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The Tree of Life

The remote, mountainous Kohistan district of Pakistan was one of the most difficult and dangerous passages along the historic Silk Road as described by the Chinese Buddhist pilgrim Faxian at the beginning of the 5th century. If travelers from Xinjiang survived crossing the rope suspension bridges that linked narrow footpaths chiseled into the rock walls above the Indus River, they then had to avoid marauding tribesmen.

The constant tribal wars of these fierce mountaineers kept the northern provinces isolated and largely unexplored by Westerners until the 1890s. However, in the 1970s you could follow the old Silk Road in relative safety. In ...

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