Chilas (Hindi: चलास, Urdu: چلاس) is a small town located in the Northern Areas, Pakistan. It is connected to the Silk Road by the Karakoram Highway which links it to Islamabad in the south via Dassu, Mansehra, Abbottabad and Haripur. In the north, Chilas is connected to the Chinese cities of Kashgar and Tashkurgan via Gilgit and Sust.
Main article: Northern Areas, Pakistan#Rock art and petroglyphs
There are more than 20,000 pieces of rock art and petroglyphs all along the Karakoram Highway in Northern Areas of Pakistan that are concentrated at ten major sites between Hunza and Harban. The carvings were left by various invaders, traders and pilgrims who passed along the trade route, as well as by locals. The earliest date back to between 5000 and 1000 BC, showing single animals, triangular men and hunting sccenes in which the animals are larger than the hunters. These carvings were pecked into the rock with stone tools and are covered with a thick patina that proves their age.
The archaeologist Karl Jettmar has pieced together the history of the area from various inscriptions and recorded his findings in Rockcarvings and Inscriptions in the Northern Areas of Pakistan and the later released Between Gandhara and the Silk Roads - Rock carvings Along the Karakoram Highway.
It is interesting to note that Kharoshthi term "Kaboa" ( or Kamboa) appears in a short commemorative Kharosthi inscription found from Chilas as reported by Archaeological Department of Pakistan. The inscription has been transcribed, translated and interpreted by Ahmad Hasan Dani, a Pakistani archaeologist, historian, and linguist, who was among the foremost authorities on South Asian archaeology and history. According to Dani, Kaboa or Kamboa of the inscription is a Kharosthised form of Sanskrit Kamboja . Thus, it seems likely that Chilas also formed part of ancient Kamboja kingdom.
Chilas comes under Gilgit-Baltistan. The weather is hot and humid in the summer and dry and cold in the winter. It can be reached through Karakurram highway and also from Kaghan valley passing through Babusar Pass. The mighty river Indus passes through the Chilas valley. Foreigners may need permission to travel in Chilas.