(The Scouts from Gojal have started adventure walk along the pony track from Gulmit to Gilgit, which is part of the greater historical Gilgit to Kilik Pony track. The below write up provides facts and figures about the track documented by Aga Khan Cultural Services, Pakistan (AKCSP), presented in Culture and Heritages section of www.gojal.net. (……Zulfiqar……)
The historical pony track is dated back to 1897 after Hunza valley fell under the British rule during December 1891. The British started to protect the frontiers of the valley in order to sustain its power on subcontinent. Due to the geo-political position along the Wakhan corridor and China, the area was significant in stopping the Chinese and Russian from invading.
The track continued from Kashmir to Gilgit-Baltistan which was further leading to Tibet and Ladakh. From Gilgit to Hunza valleys last border in the north constructed for the easy deployment of the forces and improvement in the communication line in order to get fresh updates on the movement of the forces on the other side of the border. This track improved traveling to these lonely mountain gorges the traditions hidden in these valleys for centuries was exposed to the other cultures of the time. The construction of the pony track was initiated by the local community under the supervision of the local chiefdoms of the region in 1897 and was completed in 1901 and it was inaugurated during the visit of the field Marshal Earl Kitchner of Khartoum in August 1902.
This historic route is constructed horizontally on the mountain slopes of the Hunza valley located in the Karakoram Range. The tracks top most side is located in Kilik at an elevation of 4709 meters connecting it with China and Afghan Pamir and Central Asia. The track steepest point is located between Misgar and Mintika. The steep slope levels at Sost (2700m) and it remains level till Khyber and the level of track falls at Passu (2540m) and with the slight difference in the level it continues till Gulmit 2450m.
The level of the track remains consistent till Karimabad with the slight differenceit continues till Murtazaabad, the end of central Hunza. The level of track decreases in lower Hunza and drops as it reaches 1600 meters in Khizarabad, the last settlement of lower Hunza. The difficult terrains on the track in the lower Hunza is located between Mayoon, Nasirabad and Murtazaabad where the tracks are constructed on the steepest sliding slop. The difficult portion in central Hunza lies between Ahmedabad and Sarat,. The most difficult part of the track where the craftsmanship of the era is dominant lies between Sarat and Gulmit. The track crosses Batura glacier at Passu and remains level till Sost, the base of the Klik Mountain.
The construction was unique due to the construction technique as wooden, iron nails are fixed on the mountain slopes and beams are laid to support the retaining walls constructed on top, which is a flat plateform prepared for the human and animal traffic. Small bridges at the narrow points connect teh gorges ansd streams. Before this track the lowest point along the river was used for traffic of people and animals.Due to the construction of the jeep road in 1960 to Hunza and the KKH in 1979, the use of this track declined. Due to absence of maintenance and weathering, denudation and human intervention the track started disappearing. Due t mud flow and sliding the track has totally lost and washed at many places. The most valueable portion of the routes about 11km in length, lies between Sarat and Gulmit, which can be easily preserved. This portion also contains the tower erected in memory of Field Marshal Earl Kitchener of Khartoum August 1902 visit.