Karakoram Highway

Chilas is surrounded by wonderful Petroglyphs, which are easy to access, though be prepared for high temperatures and take plenty of water. There is a sign to the 'Chilas II' site near the KKH police checkpoint. Less than 1km down a jeep track there is a huge rock covered with hunting and battle scenes and Buddhist stupas. A common image is the long-horned ibex, ancient symbol of fertility and abundance, and an elusive trophy animal even now.

On a rocky knoll facing the river are the oldest inscriptions, from the 1st century AD: scenes of conquest and stories of the Buddha's life. Four kilometres east beside the jeep bridge to Thalpan is the 'Chilas I' site, with art found on both sides of the Highway and the river. The most striking pictures are of a large stupa with banners flying, close to the Highway; and mythical animals, battle scenes, royal lineages and Buddhist tales, across the river on dozens of rocks west of the track.