There is not a tribe of people more fascinating and mysterious than the Hunzakut who live hidden deep in a luscious valley between the Himalayas, Hindu Kush, and the Karakorum who are said to enjoy extreme longevity.
Many myths and legends abound about the Hunzakut, a mysterious people who claim extreme longevity within what many deem the Garden of Eden. Most westerner research into this remote tribe in the north of Pakistan has been into their diet, to unravel the secrets to their alleged superior health.
Visitors to the Hunza Valley have returned with tales of a beautiful, peaceful people, well-educated, who live as long and healthy lives even up to 145 years of age. Such a claim of 145 years seems unbelievable. This, therefore, leads many to ask questions about whether it even is possible, and if so, how?
History of the Hunzakut
The Hunzakut claim that their ancestry dates back to Alexander the Great, who arrived in the area during his famed Indian campaign. DNA results are not conclusive; however, the language spoken by these peoples when the British first discovered them was Burushaski, as well as Urdu. Burushaski is a combination of the Hellenistic language of the Persian Empire and Ancient Macedonian.
When a British garrison arrived in the late 1800s, the lifestyle of the Hunzakut appeared to be dramatically healthier than that of the British. Back in Britain, the population were suffering greatly from poverty and ill health during the rise of the Industrial period. Due to lack of hygiene in overcrowded cities, much of the British population suffered cholera, typhus, and typhoid.
The contrast that the British witnessed in the Hunza Valley population likely appeared startling. A perceived primitive people were enjoying excellent health, while their own supposed advanced British society was succumbing to widespread illness and early death. The returning British gushed with tales of this so-called Garden of Eden that they had discovered. Inevitably, myths surrounding this serene and idyllic location began to abound.
Frugal lifestyle and a pure diet
When compared to the poor and unsanitary slum-like world that many of the British population suffered within at home, the Hunzakut appeared to thrive within a life of tranquility and simplicity. When the British visitors made inquiries into how the people of the Hunza Valley managed to enjoy such an idyllic life, the Hunzakut bragged with many embellished tales to impress them.
One of the most outrageous claims included how Hunzakut were able to live as long as 145 years, completely disease free.
Many people have since been inspired by this legend; people obsessed with finding the perfect diet to achieve a long life and perfect health. Renee Taylor is one such author. In 1964 she published a very popular book called Hunza Health Secrets for Long Life and Happiness.
Taylor made many claims within her book which have since been debunked. Essentially, the core claim, that the Hunzakut lives till 145, is entirely false. In truth, the people of the Hunza valley do not keep calendars and measure their life by the years. Their custom has always been to measure age in wisdom, achievement, and experience. In other words, a person of 145 could, in reality, be a person of 50 who has gained great respect within the community.
Dr. John Clark paid a 20-month visit to the Hunzakut in 1950 and returned home to write a book which contained a very different story to those claimed by Taylor. In Hunza- Lost Kingdom of the Himalayas, Clark described a primitive world in which people survived very basically and suffered due to the harshness of the environment in which they lived.
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