was born in 1865 and died in 1930. Photograph taken by Col. Reginald Schomberg probably in 1928.
Courtesy of Robert Wright & Pitt Rivers Museum Oxford University.

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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Education In Hunza valley


Those who are familiar with the difficult terrain and relatively scarce resources in Hunza would be pleasantly surprised to know that the literacy rate in Hunza is around 97 per cent. This must have been unthinkable when the first primary school was established there in 1913 by the British in India. The single-most important factor that transformed the educational scene in Hunza was the contribution of Aga Khan III, Sir Sultan Muhammad Shah, who convinced the then Mirs of Hunza state to place greater emphasis on education.
It was in 1946 that some 16 schools were established. They were called the Diamond Jubilee schools and they set the right momentum for bringing changes to education in Hunza.
Seen some where in Hunza

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