Sunday, April 29, 2012

Z for Zenith

During April I'll be posting daily in the A-Z Blogging Challenge.
My theme is Hunzas.
Today is Z for Zenith.

People constantly search for the Zenith lifestyle that produces the greatest benefits to health and happiness. Most of the world has been tossed rhinestone studded glamor as the ultimate possession for happiness.

In America's quest for prestige, money and power, we have polluted our land and water and brought diseases from eating chemically grown food.

Hunza people, with their simple, organic life style rate historically among the happiest/healthy people of the world. They serve as a model for achieving zenith joys in life.

I'll raise my glass of apricot juice to these simple, sincere people, in hopes and prayers that the warring countries of the world leave them in peace and learn to follow their beautiful way of life.
Thank you dear bloggy friends, for taking this journey with me and catching a glimpse of how Hunza land compares to our own country of a few hundred years ago.
Adios Amigo

Friday, April 27, 2012

Y for Yak

During April I'll be posting daily in the A-Z Blogging Challenge.
My these is the Hunzas.
Today is Y...... for Yak.

The Yak is a long-hair domesticated bovine animal that is used for various mountain treks in Hunza and throughout Pakistan. Yaks are sturdy and can carry the weight of a whole family. A popular sport is Yak racing. I bet that is a trick as most bovine animals don't look very swift to me. But the Hunzas love it and I imagine a little Yak betting goes on too. Perhaps many an apricot tree was lost on Yak bets. :)

Since the Karakaram Highway opened, glacier climbing has been the popular sport for tourists. Yaks are the perfect pack animal for getting the climbers and their gear to the mountain. I think that is neat. There's gotta be a Yak joke in here somewhere, but I can't think of one. :)
Maybe rhyming Pat or Al can think of one.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

X for Xanthous

During April I'll be posting daily in the A-Z Blogging Challenge.
My theme is the Hunzas.
Today is X .......for Xanthous.

Hunza people are fair-skinned with blue or brown eyes. They are descendants of soldiers from Alexander's army when he invaded India. The isolation provided by the rocky peaks of the Himalayas made a natural protection from early invaders. Their small valley provided life sustenance for survival.

Hunzas are strong, good-looking people. Dr. Jensen said all Hunza children are happy, robust kids. He volunteered he rarely heard one cry and never heard whining or demanding. At the time he visited them, there was no dentist in the valley and he remarked on the strong, white beautiful teeth of everyone.


P.S. I really did a number on myself. I still feel like a truck ran over me and it hurts to breath. I must have thought I was 20 and I'll tell you what I did. I took up a fairly large patio with those big orange Mexican-looking bricks, loaded them in the pickup and made 4 trips to the ranch and unloaded them. I know, stupid, but I didn't have any adverse feeling when I was doing it. Boy, I sure do now. But, the exciting part is, I'm using those stones for the aisles between the raised beds of my new greenhouse.  :)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

W for Water

During April I'll be posting daily in the A-Z Blogging Challenge.
My these is the Hunzas
Today is W..... for Water

Hunza water comes from glacial streams that rush down the rocky mountains from an elevation of 25,000 ft. in the Himalayas.

Glacial water is invigorating, life enhancing and contains a high alkaline PH with an extraordinary amount of active hydrogen.

The above picture is a water wheel that gives them access to the ice cold glacial water.

Here we find the true "fountain of youth" that adds longevity and health to a group of people who have lived in isolation for over a thousand years.

Along with an all organic diet, the living glacial water has attracted health seekers from around the world to study the Hunza lifestyle in all it's simplicity.

P.S. Dear Bloggy friends, Thank goodness I have the rest of my posts ready. I've been working very hard at the ranch and did something, or pulled something in my neck. I can barely move and can't turn my head. I'll try to do comments and read your blogs but if I can't, you'll know why. Thank you for being so patient with me. Love from Manzanita

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

V is Vegetarian

During April, I'll be posting on the A-Z Blogging Challenge.
My theme is Hunzas.
Today is V.... for Vegetarian

Hunzas are not vegetarians, although they are often identified as such. Meat is a rare pleasure because livestock is not abundant. Neither do they raise chickens because they peck at seeds and seeds are more valuable than money in Hunza.

The climate is favorable for apricot trees and they grow in abundance. Apricots are eaten raw in the summer and dried for the winter. The seeds provide the all-important oil that is used for cooking, salads, medicine and a cosmetic for skin and hair.

All food is organic and they want it to remain organic. After an insect infestation, the Queen (or Rani) refused to let the Pakistani government spray chemicals on the trees. They got rid of the bugs by putting ashes in the water.

Later, the Rani was visiting relatives in a neighboring area and she discovered they had allowed the government to spray for the bugs. She was horrified and refused to eat for the remainder of her stay.

(Sound a bit familiar) :)

P.S. Dear Bloggy friends, Thank goodness I have the rest of my posts ready. I've been working very hard at the ranch and did something, or pulled something in my neck. I can barely move and can't turn my head. I'll try to do comments and read your blogs but if I can't, you'll know why. Thank you for being so patient with me. Love from Manzanita


Monday, April 23, 2012

U For Ultar

During April, I'll be posting in the A-Z Blogging Challenge
My theme is Hunzas.
Today is U..... for Ultar

The Karakoram Mountain range in Pakistan boasts of 8.000 peaks. If you travel the Karakoram Highway through Hunza , you will pass by Ultar Peak, a sub-range.

While not being one of the highest peaks of the Karakoram, Ulta Sar is immediately noticed because of it's dramatic rise above the surrounding terrain at 17,388 ft.

Ultar Sar is distinguished as being unclimbed. During the 80's and 90's over 15 expeditions made unsuccessful attempts to conquer Ultar but as yet, the majestic mountain remains unchallenged.

Ultar sends out severe signals that says she wants to be left alone. A few expeditions made the climb to the first summit, but falling rock, bits of glacier, horrendous snow storms with high winds are no match for even the most determined climber. So she stands in solitude, ever waiting for that victorious challenge.


Sunday, April 22, 2012

T for Terrace

During April I'll be posting in the A-Z Blogging Challenge
My theme is Hunzas.
Today is T..... for Terraces

I had to throw in another T for Telephone. The picture below is a Hunza man climbing the pole to use the telephone. That reminded me of the old TV show "Green Acres." Anyone remember that? Oliver always had to climb a pole to use the phone.

How do you produce a garden out of rock? It is a true art form that has been practiced from ancients to the present by those who live in the Himalayas. This staircase effect is made by layering soil over coarse stones and clay. It is continually refreshed by adding silt that is brought down the mountain by the irrigating water from the glaciers.
Fields rise up the mountain, tier by tier, often reaching over 50 tiers. Hunzas have devised an irrigation system from the mountain streams cascading down from the demanding glaciers.

An epic feat of simple engineering is performed by rock walls that slope up the mountainside. The huge rocks are expertly fitted together to keep the precious soil from escaping down the mountain.

Here are the structures that have produced organic food for centuries. You have only to look at the beautiful people to understand this staircase soil is producing nourishing, nutritiously-balanced food.

Friday, April 20, 2012

S for Silk Route

During April I'll be posting on the A-Z Blogging Challenge,
My these is the Hunzas.
Today is S ...... for Silk Route.

Silk Road is an ancient Chinese trade road that connected East South, and Western Asia. For 2,000 years the route was the main highway used by merchants but as dangers increased, free market goods were sent by water.

Silk from China was the major trade item but other luxuries were traded, for example, medicines, jewels, glassware, musk, spices, ivory, carpets and tea.

The name conjures up one continuous road, but it was a series of roads and agents who traveled various routes.

Hunza was an important stop on the Silk Road. It was the last resting place and also the highest point on the Southern route from Iran.

The caravans carrying precious goods were as anxiously awaited, as was the pony express in the early settlement days of America.
Scenes from the old musical, "Music Man" comes to mind as the kids waited daily for the Pony Express to bring their band instruments. As out of the loop, as the Hunza people were, I can imagine the excitement when the caravans arrived on the Silk Route.

R for Rakaposhi

During April I'll be posting on the A-Z Blogging Challenge.
My theme is the Hunzas.
Today is R..... for Rakopshi.

Rakaposhi is a moutain in the Karakoram Mountain range to the South of Hunza in Northern Pakistan. The name means snow covered and indeed it is. It's beauty is breath-taking and that would take precedent over it's rank in elevation with competing peaks. (25,551 ft)

Between the valley and the snow are huge barren precipices, except where the slopes allow terraced vegetation. The terraces are brilliant in summer with green and touched with yellow from the corn tassels. The glacier rivers add the touch of blue.

To complete the color palate, in autumn the forest green of the fruit trees turn into scarlet, gold, vermillion and bright pink, all against the back-drop of the majestic Rakaposhi. Here is a canvas painted by nature, the most astonishing artist.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Q for Queen Rani

During April I'll be posting daily on the A-Z Blogging Challenge
My theme is the Hunzas.
Today is Q ...... for Queen Rani

The male leader of Hunza was called Mir, meaning leader of a tribal group. Mir Muhammad Jamal Khan was the last official Mir of Hunza when it became a part of North Pakistan in 1974. Below is a picture of Queen Rani and her husband, Mir Khan.

Dr. Bernard Jensen had spent time with the Hunzas and stayed at the palace of the Mir and Queen. I plied him with questions about the Queen...... what she looked like, how she dressed, all the usual questions one woman asks about another.

Although they are Muslim, the women enjoy freedom. They seldom cover their face in public and the marriage is more equal, as in a Western marriage. The little "Jackie Kennedy" pillbox hat is traditional for women, although Queen Rani isn't wearing one in the above picture. Evidently some of the younger women prefer the Western style of dress.

The women are beautiful and dare I say, suffer from radiant health. Dr. Jensen lavished praise on Queen Rani's charismatic personality and the beautiful gifts she sent home with them.

Everyone in the palace spoke excellent English and their children had English tutors.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

P for Pakistan

During April, I will be posting daily in the A-Z Blogging Challenge.
My theme is the Hunzas.
Today is P ..... for Pakistan

Pakistan is a country about twice the size of California. The form of government is a Parliamentary Democracy that has been in existence since 1947.

Pakistan is neither an ally or enemy of the US and I'm not writing about the politics between the two countries but I'm only interested in Pakistan as a whole, since the Hunza's country has become a part of Pakistan.

As I mentioned in other posts, the land shortage of the Hunza geography will not support any new families. When Hunza children leave home, they go to the larger cities of Pakistan or join the Pakistani army.


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

O for Opportunity

During April, I'll be posting daily on A-Z Blogging Challenge.
My theme is the Hunzas.
Today is O..... for Opportunity.

Opportunity in Hunza? There is no opportunity in Hunza. The only export they have is people. The valley will not support a growing population. Most young adults leave the valley for other areas in Pakistan where they seek jobs and send money and goods back to their parents. The country has no exports; therefore they have no money to purchase imports.

The Hunza educational system is more advanced than the schools of the neighboring villages, so the young people are well prepared to seek work when they leave home.

Hunza people are happy and grateful for what they have. This separation of family is the way it has always been and will continue but now, the modern Karakaram Highway brings families together more often.

Since the completion of the Karakaram, tourists arrive for some of the festivals and stay in the hotel for a few days. Groups of climbers are welcome to spend a few days as they travel to the glaciers. Even though Hunza is now part of Pakistan, their isolation pretty much remains as it has always been for over a thousand years.

Monday, April 16, 2012

N for Nowruz Festival

During April I'll be posting daily on the A-Z Blogging Challenge.
My theme is the Hunzas
Today is N....... for Nowruz Festival

Persian New Year .... 21'st of March, is a cultural festival that welcomes Spring. It's a time to offer up prayers for a good harvest season. It is not only the 1st day of spring, but the beginning of the year in the Persian calendar.

People gather in their respective villages for prayers, dancing and merriment. Most of the activities are held outdoors with the Himalayas as a dominating background.

After the Arab-Muslim conquest of Persia, the Nowruz Festival became the symbol of cultural resistance against Arab imperialism with alliance of the Sunni and others. The ultimate result was the development of mysticism and Shia Islam.

It was in this environment that Nowruz, the ancient festival of Persia was re-invented by Shia and Sufi as a symbol of the resistance.

Well, it looks like a good time, too.


Friday, April 13, 2012

M for Music

During the month of April I'll be posting daily in the A-Z Blogging Challenge.
My theme will be the Hunzas.
Today is M ...... for Music.

Have you ever noticed that happy people sing, dance and make music.

Hunza people are especially musical and their songs fill the valley as both men and women work side by side in the terraced gardens.

From my reading and conversations with Dr. Jensen, there seems to be a more liberal understanding between men and women than with most people of the Muslim religion. The women wear bright, vivid colors and do not normally cover their faces. The women dance and perform dances that resembles Flamenco.

"The Aga Khan Silver Jubilee Band" is their band of some renown. It was established during the 1990's and has become popular entertainment at the Hunza festivals and programs.

This is a group dance of the Hunzas performed during the "Apricot Blossom" festival.


L for "Land of Just Enough"

During April, I'll be posting on the A-Z Blogging Challenge.
My theme will be the Hunzas
Today is L......for "Land of just Enough."

"Land of Just Enough" is the Hunza slogan. There is no plethora of any One thing, but there seems to be an ample balance of food, water, socialization , religion and strong and healthy bodies. Schooling, high on their agenda is responsible for their literacy rate to be the highest as compared to other similar districts of Pakistan

The Hunza people have an odd method of counting age. It's not based on longevity but certain events that have occured in a person's lifetime. When their isolation was first uncovered in the 1930's. It was thought they lived into the hundreds and even age 130 was not unusual. But that was a myth and they age like everyone else.

Hollywood had produced 2 movies based on the Hunza life, "Lost Horizons" and "Shangra La." The movies are a beautiful myth of the people living hundreds of years but only as long as they remain in their valley. During a blinding snowstorm, lost explorers stumbled, half-dead, upon the valley of eternal bliss and happiness. There's a romance story, secrets, intrigue and I won't tell you more in case you've never seen the movie and you sometime want to.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

K for Karakaram

During April, I'll be posting every day for A-Z Blogging Challenge.
My theme is the Hunzas.
Today is K.......for Karakaram.

Karakaram is the name of the mountain range in the Himalayas where Hunza is situated. The Karakaram Highway (also the KKH) has cut a road through the perilous mountains and now opens up Hunza with easy access to the world.

Hunza was securely protected for thousands of years due to the natural geography of the mountains. The trail that lead to their kingdom was passable only by humans, not even pack animals. In some places the path was less than 20 in. wide, flanked by a rock wall on one side and an 8,ooo ft. death-plunge on the opposite. At other spots, logs crossed bare chunks of missing path. Nimble of foot, the Hunza porters were able to travel this treacherous path with very few mishaps.

China and Pakistan jointly took on the construction of KKH. The huge undertaking started in 1966 and completed in 1986. It connects China to the Arabian Sea through a brilliant feat of engineering and a marvel of human endurance, ingenuity and determination at an altitude of 4,693 ft.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

J for Jensen

During April, I'll be posting on the A-Z Blogging Challenge.
My theme is the Hunzas.
Today is J ....... for Jensen.

Doctor Bernard Jensen

Dr. Jensen, an advocate of whole foods, is one of my heroes. I began reading his books and following his health advice when I was quite young.

For years, Dr Jensen tried to get permission from the Hunza King so he might enter their valley and study the food and health. His letters were never answered and he was about to give up when he was invited to accompany a British climbing group who were headed for the Hunza valley.

Upon arrival in Hunza, Dr. Jensen and his wife were invited by the King (Mir) to spend time in the palace while the others climbed glaciers.

The above picture is Dr. Jensen with the Mir.

To go round robin, I too, had waited years to actually attend a workshop with Dr. Jensen. When he was in his 90's, he gave a 2 week workshop high in the Rocky Mountains, outside of Helena, Montana. My granddaughter, who was 14 at the time, and I, eagerly attended the workshop for 2 of the most illuminating weeks of our lives.

Along with sharing his lifetime of natural health advice, he also recounted his precious moments spent with the Hunzas.

Two magical gifts were bestowed upon me; two weeks with my hero and first hand information about my life-long love affair of a vicarious adventure into Hunza land. How lucky can one "gal" get?????

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I for Isolation

During April, I will be posting on the A-Z Blogging Challenge.
My theme is the Hunzas
Today is I ....... for Isolation.

Hunzas definitely live in Isolation.

Living in a tiny kingdom 100 miles long and one mile wide for over 2000 years is what most people define as isolation. At an elevation of 8,500 feet, they are completely enclosed by mountainous peaks that rise to an inspiring height of 25,550 feet.

I don't know if it's "because of" or "in spite of" isolation that these people have learned to live in harmony with their environment.

From their food source, clothing, socialization, health and religion, they have discovered how to balance life with the elemental grips of nature.

It was during the '40's that I first heard of the Hunzakuts, when I read an article in National Geographic of a lost kingdom that needed no police force because there was no crime. There was no monetary system. I was still in my teens and my life's goal was to go out in the world, work hard for dollars that I could put into a bank account.

What "if" the dollars no longer bought us sustenance, would we be able to provide for ourselves and our community? Could we live like the Hunzas? I don't know.

Monday, April 9, 2012

H is for Hunzakuts

During April, I will be posting on the A-Z Blogging Challenge.
My theme is the Hunzas.
Today is H ..... for Hunzakuts.

The Hunzakuts are a people who have lived in isolation high in a valley of the Himalayas for over 2,ooo years. Protected by the mountainous walls of rock from waring tribes, they have managed to live in peace and self-sufficiency from an outside world.

One claim to fame, is that they are direct descendents from soldiers of Alexander or even Alexander himself.

One of my heroes, Dr. Bernard Jensen, visited Hunza in the 1940's and saw in the men, medium height, broad shoulders, full chest, wide costal arch, narrow waist, small belly and strong legs.

Dr. Jensen compared them to the Aeginetan Sculptures in the Glyptothek of Munich. One sees rare men of peculiar deep-chested breathing, and powerful motility. In fact, Dr. Jensen was so awe-struck that the Hunzas could be the statues and the statues, the Hunzas. Both presented perfect specimens in physique and health.


Saturday, April 7, 2012

G for Goats

During April, I'll be posting daily in the A-Z Blogging Challenge
My theme is the Hunzas
Today is G....... for Goats

Goats provide a vital food source for the Hunza People. Goats are sure-footed animals and lend well to the steep rocky mountains. Not being picky eaters, they are browsers and sample a little of this, a little of that as they walk along a mountain incline.

The goats pictured above are angora goats . Their wool can be spun into a strong, warm yarn that is marvelous for knitting caps and mittens for a cold mountain climate.

The goat milk is made into yoghurt and butter or just served as a drink with their meals. Goat milk is high in silica and makes glorious shiny hair and strong bones and teeth.

Every Hunza family is fortunate to have a small herd of goats.

Below is a short video of Hunza kids playing with a wild Ibex goat.

Friday, April 6, 2012

F for Food

During April, I'll be posting on the A-Z Blogging Challenge.
My theme is the Hunzas.
Today is F..... for FOOD

Food is the determining factor for the population growth in the Hunza Valley. The population has to remain constant. Visitors are welcome for a short stay but new families never move in.

Dividing up a small farm amongst children would never leave enough land to support a family so the family farm is usually left to the oldest son. Other children in the family leave the valley and settle in larger cities in Pakistan.

Scenes in the Hunza Valley

Thursday, April 5, 2012

E for Efficient

During April, I'll be posting on the A-Z Blogging Challenge.
My theme is the Hunzas.
Today is E.....for Efficient

The Hunzakuts have survived in their small valley for over 2,000 years. All phases of life are well planned and organized so that 40,000 people can live efficiently on a land of crumbling rock.

Housing is limited and newly married couples live with the husband's family. Houses are made of rock and mud and are always 2 or 3 stories tall. Natural birth control is practiced, as after a woman has a baby, she sleeps on the woman's side of the house for 2 or 3 years.

The valley has no real soil, only a silt produced as run off from the glaciers. This silt is carried in buckets up the rocky mountains and deposited on terraced levels for crops.

Farming is thoroughly efficient as a terraced mountain may offer 30 to 50 levels of beautifully terraced gardens.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

D is for Diet

During April, I'll be posting on the A-Z Blogging Challenge.
My theme is the Hunzas.
Today is D....... for diet.

Hunza people can't shop at food markets because of their isolation. Their diet consists of what grows in the sheltered valley. One of the reasons they were able to survive in seclusion is because their valley was able to provide all the essentials for a balanced diet

The picture above is an apricot tree in full bloom.
A typical meal may consist of chapatas of wheat, millet or corn
Green leafy salad in summer & root vegetables in the winter.
Goat milk or buttermilk.
Goat butter made into gee and goat cheese.
Wine made from fruit.... apricots, cherries.
Their cooking oil comes from almonds and apricots. .

Very little meat is available. This well balanced diet accounts for the Hunzas cheerful attitude, exceptional health and abundant stamina.


A short video on the Hunza diet and what gives them robust health.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


During April, I'll be posting on the A-Z Blogging Challenge.
My theme is the Hunzas.
Today is C ....... for Capitol

The Capitol of Hunza was Baltit (no jokes, please :) ). Now Hunza is a part of Pakistan. Long ago, the rugged Himalayas seemed to bring out the aggressive attacks on neighboring states. Hunza and Nager were 2 rival states who were constantly at war with one another. They built forts as strongholds that balanced on the edge of mountains.

The above fort at Baltit eventually became the Capitol of Hunza, making it the prime seat of power. It also became the palace that housed the Hunza ruler or the "Mir."

After years of alternating crumbling and renovations, a new palace was built in 1945 and the old fort was remodeled and turned into the "Baltit Serene Inn."

Monday, April 2, 2012


During the month of April, I will be posting on the A-Z Blogging Challenge. My theme is the Hunzas
Today is B for Burushas

The Burushas people are found in 3 daunting mountainous areas of Northern Pakistan..... the Hunza, Nagar and Yasin Valleys.

Most of the people live in the Hunza Valley and the language is known as Burushaski. Hunza shrouds a mystery of the Burusko people as their origin is completely unknown. They cling to a popular myth that 3 generals ran away from Alexander the Great's army, married Persian women and settled in the Hunza Valley.

The rugged elevation of the Himalayas, kept them in isolation for around 2000 years.

Since there has been no written language of the Burushaski, the true historical beginning of the Hunzas will remain forever a mystery.

The picture is of present day Hunza men on the way to work their vegetable gardens in the same manner as they've done for a thousand years.


Sunday, April 1, 2012


During the month of April I will be posting on the A-Z Blogging Challenge. My theme will be the Hunzas.
Today is A...... for Adventure.

Hunza people or Hunzakuts, live in an isolated valley, high in the Himalayas. A 60 mile treacherous road, accessible only by jeep, was their only avenue to the outside world. China, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India surround them by inaccessible mountains.

My dream of a Hunza adventure began in the '40's, after reading about their self-sustaining lifestyle. I wrote a paper on their country when I was in college and thus began my dream to live in mountainous isolation.

But, reality often takes us in a different direction and my dream of adventure took me to other mountains and I now live in the Rockey Mountains of Montana.

I never got to place my feet on the Hunza rocks but the Himalayas will always remain a spell-binding dream. This month, I'll take you on another one of my vicarious adventures to Hunza land.