Khyber, a Remote Ismaili Village in Hunza, is Also Home to Magnificent Wildlife: Watch Rare WWF-Pakistan Footage of Himalayan Ibex

In a fascinating 5 part travelogue of his trip to China and Pakistan, Ali Karim dedicated an entire post to the Ismailis of Northern Hunza. His visits to the villages of Passu and Khyber left Ali and his wife Dilshad speechless. They noted, “The experience was overwhelming, as were the sights! The Ismailis of Khyber village and Passu showed us that you can symbolically scale and even climb above the highest of peaks through goodness, warmth and generosity.” Please read Ali’s piece Ismailis of Remote Northern Hunza Rise High Above the Tallest Peaks.

Interestingly, just this past week, the media in Pakistan reported a story about Nyal Mueenuddin, wildlife filmmaker for World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Pakistan and Imtiaz Ahmed, a local photographer, spotting a herd of about 50 Himalayan ibex including females along with their yearlings near Khyber village. We located the beautiful short film on Youtube, which every member of your family, young and old alike, will love watching. The short film follows photos of Khyber Village and Passu from Ali Karim’s must read article.

Khyber Village and Passu, Hunza, Ali Karim Simergphotos
A view of the Khyber village, home to Ismaili families in Northern Hunza. Photo: © Ali Karim.
Khyber Village and Passu, Hunza, Ali Karim Simergphotos
The local jamatkhana in Khyber village is nested on top of a hill, and is surrounded by some of the highest mountains in the world. There is an archway entrance at the foot of the hill beyond which several stairs lead upto to the jamatkhana building. Photo: © Ali Karim. 
Khyber Village and Passu, Hunza, Ali Karim Simergphotos
The main jamatkhana at Passu. Photo: © Ali Karim. 
Khyber Village and Passu, Hunza, Ali Karim Simergphotos, Glacier
A view of the lower-end or terminus of the 20.5 km Passu Glacier from the Sarai Lodge. The glacier covers an area of 115 sq km. The Passu Peak in the back of the Glacier is not visible in this photo because of clouds. Passu Peak, which rises to 7,478 m (or 24,534 ft), was first climbed by Captain Sher Khan (later Colonel) who was part of joint Pakistan-Japan army expedition in 1978. Photo: © Ali Karim.
Khyber Village and Passu, Hunza, Ali Karim Simergphotos, Glacier, Photo: © Ali Karim.
Writing etched into the mountainside in Passu commemorating Mawlana Hazar Imam’s visit in November 1987. The cathedral peaks are at the left. Photo: © Ali Karim.
Khyber Village and Passu, Hunza, Ali Karim Simergphotos, Glacier
A close up view of the writing on the mountain. Photo: © Ali Karim.

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WWF-Pakistan Film

Date posted: January 16, 2021.

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A version of this post also appears at Simergphotos.

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Fabulous preparations for the Aga Khan’s Diamond Jubilee Darbar in Aliabad, Hunza, with photos of his arrival in Pakistan @Barakah

HUNZA’S FAQIR ULLAH KHAN in a special report for Barakah provides a lively update with great photos of the Darbar preparations that are underway in Aliabad, Hunza. Read his wonderful piece and share it with all your friends…..MORE

PLEASE CLICK: Amazing photos of the Diamond Jubilee darbar preparations in Hunza

Please click on photo for report, photos and story.

Date posted: December 7, 2017.

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National Geographic: Remote Gojal in N. Pakistan Where 20,000 Ismailis Live Is Nothing Like You’d Expect

“Alvi, dressed in low-hanging shorts and a Yankees cap, is far from a fundamentalist: He’s Wakhi, part of an ethnic group with Persian origins. And like everyone else here, he is Ismaili—a follower of a moderate branch of Islam whose imam is the Aga Khan, currently residing in France. There are 15 million Ismailis around the world, and 20,000 live here in the Gojal region of northern Pakistan.” — Matthieu Paley, National Geographic, October 24, 2016.

One of the most striking and beautiful group portraits on Simerg is the one below by world renowned photographer Matthieu Paley that shows Ismaili girls commemorating a visit by Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, to the Pamirs in the 1990’s. Paley has just contributed a magnificent story and photographs for National Geographic. See his piece by clicking on the image below or on This Remote Pakistani Village Is Nothing Like You’d Expect by Matthieu Paley.

The photo was taken during Didar (Invitation) – a celebration that takes place on 28th of May every year to commemorate the anniversary of the Aga Khan’s visit to the village in the 1990s. During the celebrations the villagers dress up, dance outdoors to the accordion and drums and sing ginane (religious songs), which tell of him being their Noor (light). The photograph was taken as these girls, dressed in bright atlas silk fabric with crowns on their heads, were going out to dance. Photo: Matthieu Paley. Copyright.

The photo was taken during Didar (Invitation) – a celebration that takes place on 28th of May every year to commemorate the anniversary of the Aga Khan’s visit to the village in the 1990s. During the celebrations the villagers dress up, dance outdoors to the accordion and drums and sing ginane (religious songs), which tell of him being their Noor (Light). The photograph was taken as these girls, dressed in bright atlas silk fabric with crowns on their heads, were going out to dance. Photo: Matthieu Paley. Copyright.

For Matthieu Paley’s photos on Simerg, please click Matthieu Paley: Journey to the Roof of the World (Portraits of Ismailis).

And, please do not miss our last post, New Video: An Inspiring Moment that Will Never Be Forgotten as Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, Blesses Murids in Kyrgyzstan

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STARTING SOON AT SIMERGPHOTOS: ALI KARIM’S SILK ROAD TRAVELOGUE

Later this week, http://www.Simergphotos.com will begin to serialize a travelogue by Ali Karim of his recent visit to parts of the Silk Road, including Xinjiang and Hunza. Do not miss Karim’s memorable post commencing in a few days.

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A scene from Kashgar’s vibrant night market. Photo: Ali Karim. Copyright.

Date posted: October 25, 2016.
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35 Historical and Rare Photos of His Highness the Aga Khan by “Papa Jaan” On One Image

Please click on the following image to zoom on an excellent PDF version of the photo

Please click on image to view PDF file. Copyright Simerg/Abdul M. Ismaily Family Collection.

Please click on image to view PDF file. Copyright Simerg/Abdul M. Ismaily Family Collection.

Simerg was thrilled and privileged to recently publish on its sister photoblog never-before-seen photos of Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, which were captured by Abdul M. Ismaily (1926-1981) during Hazar Imam’s visits to Hunza, Uganda and Pakistan in the early 1960’s. The collection was provided for exclusive publication on Simerg by the family of the late “Papa Jaan,” through Muslim Harji of Montreal.

We pay a small tribute to the memory of “Papa Jaan” for his outstanding photos by presenting a PDF image (click image on top) which contains 35 images from more than fifty that appeared in the Hunza, Uganda and Pakistan pieces. First time visitors to this website as well as readers who may have overlooked one or more photo posts are invited to click on the following links:

Copyright. Simerg.

Date posted: February 23, 2016

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We welcome your feedback. Please click Leave a comment

Pakistan Visit 1961: Exclusive Photos of His Highness the Aga Khan, Mawlana Hazar Imam, by Abdul M. Ismaily

PLEASE CLICK: Exclusive: Photos of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Visit to Pakistan by the Late Abdul M. Ismaily (“Papa Jaan”)

Please click on image for exclusive photos by Abdul M. Ismaily

Please click on image for exclusive photos by Abdul M. Ismaily

Date posted: February 20, 2016.

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Special Series — Ismaili Oral Testimonies from the Mountains of Northern Pakistan: (I) A Mountaineer’s Adventures

“…In the Diamir Face, Nanga Parbat is one of the most difficult and technical mountain to climb. Where there is 100 metres of negative incline climbing, and in that wall there are stairs in four places and one has to hang on those places….You cannot rest freely on the climbing route of Nanga Parbat, if you walk for eight hours then you have to stay on the rope for eight hours for having rest. It is not like G-2 and Broad Peak where you can rest, you can sit and then continue your climbing. But in Nanga Parbat you have to stay bent on the rope continuously for eight hours with no possibility of sitting down…”

PLEASE CLICK: Mountain Voices —  Ismaili Testimonies of Life in the Remote Mountains of Pakistan: (I) A Mountaineer’s Adventure

The road to school is full of potential dangers for Shimshal children. Photo: Pam Henson. Copyright.

The road to school is full of potential dangers for Shimshal children. Photo: Pam Henson. Copyright.

7 Key Themes from the Chancellor’s Speech, With Glimpses of the 2013 Aga Khan University Convocation

PLEASE CLICK: Glimpses from the 2013 Aga Khan University Convocation, with a Summary of Seven Key Themes in His Highness the Aga Khan’s Address

Please click for "Glimpses"

Please click for “Glimpses”

Photo Essay: Chitral By Badrudin Kurwa

“The people everywhere were humble, friendly and welcoming. If you greeted them “Ya Ali Madad” they broke out in a big smile and hugged you. At the Jamatkhana in Shogore (and Booni) people could tell I was not a local, and they came one by one and met me without hesitation…”

Please click: Photo Essay: Chitral Through the Lens of an Eye Surgeon

Imamat Day Flag Raising Ceremony in Chitral. Please click on image for photo essay.

Imamat Day Flag Raising Ceremony in Chitral. Please click on image for photo essay.

Historical Photo Essay: The Ismaili Connection with the Town of Amir Pir in Sindh, Pakistan, by Gulshan Chunara

A very small town by the name of Amir Pir is the setting for a photo essay about the town’s Ismaili connection going back 170 years to the 46th Ismaili, Shah Hasan Ali Shah, Aga Khan I (a.s.).  Gulshan Chunara and Salina Hasan respectively provide the text and photos for this intriguing historical piece…Click for Photos

Imam Ali Shah (a.s.), Aga Khan II, residence. Photo: Salina Hasan. Copyright. Please click on image for photo essay.

Imam Ali Shah (a.s.), Aga Khan II, residence. Photo: Salina Hasan. Copyright. Please click on image for photo essay.

Ismaili Women of Shimshal: Celebrations After a Difficult Trip and Other Fascinating Stories by Pam Henson

‘‘When I was 15 there were 21 people living in the house and my friend Hasiet and I had to do all the weekly washing for the whole  family, even in winter. It took all day and I got frost bite in my feet  several times. My toes would turn black. We’d go down to the river  and make a fire to heat the water. We used to burn our socks, trying  to warm our toes by the fire. It was hard to find enough money to  buy new ones with all those people in the house.’’ — Hussn Bibi

Tales of Ismaili Women of Shimshal: Eid Festivities, Celebrations after a Dangerous Trip, and Stories of a Health Worker and a Wood-Cutter

Please click for Ismaili Women of Shimshal, Part 2.

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Previous installment:
Remarkable Tales of Ismaili Women from Shimshal, a Remote Village in the Karakoram