ShimshalShimshal is a small village located in Gojal, in the Pakistan-administered Gilgit-Baltistan. It lies at an altitude of 3,200 m above sea level, and is the highest settlement in Pakistan.
The village was inaccessible by motor road until October 2003, when a new road from the Karakoram Highway at Passu was constructed. The Shimshal River comes from this area and then transforms the shape of Hunza River, which mixes with the Indus River below the capital city Gilgit.
Shimshalis use numerous seasonal mountain grasslands, located several days walk from the village, to sustain herds of yaks, goats, and sheep. Most of these grasslands are located within what has been declared as the Khunjerab National Park. The area was founded by Mamo Singh and his wife. According to Shimshal's history and tradition, their first child won the local polo game from Kargiz (Chinese) riding yak while the Chinese rode horses.
The people of Shimshal are Wakhi and they speak the Wakhi language. They belong to the Ismaili sect of Islam.
Two books about Shimshal, "Shimshal" and "Women of Shimshal" have been written by Pam Henson of the Shimshal Trust, based on her experiences teaching in Shimshal.
Shimshal PassShimshal Pass (4,735m) rises above the village. It lies on the watershed between the Indus River and Tarim River basins, and leads to the valley of the Shimshal Braldu River, a tributary of the Shaksgam River on the border with China. The pass is not part of Khunjerab National Park, but the Shimshal community has set an organization called SNT (Shimshal Nature Trust) which oversees the entire region and takes care of its own land. It is a community based organization and is registered with the Government Of Pakistan.
Annually, in the month of July, there is a festival at Shimshal Pass, where locals partake in a yak race, followed by singing and dancing. This yak race is the only one of its kind, and is a unique event.