Girls from the Mountains

Girls from the Mountains

The Ismaili people of Hunza and Gojal boast the highest literacy rate all over the country. The spiritual leader of Ismaili, His Highness Aga Khan, urged his followers to educate the children, especially the women, as they will be mothers who educate the whole family.


There, under the shades of the mountains, you will freeze at the land with no sunshine…

People of Hunza in Northern Pakistan warned me when I attempted to move further north, closer to the mountainous border of China and Afghanistan. Hunza and Gojal in Northern Areas of Pakistan (now known as Gilgit Baltistan province) are blessed (or cursed?) by snowcapped mountain ranges, among the highest in the world. They are majestic heavenly scenery, potential to attract international tourists, but with current situation in Pakistan, tourism is not in good shape anyway. While most tourists come in summer, I arrived in Chapursan in winter, when sunshine does not come to villages for two and a half months continuously.

Unlike most parts of Pakistan, the people in Hunza and Gojal believe in Ismaili sect of Islam, which are very moderate and forward-looking. Good education to both boys and girls result in the highest literacy rate nationwide. The Ismiali spiritual leader, His Highness Aga Khan insisted that girl education has to be prioritized as woman will teach the whole family. Mehmannavazi, or hospitality, is the way of life here, as the culture dictates them. There might be no sunshine up there, but there is always sunshine deep in heart.


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All photography materials in are copyrights of Agustinus Wibowo, unless specially specified. Any unauthorized use or distribution of these copyrighted works is illegal. Agustinus can be contacted here.


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About Agustinus Wibowo

Agustinus is an Indonesian travel writer and travel photographer. Agustinus started a “Grand Overland Journey” in 2005 from Beijing and dreamed to reach South Africa totally by land with an optimistic budget of US$2000. His journey has taken him across Himalaya, South Asia, Afghanistan, Iran, and ex-Soviet Central Asian republics. He was stranded and stayed three years in Afghanistan until 2009. He is now a full-time writer and based in Jakarta, Indonesia. Contact: Website | More Posts

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