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Bunji Cantt

The Northern Light Infantry Regiment is based in Skardu, which is a small city captured from Indian control during the 1947-48 War. The city is still close to the border. In 1993, the NLI battalions were organised into regular battalions of the Pakistan Army with the Regimental Centre at Bunji near Gilgit. Bunji or Bungi is a small town of Astore District, Northern Areas, Pakistan. The distance from Bunji to Gilgit is about 50km on the Karakoram Highway.

Bunji is considered to be one of the villages where literacy rate is quite high. Literacy rate in Astore is quite better than areas like Diamer. However, in far flung valleys of Astore education is still a dream for people especially for girls. The community in Astore is quite willing about education but due to scarcity of resources, people cant afford it.

Astore used to be part of District Diamer until the recent past when it got the status of an independent district. At time of British rule, this valley was called shinaki because of shina speaking people. Astore was linked to Kashmir for travel and trade before opening of KKH. Astore used to be the hub of trade for other parts of Northern Areas because of its geographical links with Kashmir. The literacy rate in in Astore is better as compared to some other parts of Northern Areas. Astore is famous for its high mountains, vast glaciers, several lakes, green plains pastures and thick forest. The valley is also called paradise of medicinal plants.

The entire district comprises of people who speak Shina language which is slightly different from the Shina spoken in other valleys like: Gilgit, Ghizer and Hunza. Eidgah is the district headquarter. People of different origins, languages and cultural background live here because of the various Government and private offices. Lifestyle in Astore is simple. People are very hospitable.

People live in various beautiful valleys and are peace loving. The unity and mutual understanding of people in this valley are exemplary. People of Astore are cool minded and hard working. They are better off in education as well and are striving their best to equip their children with the wealth of knowledge. They live in some of the hardest places like Chilim which makes their lives so tough when it is winter.

The inhabitants of Astore belong to Sunni and Shia schools of thought. Their mutual cooperation and fraternity is exemplary and they live in calm.

The major religious festivals include: Eid-e-Qurban, Eid-ul- Fitr and Eid Miladunnabi (the birth anniversary of Prophet Muhammad-Peace be upon Him). Cultural events include: Jashn-e-Baharan and cultural festivals. These are greatest opportunities for people to get together and share their talents and skills.

The famous trio band music is played in this region as in most of the other regions. On the rhythm of this loud music, men love to dance in their typical way. There are some variations in lyrics from region to region.

The English word caste comes from the Portuguese word casta, a race. The true Sanskrit name for caste is varna, color, clearly alluding to ethnical features. It is likely that the term was first used to distinguish the Aryan from the non-Aryan. The ordinary term is "jati" or "birth".

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