Lowari Top / Pass & Lowari Tunnel
Lowari Pass (or Lowari Top) (el. 10,230 ft.) is a high mountain pass that connects Chitral with Dir in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. The Lowari Top is one of the four major mountain passes to enter Chitral. The others are the Dorah Pass from Badakshan in Afghanistan, Shandur Top from Gilgit, and Broghol from the Wakhan Corridor in Afghanistan. However, this is a relatively low pass, by far the lowest pass to enter Chitral, the rest all being 12,000 to 15,000 feet. It crosses the Hindu Raj Mountains, a spur of the higher Hindu Kush.
Lowari Top is closed by snow from late November to late May every year. During this time, jeeps cannot cross so men must travel by foot. This is dangerous, as there are high mountains on each side of Lowari Top, and a deadly avalanche can come at any moment without warning., but due to its shortest route from Chitral to Peshawar, it is most popular. The other way would be down the Kunar River to Jalalabad through hostile Afghan Territory or the much longer route across Shandur Top to Gilgit.
The first ever snow Jeep rally was held at Lowari Top, on the border of district Chitral and district Dir in early 2016. It was Jointly arranged by the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan Army and local administration, the rally would cover a distance of 20.9 km around the area of Lowari Top and Lowari Tunnel having a height 10230 ft. That also included the local food and cultural performances by the performers. Historically the track of the rally is called “Hell Road” by the Western media and the rally was organized to convert it into thrill road.
Lowari Tunnel is an 8.75 km (5.45 mi.) long under-construction road tunnel situated in Chetrar Valley of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, connecting Dir and Chitral Valley. First Work on the tunnel began on 8 September 1975, inaugurated by Pakistan Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, but was stopped in 1976 on the pretext of lack of funds and other development priorities. Work on the tunnel did not restart until September 2005. Then work again started in 2005 but again abondened due to various factors. Now the work is still going on and the estimated date of fully completion of this tunnel is end of 2017. This tunnel will reduce the current fourteen-hour drive from Chitral to Peshawar by 50%. The tunnel will also facilitate all-weather transportation, as during the long winter season the Lowari Pass is closed, and people of Chitral have to travel into Afghanistan and then back into Pakistan to reach the rest of the country. When the border is closed Chitral remains virtually inaccessible during the winter.