The Grand Trunk Road (or GT Road) is one of Asia's great historical roads and a major route connecting much of the Indian subcontinent; it runs through parts of Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Rudyard Kipling describes it in his novel Kim:
And truly the Grand Trunk Road is a wonderful spectacle. It runs straight, bearing without crowding India's traffic for fifteen hundred miles—such a river of life as nowhere else exists in the world. They looked at the green-arched, shade-flecked length of it, the white breadth speckled with slow-pacing folk...
There was trade along parts of the route far earlier, but the road became clearly established during the Maurya Empire, 322 – 185 BCE, when it was known as uttarapatha (road to the north) and ran from the mouth of the Ganges (near what later became known as Calcutta and is now called Kolkata), through the Empire's capital in what is now Patna, then via the then-great trading city Taxila and through Afghanistan, all the way to the Central Asian region of Bactria.
Later Indian rulers, especially the Mughals, did quite a lot of work on upgrading the Calcutta-Kabul part of the road and extended it east into what is now Bangladesh. However, the Kabul-Bactria section was not considered part of their Grand Trunk Road since Afghanistan was outside their influence.
The British also improved the road when they ruled India and, after the British left, the various nations along the route have done so as well.
The Bangladeshi section of the highway starts from Teknaf at Bangladesh–Myanmar border, east of Chittagong, while the Afghanistan section starts from Kabul, the national capital. Although the highway starts in Teknaf, the usual jumping off point is Chittagong.
The itinerary is presented here from east to west.