Gircha 

( Girča wakhi, گرچہ Urdu ) is a village in the Gojal Tehsil of Hunza in the Gilgit Baltistan region of Pakistan. It is one of the oldest Wakhi villages in Hunza, settled by Bobo e Sufi, who was the first man to permanently settle in the region and the ancestor of present Wakhis. When clans of Bobo e Sufi settled in Avegarch later, they kept using fertile farms of Gircha to grow crops.

Gircha remained a center of activities in the era of Mirs of Hunza afterwards,  Mir Sulum asked Avegarchic to build a fort (Qelha) so that he could get help from Avegarchics, when he started dealing through the Silk Road. Gircha was later Settled by some other Wakhis from Wakhan besides Baba Sufi progeny. Some Burushashki speaking families from central Hunza were settled during the reign of Mir Nazim Khan and some plots of land were also allotted to settlers of Nazimabad. Gircha has long served as home and helped many new immigrants to settle and flourish in the region. It has gone under destructive soil erosion since 1935 which has forced Girchaics to move to other villages, namely Ghalapan, Muurkhun, Jamalabad, Sost and Nazimabad. The main language spoken in the Gircha village is Wakhi.


Etmology


The word "Gircha" is considered to come from Grich which means a hut near spring water. An alternative theory supposes that Gircha comes from the snail shell/ Kišrif Wakhi or reefs found in Gircha, which are of great archeological interest.

According to numerology, the study of the significance of numbers, one is the life path number for Gircha.


Ethnicity

About 91% Wakhi from wakhan having a IndoIranian Origin which is considered as old Persian by some researchers and 09% Burushaski , with a Macedonian origin from Central Hunza


Gul e Gircha and the song

Gircha was called Gul e Gircha out of great love as it nurtured many people and was a place for gathering at many occasion for celebration, new immigrants usually used to came to the Gircha farms and orchards to help in work and take some fruit or grains as a reward for their families. Most immigrants had to look towards Gircha for seeds as they used to grind their wheat and other grains kept for seed before they could reach spring while Gircha had surplus amount of crop to help others.

There is a famous honorific song to show love and respect for Gircha, which got more popularity and sympathy when Gircha was flooded and started erosion. It is said that women of other villages around used to sing the Gul e Gircha song and cry out while witnessing the destruction by Hunza river.

Some verses, those sustained in their words are as:

 

Gыl ə Girča I ca kыx̌tan jiδa

Har gыl I dəm dыṣ̌ta, Kišrif I yao məwa

Seldeṣ̌ mыrdыm , yem Miriγ̌ar marka

Yever daš astam ẓ̌ы šarhat xona

Har inson at jin a mыsofir xona

Dыšman ve destan yišan a qəlha

Dust yor ver xыn rang kыča

dəm wыndr i tilo, sk ɣiš da ɣыv kina

cəm taɣman obod, deyor išt kыšod

Pir va šuprga, vərxыv taš ilm ə nыsxa


The Flower like Gircha is unique

Every flower in her nursery, snail shells her fruit

Feeds people, this is where kings gather

Settles dispute this is the court room

For people and Jin, a serai

For enemies an Iron castle

For friends a courtyard like their own

Gold in her farms, warehouse filled with grains

Cultivated with her seed, the villages are wide

A centre for Missionaries, spreads the scripts of knowledge




History


According to the old narrations and some evidence proves Gircha had been an old inhabitant twice flown away by floods. The evidence could be seen while the river made high cliffs since 1935. Beneath 200 ft of the recent irrigated land, logs of rotten woods were found by the people who took them and used as fire wood. These remains of woods are estimated by the local people as hundreds of years old. Suggesting their had been a atleast enough of jungle with huge bunk trees. Gircha was taken away by two nallahs, Sarteez nallah and Dilboy nallah. Sarteez has remained the barren land. The settlement of the people was in the center of Gircha. 

The recent known settlement started around 900 yrs ago when Baba Sufi family came from Wakhan, then fled to Avegarch but used Gircha for crops. Previously the people used to come from Avgarch to Gircha only for the purpose of irrigation during these period the land in Galapan and Sost were barren, while the population of Gircha would have comprised on few household only. It is said that during this period, the Kirghz people also used to reside in Avgarch valley and surroundings. They used to bring the looted stuffs from the today’s central Asia while also plundering the stuff from Avgarch and other places used to take along with them to their respective places in central Aisa. In the same manner, the people of this areas(Avgarch) used to go for the forays in those areas of Kirghiz whether in Saikol or Yarkand or Badakshan. Thus, these narrations endorse the statement about these people’s history who went through the stages of savagery and barbarianism.

After long period, the flood came from Dilboy, just opposite the Gircha village and blocked the Khunzhrave (Khunjerab) river, slowly and gradually the river started taking away the land of Gircha. 

Gircha was an extensive village in terms of its territory within this village there was a big fort along with mosque constructed by Nazar Ali Shah who has been an envoy to Sarikol and Yarkhund during the former rulers of Hunza. Nazar Ali Shah had built this mosque with the name of his mother Bibi Nikbakht. During the period of blockage of khunzhrav river by Dilboy flood at Gircha people started to undo their homes and save the woods, this river when approached the fort as different clans were namely RumiKtor, Poshktor, Arbobktor, Khik Ktor used to live in it, most of them migrated to nearby villages Moorkhun, Ghalapan, Jamalabad, Sost. They took the house woods in other villages to rebuild their homes. Ghulam ali shah s/o of Nazar Ali Shah took up the mosque and reconstructed it up, whereby the KKH these days passes. It becomes nearly seventy year for its reconstruction.


Bobo e Sufi

Bobo e Sufi is purportedly the first man to settle in the Avegarch region of Hunza. Sources argue on the reason why Bobo e Sufi migrated to the region from the Badkhshan. One theory argues that he has came to Gircha as a Ismaili Dai, a missionary of Nasir Khusraw. Another theory suggests that Bobo e Sufi emigrated to the region to escape a dangerous environment during the rule of Mir of Badakhshan, where people killing rebels at the time.

He traveled into the Khuunzhirav (Wakhi) valley and first settled in Sost then moved to Gircha because of spring and the vast land. He further moved and made Avegarch as home which was safer than Gircha and Sost as it is deep in valley, away from main route of Khirghiz nomads who are said to coexist with Wakhis, who have looted and Killed each other at different periods. Bobo Sufi had a Son Quba, Quba's wife is known is Jaa (Khatija), who together had two sons Bash, Chiqer and a daughter Muurwori. Now they exist as three major families; Rumi kutor (clan of younger son Chiqer), Arbob Kutor (Hofiz clan), Posh kutor (from Punjshambi) and Chorshumbi while chorshumbi kutor has more affiliation with Posh so they have been named as Posh Kutors.


Last message of Safder Khan Mir of Hunza

When British overwhelmed Hunza people in Anglo-Brusho war, the Mir fleed to China from the fear of being killed. While on his journey to China he made his last public statement at Gircha where he ordered to open and distribute his stores at Gircha to the people. It's said that it was an emotional event when he cried and ensured people that they wont harm you people but if I stay they might.


Some salient feature of the village are as 


Biodiversity

Being a spring village and versatile terrain, Gircha has unparalleled species of animals most notably fishes and other aquatic species which are not found anywhere else in the region. Some birds that feed on marsh worm are also unique here. While in spring Ibexes are witnessed close to human settlement. Others animals like high altitude wolf, snow leopard also keep roaming in the pasture 30 min walk from the village. 


First School of the region

Gircha has the honor of having the first school, under the Diamond Jubilee school Programs of 1905 by Aga Khan 3rd. Which was later shifted to other villages after Gircha Erosion as the population shifted. The old school building still exists in the village.


Ladies Vocational Centre

Women have been doing handicraft works for many years under flagship of Khawateen Tanzim Gircha, which was later supported by CAI establishing a facility, and well equipping it. This centre holds training sessions for female members of the village on different aspects of handicrafts and tailoring.


Electric Power House

A 30Kw/H Power House was installed by locals with help of USAID small grant project, which makes Gircha self-sufficient in electric power.


Fish Farm

A 200 X 30 Fishfarm has been installed for production of trout in the spring water of Gircha.


Veterinary Clinic

A government veterinary clinic is functioning in Gircha, providing medical services to the locals' animals. It's the only one of its kind in the region.