Hindu Kush

Coordinates: 35°N 71°E / 35°N 71°E

Hindu Kush
Hindu Kush
Hindu Kush range
Highest point
PeakTirich Mir
Elevation7,708 m (25,289 ft)
Coordinates36°14′45″N 71°50′38″E / 36.24583°N 71.84389°E
Geography
Approximate Hindu Kush range with Dorah Pass
Topography of the Hindu Kush range[1]
Countries
RegionCentral Asia-South
Parent rangeHimalayas
Afghanistan physical en
Hindu Kush and its extending mountain ranges to the west.

The Hindu Kush (Pashto and Persian: هندوکش‬, Persian for “Hindu Killer”; /kʊʃ, kuːʃ/), also known in Ancient Greek as the Caucasus Indicus (Ancient Greek: Καύκασος Ινδικός) or Paropamisadae (Ancient Greek: Παροπαμισάδαι), is an 800-kilometre-long (500 mi) mountain range that stretches near the Afghan-Pakistan border,[2][3] from central Afghanistan to northern Pakistan. It forms the western section of the Hindu Kush Himalayan Region (HKH).[4][5][6] It divides the valley of the Amu Darya (the ancient Oxus) to the north from the Indus River valley to the south.

The Hindu Kush range has numerous high snow-capped peaks, with the highest point in the Hindu Kush being Tirich Mir or Terichmir at 7,708 metres (25,289 ft) in the Chitral District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. To the north, near its northeastern end, the Hindu Kush buttresses the Pamir Mountains near the point where the borders of China, Pakistan and Afghanistan meet, after which it runs southwest through Pakistan and into Afghanistan near their border.[2] The eastern end of the Hindu Kush in the north merges with the Karakoram Range.[7][8] Towards its southern end, it connects with the Spin Ghar Range near the Kabul River.[9][10]

The Hindu Kush range region was a historically significant centre of Buddhism with sites such as the Bamiyan Buddhas.[11][12] The range and communities settled in it hosted ancient monasteries, important trade networks, and travelers between Central Asia and South Asia.[13][14] The Hindu Kush range has also been the passageway during the invasions of the Indian subcontinent,[15][16] and continues to be important during modern era warfare in Afghanistan.[17][18]

Geology and formation

Geologically, the range is rooted in the formation of a subcontinent from a region of Gondwana that drifted away from East Africa about 160 million years ago, around the Middle Jurassic period.[19] [20] The Indian subcontinent, Australia and islands of the Indian Ocean rifted further, drifting northeastwards, with the Indian subcontinent colliding with the Eurasian plate nearly 55 million years ago, towards the end of Palaeocene.[19] This collision created the Himalayas, including the Hindu Kush.[21]

The Hindu Kush range remains geologically active and is still rising.[22] It is prone to earthquakes.[23][24]

Etymology

The origins of the name Hindu Kush are uncertain, with various theories being propounded by different scholars and writers.[25] According to Hobson-Jobson, the name might be a possible corruption of Indicus Caucasus, with another explanation mentioned first by Ibn Batuta remaining popular despite doubts upon it, and the modification of the name by some later writers into Hindu Koh is factitious and throws no light on the name's origin.[26] In the time of Alexander the Great, the Hindu Kush range was referred to as the Caucasus Indicus or the "Caucasus of the Indus River" (as opposed to the Greater Caucasus range between the Caspian and Black Seas), and in the time of Islam in India, the regular invasions possibly derived Hind Kash as Hindu Kush Hindū Kūh (ھندوکوه‬) and Kūh-e Hind (کوهِ ھند‬) usually applied to the entire range separating the basins of the Kabul and Helmand Rivers from that of the Amu Darya, or, more specifically, to that part of the range lying northwest of Kabul. Sanskrit documents refer to the Hindu Kush as Hind kshetra in short Hind Kash as frontier lands of India. "Kash as in Kashmir (pronounced as कश in Hindi, in English written as Kush)" word also synonym of frontier part of a "Kusha" grass. Hind Kash all around from Amu Darya (in Vedic Sanskrit Vakṣu (वक्षु) river) to Kashmir was Kshetra (place) for meditation and teaching by founders of Hinduism. [27]

The mountain range was called "Paropamisadae" by Hellenic Greeks in the late first millennium BC.[28] The word Koh or Kuh means "mountain" in the local language, Khowar. According to Nigel Allan, Hindu Kush meant both "mountains of India" and "sparkling snows of India", as he notes, from a Central Asian perspective.[29] Furthermore, some believe it to be the name derived from the rule of the Hindu god Rama's son, Kusha, who ruled in Kasur, in present-day Punjab, Pakistan. Hindū Kūh (ھندوکوه) and Kūh-e Hind (کوهِ ھند) are usually applied to the entire range separating the basins of the Kabul and Helmand rivers from that of the Amu River (ancient Oxus), or more specifically, to that part of the range lying northwest of the Afghan capital Kabul. Sanskrit documents possibly refer to the Hindu Kush as Pāriyātra Parvata.

The Persian-English dictionary[30] indicates that the word 'koš' [kʰoʃ] is derived from the verb ('koštan' کشتنPersian pronunciation: [kʰoʃˈt̪ʰæn]), meaning "to kill". According to Francis Joseph Steingass, the word and suffix "-kush" means "a male; (imp. of kushtan in comp.) a killer, who kills, slays, murders, oppresses as azhdaha-kush".[31] A Practical Dictionary of the Persian Language gives the meaning of the word kush as "hotbed".[32] According to one interpretation, the name Hindu Kush means "kills the Hindu" or "Hindu killer" and is a reminder of the days when slaves from the Indian subcontinent died in the harsh weather typical of the Afghani mountains while being taken to Central Asia.[25][33][34] The World Book Encyclopedia states that the word kush means death, and was probably given to the mountains because of their dangerous passes.[35]

In his travel memoirs about India, the 14th century Moroccan traveller Muhammad Ibn Battuta mentioned crossing into India via the mountain passes of the Hindu Kush. In his Rihla, he mentions these mountains and the history of the range in slave trading.[36][14] Alexander von Humboldt stated that it can be learned from his work that the name only referred to a single mountain pass upon which many Indian slaves died of the cold weather.[37] Battuta wrote,

After this I proceeded to the city of Barwan, in the road to which is a high mountain, covered with snow and exceedingly cold; they call it the Hindu Kush, that is Hindu-slayer, because most of the slaves brought thither from India die on account of the intenseness of the cold.

— Ibn Batutta, Chapter XIII, Rihla – Khorasan[14]
The Hindu Kush and Passes Between the Kabul and Oxus WDL475
An 1879 map of Hindu Kush and its passes by Royal Geographic Society. Kabul is in lower left, Kashmir in lower right.

The name Hindu Kush is relatively young, states Ervin Grötzbach, and it is "missing from the accounts of the early Arab geographers and occurs for the first time in Ibn Baṭṭuṭa (ca. 1330)". Ibn Baṭṭuṭa, states Grötzbach, saw the "origin of the name Hindu Kush (Hindu-killer) in the fact that numerous Hindu slaves died crossing the pass on their way from India to Turkestan".[38] In contrast, state Fosco Maraini and Nigel Allan, the earliest known usage occurs on a map published about 1000 CE.[39] According to Allan, the term Hindu Kush has been commonly seen to mean "Hindu killer", but two other meanings of the term include "sparkling snows of India" and "mountains of India" with "Kush" possibly a soft variant of Kuh which means "mountain". Hindu Kush in Arabic means mountains of India. To Arab geographers, states Allan, Hindu Kush was the frontier boundary where Hindustan started.[40][39]

According to McColl, the origins of the Hindu Kush name are controversial. Along with its origin in the perishing of Indian slaves, two other possibilities exist.[25] The term could be a corruption of Hindu Koh from pre-Islamic times where it separated Hindu population of southern Afghanistan from non-Hindu population in northern Afghanistan. The second possibility is that the name may be from the ancient Avestan language, with the meaning "water mountain".[25]

Other names

The mountain range was also called "Paropamisadae" by Hellenic Greeks in the late first millennium BC.[28]

Some 19th century Encyclopedias and gazetteers state that the term Hindu Kush originally applied only to the peak in the area of the Kushan Pass, which had become a centre of the Kushan Empire by the first century.[41]

Some scholars remove the space, and refer to Hindu Kush as "Hindukush".[42][43]

Mountains

The Hindu Kush is a formidable mountain range to cross with most peaks being between 4,400 and 5,200 m (14,500 and 17,000 ft), and some much higher. The mountains experience heavy snowfall and blizzards, with the lowest mountain pass through them being southern Shibar pass (2,700 m or 9,000 ft) where the Hindu Kush range terminates.[17] Other mountain passes being generally about 3,700 m (12,000 ft) or higher.[17] They become passable in late spring and summer.

The mountains of the Hindu Kush range diminish in height as they stretch westward. Near Kabul, in the west, they attain heights of 3,500 to 4,000 meters (11,500 to 13,100 ft); in the east they extend from 4,500 to 6,000 meters (14,800 to 19,700 ft). The average altitude of the Hindu Kush is 4,500 meters (14,800 feet).[44]

The Hindu Kush system stretches about 966 kilometres (600 mi) laterally,[44] and its median north-south measurement is about 240 kilometres (150 mi). Only about 600 kilometres (370 mi) of the Hindu Kush system is called the Hindu Kush mountains. The rest of the system consists of numerous smaller mountain ranges. Rivers that flow from the mountain system include the Helmand River, the Hari River and the Kabul River, watersheds for the Sistan Basin. The lower Sistan basin gets little rainfall (~50 mm per year) and the main source of water is the Helmand River which brings snowmelt water from the southern Hindu Kush. The smaller Khash, the Farah and the Arashkan (Harut) rivers bring water from the western Hindu Kush. The basin of these rivers serves the ecology and economy of the region west to Hindu Kush, but the water flow in these rivers fluctuates severely and has been a historical problem for any settlement. Extreme and extended droughts have been common.[45]

A Badakhshan valley (left), August in Hindu Kush.

Kuran wa Munjan valley, looking to the south
Heckel Hindu Kush 1

The Hindu Kush are orographically described in several parts.[46] The western Hindu Kush, states Yarshater, rises to over 5,100 m (16,700 ft) and stretches between Darra-ye Sekari and the Shibar Pass in the west and the Khawak Pass in the east.[46] The central Hindu Kush rising over 6,800 m (22,300 ft) has numerous spurs between the Khawak Pass in the east and the Durāh Pass in the west. The eastern Hindu Kush with peaks over 7,000 m (23,000 ft) extends from the Durāh Pass to the Baroghil Pass at the border between northeastern Afghanistan and north Pakistan. The ridges between Khawak Pass and Badakshan is over 5,800 m (19,000 ft) and is called the Kaja Mohammed range.[46]

The Hindu Kush, states Yarshater, are a part of the "young Eurasian mountain range consisting of metamorphic rocks such as schist, gneiss and marble, as well as of intrusives such as granite, diorite of different age and size". The northern regions of the Hindu Kush witness Himalayan winter and have glaciers, while its southeastern end witness the fringe of Indian subcontinent summer monsoons.[46] From about 1,300 to 2,300 m (4,300 to 7,500 ft), states Yarshater, "sklerophyllous forests are predominant with Quercus and Olea (wild olive); above that up to a height of about 3,300 m (10,800 ft) one finds coniferous forests with cedars, Picea, Abies, Pinus, and junipers". The inner valleys of the Hindu Kush see little rain and have desert vegetation.[46]

Numerous high passes ("kotal") transect the mountains, forming a strategically important network for the transit of caravans. The most important mountain pass is the Salang Pass (Kotal-e Salang) (3,878 m or 12,723 ft); it links Kabul and points south of it to northern Afghanistan. The completion of a tunnel within this pass in 1964 reduced travel time between Kabul and the north to a few hours. Previously access to the north through the Kotal-e Shibar (3,260 m or 10,700 ft) took three days. The Salang Tunnel at 3,363 m (11,033 ft) and the extensive network of galleries on the approach roads were constructed with Soviet financial and technological assistance and involved drilling 2.7 km (1.7 mi) through the heart of the Hindu Kush. The Salang tunnel is on Afghani Highway 76, northwest of Golbahar town, and has been an active area of armed conflict with various parties trying to control it.[47]

These mountainous areas are mostly barren, or at the most sparsely sprinkled with trees and stunted bushes. Very ancient mines producing lapis lazuli are found in Kowkcheh Valley, while gem-grade emeralds are found north of Kabul in the valley of the Panjsher River and some of its tributaries. According to Walter Schumann, the West Hindu Kush mountains have been the source of finest Lapis Lazuli for thousands of years.[48]

Eastern Hindu Kush

Mountains of the Chitral Valley
Mountains of the Chitral District
Chilam Joshi Festival in Kalash Valley
Kalash girls in the Kalasha Valleys

The Eastern Hindu Kush range, also known as the High Hindu Kush range, is mostly located in northern Pakistan and the Nuristan and Badakhshan provinces of Afghanistan. The Chitral District of Pakistan is home to Tirich Mir, Noshaq, and Istoro Nal, the highest peaks in the Hindu Kush. The range also extends into Ghizar, Yasin Valley, and Ishkoman in Pakistan's Northern Areas.

Chitral, Pakistan, is considered to be the pinnacle of the Hindu Kush region. The highest peaks, as well as countless passes and massive glaciers, are located in this region. The Chiantar, Kurambar, and Terich glaciers are amongst the most extensive in the Hindu Kush and the meltwater from these glaciers form the Kunar River, which eventually flows south into Afghanistan and joins the Bashgal, Panjshir, and eventually the much smaller Kabul River.

Highest mountains

Name Height Country
Tirich Mir 7,708 metres (25,289 ft)  Pakistan
Noshak 7,492 metres (24,580 ft)  Afghanistan,  Pakistan
Istor-o-Nal 7,403 metres (24,288 ft)  Pakistan
Saraghrar 7,338 metres (24,075 ft)  Pakistan
Udren Zom 7,140 metres (23,430 ft)  Pakistan
Lunkho e Dosare 6,901 metres (22,641 ft)  Afghanistan,  Pakistan
Kuh-e Bandaka 6,843 metres (22,451 ft)  Afghanistan
Koh-e Keshni Khan 6,743 metres (22,123 ft)  Afghanistan
Sakar Sar 6,272 metres (20,577 ft)  Afghanistan,  Pakistan
Kohe Mondi 6,234 metres (20,453 ft)  Afghanistan

History

Mountains of Kabul
Kabul, situated 5,900 feet (1,800 m) above sea level in a narrow valley, wedged between the Hindu Kush mountains

The mountains have historical significance in the Indian subcontinent and China. The Hindu Kush range was a major centre of Buddhism with sites such as the Bamiyan Buddhas.[49] It has also been the passageway during the invasions of the Indian subcontinent,[15][16] a region where the Taliban and Al Qaeda grew,[18][50] and to modern era warfare in Afghanistan.[17]

Buddhas of Bamiyan, Afghanistan in 1896 (top) and after destruction in 2001 by the Taliban Islamists.[51]

Nouvelle géographie universelle - la terre et les hommes (1876) (14592652167)
Destroyed Statue, July 17, 2005 at 15-53

Buddhism was widespread in the ancient Hindu Kush region. Ancient artwork of Buddhism include the giant rock carved statues called the Bamiyan Buddha, in the southern and western end of the Hindu Kush.[11] These statues were blown up by the Taliban Islamists.[51] The southeastern valleys of Hindu Kush connecting towards the Indus Valley region were a major centre that hosted monasteries, religious scholars from distant lands, trade networks and merchants of ancient Indian subcontinent.[13]

One of the early Buddhist schools, the Mahāsāṃghika-Lokottaravāda, was prominent in the area of Bamiyan. The Chinese Buddhist monk Xuanzang visited a Lokottaravāda monastery in the 7th century CE, at Bamiyan, Afghanistan. Birchbark and palm leaf manuscripts of texts in this monastery's collection, including Mahāyāna sūtras, have been discovered in the caves of Hindu Kush,[52] and these are now a part of the Schøyen Collection. Some manuscripts are in the Gāndhārī language and Kharoṣṭhī script, while others are in Sanskrit and written in forms of the Gupta script.[53][54]

According to Alfred Foucher, the Hindu Kush and nearby regions gradually converted to Buddhism by the 1st century CE, and this region was the base from where Buddhism crossed the Hindu Kush expanding into the Oxus valley region of Central Asia.[55] After the Islamic conquest of the region and Islam becoming the state religion, Buddhism vanished and locals became Muslims.[56][57][58]

Ancient

The significance of the Hindu Kush mountains ranges has been recorded since the time of Darius I of Persia. Alexander the Great entered the Indian subcontinent through the Hindu Kush as his army moved past Bactria into the Afghani Valley in the spring of 329 BCE.[59] He moved towards the Indus Valley river region in 327 BCE, his armies building several towns in this region over the intervening two years.[60]

After Alexander the Great's death in 323 BC, the region became part of the Seleucid Empire, according to the ancient history of Strabo written in 1st century BC, before it became a part of the Indian Maurya Empire around 305 BC.[61] The region became a part of the Kushan Empire around the start of the common era.[62]

Medieval era

The lands north of the Hindu Kush, in the Hephthalite dominion, Buddhism was the predominant religion by mid 1st millennium CE.[63] These Buddhists were religiously tolerant and they co-existed with followers of Zoroastrianism, Manichaseism, and Nestorian Christianity.[63][64] This Central Asia region along the Hindu Kush was taken over by Western Turks and Arabs by the eighth century, facing wars with mostly Iranians.[63] One major exception was the period in the mid to late seventh century, when the Tang dynasty from China destroyed the Northern Turks and extended its rule all the way to the Oxus River valley and regions of Central Asia bordering all along the Hindu Kush.[65]

BactriaMap
Hindu Kush relative to Bactria, Bamiyan, Kabul and Gandhara (bottom right).

The subcontinent side and valleys of the Hindu Kush remained unconquered by the Islamic armies till the 9th century, even though they had conquered the southern regions of Indus River valley such as Sind.[66] Kabul fell to the army of Al-Ma'mun, the seventh Abbasid caliph, in 808 and the local king agreed to accept Islam and pay annual tributes to the caliph.[66] However, states André Wink, inscriptional evidence suggests that the Kabul area near Hindu Kush had an early presence of Islam.[67]

Mahmud of Ghazni came to power in 998 CE, in Ghazna, Afghanistan, south of Kabul and the Hindu Kush range.[68] He began a military campaign that rapidly brought both sides of the Hindu Kush range under his rule. From his mountainous Afghani base, he systematically raided and plundered kingdoms in north India from east of the Indus river to west of Yamuna river seventeen times between 997 and 1030.[69] Mahmud of Ghazni raided the treasuries of kingdoms, sacked cities, and destroyed Hindu temples, with each campaign starting every spring, but he and his army returned to Ghazni and the Hindu Kush base before monsoons arrived in the northwestern part of the subcontinent.[68][69] He retracted each time, only extending Islamic rule into western Punjab.[70][71]

In 1017, the Iranian Islamic historian Al-Biruni was deported after a war that Mahmud of Ghazni won,[72] to the northwest Indian subcontinent under Mahmud's rule. Al Biruni stayed in the region for about fifteen years, learnt Sanskrit, and translated many Indian texts, and wrote about Indian society, culture, sciences, and religion in Persian and Arabic. He stayed for some time in the Hindu Kush region, particularly near Kabul. In 1019, he recorded and described a solar eclipse in what is the modern era Laghman Province of Afghanistan through which Hindu Kush pass.[72] Al Biruni also wrote about early history of the Hindu Kush region and Kabul kings, who ruled the region long before he arrived, but this history is inconsistent with other records available from that era.[67] Al Biruni was supported by Sultan Mahmud.[72] Al Biruni found it difficult to get access to Indian literature locally in the Hindu Kush area, and to explain this he wrote, "Mahmud utterly ruined the prosperity of the country, and performed wonderful exploits by which the Hindus became the atoms scattered in all directions, and like a tale of old in the mouth of the people. (...) This is the reason, too, why Hindu sciences have retired far from those parts of the country conquered by us, and have fled to places which our hand cannot yet reach, to Kashmir, Benares and other places".[73]

In late 12th century, the historically influential Ghurid empire led by Mu'izz al-Din ruled the Hindu Kush region.[74] He was influential in seeding the Delhi Sultanate, shifting the base of his Sultanate from south of the Hindu Kush range and Ghazni towards the Yamuna River and Delhi. He thus helped bring the Islamic rule to the northern plains of Indian subcontinent.[75]

The Moroccan traveller Ibn Battuta arrived in the Delhi Sultanate by passing through the Hindu Kush.[14] The mountain passes of the Hindu Kush range were used by Timur and his army and they crossed to launch the 1398 invasion of northern Indian subcontinent.[76] Timur, also known as Temur or Tamerlane in Western scholarly literature, marched with his army to Delhi, plundering and killing all the way.[77][78][79] He arrived in the capital Delhi where his army looted and killed its residents.[80] Then he carried the wealth and the captured slaves, returning to his capital through the Hindu Kush.[77][79][81]

Babur, the founder of Mughal Empire, was a patrilineal descendant of Timur with roots in Central Asia.[82] He first established himself and his army in Kabul and the Hindu Kush region. In 1526, he made his move into north India, won the Battle of Panipat, ending the last Delhi Sultanate dynasty, and starting the era of the Mughals.[83]

Slavery

Slavery, as with all major ancient and medieval societies, has been a part of Central Asia and South Asia history. The Hindu Kush mountain passes connected the slave markets of Central Asia with slaves seized in South Asia.[84][85][86] The seizure and transportation of slaves from the Indian subcontinent became intense in and after the 8th century CE, with evidence suggesting that the slave transport involved "hundreds of thousands" of slaves from India in different periods of Islamic rule era.[85] According to John Coatsworth and others, the slave trading operations during the pre-Akbar Mughal and Delhi Sultanate era "sent thousands of Hindus every year north to Central Asia to pay for horses and other goods".[87][88] However, the interaction between Central Asia and South Asia through the Hindu Kush was not limited to slavery, it included trading in food, goods, horses and weapons.[89]

The practice of raiding tribes, hunting, and kidnapping people for slave trading continued through the 19th century, at an extensive scale, around the Hindu Kush. According to a British Anti-Slavery Society report of 1874, the Governor of Faizabad, Mir Ghulam Bey, kept 8,000 horses and cavalry men who routinely captured non-Muslim infidels (kafir) as well as Shia Muslims as slaves. Others alleged to be involved in slave trade were feudal lords such as Ameer Sheer Ali. The isolated communities in the Hindu Kush were one of the targets of these slave hunting expeditions.[90]

Modern era

Afghanistan 18
Landscape of Afghanistan with a T-62 in the foreground.

In early 19th century, the Sikh Empire expanded under Ranjit Singh in the northwest till the Hindu Kush range.[91]

The Hindu Kush served as a geographical barrier to the British empire, leading to paucity of information and scarce direct interaction between the British colonial officials and Central Asian peoples. The British had to rely on tribal chiefs, Sadozai and Barakzai noblemen for information, and they generally downplayed the reports of slavery and other violence for geo-political strategic considerations.[92]

In the colonial era, the Hindu Kush were considered, informally, the dividing line between Russian and British areas of influence in Afghanistan. During the Cold War the Hindu Kush range became a strategic theatre, especially during the 1980s when Soviet forces and their Afghani allies fought the Mujahideen with support from the United States channeled through Pakistan.[93][94][95] After the Soviet withdrawal and the end of the Cold War, many Mujahideen morphed into Taliban and Al Qaeda forces imposing a strict interpretation of Islamic law (Sharia), with Kabul, these mountains, and other parts of Afghanistan as their base.[96][97] Other Mujahideen joined the Northern Alliance to oppose the Taliban rule.[97]

After the September 11, 2001 terror attacks in New York City and Washington D.C., the American and ISAF campaign against Al Qaeda and their Taliban allies made the Hindu Kush once again a militarized conflict zone.[97][98][99]

Ethnography

Pre-Islamic populations of the Hindu Kush included Shins, Yeshkun,[100] Chiliss, Neemchas[101] Koli,[102] Palus,[102] Gaware,[103] Yeshkuns,[104] and Krammins.[104]

See also

References

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Bibliography

  • Biddulph, John. Tribes of the Hindoo Koosh (Sang-e-Meel, 2001)

Further reading

  • Drew, Frederic (1877). The Northern Barrier of India: A Popular Account of the Jammoo and Kashmir Territories with Illustrations. Frederic Drew. 1st edition: Edward Stanford, London. Reprint: Light & Life Publishers, Jammu, 1971
  • Gibb, H. A. R. (1929). Ibn Battūta: Travels in Asia and Africa, 1325–1354. Translated and selected by H. A. R. Gibb. Reprint: Asian Educational Services, New Delhi and Madras, 1992
  • Gordon, T. E. (1876). The Roof of the World: Being the Narrative of a Journey over the High Plateau of Tibet to the Russian Frontier and the Oxus Sources on Pamir. Edinburgh. Edmonston and Douglas. Reprint: Ch’eng Wen Publishing Company. Tapei, 1971
  • Leitner, Gottlieb Wilhelm (1890). Dardistan in 1866, 1886 and 1893: Being An Account of the History, Religions, Customs, Legends, Fables and Songs of Gilgit, Chilas, Kandia (Gabrial) Yasin, Chitral, Hunza, Nagyr and other parts of the Hindukush, as also a supplement to the second edition of The Hunza and Nagyr Handbook. And An Epitome of Part III of the author's 'The Languages and Races of Dardistan'. Reprint, 1978. Manjusri Publishing House, New Delhi. ISBN 81-206-1217-5
  • Newby, Eric. (1958). A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush. Secker, London. Reprint: Lonely Planet. ISBN 978-0-86442-604-8
  • Yule, Henry and Burnell, A. C. (1886). Hobson-Jobson: The Anglo-Indian Dictionary. 1996 reprint by Wordsworth Editions Ltd. ISBN 1-85326-363-X
  • A Country Study: Afghanistan, Library of Congress
  • Hindu Kush at Encyclopædia Iranica
  • Encyclopædia Britannica, 15 th Ed, Vol.21, pp. 54–55, 1987
  • An Advanced History of India, by R. C. Majumdar, H. C. Raychaudhuri, K.Datta, 2nd Ed., MacMillan and Co, London, pp. 336–37, 1965
  • Encyclopædia Britannica, 15 th Ed, Vol.21, p. 65, 1987
  • The Cambridge History of India, Vol.IV – The Mughul Period, by W.Haig & R.Burn, S.Chand & Co., New Delhi, pp. 98–99, 1963

External links

2002 Hindu Kush earthquakes

The 2002 Hindu Kush earthquakes struck in northern Afghanistan during the month of March. At least 166 people were killed with a very large and intermediate-depth mainshock on March 3. Three weeks later, at least a further thousand were killed during a large, but shallow aftershock that had a maximum Mercalli intensity of VII (Very strong). The M7.4 and M6.1 reverse events were focused in the Hindu Kush mountain range area.

2005 Hindu Kush earthquake

The 2005 Hindu Kush earthquake hit northeastern Afghanistan with a magnitude of 6.5 on December 12 at 21:47 (UTC). According to the United States Geological Survey's ShakeMap and Did You Feel It? products, the maximum Mercalli intensity was VI (Strong) at Chitral. Five people were killed in the Hindu Kush region and landslides blocked several roads near Bagh, Kashmir. The earthquake occurred some 65 miles away from Faizabad, a city in the Hindu Kush mountains, but it could be felt in many neighboring areas. It could even be felt about 200 miles away in Islamabad, Pakistan. The quake was strong enough to trigger panic among survivors of October's devastating earthquake, who came out from their makeshift shelters in freezing temperatures. Although magnitude-6 earthquakes typically cause severe damage, this quake caused relatively little due to the fact that it occurred deep underground (about 140 miles).

Andarab

Andarab is the name of a large stream in Afghanistan and of the valley it empties into.

The stream which originates in the Hindu Kush, near Khawak Pass, and flows to the west for about 75 miles before merging into the Surkhab.

Cannabis strains

Cannabis strains are either pure or hybrid varieties of the plant genus Cannabis, which encompasses the species C. sativa, C. indica and C. ruderalis.

Varieties are developed to intensify specific characteristics of the plant, or to differentiate the strain for the purposes of marketing or to make it more effective as a drug. Variety names are typically chosen by their growers, and often reflect properties of the plant such as taste, color, smell, or the origin of the variety. Cannabis strains commonly refer to those varieties with recreational and medicinal use. These varieties have been cultivated to contain a high percentage of cannabinoids. Several varieties of Cannabis, known as hemp, have a very low cannabinoid content, and are instead grown for their fiber and seed.

December 2015 Hindu Kush earthquake

The December 2015 Hindu Kush earthquake occurred with a moment magnitude of 6.3 in South Asia on 25 December 2015. One woman was killed in Pakistan. At least 100 people were injured in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The quake was also strongly felt in Tajikistan and India. The epicenter of the earthquake was in the Afghanistan-Tajikistan border region at a depth of 203.4 km.

Geography of Afghanistan

Afghanistan is a landlocked mountainous country located within South Asia and Central Asia. The country is the 40th largest in the world in size. Kabul is the capital and largest city of Afghanistan, located in the Kabul Province. Strategically located at the crossroads of major trade routes, Afghanistan has attracted a succession of invaders since the sixth century BCE.The Hindu Kush mountains, running northeast to southwest across the country, divide it into three major regions: 1) the Central Highlands, which form part of the Himalayas and account for roughly two thirds of the country's area; 2) the Southwestern Plateau, which accounts for one-fourth of the land; and 3) the smaller Northern Plains area, which contains the country's most fertile soil.

Land elevations generally slope from northeast to southwest, following the general shape of the Hindu Kush massif, from its highest point in the Pamir Mountains near the Chinese border to the lower elevations near the border with Uzbekistan. To the north, west, and southwest there are no mountain barriers to neighboring countries. The northern plains pass almost imperceptibly into the plains of Turkmenistan. In the west and southwest, the plateaus and deserts merge into those of Iran. Afghanistan is located on the Eurasian Tectonic Plate. The Wakhan Corridor and the rest of northeastern Afghanistan, including Kabul, are situated in a geologically active area. Over a dozen earthquakes occurred there during the twentieth century.

The greater part of the northern border and a small section of the border with Pakistan are marked by rivers; the remaining boundary lines are political rather than natural. The northern frontier extends approximately 1,689 km (1,049 mi) southwestward, from the Pamir Mountains in the northeast to a region of hills and deserts in the west, at the border with Iran. The border with Iran runs generally southward from the Hari River across swamp and desert regions before reaching the northwestern tip of Pakistan. Its southern section crosses the Helmand River.

Afghanistan is bounded by six different countries. Its longest border is the poorly marked Durand Line, accounting for its entire southern and eastern boundary with Pakistan. The shortest one, bordering China's Xinjiang province, is a mere 76 km (47 mi) at the end of the Wakhan Corridor (the Afghan Panhandle), a narrow sliver of land 241 km (150 mi) long that extends eastward between Tajikistan and Pakistan. At its narrowest point it is only 11 km (7 mi) wide.

The border with Pakistan runs eastward from Iran through the Chagai Hills and the southern end of the Registan Desert, then northward through mountainous country. It then follows an irregular northeasterly course before reaching the Durand Line, established in 1893. This line continues on through mountainous regions to the Khyber Pass area. Beyond this point it rises to the crest of the Hindu Kush, which it follows eastward to the Pamir Mountains. The Durand Line divides the Pashtun tribes of the region between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Its creation has caused much dissatisfaction among Afghans and has given rise to political tensions between the two countries.

Kohistan District, Badakhshan

Kohistan District (Persian: شهرستان کوهستان‎, Šahrestâne Kuhistân) is one of the 29 districts of Badakhshan Province in eastern Afghanistan. It was created in 1995 from part of Ragh District and is home to approximately 35,000 residents.

Kohistan District, Pakistan

Kohistan (Urdu: کوہستان‎, Pashto: اباسين کوهستان‎; "Land of Mountains"), also called Abasin Kohistan or Indus Kohistan, was an administrative district within Hazara Division of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province in Pakistan, covering an area of 7,492 square kilometres (2,893 sq mi); it had a population of 472,570 at the 1998 Census. Geographically, Kohistan stretches from the border with Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan in the east and north to Swat and Shangla in the west, and Mansehra and Battagram District in the south.

In 2014, the government bifurcated Kohistan District into Upper Kohistan and Lower Kohistan, carving out one more administrative unit.

Kuran wa Munjan District

Kuran wa Munjan District is one of the 28 districts of Badakhshan Province in eastern Afghanistan. Located in the Hindu Kush mountains, the district is home to approximately 8,000 residents. The district administrative center is Kuran wa Munjan.

The district is in the southwest corner of the province, and is bordered on its northeast side by the Jurm and Zebak Districts. Most of the district's boundaries are adjacent to other Afghan provinces, but a very small section on the eastern edge of the district lies on the international border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The epicenter of the October 26 2015 Hindu Kush earthquake was 45 km north of here.

Kush (cannabis)

Kush is a strain of Cannabis indica. The origins of Kush Cannabis are from landrace plants mainly in Afghanistan, Northern Pakistan and North-Western India with the name coming from the Hindu Kush mountain range. "Hindu Kush" strains of Cannabis were taken to the United States in the mid-to-late 1970s and continue to be available there to the present day.Kush strains were among those cultivated by the British firm GW Pharmaceuticals for its legally licensed commercial trial of medicinal cannabis.

Kusha (Ramayana)

Kusha or Kusa (Sanskrit: कुश) and his twin brother Lava were the children of Rama and Sita. Their story is recounted in the Hindu epic, the Ramayana. Hindu traditions claim he ruled the entire region of Kashmir, Indus River and Hindu Kush as frontier lands of India known as Hindu Kush Kshetra and founded the city of Kashmir in the valley and Kasur with Lavapuri of lava in base lands, though local lore contends Kasur was founded in 1525 by Pashtun migrants. His brother Lava is traditionally believed to have founded Lavapuri (current day city of Lahore).

The imperial line that ruled Kingdom of Benares-Kashi and the Maurya Empire, which ruled South Asia from 320-185 BCE, claimed descent from Kusha. Kusha is said to be an Raghuvanshi Ikshvaku Suryavanshi.

List of Ultras of the Karakoram and Hindu Kush

This is a list of all the Ultra prominent peaks (with topographic prominence greater than 1,500 metres) in the Karakoram, Hindu Kush and neighbouring ranges. The list includes 4 of the 14 8000m summits, all in the Karakoram, including the second highest mountain in the world, K2. There are a further 19 Ultras in the Karakoram and 5 in the Hindu Kush over 7,000m. The Ultras of the Himalayas lie to the south east and are listed separately. To the north are the Pamirs, and to the east the mountains of Tibet.

Despite their height, only 3 mountains are among the 100 most prominent mountains, K2, in 22nd place, Tirich Mir (30) and Batura Sar (77). A further 3 are on the list of 125 most prominent mountains: Buni Zom (117); Kuh-e Bandaka (118); and Rakaposhi (122).

List of earthquakes in Afghanistan

This is a list of earthquakes in Afghanistan.

List of mountains in Pakistan

Pakistan is home to 108 peaks above 7,000 metres. [1] and probably as many peaks above 6,000 m. There is no count of the peaks above 5,000 and 4,000 m. Five of the 14 highest independent peaks in the world (the eight-thousanders) are in Pakistan (four of which lie in the surroundings of Concordia; the confluence of Baltoro Glacier and Godwin Austen Glacier). Most of the highest peaks in Pakistan lie in the Karakoram mountain range (which lies almost entirely in the Gilgit–Baltistan region of Pakistan, and is considered to be a part of the greater Himalayan range) but some peaks above 7,000 m are included in the Himalayan and Hindu Kush ranges.

Lower Kohistan District

Lower Kohistan is a district in Hazara Division of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in Pakistan. The district headquarters of Lower Kohistan is Pattan.

Nuristanis

The Nuristanis are an ethnic group native to the Nuristan region of eastern Afghanistan, who speak Indo-Iranian languages, including Nuristani. In the mid-1890s, after the establishment of the Durand Line when Afghanistan ceded various frontier areas to the British Empire, Emir Abdur Rahman Khan conducted a military campaign in Nuristan and followed up his conquest with conversion of the Nuristanis to Islam; the region thenceforth being known as Nuristan, the "Land of Light". Before their conversion, the Nuristanis (then known as "Kafiristanis") practiced a form of ancient Hinduism. Non-Muslim religious practices endure in Nuristan today to some degree as folk customs. In their native rural areas, they are often farmers, herders, and dairymen.

The Nuristanis are distinguished from the Kalash and a segment of the Kho people of Chitral by their adoption of Islam, territory within Afghanistan, and consolidation with other Afghans. The Nuristan region has been a prominent location for war scenes that have led to the death of many indigenous Nuristanis. Nuristan has also received abundance of settlers from the surrounding Afghanistan regions due to the borderline vacant location.

October 2015 Hindu Kush earthquake

The October 2015 Hindu Kush earthquake was a magnitude 7.5 earthquake that struck South Asia on 26 October 2015, at 13:39 AFT (14:09 PKT; 14:39 IST; 09:09 UTC) with the epicenter 45 km north of `Alaqahdari-ye Kiran wa Munjan, Afghanistan, at a depth of 212.5 km.By 5 November, it was estimated that at least 399 people were killed, mostly in Pakistan. Tremors were felt in Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), Pakistan is located in one of the most earthquake active zone in the world. The earthquake was also felt in New Delhi, in both Pakistan’s Azad Kashmir territory, and the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir and as far as Lucknow and in the prefectures of Kashgar, Aksu, Hotan, and Kizilsu in Xinjiang, China while damage was also reported in Afghan capital Kabul. The earthquake was also felt in the Nepalese capital of Kathmandu.

Sulaiman Mountains

The Sulaiman Mountains (Pashto: د كسي غرونه‎; Balochi/Urdu/Persian: کوه سليمان‎), or Kōh-e Sulaymān, are the southern extension of the Hindu Kush mountain system, located in the Zabul, Kandahar and Loya Paktia regions of Afghanistan, and in the southern Federally Administered Tribal Areas (South Waziristan and Frontier Region Dera Ismail Khan), most of northern Balochistan, and some of southwestern Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in Pakistan. The Sulaimans form the eastern edge of the Iranian Plateau where the Indus River separates it from the Subcontinent. Bordering the Sulaimans to the north are the arid highlands of Central Hindu Kush or Paropamisadae, whose heights extend up to 3,383 metres (11,099 ft).

In Frontier Region Dera Ismail Khan, the highest peak of the Sulaimans is Takht-e-Sulaiman or "Throne of Solomon" at 3,487 metres (11,440 ft). In Balochistan, its highest peak is Zarghun Ghar at 3,578 metres (11,739 ft) near Quetta city; while the second-highest is Khilafat Hill at 3,475 metres (11,401 ft) in Ziarat district and is famous for large juniperus macropoda forests in its surroundings.

Upper Kohistan District

Upper Kohistan is an administrative district within Hazara Division of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province in Pakistan.

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