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In Pictures: His Highness Aga Khan’s First Visit to Hunza in 1960

Photos: Abdul M. Ismaily
Imran Ahmed Hunzai

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On this day in 1960, His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan made his historic first visits to Hunza and laid down the foundation of what we know as a model valley today. Since then, Hunza has come a long way and developed into a model valley for many. Every year on 23rd October, Ismailis of Hunza Valley celebrate this day as “Salgirah” to commemorate Aga Khan’s visit to Hunza for the first time.

During the first visit of His Highness Aga Khan to Hunza, photographer Abdul M. Ismaily took numerous photos that remained unseen for decades. However, in 2016, Simerg Photos released a number of pictures of this historic visit with the permission of Abdul M. Ismaily’s family.

On this happy occasion for the Ismailis of Hunza, GBee is pleased to share some of the photographs from Aga Khan’s first visit to Hunza in 1960.

Attached by pulley to the third cable was a wooden box, five feet square, with sides rising 18 inches. This was the only way to Hunza. The five journalists which included two Americans were horrified, and despite urging from Pir Ali Allana, the Aga Khan’s advance man, none would get into the box. Far across the river, men pulled on a rope, and, swaying and shaking, the box shot out over the swift-flowing stream of Hunza River. Today, the Nasirabad Bridge stands in this place.
Ismaili Volunteers with community leaders during the preparations to receive H.H. The Aga Khan at Baltit Polo Ground in Karimabad, Hunza.
Col. Ayash Khan, the brother of Mir Jamal Khan, the last royal ruler of Hunza, is seen standing in a uniform with members of the royal family of Hunza outside the royal palace in Hunza where His Highness the Aga Khan resided during his visit in 1960.
Aga Khan first visit to Hunza Valley 1960
Aga Khan in Hunza 1960

H.H. Aga Khan in conversation with Mir of Hunza.
Aga Khan in Hunza 1960
  • Aga Khan first visit to Hunza Valley 1960

  • Aga Khan in Hunza 1960

  • Aga Khan in Hunza 1960

  • Aga Khan first visit to Hunza Valley 1960
  • Aga Khan in Hunza 1960
  • Aga Khan in Hunza 1960

Imran is a Digital Media professional and blogger based in Islamabad, Pakistan. When free, he likes to travel, do photography, and play Rabab. He also runs a HONY inspired blog called Humans of Hunza. He Tweets @imranhunzai.

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