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    History of mountaineering in the Hindu Kush-1 — By: Prof. Rahmat Karim Baig

    History of mountaineering in the Hindu Kush-1 — By: Prof. Rahmat Karim Baig

    The word ‘Hindu Kush’  is neither Khowar nor English or Kalasha but it was coined and and brought  to this region from Dari- a variant of Persian- spoken in some states of central Asia such as Uzbekistan, Tajikstan and parts of north Afghanistan. The chain of the sierras of Hindu Kush have actuallyrisen from the western tip ( of this range) in the north of eastern Iran which stands  to the west of Mazar e Sharif and Heart where the plain land begins to rise gradually easterly which is now north Afghanistan. In this initial part of the range the height reaches above 5000m and becomes an obstacle for all weather travel from central Asia to the southern territories. Mir Samir group of peaks of the Hindu Kush range in north Afghanistan, is situated in this region and the inhabitants of this region spoke and still speak Dari  so they had named the mountains and its passes  as HINDU KUSH after the exodus of Aryians to India where the Ariyans were supposed to  kill the Hindus.

     The chain of smaller ridges and peaks has extended easterly and then rise to Kuhe Bandeka further east, reaching Terich Mir  and other giants of the range such as Nowshaq, Istor o Nal, Saraghrar, Udren Zom, Langar Zom, Urgant Zom  etc. in the north-east direction without being interrupted by any pass of high value except a few cols to a point where it touches the south most tip of Pamir in the east of Boroghil Pass and the whole range of snow covered peaks was called  Hindu Kush by the trade Caravans from Central Asia that used the few feasible passes that opened in summers and thus the word HINDU KUSH became widespread in the region. It does not refer to any particular act of killing of Hindus anywhere in this region.

    There are scores of peaks above 6000m in this range inside Afghan border and the density of the peaks further east in the Pakistan side is so great that many of them are still un named. This high conglomeration of peaks attracted the British Indian authorities, especially after the 1895 Chitral-British pact of friendship between Mehtar Amanul Mulk and Colonel Lockhart who led the British delegation and had reached Chitral via Gilgit and Shandur Pass.

    Before the above mentioned pact Major John Biddulph and GS Robertson had come to Chitral and taken away a good deal of information about this mountain country and the State  of Chitral which existed inside the Chain of mountains that had surrounded it. The abundance of high peaks were reported by the British travelers to the British Indian Authorities and the information reached England which attracted  adventure tourists and opened a new destination for mountaineering.


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