Coordinates: 35°25′10″N 74°05′40″E / 35.41944°N 74.09444°E / 35.41944; 74.09444
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
City administered by Pakistan
The Indus River near Chilas
The Indus River near Chilas
Interactive map of Chilas
A map showing Pakistan-administered Gilgit-Baltistan shaded in sage-green colour in the disputed Kashmir region[1]
A map showing Pakistan-administered Gilgit-Baltistan shaded in sage-green colour in the disputed Kashmir region[1]
Coordinates: 35°25′10″N 74°05′40″E / 35.41944°N 74.09444°E / 35.41944; 74.09444
Administering countryPakistan
Autonomous stateGilgit-Baltistan
DistrictDiamer District
1,265 m (4,150 ft)
 • Total214,000
 • OfficialUrdu, Shina[2]
Time zoneUTC+5 (PST)
14100 – 1xx[3]
Overview map of the Karakoram Highway

Chilas (Urdu: چلاس) is a city in Pakistani-administered Gilgit–Baltistan in the disputed Kashmir region.[1] It is the divisional capital of Diamer Division and is located on the Indus River. It is part of the Silk Road, connected by the Karakoram Highway and N-90 National Highway to Islamabad and Peshawar in the southwest, via Hazara and Malakand divisions of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. To the north, Chilas connects to the cities of Tashkurgan and Kashgar in Xinjiang, China, via Gilgit, Aliabad, Sust, and the Khunjerab Pass.

Chilas is the headquarters of Diamir district.[4] The weather is hot and dry in the summer and dry and cold in the winter. It can be reached by the Karakoram highway and also through the Kaghan valley and the Babusar Pass. Chilas is on the left bank of the Indus River. The beautiful Fairy Meadows National Park and Nanga Parbat, the ninth highest peak in the world, are also located in Chilas.

Karakoram International University recently opened a sub-campus in Chilas.


Even after Kashmiri-British rule was imposed a century ago, the Indus Valley west of Chilas was a hornet’s nest of tiny republics; there was one in almost every side valley, each loosely guided by a jirga (council of tribal elders) but effectively leaderless, all at war with one another and feuding internally. Though administratively lumped with Gilgit, Chilas and its neighbours are temperamentally more like Indus Kohistani people, probably due to a similarly hostile environment and the same Sunni Muslim orthodoxy. Their ancestors were converted to Islam by a Sufi Muslim,[5] from the Kaghan valley. Syed Noor Shah, known as Ghazi Baba, was the first man to preach Islam in Thak, and built the first mosque, which is still there. Ghazi Baba belonged to the Syed family of Kaghan. In Tangir and Darel, Islam came from the direction of Swat direction.[6] whereas hardly anyone north of Chilas in the Gilgit-Baltistan province is Sunni.

Chilas Fort was first garrisoned to protect British supply lines over the Babusar Pass, and beefed up after local tribes nearly overran it in 1893. Now a police post, it has put a lid on Chilas, though not on the Darel and Tangir Valleys to the west.

The Chilasis are Shina speakers, with some Pashtun settlers speaking Pashto. Urdu and some English are also spoken.


Chilas has a cold semi-arid climate (Köppen: BSk). The average temperature is 28.2 °C (82.8 °F) in July and 5.6 °C (42.1 °F) in January.[7]

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Mean daily maximum °C (°F) 10.2
Daily mean °C (°F) 5.6
Mean daily minimum °C (°F) 1.1
Average precipitation mm (inches) 17

Ancient petroglyphs[edit]

Buddhist petroglyphs near Chilas, depicting Bodhisattvas.[8][9]
Shatial triptych with Sibi-Jataka, circa 300-350 CE based on Kharoshthi, Brahmi and Sogdian paleography.[10]

More than 50,000 Buddhist petroglyphs and inscriptions line the Karakoram Highway in Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan. They are concentrated at ten major sites between Hunza and Shatial, but more have been found near Skardu and Shigar, where Karl Jettmar [de] and Thewalt found the remains of a Buddhist monastery in 1984. 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 sometimes are larger than the hunters. These carvings were pecked into the rocks with stone tools and are covered with a thick patina that proves their age. Later — mostly Buddhist — carvings were sometimes executed with a sharp chisel.[11][12]

Jettmar tried to piece together the history of the area from various inscriptions and recorded his findings in "Rockcarvings and Inscriptions in the Northern Areas of Pakistan" and the later "Between Gandhara and the Silk Roads: Rock carvings along the Karakoram Highway".

The Kharoshthi term "Kaboa" (or Kamboa) appears in a short commemorative Kharosthi inscription found from Chilas as reported by the Archaeological Department of Pakistan. The inscription has been transcribed, translated and interpreted by Ahmad Hasan Dani, a Pakistani archaeologist, historian, and linguist, who was among the foremost authorities on South Asian archaeology and history. According to Dani, Kaboa or Kamboa of the inscription is a Kharoshthised form of Sanskrit Kamboja.[13][14] Thus, it seems likely that Chilas also formed part of an ancient Kamboja kingdom.

Notable persons[edit]

  • Hussain Ahmad Journalist

1995 -

See also[edit]


Chilas River
  1. ^ a b The application of the term "administered" to the various regions of Kashmir and a mention of the Kashmir dispute is supported by the tertiary sources (a) through (d), reflecting due weight in the coverage. Although "controlled" and "held" are also applied neutrally to the names of the disputants or to the regions administered by them, as evidenced in sources (f) through (h) below, "held" is also considered politicized usage, as is the term "occupied," (see (i) below).
    (a) Kashmir, region Indian subcontinent, Encyclopaedia Britannica, retrieved 15 August 2019 (subscription required) Quote: "Kashmir, region of the northwestern Indian subcontinent ... has been the subject of dispute between India and Pakistan since the partition of the Indian subcontinent in 1947. The northern and western portions are administered by Pakistan and comprise three areas: Azad Kashmir, Gilgit, and Baltistan, the last two being part of a territory called the Northern Areas. Administered by India are the southern and southeastern portions, which constitute the state of Jammu and Kashmir but are slated to be split into two union territories.";
    (b) Pletcher, Kenneth, Aksai Chin, Plateau Region, Asia, Encyclopaedia Britannica, retrieved 16 August 2019 (subscription required) Quote: "Aksai Chin, Chinese (Pinyin) Aksayqin, portion of the Kashmir region, at the northernmost extent of the Indian subcontinent in south-central Asia. It constitutes nearly all the territory of the Chinese-administered sector of Kashmir that is claimed by India to be part of the Ladakh area of Jammu and Kashmir state.";
    (c) "Kashmir", Encyclopedia Americana, Scholastic Library Publishing, 2006, p. 328, ISBN 978-0-7172-0139-6 C. E Bosworth, University of Manchester Quote: "KASHMIR, kash'mer, the northernmost region of the Indian subcontinent, administered partlv by India, partly by Pakistan, and partly by China. The region has been the subject of a bitter dispute between India and Pakistan since they became independent in 1947";
    (d) Osmańczyk, Edmund Jan (2003), Encyclopedia of the United Nations and International Agreements: G to M, Taylor & Francis, pp. 1191–, ISBN 978-0-415-93922-5 Quote: "Jammu and Kashmir: Territory in northwestern India, subject to a dispute betw een India and Pakistan. It has borders with Pakistan and China."
    (e) Talbot, Ian (2016), A History of Modern South Asia: Politics, States, Diasporas, Yale University Press, pp. 28–29, ISBN 978-0-300-19694-8 Quote: "We move from a disputed international border to a dotted line on the map that represents a military border not recognized in international law. The line of control separates the Indian and Pakistani administered areas of the former Princely State of Jammu and Kashmir.";
    (f) Kashmir, region Indian subcontinent, Encyclopaedia Britannica, retrieved 15 August 2019 (subscription required) Quote: "... China became active in the eastern area of Kashmir in the 1950s and has controlled the northeastern part of Ladakh (the easternmost portion of the region) since 1962.";
    (g) Bose, Sumantra (2009), Kashmir: Roots of Conflict, Paths to Peace, Harvard University Press, pp. 294, 291, 293, ISBN 978-0-674-02855-5 Quote: "J&K: Jammu and Kashmir. The former princely state that is the subject of the Kashmir dispute. Besides IJK (Indian-controlled Jammu and Kashmir. The larger and more populous part of the former princely state. It has a population of slightly over 10 million, and comprises three regions: Kashmir Valley, Jammu, and Ladakh.) and AJK ('Azad" (Free) Jammu and Kashmir. The more populous part of Pakistani-controlled J&K, with a population of approximately 2.5 million. AJK has six districts: Muzaffarabad, Mirpur, Bagh, Kodi, Rawalakot, and Poonch. Its capital is the town of Muzaffarabad. AJK has its own institutions, but its political life is heavily controlled by Pakistani authorities, especially the military), it includes the sparsely populated "Northern Areas" of Gilgit and Baltistan, remote mountainous regions which are directly administered, unlike AJK, by the Pakistani central authorities, and some high-altitude uninhabitable tracts under Chinese control."
    (h) Fisher, Michael H. (2018), An Environmental History of India: From Earliest Times to the Twenty-First Century, Cambridge University Press, p. 166, ISBN 978-1-107-11162-2 Quote: "Kashmir’s identity remains hotly disputed with a UN-supervised “Line of Control” still separating Pakistani-held Azad (“Free”) Kashmir from Indian-held Kashmir.";
    (i) Snedden, Christopher (2015), Understanding Kashmir and Kashmiris, Oxford University Press, p. 10, ISBN 978-1-84904-621-3 Quote:"Some politicised terms also are used to describe parts of J&K. These terms include the words 'occupied' and 'held'."
  2. ^ "INDO-IRANIAN FRONTIER LANGUAGES". Encyclopaedia Iranica. 15 November 2006. Retrieved 2015-11-06.
  3. ^ "Post Codes". Pakistan Post Office. Retrieved 22 September 2017.
  4. ^ Pamir Times August 2, 2012
  5. ^ Syed Noor Shah Baba
  6. ^ Asad Ali Khan 1992: 291, English translation by the author
  7. ^ a b "Chilas چلاس climate: Average Temperature, weather by month, Chilas چلاس weather averages -". Retrieved 2020-06-04.
  8. ^ Yi, Joy Lidu (January 2020). The Global Connections of Gandhāran Art. p. 114.
  9. ^ Twist, Rebecca L. (Art Department, Pacific University, Forest Grove, OR 97123, USA) (2018). "Images of the Crowned Buddha along the Silk Road: Iconography and Ideology". Humanities. 7 (92): 10. doi:10.3390/h7040092.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link) CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  10. ^ a b Dated "between A.D. 300-350 based on Kharosthi, Brahmi, and Sodian inscriptions written before and after the drawing was completed (fig.3) In the center of the triptych, a spectacular stupa with a relatively small dome [anda], a chattravali with seven disks, columns, banners, and multiple bells illustrates a trend towards decorative profusion." "Chital petroglyphs". Bulletin of the Asia Institute. Wayne State University Press: 152. 2002.
  11. ^ See: Volker Thewalt, Stupas und verwandte Bauwerke in Felsbildern am oberen Indus, Wiesenbach 2008, ISBN 978-3-9802753-4-7
  12. ^ Yi, Joy Lidu (January 2020). The Global Connections of Gandhāran Art. p. 114.
  13. ^ Chilas: The City of Nanga Parvat (Dyamar), 1983, p 120, Ahmad Hasan Dani - Chilās Region (Pakistan)
  14. ^ See also: The Name 'Cambyses', Pakistan Archaeology, 1991, p 123, Wojciech Skalmowski, Pakistan Dept. of Archaeology & Museums - Pakistan.
  15. ^ Srinivasan, Doris (1997). Many Heads, Arms, and Eyes: Origin, Meaning, and Form of Multiplicity in Indian Art. BRILL. p. 215. ISBN 978-90-04-10758-8.
  16. ^ Flood, Finbarr Barry (2017). "A Turk in the Dukhang? Comparative Perspectives on Elite Dress in Medieval Ladakh and the Caucasus". Interaction in the Himalayas and Central Asia. Austrian Academy of Science Press: 231.


  • Jettmar, Karl & Thewalt, Volker (1985): Zwischen Gandhāra und den Seidenstraßen: Felsbilder am Karakorum Highway: Entdeckungen deutsch-pakistanischer Expeditionen 1979-1984. 1985. Mainz am Rhein, Philipp von Zabern.
  • Jettmar, Karl (1980): Bolor & Dardistan. Karl Jettmar. Islamabad, National Institute of Folk Heritage.
  • Leitner, G. W. (1893): Dardistan in 1866, 1886 and 1893: Being An Account of the History, Religions, Customs, Legends, Fables and Songs of Gilgit, Chilas, Kandia (Gabrial) Yasin, Chitral, Hunza, Nagyr and other parts of the Hindukush, as also a supplement to the second edition of The Hunza and Nagyr Handbook. And An Epitome of Part III of the author's "The Languages and Races of Dardistan." First Reprint 1978. Manjusri Publishing House, New Delhi.
  • Rod MacNeil: The Fight at Chilas (1893). Soldiers of the Queen (journal of the Victorian Military Society). March 1999.

External links[edit]