Caravansarays on the silk-road stretching from
A Union named Eurasia Postal Union was established in 2001 among Azerbaijan, The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Pakistan and Turkey in order to promote commonalities on the international postal platform keeping in view the increase in traffic volume in parallel with the economic, cultural and political relations with the countries in Central Asia, the Balkans and Caucasia and also the globalisation in the world seen in recent years.
One of the targets of the Postal Union of Eurasia is to issue postal stamps having common topics and to organize the common stamp exhibitions. The member countries have chosen to issue a stamp on historical
The 8th wonder of the world the
On its arduous climb the road passes through fabled lands, each of them worthy of being termed "Shangri-La". Kohistan, Hunza, Nagar, all these are places unspoiled by civilization, and inhabited by a people supremely happy despite want and poverty. In point of fact, it was to open these lands to the "benefits" of civilization that the KKH was planned. Food and merchandise from the lowlands are now cheaper, and hospital care is only hours away by jeep instead of days away by horse or donkey.
For centuries, the people of the unplands have led isolated, insulated lives, cheerfully unaware of the fact that they lacked most of what the rest of the world considers necessary. They held their festivals, played their flutes, channelled water from melting snow of the glaciers to their terraced, postage-stamp-size farms, pruned their fig, apricot and peach trees, and lived in health to a remarkable age on a diet based on a minimum amount of animal fat and plentiful nuts and fruits. Travellers of the past were so taken by the sight of 90 and 100-years old men and women working by day in the fields, yet ready for dancing in the evening, that fanciful tales of the region were inevitable-birds ferrying people across the mountains. The longevity of the mountain people is a fact, says the former Mir (or ruler) of Hunza, but the travellers tales do tend to exaggerate, especially when they speak of people living to the age of 130 and more.
The first European travellers in the area were some Greek scholars sent by Darius of Persia in about 500 B.C. Their accounts are among the earliest and most reliable.
For centuries afterward, it was fashionable for many of the notables of the area to claim Greek descent Indeed, those on the higher rungs of the social ladder and most of the chieftains and members of the aristocracy, claimed direct descent from the doughty Macedonian himself. Knowing something of Alexander, this seems highly improbable. But certainly many of the people seen in Swat, Chitral and the surrounding regions have distinctly Greek features. And legend has it that the kingdom of pale-skinned Hunzakuts was found by five wanderers from Alexander's army.
The investigators may find valuable hauls, not in gold or jewels (although the area is known to be mineral-rich), but in forgotten history. Much of the highway follows the old
In addition to spectacular scenery and historical significance, the road is of interest for the wildlife that inhabits the regions it traverses. The yak, now domesticated elsewhere in
Found in this region, and perhaps nowhere else in the world, is the snow leopard. Also Marco Polo Sheep, the Markhor and Thar (a wild goat) the Bhural (a sheep) and deer were common, but now they are extremely rare. One of the several rare species of birds is the colourful "Ram Chakor". The ordinary chakor, a kind of pheasant is also found in other parts of he country, but the 'Ram' lives along the
Even without scenery, history and wildlife, the
Plans for the highway were drawn up in 1958-59. Actual work on the road began in 1960. Writing about the initial part of the project a Pakistan Army engineer said "it took us two weeks to cover 30 kms. (about 2.72 kms a day). There was no suitable equipment ..... the supply of explosives was erratic and when snow blocked the
By 1965; some 224 of the planned 248 kms. had been completed. Then
Work on both sides of the border began in real earnest in 1966. In the interest of efficiency, the entire project on
Many mountain tribesmen, a rough, primitive people, could not understand the value of the highway to them and feared that it would take away their small patches of flat arable land. The countryside itself was an even more formidable enemy. But inspite of the monumental difficulties, the road was completed in 1978 and opened to traffic.
At Pattan, a memorial beside the road carries this inscription ,,some time in the future when other will ply the KKH, little will they realise the amount of sweat, courage, dedication, endurance and human sacrifice that has gone into the making of this road. But as you drive along, tarry a little to say a short prayer for those silent brave men of the Pakistan Army who gave their lives to realise a dream, now known as the "
The 160 kms. through Kohistan are as picturesque as one would find anywhere else in the world. There are mighty mountain peaks on all sides, soaring above rushing torrents fed by glaciers. It is a region of stunning beauty and grandeur. Three of the mightiest mountain ranges in the world are interlocked here: the Himalayas, the
A couplet by Dr. Muhammad lqbal,