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Grand Trunk Road

From Academic Kids

fr:Grand Trunk Road The Grand Trunk Road (abbreviated to GT Road in common usage) is the Indian Subcontinent's first, largest and oldest major road, linking Sonargaon in Bengal (now in Bangladesh) with Kabul in Afghanistan via the Khyber Pass. The Grand Trunk Road spans a distance of over 2,500 km, and connects up the important cities of Benaras, Kanpur, Delhi, Amritsar and Lahore.

The Grand Trunk Road was built in the 16th century by Sher Shah Suri, the then Pathan Emperor of India, with the intention of linking together the remote provinces of his vast empire for administrative and military reasons. Originally known as the Sadak-e-Azam ('The road of the Emperor'), the Grand Trunk Road was the traditional route for invasions of the subcontinent by Afghan and Persian invaders, as well as one of the most important trade routes in the region. This also helped establish on of the first postal services in the region. There were well-maintained sarais or Inns at regular intervals. Trees were planted on both sides of the road to give shade to the passers-by.Later renamed and improved by the British rulers of colonial India, the Grand Trunk Road was sometimes referred to as the "Long Walk".

Today the Grand Trunk Road continues to be one of the major arteries of India and Pakistan, and the Indian section is part of the ambitious Golden Quadrilateral Project. For over 400 years from before Rudyard Kipling's time to the present day, the Grand Trunk Road has remained "a river of life such as exists nowhere else in the world".

Present day researches indicate that even during the time of the Maurya empire, overland trade with several parts of western Asia and the Hellenic world went through the cities of the north-west, primarily Taxila (located in present day Pakistan). In view of this, the city of Taxila was well connected by roads with other parts of the Maurya empire. The Mauryas had built a Royal Highway from Taxila to Pataliputra, the present day Patna), Bihar state, India. It is believed that a road was rebuilt throughout the centuries and today survives as the Grand Trunk Road. However, the premise is open to debate and further studies.

Literature

  • Rudyard Kipling, Kim : Considered to be Kipling's finest work, and set mostly along the Grand Trunk Road. Free e-texts are available, such as the one here (http://www.gutenberg.net/etext/2226).
  • Anthony Weller, Days and Nights on the Grand Trunk Road (Marlowe & Company, 1998)

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