Baltit Fort is situated in Karimabad, which was once the capital of Hunza. The fort is strategically built on an artificially flattened spur below the Ulter Glacier, providing the whole view of the Hunza valley and its inhabitants. Baltit Fort was the result of a conflict between the two sons of the Sultan, Shah Abbas and Ali Khan with Shah Abbas shifting to Baltit Fort, making it the official seat of power in the Hunza state.
Thanks to the efforts of the Aga Khan Trust Foundation, the fort was restored to its glorious days and is now open to the public for tourist visits. The fort houses a number of ancient relics from the royal family’s time and all the gifts that they received during their reign. An ancient collection of swords and weapons which was brought from China and Russia is also on display in the fort. Among a few other precious objects include Tibetan musical instruments, Kashmiri glasswork, Chinese currency notes and local rugs. The fort is also famous for its colored panel windows which provide a unique picture stop for tourists while providing a magnificent view of the Hunza Valley down below.
One of the highly visited spots of the fort is the open terrace on the second floor. It features a royal throne placed under the stunning Mogul-style wooden canopy. It’s believed to be used by the king and queen to look over the valley and enjoy a beautiful evening there. The Diwan-e-Khas, as the name suggests is the royal chambers which was mostly used as a guest room, winter bedroom of the Mir of Hunza and for private meetings. A number of beautiful ornaments and embroidered rugs can be seen on display here.
The first floor of the fort mainly consisted of a kitchen, guest rooms, guardrooms and a dungeon. Different crockery and utensils are displayed there which provide a glimpse into the lifestyle of the royals. During the tour, you’ll also notice the beautiful and detailed wood carvings in different parts of the fort which is a common architectural practice in many other buildings in Hunza.
If you’re traveling to Hunza, don’t forget to add Baltit fort to your list, you won’t regret it!