The cultural patterns of Gilgit Baltistan are interesting as their geographically. At least five different linguistic groups live in different parts of Gilgit Baltistan. All these linguistic groups have their own cultural heritage and historical back ground. The characteristics of the people are gregarious, hospitable, great care and respect for outsiders. The typical customs’ folk dances, music and sports, like polo provide the tourists an unforgettable experience. Many languages are spoken in Gilgit Baltistan, but only Urdu is readily understood throughout the region. Many local languages are spoken in these areas, which are totally different from each other. Some of the prominent languages spoken in Gilgit Baltistan are, Shina, Khowar, Broshuski, Balti and Gujri.
Shina is the basic language spoken by most of the people in Gilgit Baltistan. Shina Speaking people live in proper Gilgit, Diamer, Astore, Hunza Nagar, Punial valley, Ishkoman Proper, Gupis and few in Yasin valley. It is thought these people were migrated from Indus Kohistan, Indian Kashmir. Shina speakers are mostly humble and respectable for outsiders. These people are fond of music and dance with the musical instruments; Dhool, Surnai and Taroy. Cultural cuisines used by Shina people are; Deram, Deram Tiki, Sharbat, Goli, Hanikai, Kilaw and Folai.
The people “Kho” whose language is Khowar are residing in Phander valley, Gupis valley, lower part of Ishkoman and Yasin valleys of Gilgit Baltistan. All these people were migrated from Chitral. Kho are regarded as highly cultured people, and Khowar poetry and song is generally esteemed. They are fond of music and dance. The instruments used for music are Sitar, Dhool, Surnai and Dmama. These musical instruments are used on the occasion of marriages and other special occasions. The traditional foods used by Kho tribe are Khesta Shapik, Chira Shapik, Mulida, Legano, Bach, Sanabachi, Rishok, Shoshp. These cuisines are served particularly on especial occasions i.e. marriages and other traditional ceremonies.
The people who speak the Brushuski language are called “Burusho”. Burusho live in Hunza Nagar and Yasin Valley( Indigenous Inhabitant of Yasin) and in proper Gilgit, lower Iskoman valley and Punial ( Migrated from Hunza). Burusho tribes are renowned for their agricultural skills and abilities to construct irrigation system. These are friendly people and fond of music and dance. The Burushu mostly used Dadam Damal and Surnai/Totak as musical instruments. Bagondo, Batering Dawdaw, Berkutz, Burus, Burus Shapik, Chapshoro, Diram Fiti, Harisa, Gialing, mulida and mul are Burushu Cuisines.
Wakhi people or Xik as they called themselves migrated to north Pakistan several years ago from Afghanistan Wakhan Cooridoor where they have been living for over 2500 years. In Gilgit Baltistan Wakhi people live in Gojal Hunza and Karambar valley of Tehsil Ishkoman and few are in upper Yasin. Wakhi depend on Livestock Husbandry, including Yaks, as their villages are at upper limit of cultivation. Culturally Wakhi people are rich and soft spoken. Flude and Daf are the musical instruments in Wakhi culture.
The nomadic Gujur people are living in different villages of Ghizer. The name Gujar indicates their close link with Cow (Ghu) cow herding. The Gujar people have taken the opportunity to tent animals and grow crops in marginal areas.