Grand Trunk Road, India to Afghanistan
Grand Trunk Road trips
A 1,600-mile stretch across the breadth of the Indian subcontinent that links three capital cities in the region. It starts in Kolkata in India’s far-east corner, and then meets the Ganges River at the holy city of Varanasi before following a course through Delhi to Amritsar near the North-West Frontier. Just over 15 miles from Amritsar, it passes the border into Pakistan and its capital Lahore.
Despite ongoing tensions between the countries, the crossing usually isn’t a problem – although you should probably think long and hard before going the full length and venturing across the Afghanistan border at the renowned Khyber Pass.
Why the Grand Trunk Road is special
Few roads in the world can provide such as snapshot of a society. A trip along it will expose you to Pakistan and India on the move – from trucks to rickety buses and bullock-carts. Taking in the capital of Delhi, Lahore, it then heads to the Afghanistan – but the risk factor of such a territory means you’re unlikely to head for Kabul. Also, novelist Rudyard Kipling set much of his novel Kim along the Grand Trunk Road.
The road became known to 17th-century European travelers as ‘the Long Walk’, and has a rich history – especially after Independence and Partition in 1947, when it became a two-way escape route for 15 million refugees caught between Indian and Pakistani religious divides. It still remains still one of the busiest and wildest roads in the Indian subcontinent today.