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Silk Road Travelogue

The Ultimate Road Trip

by Gabriele Greenwald

“The name of that mountain? Madam, we don’t give them names unless they are higher than 6,000 meters (ca. 19,500 ft)”, our Pakistani guide Zafar instructed a member of our group. Though somewhat of an exaggeration, Zafar’s point was well taken. After three days into our Karakoram Highway (KKH) tour from Islamabad to Kashgar, most of us had a stiff neck from throwing our head back to gaze at the icy giants of the Hindukush, Himalaya, and Karakoram Ranges lining the Highway and the Indus River.

The KKH, a two-lane road blasted into the flanks of the world’s most awesome mountain chains, took two decades to build, and nature keeps it still a work in progress....

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Photos (click to enlarge)

Indus River at Thakot (temporarily stopped Alexander's progress towards India)

1. Indus River at Thakot (temporarily stopped Alexander's progress towards India)

Work of art on wheels: a Pakistani truck

3. Work of art on wheels: a Pakistani truck

Farm with watchtower in Kohistan

2. Farm with watchtower in Kohistan

Nanga Parbat, seen from KKH

4. Nanga Parbat, seen from KKH

Left, a portion of the old Silk Road at Chalt, right, KKH

5. Left, a portion of the old Silk Road at Chalt, right, KKH

Sunset over the Rakaposhi at Eagle's Nest, Karimabad, Hunza Valley

6. Sunset over the Rakaposhi at Eagle's Nest, Karimabad, Hunza Valley

Tibetan-style Baltit Fort in the Hunza Valley, erstwhile seat of the Mirs of Hunza

7. Tibetan-style Baltit Fort in the Hunza Valley, erstwhile seat of the Mirs of Hunza

The famous Hunza apricots

8. The famous Hunza apricots

An old (centagenarian ?) Hunza man with his great great grandson

9. An old (centagenarian ?) Hunza man with his great great grandson

Hunza River near Gulmit with Passu Cones

10. Hunza River near Gulmit with Passu Cones

The enormous Passu glacier by the roadside

11. The enormous Passu glacier by the roadside

KKH at almost 20,00ft, the Khunjerab Pass into Xinjiang

12. KKH at almost 20,00ft, the Khunjerab Pass into Xinjiang

Kyrgyz nomads at Lake Bulun Kul

14. Kyrgyz nomads at Lake Bulun Kul

Kyrgyz tombs at Lake Bulun Kul between Tashkurgan and Kashgar

13. Kyrgyz tombs at Lake Bulun Kul between Tashkurgan and Kashgar

Kashgar livestock market: A mediator setting a fair price for a heifer

15. Kashgar livestock market: A mediator setting a fair price for a heifer

Kashgar livestock market: Taking a break

16. Kashgar livestock market: Taking a break

Kashgar: The Uigurs' favorite SUV

18. Kashgar: The Uigurs' favorite SUV

Kashgar: Fast food, Uigur-style

17. Kashgar: Fast food, Uigur-style

Kashgar Sunday market: Dried snake coils at Chinese medicine stall

19. Kashgar Sunday market: Dried snake coils at Chinese medicine stall

Kashgar, the new indoor bazaar

20. Kashgar, the new indoor bazaar

Kashgar, mosque in the Shrine of the Fragrant Concubine

21. Kashgar, mosque in the Shrine of the Fragrant Concubine. Lots of fake Bactrian coins for sale in nearby antique shops

Street in old town Kashgar

22. Street in old town Kashgar

KKH near the Chinese border, crumbling under the onslaught of glacier water and rock slides

24. KKH near the Chinese border, crumbling under the onslaught of glacier water and rock slides

The KKH on the right running along the Indus in Kohistan

23: The KKH on the right running along the Indus in Kohistan


This page last updated 26 Jan 2011

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