Chilas Diamar, Gilgit Baltistan

Chilas is a small town along the famous Karakorum  Highway. It is located at a height of about 3000 feet above sea level at the foot of Nanga Parbat which stands as a wall against the monsoon winds leaving no rain for Chilas. This fact make Chilas dry and rough very hot in Summer 52 degrees centigrade and very cold in winter -10 degrees with chill winds.

Rock drawing in Chilas and surroundings

There are more than 20,000 pieces of rock drawings and petroglyphs all along the Karakoram Highway in Northern Areas of Pakistan that are concentrated at ten major sites between Hunza and Shatial. The carvings were left by various invaders, traders and pilgrims who passed along the trade route, as well as by locals. The earliest date back to between 5000 and 1000 BC, showing single animals, triangular men and hunting scenes in which the animals are larger than the hunters. These carvings were pecked into the rock with stone tools and are covered with a thick patina that proves their age.

The archaeologist Karl Jettmar has pieced together the history of the area from various inscriptions and recorded his findings in Rock carvings and Inscriptions in the Northern Areas of Pakistan and the later released Between Gandhara and teh Silk Roads – Rock carvings Along the Karakoram Highway.

It is interesting to note that Kharoshthi term “Kaboa” ( or Kamboa) appears in a short commemorative Kharosthi inscription found from Chilas as reported by Archaeological Department of Pakistan. The inscription has been transcribed, translated and interpreted by Late Professor Ahmad Hasan Dani, a Pakistani archaeologist, historian, and linguist, who was among the foremost authorities on South Asian archaeology and history. According to Dr. Dani, Kaboa or Kamboa of the inscription is a Kharosthised form of Sanskrit Kamboja. Thus, it seems likely that Chilas also formed part of ancient Kamboja kingdom.

Chilas comes under Gilgit-Baltistan. The weather is hot and dry in the summer and dry and cold in the winter. Chilas at present can be reached through Karakurram highway and also from Kaghan valley passing through Babusar Pass.

The mighty river Indus passes through the Chilas valley. Once the Diamar Bhasha Dam will be built this city might not remain anymore as this area will be flooded with dam wate