Ganish Village

Karakoram Highway

The restoration of Ganish Village is particularly good and won a Unesco Asia Pacific Heritage Award. While Baltit Fort shows how the cream of society lived, Ganish shows another side of traditional Hunza life. Behind a shaded, tranquil tank are several richly carved wooden mosques, 100 to 200 years old, the restoration of which clinched the award. Legend has it that Ganish warriors practised their river-crossing techniques in the tank before crossing the Hunza River to attack Nagyr villages.

The timber-and-stone watchtower from the days of war with Nagyr is a tight squeeze but worth the climb. Particularly interesting is the use of the cool glacier meltwater to store food - it's still done today. Butter is wrapped in birch bark and can be stored under water for years! You may even be offered a sweet made from the butter. For all its quaintness and award-winning restoration, Ganish is not a museum (there is a local museum under construction) but a living village. This is exemplified perhaps by the huge concrete Imamia complex being constructed beside the walled village. The Imambara is expected to be clad in wooden carvings which may help it blend in. If no-one is staffing the admission booth, walk towards the village and someone will find you.