They are famous abroad, and it did not take long before I saw the first actual examples driving on the Pakistani roads: their heavily decorated trucka. At first, I saw them sitting on a vehicles myself, but soon enough, I started to actively search for them, walk around them, admire the works of art that they are, and that makes all of them unique. Are they kitch? Often. Are they over the top? Definitely. But still, you cannot help but like these additions to the Pakistani traffic. Plus: whenever I took pictures of a truck, their drivers were super proud of their works of art. There are those that are painted, but also trucks that have strips of coloured metal attached to the outside of the trucks. Many trucks have high panels above the cabin, which obviously give even more room for more decorative elements.
Soon enough, I noticed that, apart from the trucks, also buses, rickshaws, and tractors were heavily decorated. After traveling around the north of the country, where I did not see many trucks, and where the Chinese trucks stood out for being utterly boring compared to their Pakistani counterparts, I decided to look for a place where the actual painting is done. This is considered a special art, and Peshawar is one of the cities where this art is developed. It took some time to find someone to understand my question, and when a rickshaw driver (with a boring green vehicle) was explained were he had to take us, we were on our way to the Ring Road of this biggest city of western Pakistan. The driver did take us to a street where several trucks were parked; we got off, and walked around.
Here, all those works of art were together, and we studied the different themes on the sides, front and back of the trucks. Floral or geometric motifs, landscapes, planes, religious themes: anything can be found on trucks. We did not see anyone paint, though: this was mostly a spot where trucks were repaired. We tried to ask, but the friendly mechanics did not understand, inviting us to tea instead. We walked the road towards the south, stopped to watch traffic and saw many heavily painted vehicles, until we came to a pace with many more trucks and mechanics. We walked around, asked around, but to no avail: no truck was being painted and no one understood our painting moves. I then realised that trucks might not be painted every day, and decided that just seeing the trucks had been worth it. On our way back to the city, we stopped at the main bus station, where we saw many buses, decorated in similar styles, before going back to the old city of Peshawar.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Pakistani truck decorations (Pakistan). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Pakistani truck decorations. Read more about this site.