Pakistan is a country that enjoys great geostrategic significance in South Asia. Our homeland has been serving as an important land route between South Asian and Central Asian countries for decades. This is why you’ll come across a massive network of important motorways, highways, tunnels and mountain passes in Pakistan, covering almost the entire landscape of the country.
Since gigantic mountains are cut and carved for the construction of the mountain passes in Pakistan, they are not less than engineering marvels. They play a very vital role in the sustenance of important trade routes by providing land connectivity, including the very famous China’s Belt Road Initiative (BRI).
So, let’s learn more about the most famous mountain passes in Pakistan, their routes and elevations.
Here we go!
Most Famous Mountain Passes in Pakistan
Carved through highlands of the country with the help of creative engineering skills, here’s the list of some of Pakistan’s most popular mountain passes.
- Khyber Pass
- Bolan Pass
- Lowari Pass
- Broghil Pass
- Malakand Pass
- Shandur Pass
- Khunjerab Pass – the Highest Mountain Pass in Pakistan
- Dorah Pass
- Khojak Pass
Constructed at an elevation of 1,070 metres, Khyber Pass is arguably the most famous pass in Pakistan and also one of the oldest. It connects the town of Landi Kotal near Afghanistan border to the city of Peshawar. Running a total length of 53 km, Khyber Pass has been named after the region of Khyber, which is mostly based on broken, arid hills. It’s also called the region of Spin Ghar (Safaid Koh) mountain range.
Khyber Pass also enjoys a rich history. The importance of this mountain pass to the very famous and historic Silk Route can never be undermined. It facilitated the flow of Eurasian Trade throughout history. Luxury goods like gold, silver, ivory, pepper, and expensive textile materials that included silk and wool were traded using this route back then.
Khyber Pass is carpeted with a good hard-surface road. It has around 34 tunnels, 94 bridges, and culverts, chiefly constructed to facilitate goods transportation. A railway line also escorts the entire length of this mountain pass in Pakistan. It was inaugurated during the British rule in 1925. Read this blog if you want to learn more about the amazing Khyber Pass.
Highlights of Khyber Pass
|Height||1,070 m (3,510 ft)|
|Route||From Landi Kotal to Peshawar|
Bolan Pass is among the most famous mountain passes in Pakistan, which runs through the Toba Kakar range. It is the province of Balochistan, which falls under the western region of the country. Bolan Pass is a total stretch of 89 kilometres, constructed at a height of 1,793 metres above sea level. It is named after the very region that hosts it. This mountain pass in Pakistan stretches from the Rindli Valley and goes all the way to Kolpor in the north.
Bolan Pass is often referred to as the southern counterpart of Khyber Pass. Both of these passes served as two of the most important trade routes in the Indian subcontinent. Due to its strategic location traders, and nomadic tribes used it as a gateway to enter South Asia.
Highlights of Bolan Pass
|Height||1,793 m (5,884 ft)|
|Route||From Rindli to Kolpor, Balochistan|
Lowari Pass is also known as Lowari Top. It is constructed at an elevation of 3,118 metres. Even with this height it is considered as a low mountain pass in Chitral, perhaps, the lowest one in the region. The average elevation of mountain passes to enter the region of Chitral is between 3,600 metres to 4,600 metres.
Lowari Pass connects the region of Chitral with Dir in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. This mountain pass in Pakistan also features two tunnels that were completed and made operational in 2019. They are known as Lowari Tunnels. One of them is a pretty long tunnel with a length of around 8.5 kilometres while the other one stretches only 1.9 kilometres. Together, Lowari Tunnels cover around 10.4 kilometres of the mountain pass.
The construction of the tunnels at Lowari Pass has greatly contributed in terms of enhancing land connectivity in the region. Thanks, in part, to these newly constructed structures that the road connecting Chitral with other parts of the country will remain operational, especially in snowy seasons. Due to their extreme significance, Lowari Tunnels are counted among the most popular tunnels in Pakistan.
Highlights of Lowari Pass
|Height||3,118 m (10,230 ft)|
|Route||From Chitral to Dir in KPK|
|Lowari Tunnels Length||10.4 KM|
Standing at an elevation of 3,798 metres, Broghil Pass is one of the highest mountain passes in Pakistan. It stretches from the Chitral district, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in Pakistan all the way to the Wakhan district in Badakhshan, Afghanistan.
Since this mountain pass in Pakistan is found in an extremely cold region of the country, which experiences heavy snowfall, it remains closed for three months each year. Broghil Pass is often spelled as Broghol Pass due to the lingual influence of the region.
Highlights of Broghil Pass
|Height||3,798 m (12,460 ft)|
|Route||From Chitral, KPK to Wakhan, Afghanistan|
It’s a very famous mountain pass in Malakand District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. It is carpeted with a good hard-surface road, which ensures smooth travels. The mountain pass is constructed at 1,362 metres above sea level. It is one of the lowest mountain passes in Pakistan and is named after the Malakand District. Despite it being a multiple lane road, it usually gets crowded with large-good vehicles (LGVs) during the rush hours.
Malakand Pass begins at Dargai and runs all the way to the plains of Mardan, KPK. While passing through the mountain pass, you’ll get to see the amazing views of the Swat canal, which channels water to the valley. The historic structure of Malakand Fort overlooks the mountain pass. The road passes through the town of Batkhela with many popular commercial markets and shops in the region.
Highlights of Malakand Pass
|Height||1,362 m (4,468 ft)|
|Route||From Dargai, to Mardan, KPK|
Shandur Pass is also one of the most popular mountain passes of Pakistan. It is popularly dubbed the ‘Rooftop of the World’. The mountain pass is also known as Shandur Top. It is a flat plateau, which is open to traffic between late April and early November. The region experiences extreme snowy weather conditions during winters.
Found at a height of 3,700 metres above sea level, Shandor Pass is located in the Shandur plateau. The area also popularly hosts the ‘Shandur Polo Festival’, a very famous annual sports event. This mountain pass of Pakistan connects the Ghizer district of Gilgit Baltistan with the Chitral district of KPK.
Highlights of Shandur Pass
|Height||3,700 m (12,139 ft)|
|Route||From Gizher District, GB to Chitral, KPK|
With an elevation of 4,693 metres, Khunjerab Pass is the highest mountain pass in Pakistan. It is located at the China-Pakistan border and has a crucial role to play in the China Pakistan Economic Corridor. Khunjerab Pass is the highest point on the very famous Karakoram Highway. It is accessible between May and September each year.
The name of this mountain pass of Pakistan has been derived from two words: ‘Khun’ means blood and ‘Jherav’, which means a creek descending from a spring or a waterfall. Both of these words belong to a local language known as ‘Wakhi’. The region offers breathtaking views of majestic peaks of the mountains in Karakoram Range.
The carpeting of the smooth roadway along the pass was completed in 1982. Khunjerab Pass connects Hunza Nagar in Gilgit Baltistan, Pakistan with the southwest border of the Xinjiang region of China. On a side note, read our detailed blog If you want to take a journey from Islamabad to Khunjerab Pass.
Highlights of Khunjerab Pass
|Height||4,693 m (15,397 ft)|
|Fact||Highest Mountain Pass in Pakistan|
|Route||From Hunza, GB to Xinjiang, China|
Dorah Pass gets its interesting name from Hawz-i Dorah (Lake Dufferin), a lake situated near the pass on the Afghanistani side. Standing at 4,300 metres above sea level, it is one of the highest mountain passes in Pakistan. Dorah Pass links the province of Badakshan in Afghanistan to Chitral District in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan.
Dorah Pass is found in the Hindukush mountain range and is located along the Durand Line, the international border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. It is among the four major mountain passes that enter the district of Chitral. Other popular mountain passes in the region include Broghil Pass, Shandur Top, and Lowari Pass.
Highlights of Dorah Pass
|Height||4,300 m (14,108 ft)|
|Route||From Chitral, KPK to Badakshan, Afghanistan|
Standing at an elevation of 2,290 metres above sea level, Khojak Pass is considered among the lowest mountain passes in Pakistan. The pass connects the district of Qillah Abdullah with Chaman in Balochistan.
A railroad also runs along this mountain pass in Pakistan. Khojak railway tunnel is one of country’s most popular and historic tunnels. It was also featured on a five rupees note back in the 1980s. Throughout its history, Khojak Pass served as one of the two major mountain passes, linking the Middle East with the Indian subcontinent. The other significant mountain pass in this regard was the Khyber Pass.
Highlights of Khojak Pass
|Height||2,290 m (7,512 ft)|
|Route||From Qillah Abdullah to Chaman, Balochistan|
Here we’ll wrap our piece on the most popular mountain passes in Pakistan. In case, you have any questions or feedback, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at email@example.com. We’d be glad to hear from you.
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