Sulaiman Mountains

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For disambiguation, and several individual mountains called the Trone of Solomon, see Takht-i-Suleiman.

Coordinates: 30°30′N 70°10′E / 30.500°N 70.167°E / 30.500; 70.167

Satellite image of a part of the Sulaiman Range.

The Sulaiman Mountains (Pashto: د كسي غرونه‎; Balochi/Urdu/Persian: کوه سليمان‎), or Kōh-e Sulaymān, are the southern extension of the Hindu Kush mountain system, located in the Zabul, Kandahar and Loya Paktia regions of Afghanistan, and in the southern Federally Administered Tribal Areas (South Waziristan and Frontier Region Dera Ismail Khan), most of northern Balochistan, and some of southwestern Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in Pakistan. The Sulaimans form the eastern edge of the Iranian Plateau where the Indus River separates it from the Indian Subcontinent. Bordering the Sulaimans to the north are the arid highlands of Central Hindu Kush or Paropamisadae, whose heights extend up to 6,000 metres (20,000 ft).

In Frontier Region Dera Ismail Khan, the highest peak of the Sulaimans is Takht-e-Sulaiman or "Throne of Solomon" at 3,487 metres (11,440 ft). In Balochistan, its highest peak is Zarghun Ghar at 3,578 metres (11,739 ft) near Quetta city; while the second-highest is Khilafat Hill at 3,475 metres (11,401 ft) in Ziarat district and is famous for large juniperus macropoda forests in its surroundings.[1]

Geography[edit]

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The Sulaiman range runs north in Loya Paktia and meets the Spin Ghar range northeast of Gardez in Paktia province. To the northwest, the Sulamains merge beyond Loya Paktia into the Koh-i-Baba range. To the east, the Sulaimans enter the districts of Dera Ghazi Khan in Punjab and Dera Ismail Khan in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and approaches the Indus River near Mithankot in the Rajanpur District of Punjab. The eastern slopes drop very quickly to the Indus River, but towards west, the mountain range drops gradually in Kandahar southwest into Helmand and the Sistan Basin.

Rivers that flow out from the Sulaimans include the Gomal River which flows eastward into the Indus River, and the Dori River and other small tributaries of the Arghandab River, which flows southwestward into the Helmand River.

Climate[edit]

Vegetation is scarce in the southern slopes. In the central part, wild olives are abundant, and especially in river valleys, there is a high diversity of flora, including ephedra, pistachios and orchards of apples and cherries, as well as wild almonds and junipers. Ziarat District is a tourist destination, famous for its large forests of the juniper species of juniperus macropoda (or "Pashtun Juniper"). Further to the northwest near the Koh-i-Baba mountain range, the higher altitudes of the Sulaimans are in alpine meadow ecoregion, characterized by meadows and willows, as well as blue pines which cover the summits.

The Sulaiman Range,[2] and the high plateau to the west of it, helps form a natural barrier against the humid winds that blow from the Indian Ocean, creating arid conditions across southern and central Afghanistan to the west and north. In contrast, the relatively flat and low-lying Indus delta is situated due east and south of the Sulaimans. This lush delta is prone to heavy flooding and is mostly uncultivated wilderness.

Legends about Takht-e-Sulaiman[edit]

In an Afghan and Gandhara legend, one of the highest peaks of the Takht-i Sulaiman ("Throne of Solomon"), 3,382 metres (11,096 ft) high, is associated with Prophet Solomon. Ibn Battuta names it Koh-i Sulaiman.[3] It is related that Prophet Solomon climbed this mountain and looked out over the land of South Asia, which was then covered with darkness, but he turned back without descending into this new frontier, and left only the mountain which is named after him (from Ibn Battuta). According to another legend, Noah's Ark alighted in the Takht-i Sulaiman after the Deluge.

One legend says that Qais Abdur Rashid, said to be the legendary ancestor of the Pashtun nation, is buried on top of Takht-e-Sulaiman, locally known as Da Kasī Ghar (د کسي غر, "Mount of Qais"), located near the village of Darazinda in Frontier Region Dera Ismail Khan of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, close to the border with both South Waziristan and Zhob, Balochistan. The legend has it that from there, his different descendants migrated west, north, and south. Some people visit the place and make animal sacrifices, usually a sheep or a goat, at the tomb of Qais to help feed the poor. A trip to the mountain is undertaken mostly in summer, since from late November until March the snowfall makes it difficult to climb.[4]

Al-Biruni, who himself lived a large part of his life in Ghazni located just northwest of the Sulaimans, writes of the mountains in his memoirs as being the western frontier mountains of Asia and the homeland of an Ajami ("non-Arab") or Persian tribe known as the Afghan or Pashtun.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]