The Karakoram Highway

The Karakoram Highway (N-35) is the land route connecting Pakistan with China. It is also called Karakoram Highway and Silk Road. It traverses the world’s great mountain ranges, the Karakoram and the Himalayas. This highway is 4693 meters above sea level at Dara Khanjarab. It connects the Chinese province of Xinjiang with the northern parts of Pakistan. It is the highest international highway in the world. The highway is built in the difficult mountainous region of Karakoram, so it is also called the eighth wonder of the world.

The Karakoram Highway

Importance

It was completed in 1986 over a period of 20 years. It was built jointly by Pakistan and China. While building it, 810 Pakistanis and 82 Chinese lose their lives. The total length of the Karakoram Highway is about 1300 km, of which 887 km is in Pakistan and 413 km in China. It consists of 85 bridges and reaches an altitude of 4,693 meters on the Khanjarab Pass. It starts in the Chinese city of Kashgar and then passes through Hunza, Nagar, Gilgit, Chilas, Dasu, Besham, Mansehra, Abbottabad, Haripur, and Hazara and joins GT Road at Hassan Abdal.
The existence of the Silk Road is a small spectacle of human creativity. The Abasin, the river Indus which was called Indus by the Aryans, was called Cham Loho by the Chinese. It travels about 200 km along the Indus River and the two pass through the point where the Himalayas are separated from the Karakoram Range.

Jiglot-Skardu part of the KKH

Another part of this highway is towards Skardu. Jiglot-Skardu and Gilgit-Skardu roads are the famous names of this part. The extension and re-carpeting of this road along with new bridges are under construction. Although initially in 2018 several tunnels were also part of this extension unfortunately that was canceled out by the authorities. This highway, which is the only passage for more than seven lakh people of Baltistan and people belonging to four districts, is also of great strategic importance to Pakistan. This is the only way to get to the most important front like Siachen. Similarly, if the promotion of tourism is taken into consideration, this is the only land route of K2 and other important mountain ranges of the world like Shangri-La, Sadpara, Deosai, etc.

The Karakoram Highway