More than 50 years ago Eric Newby walked through the Hindu Kush with Hugh Carless. He recorded their adventure in the book “A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush” which I first read at least 30 years ago. I have just reread it.
The book is a travel writing classic. It is both informative and very funny. They never do make their goal of climbing a mountain but it is a glorious failure.
As they pass from one valley to another the locals always advise them that there are nothing but bandits and cut throats in the next valley and they had better not take that route. Luckily this turns out not to be true.
Newby points out that the region of Nuristan was relatively recently (1895) forcibly converted to Islam by Emir Abdur Rahman Khan. In fact most of Afghanistan was forcibly converted to Islam at one time or another, mainly during the time of the Arab invasions. Previously Nuristan had mainly followed a polytheistic religion which had a mix of Persian and Indian influences. The wider area has at times been Buddhist, Zoroastrian, Christian and many variants there of. I don’t now why but I find this exceeding strange.
Here is an extract. ’The view was colossal. Below us on every side mountain surged away it seemed forever; we looked down on glaciers and snow-covered peaks that perhaps no one has ever seen before, except from the air.’
Wikipedia describes the Hindu Kush as the westernmost extension of the Pamir Mountains, the Karakoram Range, and is a sub-range of the Himalayas.
I hope to pass through the Pamir mountains though not the same parts visited by Newby and Carless.
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