Salman Rashid

Travel writer, Fellow of Royal Geographical Society

The Great Asiatic Divide

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The Himalayas, Karakorams and the Hindu Kush form a great barrier, in total extending for nearly 3000 km from Bhutan to Chitral. These mountains divide the waters between the Indian subcontinent and Central Asia: on the south side the waters feed the Indo-Gangetic river system and on the north they drain into the great Central Asiatic wildernesses. That in a nutshell is the Great Asiatic Divide or the Great Asiatic Watershed.

To cross it is a momentous feat because you step from the subcontinent into Central Asia. In Pakistan you can do it on the Lukpe La and on Shimshal Pass. Nowhere else. India, Nepal or Bhutan do not have this singular honour of straddling the continental divide.

Had I been able to cross the West Muztagh Pass in 2006 (we did not because of fear of Chinese soldiers), I would have again crossed into Central Asia.

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posted by Salman Rashid @ 19:59,


At 14 May 2013 at 20:46, Anonymous Saima Ashraf said...

Is there any physical feature like line of hills or a river that divides the two areas or is it just on the map?

At 15 May 2013 at 10:06, Anonymous Salman Rashid said...

Saima, the mountains themselves are the greatest physical feature. Their summits and the ridges separating the summits form the line. It is a physical feature that divides the waters. This is not something imaginary.

At 15 May 2013 at 13:25, Anonymous Brad Jackson said...

Pakistan's spectacular mountain might. No where else in the world is such a concentration of mountains waiting to be explored. Nice blog.

At 15 May 2013 at 13:35, Anonymous Salman Rashid said...

Thank you very much, Brad.


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My Books

Deosai: Land of the Gaint - New

The Apricot Road to Yarkand

Jhelum: City of the Vitasta

Sea Monsters and the Sun God: Travels in Pakistan

Salt Range and Potohar Plateau

Prisoner on a Bus: Travel Through Pakistan

Between Two Burrs on the Map: Travels in Northern Pakistan

Gujranwala: The Glory That Was

Riders on the Wind

Books at Sang-e-Meel

Books of Days