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To China in the footsteps of Marco Polo

THE SILK ROAD or THE SILK ROUTE, as it is generally known, is an ancient trade route extending from far-eastern China (even Japan) to Central Asian countries, the sub-continent, Africa and onwards to Europe.

We all have, in one way or another, heard references made to it, studied about it in school, listened to stories of caravans

We all have, in one way or another, heard references made to it, studied about it in school, listened to stories of caravans traveling to and from far flung areas carrying spices, silk, opium to the west while taking seeds of grapes (wine,) carpets, and horses.

The past, when viewed through the lens of history,  is usually drenched in nostalgic enthusiasm, yearning, and a hunger for places and experiences that were, could still have been, and may not remain in future.

 

It is in perusal of just such a desire to see – to witness, to participate, to sense what was – that has prompted a small group of keen wanderers to venture on re-tracing the steps of the ancient caravans plying the remote regions of China and what is today Pakistan. Starting from the old city of Shanghai and travelling through the greater part of China, entering Pakistan at Kashgar, this expedition is set to go. The idea is to witness and examine antiquity, to scrutinize the yesteryears, its an attempt to understand what-was, and how it has evolved to what is.

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The Silk Road expedition 2017 is a humble attempt to quench a thirst for the past and its glories. It is a step into the past with a clear perception of future. China has always been an integral part of Pakistan’s identity. Its friendship, its

China has always been an integral part of Pakistan’s identity. Its friendship, its assistance and regard, its economic cooperation has been welcomed since the inception of our country.

The current mega-project between the two countries namely, China Pakistan Economic Corridor CPEC, is actually a reinterpretation of the philosophy and need behind the original Silk Road – primarily economic relations between countries.

It is said that ‘roads’ are literal and figurative pathways to new places, progress, integration, better understanding of peoples. Routes do not merely transfer goods, they transfer ideas, thoughts, people, language, customs, religions and much more.

The Silk Road expedition 2017, plans on retracing the steps of Marco Polo and the trade caravans he was so famously a part of.

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Marco was from Venice,Italy.

He embarked on the journey to the East with his uncle and father and ended up staying in China for 24 years. The map above shows the trade route travelled by this famous merchant whose life and travels are detailed in a famous book, The travels of Marco Polo.

We intend to travel in his footsteps to acquaint ourselves with the vast history that lies within and without the trails of the past. And to share what we see with others, to bring back a sense of magnificence of the Orient, and gain a deeper understanding of what we are and how we came to be.

This is the second blog in a series of blogs on China by author

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Published : March 3, 2017

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are solely of the author and do not represent ARY policies or opinion.

Author Spotlight

Lubna Khan

Lubna KhanLubna Khan is a literature buff, and ex-bureaucrat, an avid reader and irreverent blogger. She tweets at @lubnagigyani Read Full