Shimshal is the remotest area of the Hunza Valley in the Upper Hunza Gojal, bordering with China.Shimshal covers the largest territory within Upper Hunza, from its western reaches bordered by the Hunza River, area extends as far as Baltistan to the east and its northern Khunjerab River demarcates the frontier with China. The access to this valley is from Karakoraum Highway at Passu Village in Gojal through a jeep-able link road 53 km, following a narrow gorge. It takes 3hrs drive on this amazing road from Passu and this road has been opened in 2003, before this road there was 3 days trek to Shimshal from Passu. After the completion of this link road which took around 20 years, the people of Shimshal connected with Karakorum Highway, central Hunza and other southern cities of Pakistan through this link road. This link road has brought a socio-economic revolution in the Shimshal Valley.
The people of Shimshal are Wakhi and speak Wakhi language, their culture and tradition is unique. Due to being remotest and difficult accessibility, much of their tradition and culture have been remained intact. In ancient time these people were passing very simple life dictated by the seasons and nature around them. Their life was circles around the festivals which gave them some entertainment and passing harsh time, waiting for these traditional festivals to celebrate that gives them some joy.
Following the old tradition every year in the month of May, Shimshali people use to take their livestock to high pastures of the Pamir for grazing for the period of five months (May to October). During these five months they take care of their yaks, sheep and goats and collect the butter, cheese, Yeast for their families for the harsh winter season. The most of their income comes from the sale of yaks, which is very expensive also sell the goats now in the market of central Hunza. They sell butter, dry cheese, wool and from the hair of yak make the local carpet. They have very vast pastures and providing grazing for thousands of sheep and goats and these pastures lie in the high altitudes where life is very simple in the nature and hard. Normally Wakhi communities’ livestock is cared by the women, the women and children are going to these pastures with yaks, sheep and goats this makes the high pastures a lively and colorful to visit. They are going to the pastures all to-gather and their families take them to the pastures and live them for five months with animals. And in October they come down to-gather, on these occasions while going up to the pastures in the month of May and coming down in October make festivals called “KUCH” that means travel.
Coming down from the pastures is around 12th to 18th October of each year and day fixed by the religious person of the village in a week, then all the relatives of them from Village go up to the pastures and collect all the yaks from different valleys and select strong yaks to put the load over them. They start to come down all to-gather from various pastures with yaks, sheep, goats they put all their staff and livestock over the yaks and small children also on the back of yaks. Before entering the village of Shimshal on the bank of the Shimshal River before the bridge spend one night with all these animals like a big caravan and women change their dresses which could bring for them from village. Next day they enter the village all to-gather with new dresses and thousand of cattle at the same time, their families welcome them at the village, meet with them after five months. At this bridge the tradition of goat sacrifice is still going on as before. All to-gather they go to the mosque and do condolence of the families who lost their relatives during five months. Then they go to their homes with their families after program of eating.