For more than 2000 years, travelers have walked, ridden,
prayed, traded, invaded, escaped, fought, and
died along the 1,500 miles of the Grand Trunk Road
which stretches from Kolkata to Kabul.
This ribbon of humanity stretching northwest from Kolkata,
the city of culture and joy, to Kabul, the city of conflict,
has been moving merchants, buyers, conquerors, refugees,
prophets, nomads and pilgrims through what is today
India, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Here are some pictures of people and places
I have taken along the route of the
Grand Trunk Road during the past thirty years.
Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism, and Buddhism all developed along the route,
and Muslims proclaimed their beliefs on their journeys along the road.
“Look! Brahmins and chumars, bankers and tinkers,
barbers and bunnias, pilgrims – and potters – all the
world going and coming.
It is to me as a river from which I am
withdrawn like a log after a flood.
And truly the Grand Trunk Road is a wonderful spectacle.
Such a river of life as no where else exists in the world.”
– Rudyard Kipling, Kim
Along the route of the GT there is a struggle between secular
modernity and the conservatism of ancient religions.
The Grand Trunk Road served as the two way escape route for
75 million refugees caught between Indian and Pakistan during Partition.
Peshawar is strategically located at the crossroads of Central and South Asia.
Kabul is over 3,500 years old; many empires
have invaded the valley for its
strategic location along the trade routes of Central and South Asia.
Along this road, forged by conquerors and invaders,
the GT facilitated some of the most significant
historical developments which still affect us today.