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To a geographer, it must be an interesting conundrum; what are the precise boundaries of the Hindu Kush? Within the so called Pamir Knot with its series of parallel ridges, such boundaries can never be clear.

The region depicted in the photographs is that which laypersons generally call the Hindu Kush, but, which, amongst geographers and alpinists, is also known as the Hindu Raj. That is, the range that lies between the true left bank of the valley of the Yarkhun/Mastuj River in the West and North and the Northern watershed of Swat Kohistan in the South, is the Hindu Raj. The main range of the Hindu Kush lies to the East and North of the Yarkhun/Mastuj/Chitral/Kunar River system.

It is fortunate, however, that what ever one chooses to call it, it is a region containing many valleys that remain relatively unspoiled, relatively unvisited. It contains some of the best trout fishing anywhere, having been stocked with the wily Loch Leven strain of brown trout by the British.

Culturally, the linguistic mixture is interesting, containing as it does a mixture of Shina, Burushaski, Khowar, Gujar, and Wakhi speakers which reflects the complex history of the area. It has been ruled variously from Chitral, both by the Kushwaqt and the Ul Mulk dynasties, from Gilgit, from Srinagar, from Tibet, from Persia. The original inhabitants of its Eastern Valleys seem to have been Burushaski speakers, preserving, as they do, what is considered to be a purer version of that language as compared to that which is spoken in the Hunza region. The Yasin valley, the pass at the head of which served as a conduit for the Chinese to invade and conquer the Tibetan held Lesser Bolor, is also the valley where the explorer/journalist George Hayward was murdered, perhaps for being a tad too investigative. – Text and photos by Batholith Saltoro

Batholith Saltoro is a Peripatetic sybarite who revels in the Finlandization of remote cultures wherever his tent might be pitched. He can be reached at


Comments (27) Closed

sharma Jul 18, 2011 04:21pm
Heaven on Earth!!!!!! I can imagine my ancestors making their way through these valleys to reach the Indo-plains!!
krishna Jul 18, 2011 05:47pm
Beautifull..!! am speechless..!!
Amit-Atlanta-USA Jul 18, 2011 06:01pm
Truly breathtaking. Amit-Atlanta-USA
Ansar from USA Jul 18, 2011 06:14pm
Thank You! Thank You! and Thank YOU!!!
Sanghita Jul 18, 2011 07:27pm
In Hindu mythology we read that God lives in the mountains.. its must be this place!! really amazing
Rafiq Ebrahim Jul 18, 2011 08:09pm
Amazing and fascinating sights. Take a flight in your imagination and you are there. Such beauty! Thanks for bringing it to light.
Vasant Deshpande Jul 18, 2011 08:15pm
Truly Heavenly Pictures. Wish I could have copies.
Vasant Deshpande Jul 18, 2011 08:18pm
Wish I had been the camera in your hands !!
Albert Godin Jul 18, 2011 08:40pm
Peace and tranquility prevails !
Narotham Jul 18, 2011 08:50pm
God's land and that was Hindustan for all. I lived in Colorado, USA near the mountains and went over many peaks. May God bless you and your family for such an astounding photojournalism. Thank you.
Kairav- India/Maurit Jul 18, 2011 09:03pm
Amazing.. Perhaps this is the place where Himalaya ends and Hindukush range begins. I have been to the interiors of Himalayas in India, Nepal and Tibet. Wish one day I will be able to visit Pakistani side of Himalayas and Hindukush.
jssidhoo Jul 18, 2011 10:18pm
What beauty
Sam Jul 18, 2011 10:23pm
I wish Pakistan would allow people from other parts of Indian Sub Continent to visit the area. Why cant we have peace?
Vasant Chavan Jul 19, 2011 03:39am
Thanks Thanks to Dawn. God live in our Land Thanks
Pankaj Jul 19, 2011 06:32am
Beautiful place !
Vijay From Singapore Jul 19, 2011 06:40am
Sometimes no development is blessing for mother nature. Once people with business mind invade this kind of beautiful places they destroy it in the name of progress and tourism. Thanks buddy for this pictures.
Amlan Jul 19, 2011 08:47am
This is what Heavens would be like. Simply imagining that in the olden days our forefathers would have walked through these mountains with very little gear must have been tedious and difficult but witnessing this beauty in its raw form would have filled their hearts in awe and soothed their hearts. Just looking at this pictures fills our hearts with joy.
Syed Ali Jul 19, 2011 09:57am
Speechless, no words to describe the nature's beauty which lies in Pakistan. I wish the government of Pakistan develop this area and attracts millions of tourist from all over the world. I have been to various places but this is the most beautiful I have seen so far.
Anil Sharma Jul 19, 2011 11:06am
Why is it that there is no territorial disputes over such a beautiful palce ? Do not publish about the place too much - It will become another Kashmir !
Ali Jul 19, 2011 01:23pm
Good question!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Ajay Jul 19, 2011 02:17pm
I wish I could visit Pakistan and see such lovely places.
Subhajit Jul 19, 2011 02:49pm
Visit the place, sit and look arround and realise the beauty of moher nature. There is no Muslims no Hindus no Christians in the laps of mother nature. We have created this and in true all are equal and God is everywhere. True philosophy of life, true religion and true relaisation one can achieve if one visit this beautiful place. Thanks to DAWN.
Photographer Jul 19, 2011 03:30pm
Is there a way, I can submit some photos for Media Gallery?
teluka65 Jul 19, 2011 04:53pm
Reading daily of mayhem,starvation,ethnic wars and religious infighting, it is very uplifting for Dawn to show such majestic splendor that the Almighty has bestowed to us.Thank you.
Citizen Jul 20, 2011 04:16pm
Not many Muslim friends of mine wish to appreciate beautyfull place call Hindu Raj it seems...?
TAHIR MUZTER_SRINAGR Jul 20, 2011 08:22pm
It is great contribution of is woderful------It is where cannot reach----Dawn leading us to Heaven
shahid hussain Jul 22, 2012 11:45am
i have been visiting these valleys since i was six yrs old. i wish everyone could see the places. beuty lies where human trespassing is minimal.