Henry Dallal: Portraits from the Hindu Kush



View over the majestic Ghiza River in the Hindu Kush. Photo: Henry Dallal. Copyright.


Taking a photograph while sitting astride a horse is no small feat. Taking one at full gallop is quite another matter. It is, however, a talent that has been perfected by world acclaimed photographer, Henry Dallal. A keen horseman, Dallal has been taking photographs since he was nine years old. Specializing in equine cultures and pageantry from around the world, Dallal has travelled worldwide  to remote areas to pursue his interests in mountaineering, adventure and experiencing different cultures.


A different sort of beauty, a young Ismaili girl from the area around Mastuj


When he was invited some years ago to join an eight man expedition on a horseback journey through the Hindu Kush Mountains in the Northern regions of Pakistan, he did not hesitate. Dallal says, “what better way to experience the unspoilt nature and beauty of the mountain and the local culture than by travelling in good company on a loyal and dependable steed.” 


The high point of the trip - the Shandour pass at 13,000 feet. The Ghiza river sometimes flows calmly through magnificent mountains, valleys and occasional villages. Photo: Henry Dallal. Copyright


The expedition members rode on superb Marwari and Badakhshi horses from Gilgit along the banks of the blue-green Ghiza River Valley (also known as Ghizer River, or the Gilgit River in some areas) and cut through some very impressive mountain scenery over the Shandur Pass and down to Chitral, travelling a total of 450 kilometres.


In many parts of the mountainous regions of the Hindu Kush and the Pamirs, women are said to do significant amount of agricultural work. Here a very old Ismaili woman is seen husking. Photo: Henry Dallal. Copyright.


The local inhabitants in the Ghiza district are mainly Ismailis. During the journey, members of the expedition team experienced glowing and welcome hospitality from the few people they encountered in the surrounding villages where they camped.


Ismaili women commuting across the Ghiza Valley in the Hindu Kush. The majority of the inhabitants in this district belong to Shia Imami Ismaili community, followers of His Highness the Aga Khan. Photo: Henry Dallal. Copyright


An Ismaili woman hard at work cutting down stalks of corn in the Hindu Kush. Photo: Henry Dallal. Copyright


An Ismaili boy photographed in the Ghiza Valley. Photo: Henry Dallal. Copyright

 Dallal observes: “This is the way to witness it: by horseback deep in the country, at a pace that permits you to see and feel the local culture and magnificent scenery. The mountain folk desperately clinging to survival in the long and harsh winters and short summers used for growing all the food for the following winter. A delicate and balance of nature and survival for these, the nicest of peoples.”

Article publication date: August 13, 2010 


Latest article on Web site (August 18, 2010):

AGA KHAN INTERVIEW – Voices: “The Power of Wisdom” – His Highness the Aga Khan’s Interview with Politique Internationale

About the photographer: Henry Dallal was recently in Ottawa, Canada, to photograph Her Majesty the Queen on Canada Day. During his visit to Canada, Henry Dallal also worked on a book on the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police).

Henry Dallal

Specializing in equine cultures and pageantry from around the world, Dallal has travelled worldwide  to remote areas to pursue his interests in mountaineering, adventure and experiencing different cultures. As much as he is passionate about travelling, he is equally passionate about sharing his photography with others. Simerg is deeply indebted to Henry Dallal for sharing with readers of this Web site some of his photographs of the mountaineering trip he made to the Hindu Kush. The Ghiza river valley and district, where he took the photographs shown on this page, are mainly inhabited by Ismailis. Please visit his Web site, Henry Dallal Photography, for more photographs of his journeys around the world.


Please visit the Simerg Home page.  For links to all articles posted on this Web site since its launch in March 2009, please click What’s New. To submit a feedback, please complete the REPLY box below (we won’t publish your email address). Comments may be moderated and edited for language, style and taste. They are published at the discretion of the editor.


Please click the following image for portraits of the Ismailis living on  “Roof of the World” by Matthieu Paley, another world acclaimed photographer:

Please click for photos by Matthieu Paley

11 thoughts on “Henry Dallal: Portraits from the Hindu Kush

  1. Great work. Ghazia Valley is now Ghizar Valley, and it was given the status of “District” and is called Ghizar District, where Puniyal, Ishkoman, Yasin , Gupis tehsils are included.

    Nowadays the flood has changed the natural geographic scenario with human made infrastructure. Many old and great bridges of the British regime has been collapsed. Many bridges have been destroyed, some of which are:

    1. Bridge (Shishkat to Gulmit) Hunza Gojal, 2 Khyber Bridge
    3. Hussaini Bridge
    4. Bonji Bridge

    The land, pastures, roads have been damaged. Now any one can preserve in Camera, the catastrophe, if you wish.

  2. Marvellous and stunning photography. Would want to be there just for the commute across the river. Thank you, Henry.

  3. Clarity is superb..you can feel the crispness of the air, the water, the colors, and the simplicity yet struggle of these individuals. But from here, I also sense a sense of acceptance as they move patiently forward.

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s