Chilas is a small town located in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan on the river Indus. It is part of the Silk Road connected by the Karakoram Highway and N-90 National Highway, which link it to Islamabad and Peshawar in the southwest, via Hazara and Malakand Divisions of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. In the north, Chilas is connected to the Chinese cities of Tashkurgan and Kashgar in Xinjiang, via Gilgit, Aliabad, Sust, and the Khunjerab Pass. Chilas comes under Gilgit-Baltistan and it is the Headquarter of District Diamir.
Need to Know
The weather in Chilas is hot and dry in the summer, and dry and cold in the winter. It can be reached through Karakoram Highway and also from the Kaghan Valley by passing over the Babusar Pass. Chilas is situated on the left bank of the mighty river Indus. Foreigners may need permission to travel in Chilas, so be sure to do your research before visiting.
What to See in Chilas
There are more than 50,000 pieces of Buddhist rock art (petroglyphs) and inscriptions all along the Karakoram Highway in Gilgit-Baltistan of Pakistan. These petroglyphs are concentrated at ten major sites between Hunza and Shatial, and more have been found in the area of Skardu and Shigar. Even the remains of a Buddhist monastery were found in Shigar in 1984 by Jettmar and Thewalt!
The carvings were left by locals, as well as various invaders, traders, and pilgrims who passed along the trade route. The earliest date back to between 5000 and 1000 BC. These petroglyphs show single animals, triangular men, and hunting scenes in which the animals sometimes are larger than the hunters. These carvings were pecked into the rocks with stone tools. They are covered with a thick patina that proves their age. Later — mostly Buddhist — carvings were sometimes executed with a sharp chisel. Recently, Karakoram International University has opened its sub campus in Chilas to educate the students.