The Karakoram Highway (known informally as the KKH) is said to be the highest paved international road in the world, but at its peak at the China-Pakistan border it is only paved on the Chinese side. It’s the road to paradise – if you like exploring the mountains, that is. It’s regarded as one of the world’s hardest alpine climbs
The Karakorum Highway connects China and Pakistan across the Karakoram mountain range, through the Khunjerab Pass, at an elevation of 4,693 metres (15,397 ft) above the sea level. The road is one of the scariest and hair raising jeep trip in the world. 810 Pakistani and 82 Chinese workers lost their lives, mostly in landslides and falls, while building the highway. The route of the KKH traces one of the many paths of the ancient Silk Road.The road has a length of 1,300 km (800 mi): Pakistan: 887 km (551 mi) and China: 413 km (257 mi). it was started in 1959 and was completed in 1986 after 27 years of construction.It’s a real challenging road and a true test of your vehicle and your stamina because the road abounds in twists and turns with wheels sometimes hanging above the precipice. The highest paved international road on the planet doesn’t come without its dangers. The road is extremely treacherous and requires a vehicle that can hold its own against some of the most unforgiving terrain in the world. Avalanches, heavy snowfalls and landslides can occur anytime and can sometimes block some sections of the road. While the incredible views of K2 you see along the way make it a popular tourist route, the 800-mile highway is a nightmare for people who are prone to altitude sickness. With absolutely no barrier on one side, and shear rock wall on the other, the margin of driver error is fairly slim. To make matters worse, the area is prone to floods and landslides.
|Founded:||1966 – present|
|In Urdu:||کراکرام ہائی وے|
|Location:||Major cities: Haripur, Abbottabad, Mansehra, Battagram, Besham, Pattan, Dasu, Chilas, Gilgit, Aliabad, Gulmit, Sust, Tashkurgan, Upal, Kashgar|
|Major Cities:||Haripur, Abbottabad, Mansehra, Battagram, Besham, Pattan, Dasu, Chilas, Gilgit, Aliabad, Gulmit, Sust, Tashkurgan, Upal, Kashgar|
|UTM:||43S 468297 3939640|
|Geo URI :||geo:35.6,74.65|
|DMS:||35° 36′ 0″ N, 74° 39′ 0″ E|
|Major Junctions South end:||Hasan Abdal, Punjab, Pakistan|
|Major Junctions North end:||China Kashgar, Xinjiang, China Kokudou 314(China).svg China National Highway 314 (Khunjerab Pass–Kashgar–Ürümqi) ChinaPakistan Khunjerab Pass 35 N-35 N-15 N-15|
|Maintained by:||National Highway Authority (Pakistan) and Transport Department of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (China)|
|Length:||1,300 km (800 mi) Pakistan: 887 km (551 mi) China: 413 km (257 mi)|
|Existed:||1966 – present|
|History:||Completed in 1979, open to the public since 1986|
|Urdu Name:||شاہراہ قراقرم|
|South end:||Hasan Abdal, Punjab, Pakistan|
|Indus River:||2896 kms|
|Major Towns:||Haripur Abbottabad Mansehra Battagram Besham Pattan Dasu Chilas Danyor Aliabad Gulmit Sust Tashkurgan (China) Upal (China)|
The Karakoram Highway will begin technically on Thakot but Havelian in Hazara assists since rail-head. Presented within the 1966 Sino-Pak deal, this required an even dozen very long, perilous several years to perform mainly because it wood the means with the greatest hill amounts on earth.The several meter vast (23 feet) road concerned twenty three trillion cubic meters (30 trillion cubic yards) associated with world is effective as well as steel pieces as well as eaten 812 hues (800 tons) associated with volatile, 81,284 tonnes (80,000 tons) associated with concrete as well as thirty five, 562 tonnes (35,000 tons) associated with fossil fuel. Another 81,284 tonnes (80,000) associated with fuels as well as lubricant ended up utilized by this 1,000 pickups which maintained a continuing shuttle service, shipping products, guys as well as equipment vertical the size.Eighty-five connections and lots of tunnels level this lifetime of this road. These types of lasting connections ended up preceded simply by Bailey Connections which speedily spanned this gorges along with the flowing marine environments and keep products as well as progress travelling going. Currently, it really is two-lane road able; looking at their home, associated with taking 2 tanks updated, with as many as 1 708 culverts.But also for nearly all km (half the mile) gouged from this unrelenting hill domain, a man perished nearly all as a result of simple human being malfunction. Thirty perished as soon as their particular pickup truck drivers temporarily lost concentration as well as drove directly within the edge with the path.With Gilgit, this Chinese bridge will be distinguished with the lions carved upon the framework, which represents this Chinese the almighty exactly who keeps all secure in storm.Over this connect holders the relaxing cemetery, in the shade simply by bushes, where the Chinese staff member killed although developing this Karakoram Highway (those this lion failed), lie in everlasting peacefulness. It can be ornamented with the foothills, like the 7, 787 meter higher (25, 550 feet) Rakaposhi, which they fought against as well as mastered but which eventually advertised their particular payback.Landslides are generally regular the other perennial trouble is the activity with the Passu as well as Batura Snow over and above Hunza valley, which lie previously mentioned this Karakoram Highway. The Batura moves to have an amazing 80 kms (44 miles).Nevertheless since it popped this Karakoram Highway features only once also been closes pertaining to lengthier compared to an evening. Whenever Batura Glacier crashed straight down into it, along with the debris required a few days and nights to distinct.
Karakoram Highway The Worlds Most Highest Motorway
This road is a famous attraction spot of tourist as it connects China and Pakistan regions through a road. It is officially known as N-35 in Pakistan whereas in China it is known as China National Highway G314. Karakoram Highway also called as the friendship highway in China is also a part of Asian Highway.
The Karakoram Highway was started to build in 1959 and it was completed and opened for trade and use for public in 1979. It was made by the government of China and Pakistan. During the making of this highway almost two hundred Chinese and eight hundred Pakistani workers died due to falls and landslides. The route of Karakoram highway traces among one of the many paths of ancient Silk Road.Frontier works organization (FWO) built the highway on the Pakistani side and employed the Pakistani army unit of engineers. The Pakistani army’s engineer in chief branch finished the project and documented the complete history of the highway in the book History of Karakoram.This Highway runs about 1,300 km (810 miles) from Kashgar a city in China to Abbottabad Pakistan. Karakoram Highway meets the Grand Trunk road (GT) at Hassababdal Pakistan. The government of China and Pakistan are planning to connect the Karakoram Highway with the South Port of Gwadar in Baluchistan which will extend to Rawalpindi through the Chinese supported Gwadar Dalbandin.The China Pakistan Economic Corridor also known as CPEC is the group of projects that are currently under construction at the cost of $46 billion. It intends to expand and quickly upgrade the infrastructure of Pakistan and also improve and deepen the economic links between the two countries.As a part of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor ranging $46 Billion the reconstruction and promotion activities on the Pakistani sight of Karakoram Highway are under progress. The Karakoram Highway covers a distance of eight hundred and eighty seven kilometers between border of China-Pakistan and Burhan, a town near Hassan Abdal.The accessible M1 motorway will interconnect the Karakoram Highway at Shah Maqsood Interchange. As part of the existing M1 and M2 motorways access further to Lahore and Islamabad. The intersection of Burhan will be at the eastern and western alignment which will further lead to the Gawadar port. As a part of the infrastructure projects under the supervision of CPEC, a motorway of eleven hundred kilometers long will be constructed in between the two cities Karachi and Lahore. And the Karakoram Highway between the Chinese border and Rawalpindi will be totally refurbished and modernized.Among the many construction projects of China worldwide even on a grand scale, the expansion of famous Karakoram Highway from Pakistan to China, part of trade routes through Silk Road is one of the Chinas huge construction projects. This project is a glimpse of Beijing’s future strategy. China is making big investments and giving bigheartedly in exchange for long term benefits.China is spending large amount of money and human resource for the improvement of Pakistan’s Karakoram Highway which is the highest motorway in the world. For the sake of long term benefit gift to its neighbors by China is the perfect example of economic strategy for taking short term expenses adopted by China. (Kazim, 2012)Although Pakistan is a very beautiful country with many adventurous destinations but Pakistan attracts few international tourists. Mostly only oversees Pakistani’s or people living in Pakistan visit these areas and that are not much in number. In the past few years Karakoram Highway has became an important tourism sight. It has attracted many adventurous tourists across Pakistan. In 2006 the Karakoram Highway was ranked as the third best tourist spot in Pakistan by the Guardian.
The Karakoram Highway (KKH) is the only land link between Pakistan and China and is thought to be the highest paved international road in the world. Officially known as National Highway 35 (N-35) in Pakistan and as China National Highway 314 (G314) in China, since it leads through the Karakoram Range it is commonly known as the Karakoram Highway.
The total length of the KKH is approximately 1300 km, with 887 km in Pakistan and 413 km in China. It contains 85 bridges and can gain a maximum altitude of 4,693 m at the Khunjerab Pass. Starting in the city of Hassan Abdal, the KKH passes through the Pamir, Himalaya, and Karakoram Mountain Ranges. It travels alongside the Indus River for almost 200 km and together they pass through the junction which divides the Himalaya Mountains from the Karakoram Range. Then KKH leaves the Indus and joins its route with the Gilgit, Hunza, and Khunjerab Rivers. It eventually reaches the Khunjerab Pass, winds its way through the Pamirs, and finally ends in the Chinese city of Kashgar.
Sights to See
There are several interesting sites, natural and historical, to see along the Karakoram Highway. Nanga Parbat (8126 m), also known as Killer Mountain, can easily be viewed from KKH. Four glaciers – Minapin, Passu, Gulkin and Khunjerab – and the four rivers – Indus, Hunza, Gilgit and Khunjerab – can all be seen from the KKH.Another attraction is the petroglyphs placed at ten sites between Hunza and Shaital. Dating back from 500 – 1000 BC, these petroglyphs are carvings on stones and boulders left by pilgrims, traders, and invaders.
Nanga Parbat (main peak) has a height of 8126 meters/26,660 ft. It has three vast faces. The Rakhiot (Ra Kot) face is dominated by the north and south silver crags and silver plateau. The Diamir face is rocky in the beginning. It converts itself into ice fields around the higher end of the peak. The Rupal face is the highest precipice in the world. Reinhold Messner, a living legend in mountaineering from Italy has said “every one who has ever stood at the foot of this face (4500 meters) up above the ‘Tap Alpe’; studied it or flown over it, could not help but have been amazed by its sheer size. Nanga Parbat is indisputably the highest rock and ice wall in the world!
Nanga Parbat has always been associated with tragedies and tribulations until it was climbed in 1953. A lot of mountaineers have perished on Nanga Parbat since 1895. Even in recent years it has claimed a heavy toll of human lives including mountaineers, porters, Special Forces personnel trained by the military and more, all in search of adventure and thrill. It’s victims have included those in pursuit of new and absolutely un-climbed routes leading to its summit.
It was in 1841 that a huge rock slide from Nanga Parbat dammed the Indus river. This created a huge lake, 55 km long, like the present Tarbela dam downstream. The flood of water that was released when the dam broke caused a rise of 80 ft. in the river’s 3rd level at Attock and swept away an entire Sikh army. It was also in the middle of the nineteenth century that similar catastrophes were later caused by the damming of Hunza and Shyok rivers.
The Nanga Parbat peak was first known to the Europeans in the nineteenth century. The Schlagintweit brothers, who hailed from Munich (Germany) came in 1854 to Himalayas and drew a panoramic view, which is the first known picture of Nanga Parbat. In 1857 one of them was murdered in Kashgar. The curse of Nanga Parbat had begun.
Pakistan’s main river, 2896 kms. long mighty Indus emanates in Southern Tibet and flows Northwest. Cutting through the Karakoram and Himalayas, it passes through Ladakh and Skardu valleys. It tuns Southwards near Gilgit, separating Hindukush and Himalayas.
This is the main river of Hunza which is one of the most beautiful location in the northern areas of Pakistan. It is originated through the joining of the Khunjerab and kilik gorges (nalas), which are basically fed by the glaciers from the mountains. It joins River Gilgit and River Naltar and finally falls into the River Indus.
It cuts through the Karakoram range of mountains from north to south. The great Karakoram highway crosses this river near Nagar and Hunza valleys. Hunza River can very easily be included in not only one of the most beautiful rivers in Pakistan but also in the world. The river flows along with Karakoram highway coming down from Khunjerab Top. While driving up to the famous top which acts as a border between Pakistan and China, this river flows along. At present due to the Ata Abad Lake formation, KKH has been interrupted and a part of this journey along river Hunza has to be taken by boat. Hunza river meets with Nagar River and other regional rivers on its course down to the south. It eventually adds up into the mighty Indus. Hunza river is very beautiful. Hunza is one of the most visited regions of Pakistan by the foreign tourists.
K2 – The King of Karakoram
Northern Pakistan has the most beautiful and mightiest mountains on earth. From the for bidding heights of the five peaks which are over 8000m, to the dozens that are over 7000m high, all have one thing in common, they are majestic, mystical and magical, K-2 the king of the Karakorams is the second highest peak in the world at 8611m. The undistinguished name of K-2 gives no indication of the majestic and difficult nature of the peak. Reinhold Messner, the first climber to ascend all 14 of the 8000m (260000 ft) summits, gave it the undoubtful accolade of being more difficult than peak. The facts undoubtedly bear this out in the years since its first ascent, K-2 has a fascinating history, perhaps even more so then Everest. He name K-2 arose when, in 1856, captain T.G Montgomeric of the British survey of India saw this peak and the surrounding once from a distance of 180km (120 miles). He named the peaks according to their apparent height. K-1 (K for Karakoram), k-2 and so on. (Masherbrum was accorded the name K-1, as it seemed to be higher than chogori, or K-2.
Welcome to the Karakoram Highway the high land of peace love and joy
Explore the natural beauty. Land of high adventure, unique treks, hikking and mountaineering, jeep safaris rock climbing, white water rafting or simply relax the middle of world’s beautiful mountains. Journey along the amazing karakoram highway (KKH) never give a feeling of arepeated travel experience. Its like developing a teste for some thing, each travel experience is a reward in knowing better the existance of live miracle. he land scape changes almost every kilometers.
Construction of this Highway
The very idea of construction of this highway was pronounced an impossible mission by world renowned experts in road building technology. Its implementations termed lunatic. Today in its final shape the highway is a modern wonder of the world, a brave achievement by man kind, a sheer demostration of self sacrifice for the confort of follow beings; through determination, team work and perseverance. 900 kilometer in lenght, with its end trail into china, the KKH National Park; a breathtaking scenic drive portray some of the world’s eight most picturesque mountains, Nanga Parbar, Haramosh, Rakaposhi, Diran, Ulter peak, Golden peak, Tupopdan passu Cathedrals, passu cones, Gulmit Tower. Shisper peak, mystique eight mountain tribes and their eight languages, Hindko, Pushto, Khwer, Kohistani, Shinaki, Balti, Burushaski, Wakhi; and eight rare wildlife snow leopard, markhor, maracopolo sheep, ibex, yak, urial, double humped cemal and kohistani partridge).
Pure Natural Beauty
At certain stretch of the highway, travellers are mismerisad of an experience of travelling out this world-in total isolation and ruggedness, a form of pure natural beauty which does not prevail in any other part on earth. uaint villages, pretty waterfalls are attractive features of the drive.Thakot bridge, mark the joint Pakistan- China army project, the offical kkh beginning from Havelien is lined by pine trees and beauti fied by terraced fields. from Thakot it follows the mighty Indus river, with its source in Tibet, is one of the longest river of the World. the kkh follows the mighty Indus river for 310 km from Thakot to the point where it meets Gilgit river, where it highlights the phenomenal of inter looking of the three greatest mountain systems on earth i.e. the himalayas, the karakorams and Hindukush. Leaving behind Besham, the Kohistan region and on entering Chilas, the scenari makes an abrupt chane, from lush green to bare mountains and ruggedness, look like Tibet and moon landscape, untouched by the monsoon rains. Travellers pay tribute in short prayers at many monumental sites along the highway in memory of about 900 human lives lost in the processes of building the road. To build a highway along these Granite mountains was an incredible feat of engineering. It took pakistani and chanese engineers 20 years to complete the road. The progress was measured not in miles but in yards, given the difficulty of terrian, 15000 pakistani and 10,000 chinese worked on the road. The chinese concentrated on bridge and the pakistani Army engineer on the road. The workers learn to be expert in rock climbing and belonging. KKH is also known as a friendship highway between china and pakistan. The great mountains which bow to one of the greatest achievements of mankind, KKH was opened to travellers in 1978, the journey made easier for mountain lovers. No where in the world travellers could enjoy the sight of mountains as high as over 8000 meters, while cruising in confort. Along the drive from chilas to the border of pakistan and china, some of the most facinating mountains on earth, the khunjerab pass (4733m). The highest paved road border crossing on earth. At certain stretches of the KKH, sections of original ancient silk route marges with the present day road. Geologists consider this a particulary interesting areas. For nature lovers, photographers and writters, the KKH national park is simply a wonderland. The khunjerab pass 4733m is open for foreigners from 1st may to 30th November for crossing over to china.
The KKH is best travelled in the spring or early autumn. Heavy snow during harsh winters can shut the highway down for extended periods. Heavy monsoon rains around July and August cause occasional landslides that can block the road for hours or more. The border crossing between China and Pakistan at Khunjerab Pass is open only between 1 May and 31 December.
Karakoram Highway Reconstruction
As part of the $46 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor, reconstruction and upgrade works on the Pakistani portion of the Karakoram Highway (KKH) are underway. The KKH spans the 887 kilometre long distance between the China-Pakistan border and the town of Hasan Abdal. At Burhan Interchange near Hasan Abdal, the existing M1 motorway will intersect the Karakoram Highway. From there, access onwards to Islamabad and Lahore continues as part of the existing M1 and M2 motorways, while Hasan Abdal will also be at intersection of the Eastern Alignment, and the Western Alignment which will lead towards the port city of Gwadar.
The highway passes the Hunza Valley The Hunza was the original Shangri La that inspired the novel (and later movie). Hunza is known for its orchards, moderate Islam, welcoming hospitality and beautiful scenery.
From Kashgar in China, the list of towns and travel time from previous town are:
- Kashgar – Tashkurgan – 8 hour
- Tashkurgan – Sost – At least 6 hours dependent on the length of time spent tackling the border crossing and the extremely thorough Chinese customs guards.
- Sost to Passu – 1 hour
- Passu to Karimabad – This stretch requires crossing Attabad Lake. Consequently it is recommended to allow at least 5 hours with own transport, and a whole day without as buses are rare and slow.
- Karimabad to Gilgit – 2 to 3 hours
- Gilgit to Chilas – 4 – 5 hours
- Chilas to Dasu – 3-4 hours
- Dasu to Besham – 3-4 hours
- Besham to Abbottabad – 4 hours
- Abbottabad to Hassan Abdal – 2 – 3 hours
The Karakoram Highway lies in one of the safest part of Pakistan, but expect inhospitable terrain. The more you go north, the safer it becomes, especially between Gilgit and the border pass. South of Gilgit, the population becomes increasingly Pushtun-dominated and is likewise influenced by the situation in rest of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, in particular the area around Abbotabad. If you’re very much concerned about your safety, it is advisable to directly fly from Islamabad to Gilgit or Skardu and focus on the upper reaches of the KKH.
General unrest, displeasure with the local police, government or local politics can sometimes create localised issues and difficulties below Gilgit. Watch everyone else, see how they are reacting. With care and common sense, the valley and area is stunning visually, has friendly locals who are relaxed and are keen to interact with you. Near Karimabad there are troops stationed and visible, whilst further up the valley, there appears to be just local police.
In recent years the highway has sought to become a ‘niche’ adventure tourism destination although Pakistan attracts very few international tourists. Only Pakistanis and overseas citizens of Pakistani origin tend to visit these areas, and that too in small numbers. As of 2014, no Western tourist agency offers organised tours to the KKH. Western diplomats based in Pakistan are prohibited by their governments from making personal trips to these areas. The KKH was however ranked in 2006 as the “third best” tourist destination in Pakistan by The Guardian.The road has given mountaineers and cyclists easier access to the many high mountains, glaciers, and lakes in the area. The highway provides access to Gilgit and Skardu from Islamabad by road. These are the two major hubs for mountaineering expeditions in the Gilgit–Baltistan region of Pakistan-administered Kashmir.The Gilgit–Baltistan Administration of Pakistan-administered Kashmir and the Xinjiang Administration of China have signed an agreement to issue border passes to their permanent residents. This pass is valid for a calendar year and is used to travel through Khunjerab Pass only. Karakoram Highway has been described as one of the most beautiful destinations in the world. KKH provides a cross country road trip from Hasan Abdal, Pakistan to Kashghar.
There are several transport companies in Pakistan that offer bus service between major towns of the highway and from Rawalpindi and Lahore. The largest company is Northern Areas Transport Corporation (NATCO). Other companies are Masherbrum Travel, Silk Route Travel, K-2 movers, Anchan Travel, and Saeed Travel.
Bus service between Gilgit and Kashghar
On 1 June 2006, a daily bus service began between Gilgit, Gilgit–Baltistan, and Kashghar, Xinjiang, through the Sust and Tashkorgan border area.