Construction of this magnificent road began in 1966 and was completed in 1978. The total length of Karakoram Highway (KKH) is 1,300 km of which 887 km is in Pakistan and 413 km is in China. This highway starts from Hassan Abdal in Pakistan and passes through Haripur Hazara, Abbottabad, Mansehra, Besham, Dasu, Chilas, Jaglot, Gilgit, Hunza Nagar, Sost and Khanjrab Pass and reaches Kashgar in China.
The construction of this road took the world by surprise because for a while the world’s largest companies were unable to do so. A well-known European company had declared it impossible to build it after an aerial survey. Despite the severity of the weather, heavy snowfall and landslides, the construction of this road is a miracle that Pakistan and China made possible together.
According to available data, roughly around 810 Pakistanis and 82 Chinese lost their lives in its construction. During this mega construction project, approximately 8,000 tons of dynamite was used to cut the hard and rocky chest of Karakoram Highway and 30 million cusec meters of Rocky Mountains were cut down till its completion. KKH is a wonderful highway!
Sometimes charming, sometimes mysterious, sometimes calm, sometimes blaring, sometimes asking questions and sometimes answering. This road contains hundreds of stories, stories of love, hate, fear, backwardness and progress. These mysteries makes this road a wonder.
A famously quote forged into my own words be like:
“Revolution comes through thought and consciousness, but the revolution in Gilgit-Baltistan came through the road.”
Karakoram Highway Routes
The starting point of the Karakoram Highway is in Thakot of Hazara District.
From Thakot, the Indus River flows along the Karakoram Highway to Jaglot, then turns towards the gateway to might mountains Skardu.
After Thakot, the area of Kohistan begins where the rivers flowing from far and wide play an important role in making the journey memorable and interesting. After Kohistan, the area of Chilas starts which is an area consisting of Rocky Mountains. Chilas district is an important area of Diamer, also known as the gateway to Gilgit-Baltistan.
Chilas can also be reached from Naran via Babusar Top. After Chilas, the Karakoram Highway starts circling around Mt. Nanga Parbat and then comes the Raikot Bridge. Chilas is the base point to rest a jeep towards Fairy Meadows and Nanga Parbat base camp.
After Raikot, the Nanga Parbat, the Indus River and the Karakoram Highway form a beautiful combination that forces tourists to be quiet for a while.
After this the Gilgit division begins, after which the first important place is Jaglot. This road splits from Jaglot, the road goes to Astor, Deosai and Skardu Baltistan.
The intersection point of three largest mountain rages at Jaglot Parri. It is that the world’s three largest mountain ranges, the Himalayas, the Hindu Kush and the Karakoram, converge here, and the only place in the world where anyone can witness the coverage of three mountain ranges.
Yes, the beauty of the Karakoram Highway is in its entirety. I don’t think any tourist would have pressed his fingers into his teeth in surprise at this point on the highway. The Passu Cones are a prime example.
After the slowdown, the Karakoram Highway reaches Khunjrab, the last stop in Pakistan.
Khunjrab National Park
The area from Sost to Khunjrab consists of uninhabited, rugged mountains and constant climbing. The Karakoram Highway at Khunjrab Pass has an elevation of 4,693 meters, making it the highest highway in the world. Khunjarab is home to some of the world’s most unique animals, including the Marcopolo sheep, snow leopard, marmot, bear, yak, markhor and blue cow.
That is why Khunjarab has got the status of a national park.
On this road you will see lush mountains as well as rocky and barren mountain ranges and gigantic snow peaks, abundance of rivers, waterfalls, pastures and glaciers including all kinds of geographical views that not only make your trip beautiful but also your heart. And leaves a deep impression on the mind. The Karakoram Highway is not just a road.
Rather, it is the eighth wonder of the world.
It is the trustee of civilization, it is the means of overcoming backwardness, it is the tool of quenching the thirst of thousands of tourists every year, it is the symbol of love and friendship, it is the line drawn by the blood of hundreds of workers. Brought the whole of Gilgit-Baltistan out of darkness and put it on a journey of light. Of course, this highway is a masterpiece.