By Tahir Imran Khan
Karakoram Highway is a wonder of our age. The track winds through rugged mountains and at some points construction of this road looks quite impossible. Driving on Karakoram Highways a unique experience, with several interesting places to visit along this highway.
The highway runs through Pakistan and China while Pakistani portion is from Khunjerab pass to Islamabad or vice versa.
If we start driving from Rawalpindi/ Islamabad we cross the excavated city of Taxila which was once the center of Buddhism and Gandhara. The history of Taxila spans about 1000 years ( from 516 BC to AD 600). Next important place is Mansehra, where we find several inscriptions on rocks, mainly relating to Ashokan period. Ashoka was the great Mauryan emperor, who inscribed his edicts in the third century BC. The language is Kharoshti. Later we crossed Chattar Plains and at Thakot we across a huge suspension bridge on River Indus and then we start to drive along the same river till its confluence with Gilgit River. Besham & Dassu are recently developed and developing towns on Karakoram Highway. At Shatial we again find some very interesting drawings on rock rocks and then again several other writings around Chilas. These petroglyphs are carved on hundreds of rocks along the banks of the Indus Invaders, traders, pilgrims and locals, all left a record of their passage. Inscriptions and drawings of different periods are all jumbled together, often with four different languages on the same rock, written centuries apart.
Thalechi is a small place before Jaglot, which offers superb view of Nanga Parbat, dominating the whole region. Our next place of interest is the unique venue where three great mountain ranges of world make a knot. Himalayas, Karakoram and Hindu Kush, with their famous highest peaks (in Pakistan), Nanga Parbat, K-2 and Trich Mir, meet here and at almost on same place River Indus, flowing down from lofty mountains of Skardu, joins with river Gilgit, one its main tributaries.
The place is well defined with a plaque mentioning as:
THE JUNCTION POINT OF THREE GREATEST MOUNTAIN RANGES OF THE WORLD
It narrates, "FROM HERE YOU ARE SEEKING THREE MIGHTIEST MOUNTAIN RANGES OF THE WORLD. GREAT HIMALAYAS END IN THE SOUTH AND EAST OF INDUS RIVER. KARAKORUMS ARE ENDING IN THE NORTHEAST OF GILGIT RIVER. KARAKORUMS ARE ENDING IN THE NORTH EAST OF GILGIT RIVER. WEST OF GILGIT / INDUS RIVER IS THE HINDU KUSH RANGE".
It is very easy to define the boundaries of Himalayas, as the mountains encircled on the left bank of River Indus are main peaks and foothills of Himalayas. While bifurcation of Karakoram and Hindu Kush is not clearly defined, however, most of the geologists are agreed that all these ranges are sub ranges of Himalayas and they usually call them as trans-himalayas.
The place due to its unique importance is very interesting but unfortunately most of the domestic tourists pass bye this place without making a stop here as most of the people do not know about this place and most people driving by public transport also do not have an opportunity to have a stop there.
A short break at this point is worth and one does not only feel standing at a unique place but the place also offers a wonderful landscape of the area.
After this point we reach at Gilgit, which is the most important town, garrison
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