Hindu Kush

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Hindu Kush
Hindu Kush

Hindu Kush

Highest peak Tirich Mir ( 7708  m )
location Afghanistan , Pakistan ,
Xinjiang ( PR China )
Hindu Kush (Afghanistan)
Hindu Kush
Coordinates 36 °  N , 72 °  E Coordinates: 36 °  N , 72 °  E
Type Fold Mountains

The Hindu Kush ( Persian هندوکش) is a mountain range in Central Asia . In ancient times it was also referred to as Parapanisos. It is mostly in Afghanistan , the eastern part with the highest peaks is in Pakistan . In the far east it runs along the Pakistani- Chinese border. The highest mountain is the Tirich Mir ( 7708  m ).

The origin of the name Hindu Kush ("Hindu murderer") is traced back by the explorer Ibn Battuta (1304-1377) to the numerous Hindu slaves who perished in these mountains on their way from India to Turkestan. Originally the name probably only referred to the mountain range north of Kabul.


Physical card

The largest part of the Hindu Kush lies in Afghanistan and consists of dry, approx. 4000 to 5000 m high mountains. The main chain of the Hindu Kush in the border region to Pakistan , on the other hand, is a high mountain range comparable to the Himalaya with glaciers up to 20 km long. Occasionally the Hindu Kush is considered part of the Himalayas or the two mountains are combined to form the Hindu Kush Himalayan Region ( HKH ).

The extent of the Hindu Kush in east-west direction is around 800 km, in width it varies between 50 and 350 km. Although the Encyclopædia Britannica also mentions an extension of 800 km, it explains in its article below that a determination of the eastern and western borders of the Hindu Kush is difficult and ambiguous. It then lists the following subdivisions with limits:

  1. Eastern Hindu Kush: from the Karambar Pass in the far east to the Dorah Pass
  2. Middle Hindu Kush: from the Dorah Pass to the Shibar Pass northwest of Kabul
  3. Western Hindu Kush: from the Shibar Pass to the city of Herat on the border with Iran and beyond.
    This would include all of the fan-shaped mountain ranges in central Afghanistan such as the Koh-e Baba . Then the Hindu Kush would be 1,100 to 1,200 km long.


f1Georeferencing Map with all coordinates: OSM | WikiMap

In the northeast, the Pamir Mountains are bounded by the Pyandj and its source river Wachandarja . The Taxkorgan Valley joins the Wakhjir Pass between Afghanistan and China . This is followed by the border downstream to the east to the inflow of an unknown river from the south, which represents the northeasternmost point of the Hindu Kush  ( coordinates ) . The Karakoram Highway also runs upstream in this valley to the south - here as the Chinese national road G314 , which represents the extreme east of the Hindu Kush. The border follows the road to the Kunjirap pass ( coordinates ) , which is the transition to the Karakoram . The Hindu Kush-Karakoram border now continues westwards, following the highway, down the entire Kunjirap Valley until it joins the Kilik ( coordinates ) . Here the border leaves the road and goes up the Kilik valley. The border changes over the Kermin pass ( coordinates ) to the southern neighboring valley of the Chapursan . There further upstream to the Chillinji Pass ( coordinates ) . Then briefly down into the Karambar Valley. From here the southern border to the Hinduraj begins . This initially runs up the valley to the Karambar Pass ( coordinates ). To the west of it, the border follows the Yarkhun downstream until it flows into the Mastuj ( coordinates ) and this in turn flows into the Kunar (also "Chitral")  ( coordinates ) . This crosses the border from Pakistan to Afghanistan until it finally flows into the Kabul River ( coordinates ) at Jalalabad . Jalalabad is located on the southernmost foothills of the Hindu Kush. The border continues upstream the Kabul River.        

In the southwest, the Hindu Kush borders the mountain ranges of central Afghanistan, including the Koh-e Baba .

Effects of climate change

The global warming will affect the climate of the Hindu Kush. A study by Philippus Wester et al. from 2019, in which more than 350 researchers were involved, comes to the conclusion that even if the 1.5-degree target from the Paris Agreement is reached, around a third of the ice surface of the Himalayas and Hindu Kush will be lost. Since the water supply for almost two billion people is fed by the glacier systems, there could be serious consequences for the population if the climate model is valid. The climatologist Philippus Wester comments on his findings: “Global warming is in the process of turning the icy, glacier-covered peaks of the [Hindu Kush Himalayas], which stretch over eight countries, into bare rocks in a little less than a century . "


Highest mountains

The highest mountains are up to 7700  m high. A selection:

Surname Height
in [m]
Tirich me 7708 PK
Noshak 7492 AF, PK
Istor-o-Nal 7403 PK
Saraghrar I 7338 PK
Udren Zom 7140 PK
Lunkho e Dosare 6901 AF, PK
Cow-e Bandaka 6843 AF
Koh-e Keshni Khan 6743 AF
Sakar Sar 6272 AF, PK
Kohe Mondi 6234 AF
Mīr Samīr 5809 AF

More mountains in Afghanistan

The following mountains are comparatively low, but have a meaning for the people of the country with Hindu beliefs.

Today the southeastern foothills of the Hindu Kush (such as the Spīn Ghar range or the Sulayman Mountains ) are the main refuge for the Taliban militias. With regard to this, the then Federal Minister of Defense Peter Struck said on December 4, 2002: " Germany's security is also being defended in the Hindu Kush ."


The Hindu Kush passes ( Persian کوتل, DMG kūtal, in Afghanistan kōtal , 'passport' or Persian گذرگاه, DMG guẕargāh , 'passage') are called:

Surname personal name
(Kotal e ...)
in [m]
Coord. country
Bazak 5000
Naksan 5050
Kan Chin 4900
Marastrak 5760
Salang Pass Salang 3878 ( ) AF
Aqrabat pass Aq Rabat 3600 ( ) AF
Kushan pass Kushan 4300
Tschar Dar 4236
Khawak pass Khawak 3848 ( ) AF
Pilo 3600
Dandan Shekan 2700
Dalan Sank Shatal 3560
Shibar pass Shibar 3000 ( ) AF
Broghol Pass Broghol 3798 ( ) AF, PK
Dorah Pass Dorah 4300 ( ) AF, PK
Irshad pass Irshad 4977 ( ) AF, PK
Unai pass Unai 3300 ( ) AF
Wakhjir pass Wakhjir 4923 ( ) AF, CN

f1Georeferencing Map with all coordinates: OSM | WikiMap


The Hindu Kush is one of the folds of mountains that were raised when the Indian Plate penetrated the Central Asian mainland, and geologically it is still relatively young. Its growth continues.

Ecological altitude levels

A distinction must be made between two areas in terms of ecological altitude levels : The north-western slope of the Hindu Kush (e.g. Ghorband Valley , Pandschir Valley ) is dry. The southeastern side (e.g. Nuristan , Laghman ) is humid and influenced by the monsoons.

Schematic overview
step Western Hindu Kush Southeast Hindu Kush
Snow line 4800-5200 5200-5400
Subnival stage 4200-4800 open rubble corridors 4300-5200 Rubble corridors
Alpine stage 3600-4200 Debris corridors ( Leucopoa ) 3500-4300 Alpine lawns , mats and rubble corridors , spring corridors
Subalpine level 2800-3600 Thorn cushion , mountain semi-desert 3000-3500 Krummholz - / spine pad tessellation; Tall perennials , spring corridors
Tree line not visible 3000-3150 Conifers , Juniperus , Betula
Coniferous forest steps 2000-2800 hardly available (mostly mountain semi-desert , rarely open juniperus meadows ) 2200-3000 Abies , Picea , Cedrus , Pinus (very different in individual valley communities)
Deciduous forest steps 1400-2000 hardly available, Pistacia vera in the north, other Pistacia species and amygdalus in central and southwestern Afghanistan (open tree corridors) 1000-2300 Quercus balout - hardwood forests (some other evergreen Quercus species up to 2800 m)
Valley areas <1400 Semi-desert , desert , river oases (in the north: partly steppes ) 700-1100 subtropical dry bush with foreland ~ thorn trees ( Reptonia , Stocksia )
<700 subtropical dry bush and semi-deserts ( Aerva , Rhazia , river oases )


  • Burchard Brentjes : The knot of Asia - Afghanistan and the peoples of the Hindu Kush. Tusch, Vienna 1984, ISBN 3-85063-143-5 .
  • Eric Newby: A Walk in the Hindu Kush. Eichborn-Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 2002, ISBN 3-8218-4510-4 .
  • Karl Jettmar u. a .: The religions of the Hindu Kush. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 1975, ISBN 3-17-002092-7 .
  • Karl Jettmar: Cultures of the Hindukush. Steiner, Wiesbaden 1974, ISBN 3-515-01217-6 .
  • Heinrich FJ Junker; Bozorg Alavi: Dictionary Persian-German. Langenscheidt, Leipzig / Berlin / Munich / Vienna / Zurich / New York 1992.
  • Ali Akbar Dehkhoda, Mohammad Moin, Jafar Shahidi u. a .: Loghat Nāmeh Dehkhodā. Dāneshgāh Tehrān (University of Tehran), 1991.
  • Al Qanun al Masudi. 3 volumes, Hyderabad 1954, Vol. 1 pp. 4-5
  • E. Sachau (Ed.): Ta 'rih al-Hind. London 1887.
    • Closely. Translation by E. Sachau: Alberuni's Indi. London 1888 (vol. 1) and 1910 (vol. 2)
  • M. Krause: Albiruni, an Iranian researcher. In: Islam. 26, no. 1 (1942), OCLC 431569581 , pp. 1-15.
  • E. Wiedemann: Geography of al-Biruni. In: SBPMS. Erlangen, Articles 44/1912
  • Habibo Brechna: The History of Afghanistan. The citadel of Kabul and the historical environment of Afghanistan over 1500 years. vdf Hochschulverlag AG at the ETH Zurich, Zurich 2005, ISBN 3-7281-2963-1 .
  • Friedrich Rückert: Firdosi's Book of Kings (Schahname) Sage I-XIII. 1890. (Reprint: epubli, Berlin 2010, ISBN 978-3-86931-356-6 , pp. 136-239)

Web links

Commons : Hindu Kush  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Hindu Kush  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

References and comments

  1. Ervin Grötzbach: Hindu kush. In: encyclopaedia iranica. 2003, accessed February 2, 2017 .
  2. Mapping the vulnerability hotspots over Hindu-Kush Himalaya region to flooding disasters. In: sciencedirect.com. Retrieved September 6, 2015 .
  3. ^ Regional information. In: icimod.org. Retrieved September 6, 2015 .
  4. Development of an ASSESSment system to evaluate the ecological status of rivers in the Hindu Kush-Himalayan region. (PDF) In: assess-hkh.at. Retrieved September 6, 2015 .
  5. Article Hindu Kush in the Great Soviet Encyclopedia (BSE) , 3rd edition 1969–1978 (Russian)http: //vorlage_gse.test/1%3D010474~2a%3DHindukusch~2b%3DHindukusch
  6. Hindu-Kush , Encyclopædia Britannica Online, free access per IP limited.
  7. Philippus Wester , Arabinda Mishra , Aditi Mukherji , Arun Bhakta Shrestha (2019). The Hindu Kush Himalaya Assessment: Mountains, Climate Change, Sustainability and People. ISBN 978-3-319-92288-1 https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007%2F978-3-319-92288-1
  8. Climate change is having an effect: Glaciers in the Himalayas are melting rapidly. February 5, 2019, accessed February 11, 2019 .
  9. ^ Afghanistan ultra-prominent peaks . peaklist.org
  10. Siegmar-W. Breckle: flora, vegetation and ecology of the alpine-nival level of the Hindu Kush (Afghanistan) . In: S.-W. Breckle, Birgit Schweizer, A. Fangmeier (Ed.): Results of worldwide ecological studies. Proceedings of the 2nd Symposium of the AFW Schimper Foundation . Verlag Günter Heimbach, Stuttgart 2004, ISBN 3-9805730-2-8 , Ecology Tab. 3, p. 112 (97-117) .