I always prefer a day time flight while traveling west from Delhi. In two hours after taking off from Delhi the aircraft flies over the mighty Hindu Kush range in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Its always an awesome sight. Irrespective of the season.

The Hindu Kush range stretches 800 km through central Afghanistan and northern Pakistan. The 25,000 ft high peaks stand between the Amu Darya river valley and the Indus river valley. These rugged mountains have seen military presence right from the time of the Darius the Great, Alexander and more recently the Al Quaida, Russia, the United States etc. 

In winter the bright blue clear skies contrasts beautifully with the snow covered ruggedness. In summer the snow line has reduced and the rough jagged fearsome terrain is softened by a small scarf of snow. Only on rare monsoon days would clouds shroud the awesome spectacle.

Crossing the Hindu Kush would usually coincide with the first meal of the flight as well. If you are on an early morning flight then it would be breakfast. For later flights it would be lunch time. Such a pleasure to tuck into your omlette or sip on a comforting glass of Beaujolais as the Hindu Kush unfolds below.

But the scenic ride doesn't end there. In about 5 hrs out of Delhi the aircraft cuts across the Caspian Sea. An hour later it skirts the Black Sea. Both are lovely sights. Be sure to get window seats on the right hand side of the plane.

On this occasion we were flying Air India, AI 115 from Delhi to London Heathrow. You also get Jet Air, Virgin Atlantic and British Airways flying this sector during daylight hours. Flights to the middle east from India also crosses the southern stretches of the Hindu Kush which are lower but still above the permanent snow line.

Breakfast on AI 115 (Click to enlarge)

Hindu Kush range (Click to enlarge)

Flying across the Hindu Kush,

Asia, Saturday 14 May 2011.

The 800 km long Hind Kush Range in Afgaistan and Pakistan is amongst the most formidable geographies in the world. Stark, rugged, remote. Exciting experience flying across the range.

Hindu Kush range (Click to enlarge)