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Kilik Pass

Coordinates: 37°05′00″N 74°40′32″E / 37.0832°N 74.6756°E / 37.0832; 74.6756
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Kilik Pass
Elevation4,827 metres (15,837 ft)
LocationChina–Pakistan border
RangeKarakorum Mountains
Coordinates37°05′00″N 74°40′32″E / 37.0832°N 74.6756°E / 37.0832; 74.6756
Kilik Pass is located in Southern Xinjiang
Kilik Pass
Kilik Pass
Location of the Kilik Pass within the greater Karakoram region
Kilik Pass is located in Gilgit Baltistan
Kilik Pass
Kilik Pass
Kilik Pass (Gilgit Baltistan)
Kilik Pass
Traditional Chinese基里克達坂
Simplified Chinese基里克达坂
Alternative Chinese name
Traditional Chinese克里克山口
Simplified Chinese克里克山口

The Kilik Pass (elevation 4,827 m or 15,837 ft; Chinese: 基里克达坂;[1] Urdu: کلوک پاس) to the west of Mintaka Pass is a high mountain pass in the Karakorum Mountains between Gilgit-Baltistan in Pakistan and Xinjiang in China. The two passes were, in ancient times, the two main access points into the Upper Hunza Valley (also called Gojal Valley) from the north. In addition, the two passes were also the paths used to reach Chalachigu Valley and Taghdumbash Pamir from the south.


In ancient times, Mintaka Pass and Kilik Pass were the shortest and quickest way into northern India from the Tarim Basin, and one that was usually open all year, but was extremely dangerous and only suited for travellers on foot. From Tashkurgan one travelled just over 70 kilometres (40 mi) south to the junction of the Minteke River, modern day Chalachigu River. Heading some 80 kilometres (50 mi) west up this valley one reached the Mintaka Pass, (and 30 kilometres (20 mi) further, the alternative Kilik Pass), which both led into upper Hunza from where one could travel over the infamous rafiqs or "hanging passages" to Gilgit and on, either to Kashmir, or to the Gandharan plains.[2]

Laden animals could be taken over the Mintaka and Kilik passes into upper Hunza (both open all year), but then loads would have to be carried by coolie (porters) to Gilgit (an expensive and dangerous operation). From there, cargoes could be reloaded onto pack animals again and taken either east to Kashmir and then on to Taxila (a long route), or west to Chitral which provided relatively easy access to either Jalalabad, or Peshawar via Swat.

The Mintaka Pass was the main one used in ancient times until the fairly recent advance of glacier ice. After the glaciation of the Mintaka Pass, the Kilik Pass was favoured by caravans coming from China and Afghanistan as it is wider, free of glaciers and provided enough pasture for caravan animals.[3]

The "Sacred Rock of Hunza" has numerous petroglyphs depicting mounted horseman and ibex along with Kharoshthi inscriptions that mention Saka and Pahlava rulers. Historians assess that Maues must have used the Karakorum route via Mintaka or Kilik passes to capture Taxila in the first century BCE.[4]

During the 1890s, the British established outposts near the pass as part of the Great Game against Russia.[5] The area was surveyed and Kilik Pass was deemed easily defensible in the event of a Russian invasion.[6] This likely have influenced the boundary delineation in the area.[7]

Current status[edit]

Since the construction of the new Karakoram Highway further south over the Khunjerab Pass, the pass has fallen out of use. As of late 2010s, on the Pakistani side, there are some trekking companies that offer tours to Kilik Pass.[8] On the Chinese side, the entire valley around Kilik Pass is closed to visitors; however, local residents and herders from the area are permitted to access.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 中华人民共和国政府和巴基斯坦政府关于中国新疆和由巴基斯坦实际控制其防务的各个地区相接壤的边界的协定  [China-Pakistan Border Agreement] (in Chinese). 1963-03-02 – via Wikisource. 穿过基里克达坂(达旺)
  2. ^ Hill, John E. (September 2003). "Section 20 The Kingdom of Suoche 莎車 (Yarkand).". The Western Regions according to the Hou Hanshu. University of Washington. Retrieved 2017-02-07.
  3. ^ "Historical Kilik and Mintika Pass". www.gojal.net. 2006. Archived from the original on 2014-10-18. Retrieved 2017-02-02.
  4. ^ Puri, B. N. (1996), "The Sakas and Indo-Parthians" (PDF), in János Harmatta (ed.), History of Civilizations of Central Asia, Volume II: The development of sedentary and nomadic civilizations: 700 B.C. to AD> 250, UNESCO Publishing, pp. 185–186, ISBN 978-92-3-102846-5
  5. ^ Appletons' Annual Cyclopædia and Register of Important Events of the Year ... D. Appleton & Company. 1895. p. 368. Previous to this Russian advance the British were said to have established outposts at the Kilik and Mintaka passes beyond the Hindu Kush.
  6. ^ Sir Norman Lockyer (1899). Nature. Macmillan Journals Limited. p. 496. The keynote of his views is expressed in the title of a photograph of the Kilik Pass, which is described as one of the few passes by which India might be invaded. We presume that the Mintaka is another. But ... with which even a small undisciplined force can stop a whole army, when acting in difficult ground and on the defensive.
  7. ^ Parshotam Mehra (1992). An "agreed" frontier: Ladakh and India's northernmost borders, 1846-1947. Oxford University Press. p. 123. ISBN 978-0-19-562758-9. Kilik pass which was rated of potentially great importance in the event of a war with Russia. The fact that it could only be defended with small numbers made it very necessary to align the border so that this could be done as effectively as possible.
  8. ^ Nisar Ali Rozi. "Treks / Kilick". Hunza Adventure Tours. Archived from the original on 2017-01-20. Retrieved 2017-02-07.