Bab e Khyber (Khyber Paas)

The most famous pass of the world, the Khyber Pass, is 16 km from Peshawar. It has been, throughout history, the most important gateway to the plains of the South Asian sub-continent both for migration and invasion. Starting from the foot-hills of the Suleiman Range at the Jamrud; 11 miles from Peshawar, it extends beyond the border of Pakistan at Torkham, 36 miles away and it gradually rises to an elevation of 1,066 meters above sea level. The pass is 1 ½ km at its widest and only 16 meters at its narrowest.


The history of the Khyber Pass as a strategic gateway dates from 326 B.C., when Alexander of the Macedonia marched through the Khyber to as far down south as Multan, after defeating Hindu Raja Porus on River Jhelum. In the 5th century BC Darius I the Great of Persia conquered the country around Kabul and marched through the Khyber Pass to the Indus River. Two centuries later Hephaestion and Perdiccas, generals of Alexander the Great, probably used the pass. Buddhism flourished in and around the Khyber when it was part of Ashoka’s kingdom (3rd century BC); Buddhist remains include Kafir Kot (Citadel of the Kafirs), Shopla stupa (also called the Khyber Top), and the stupa near Ali Masjid. Then came the Persian, Mongol, and Tartara in the 900 A.D, who forced their way through the Khyber, bringing Islam to India.