Goodbye to Panj and Pamirs
Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region
Republic of Tajikistan
August 27, 2019
Good-bye to the Panj River
The route of the Panj River is remarkable. And invigorating.
Five tributaries crash down the mountains to join the Panj. At 1125 km (699 miles) long, it forms the major border between Tajikistan and Afghanistan.
The Panj completes its rambunctious journey in Termez, Uzbekistan where it joins the Amu Darya, an important river in Central Asia. In ancient times the Amu was called by its Latin name, the Oxus.
How shall I describe my feelings as the raging white capped Panj cascades through a rocky narrow gorge? Or as the bright silver watercourse slides across a broad canyon?
What are my thoughts as the river disappears into the horizon to team up with the mighty system that flows through classical antiquity?
Good-bye to the Pamir Mountains
The Pamir Mountains are no less remarkable. Inspiring. Humbling.
The Pamirs arise at the junction of the Himalayas, the Tian Shan, Karakoram, Kunlun, Hindu Kush, Suleman and Hindu Raj ranges. They are among the world's highest mountains. Along with the Himalayas and the other neighboring formations, the Pamirs are known as “The Roof of the World.”
The Pamirs reach peaks of 5704 meters (18,714 feet) to the highest peak at 7495 meters (24,590 feet). This highest peak was formerly known as the Stalin Peak and later the Communism Peak. Now it is called the Ismoil Somoni Peak, named for the Tenth Century political and military leader. Also in his honor, the Tajik currency is called Somoni.
Many glaciers cover the peaks and valleys. The Fedchenko Glacier is 77 kilometers (48 miles) long and is the longest glacier outside of the polar regions.
Alas. Before the bitter cold winter arrives, I must say Goodbye to the vigorous Panj and the towering Pamirs.
“Majestic” is how a friend reacted to the river and mountain scenery.
Why visit Tajikistan?
The Panj and the Pamirs provide the answer.