|A Journey Along The Karakorum Highway
Well-Known informally as KKH, the Karakorum highway, forces through the rugged mountains, is truly a great feet of engineering. It is the highest paved international road in the world connecting western China and northern Pakistan at Khunjerab Pass at 4,733m. Running approximately 1300 km (810 mi) from Abbottabad city of Pakistan to Xinjiang of China, it is main trade artery of the two countries. The Pakistani section covers 806 km mostly through the Karakorum and Hindukush mountain range. Starting from Abbottabad the highway meets Indus river at Thakot and continues all the way to the Junction point of three mountain ranges (The Himalaya, the Hindukush and the Karakorum) where Gilgit River meets Indus River and continues through Gilgit (the capital city of Gilgit-Baltistan), Hunza & Nagar along the Hunza River all the way to Khunjerab Pass where it meets the Chinese section. The route has historically been a caravan trail – a branch of ancient Silk Road and recently serves as a popular tourist attraction.
Whether you travel by bus or by bike, you will be equally fascinated with the scenic views along the highway. Along this route you will enjoy several picturesque views of mountains including Nanga Parbat, Rakaposhi, Diran, Shishper, Ultar, and Cathedral Peaks near Passu as well as beautiful glaciers including Minapin, Passu, Ghulkin and Khunjerab. Moreover, you will see thousands of inscriptions and petroglyphs along the KKH engraved in more than ten writing systems. Furthermore, almost at every next stage of your journey, you will come across people from a different social background speaking a unique language or a dialect.
Construction of the KKH brought about tremendous socio-economic changes to the remote northern areas, particularly those settled along the highway. It helped bring about economic development by enabling people access education and healthcare system in a short a span of time which ultimately paved ways for local people to thrive.
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