The Karakoram Highway (8th wonder of the world)

Most people ask why the Karakorum highway is known as the 8th wonder of the world?

So we are going to list the features of the KKH owing to which it is counted as the 8th wonder of the world.

Karakoram Highway which connects Pakistan with China is known as 8th wonder of the world due to its serene landscape

A brief introduction about the Karakoram Highway (KKH)

The Karakoram Highway (KKH) is the highest paved international road in the world. It was constructed by the governments of Pakistan and China, started in 1959 and completed in 1979 (open to the public since 1986).  About 810 Pakistanis and about 200 Chinese workers lost their lives, mostly in landslides and fall while building the highway. It connects China and Pakistan across the Karakorum mountain ranges, through the Khunjerab Pass, at an elevation of 4,693 meters (15,397 ft). It connects China's Xinjiang region with Pakistan's Gilgit–Baltistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa regions and also serves as a popular tourist attraction.  Its length is 1300 km. 

It is pertinent to mention here that the highway passes along such geographical localities that one cannot imagine such variations may exist, like when some places along the highway experience a scorching heat of about 50 degree Celsius in May, some places still receive snow and freezes.  

Reason for counting as 8th wonder

  • The K.K.H. passes through a scenic wonderland. The landscape changes almost after every mile. Starting from Hasan Abdal (60 km from Islamabad), every second of drive leads one up and up towards the land of peaks; Gilgit-Baltistan.
  • Many glaciers can be seen while traveling on the highway which includes: Minapin, Passu, Gulkin and Khunjrab glaciers.
  • There are hundreds of suspension bridges on Indus River across the KKH connecting world's two mightiest mountain ranges (Himalaya emerging from India and Hindukush from Afghanistan). 
  • One can have sight of the gleaming icy summits of world's highest mountains: Nanga Parbat and Rakaposhi ( 9th and the 27th highest peak in the world) from the highway. 
  • The highway transects a number of rivers including; Gilgit, Hunza, Indus and Khunjrab River.
  • Hundreds of streams can be seen along the highway. 
  • One can see the road carved into the rocky mountains; even the sign of rods of machines which were used to bore the rock is visible along the road.
  • There are more than 50,000 pieces of rock art and petroglyphs all along the highway that are concentrated at ten major sites between Hunza and Shatial. The carvings were left by invaders, traders, and pilgrims who passed along the trade route, as well as by locals. The earliest date back to between 5000 and 1000 BC, showing single animals, triangular men, and hunting scenes in which the animals are larger than the hunters. 
  • When in Hasan Abdal (55 km from Islamabad), it is totally a plain area having small ridges around but one cannot find high altitude terrain and forest areas. Moving further the hills grow in altitude and forest becomes thicker. 
  • When Mansehra (170 km from Islamabad) is crossed, the highway enters into breathtaking and heavenly valleys like Chatar Plain, Battal and Batgram etc. These valleys are in fact a piece of heaven; thickly forested, the vehicles are lost in the forest. 
  • When in Kohistan (375 km from Islamabad), the last district of KPK, the highway follows every twist and turns of the Indus River. Sometimes the highway carved through the rocky mountain passes through the climax of the mountain, having sight of Indus River deep in the ravine, it seems like one is flying in plane or helicopter. 
  • Until the end of the KPK the mountains are covered by the thick evergreen forest, but as one enters the Gilgit-Baltistan there is a complete shift in mountain structures. The giant goldish rocky mountains are covered by snow and there is a very little forest on it.

A bridge on the Karakoram Highway and PTDC Motel can be seen in this picture

KKH passing through Passu Village

How to enjoy the sublime beauty of the KKH

If you are an adventure lover and looking for a thrill then you must travel on KKH because it would be one of a kind of road journey experience in your life. It is not only the landscape you would enjoy, there are many other things along the highway which will turn your journey into a memorable one and you would be proud of it.
The beauty of land journey is that you enjoy many things, the landscape, people, culture, lifestyle of people, generosity and hospitality of people and much more. The KKH connects countries, people, cultures, cities, and regions. It is not only the landscape which changes after every mile, the culture, people, their lifestyle, appearances and hospitality also change. 
If you want to explore the KKH we would recommend you to arrange your trip with a great flexibility of time because there are dozens and dozens of spots and many other things in which you would find awe and spending time in those places, with those people and enjoying those cultures would be the best thing while traveling on KKH. You can choose any kind of conveyance, be it a simple bike, motorbike or any other kind of four-wheel vehicle as long as you are traveling between June-August, beyond this timeline it would be hard to explore the KKH because some regions experience very harsh weather. 

The landscape

The landscape is one of the most prominent things to enjoy when you are traveling on KKH. Initially, you pass through the plain areas when you start the journey from Islamabad but as you move northward it changes to hilly areas. At some point, the road passes through thickly wooded lush green mountains and you would be lost in the wood. Passing through the hairpin road thickly covered by the pine trees would be the best experience to enjoy. 
The further you move upward the mountains grows in size and the green mountains turns into bald rocky mountains when you enter the Gilgit-Baltistan. At some places, you would observe small desert plains, but in most of the cases, the road will pass through the packed ravines along the Indus River till the periphery of Gilgit city.  There would be villages, hamlets and small towns to cities along the highway. At the close of the Pakistan-China border, you would be at a great height, some 15,000 feets above the sea level so it would be better to accompany some warm fabrics and other travel gears. 

Gilgit-Skardu Road

Below are pictures of Gilgit-Skardu Road which is alike KKH. We are uploading these because we have mentioned above that the highway is carved through mighty rocky mountains and the second reason is, we don't have any clear and new pictures of KKH right now.

Gilgit-Skardu road is 225 km long road which connects the two cities in the northernmost part of the Pakistan


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