Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Stamps on The Karakoram Range

Pakistan is a blessed country to have three of the major mountain ranges in the world, the Himalayas, the Karakoram and the Hindu Kush. Thirteen of the world's 30 tallest peaks are in Pakistan (of eleven over 8,000 meters high mountains tops, five are located in Pakistan). K-2, the world's biggest pyramid and second to Mt Everest and the Trango Towers are just the two examples of richness of our mountain treasure.

The Karakoram mountain range is spread over some 400 kilometres and over 192 kilometres wide. Protected Himalayas on south-east, Hindu-Kush on south-west, Kun-Lun chain of China on the north, the Pamirs on the west and high desolate Tibetan Plateau on the east, the Karakoram forms the greatest barrier on earth to the migration of the people. The junction point of the Karakorams and the Himalayas is shrouded by yet another mountain range, known as the Pir Panjal. The mighty Indus river, one of the fifteen longest rivers of the world, forces its way through the Karakorams and the Himalayas. The Karakorams are also known as the highest mountains range of the world since it houses seven peaks over 26,000 feet and thirty others over 25,000 feet. That is on an average the Karakoram tops are 25,000 feet and above.

The Pakistan Post issued a set of four stamps on 20th August 1981 describing four of its important mountain tops.

The Paisa 40 stamp (above top left) features Malubiting (also known as Malubiting West), which is the second highest peak in the Rakaposhi-Haramosh Mountains ( a sub range of the Karakoram). Malubiting rises above the north bank of the Indus River between its tributaries the Hunza River and the Shigar River. Malubiting lies about 40 km east-southeast of Rakaposhi, and about 50 km east of Gilgit. Malubiting rises steeply over the Phuparash River to the southwest, while on the east the large Chogo Lungma Glacier starts on its slopes.

The Re. 1 stamp (on the top right) features Haramosh Peak of the Karakoram range, with a height of 7,409m. The top is located some 65 kilometres east of Gilgit, in the south-central region of the Rakaposhi-Haramosh Mountains. It rises steeply above the north bank of the Indus River, a little ways upstream of its confluence with the Gilgit River. The massif has two summits, Haramosh Peak and Haramosh Kutwal Laila Peak.

The third stamp (above bottom left) of Rs. 1.50 denomination features K6, or Baltistan Peak, located in the Masherbrum Mountains. Despite being much lower than its sister mountains, the Eight-thousanders and high 7000m peaks such as Masherbrum, it has huge, steep faces, and great relief above the nearby valleys, making it an impressive peak. K6 is the highest peak in the area surrounding the Charakusa Glacier, a region which has seen renewed climbing interest in recent years. This glacier lies at the head of the Hushe Valley, which in turn leads to the Shyok River and thence to the Indus River.

And finally the Rs. 2 stamp (above bottom right) that features the K2, the second-highest mountain on Earth after Mount Everest. With a peak elevation of 8,611 metres (28,251 ft), K2 is is located on the border between the Taxkorgan Tajik Autonomous County of Xinjiang, China and Gilgit, in Gilgit-Baltistan of Pakistan. Due to the difficulty of ascent, K2 is known as the Savage Mountain. It is also the second highest fatality rate among the 'eight thousanders'. K2 is also known as “Chogori” in local language and Mt Godwin Austin.
Read in conjunction with Eight Thousanders of Pakistan

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