This Guy Traveled Through Pakistan To Photograph Places On Our Currency And It's Incredible

By Bisma Rizwan | 31 Aug, 2019

This guy traveled all through Pakistan to photograph places featured on the local currency.

Meet Emaad Paracha, a travel geek and a magician, who has majored in Astrophysics, Math and Economics.

Originally from Peshawar, Emaad has lived in different places in Pakistan, including Islamabad, Peshawar, Sargodha, Jacobabad, and Karachi. He initially went to IBA to major in Economics and Math, but then transferred after two years to the University of Toronto for Astrophysics, Math, and Econ. He hopes to go further into data science and space science (preferably a mix of the two), and possibly work towards building Pakistan’s space programs!

Source: Emaad Paracha / Facebook

We asked him how the entire four-year-long Currency Photo Project was born, and well, all great things have super random beginnings, such as a Mohenjo Daro trip…

“It all started when I used to live in Jacobabad, and we decided to go on a short day trip to Mohenjodaro. I remember I had a 20 rupee note with me that I knew had Mohenjo Daro on it, so when I got there the first thing I asked the guide about where this picture was taken (pointing to the back of the 20 rupee note). He took me to that spot, I took the picture and shared it on social media and on Reddit, where it was received very well, so I thought why not do it with other notes as well. And there, the photo project was born!”

The project has taken him across Pakistan, from Karachi to K2. Here’s the Khyber Pass featured on the 10 Rupee Note

And the 1000 Rupee note bearing the Islamia College Peshawar, with the actual building behind it, of course!

The fact that all of these pictures are taken at the exact angle as that on the notes honestly has me shook. The attention to detail throughout Emaad’s project has been amazing!

Faisal Mosque and the 5000 rupee note

Quaid-e-Azam’s Residency at Ziarat and the 100 rupee note

But it hasn’t really been all pretty while shooting for the project. There have been times Emaad to make a run for things just to get a shot for the project – including almost missing a flight just so he could cover the 500 rupee note at the Badshahi Mosque!

“I was in Lahore for a conference and my flight to Islamabad that day was at 9 am. My friends and I woke up early at 6 am to go there. We hailed an Uber, got there and found out it was closed, so we all went back. I quickly got my bags packed and everything ready, then at 8 am I got another Uber and went there myself with the 500 rupee note (with 1 hour to my flight). I told the Uber driver to keep the Uber running so I wouldn’t have to wait for another Uber and can just go to the airport on this one.”

When he got there and took the 500 rupee note picture, someone there reminded him that it’s on the 2 rupee coin as well.

“But I didn’t have one, so outside the mosque, there was this old lady who was asking for money, and I asked her if she had a 2 rupee coin. She showed me all the coins she had, I gave her my 500 rupee note in exchange for her 2 rupee coin, went back in and took the picture, ran back to the Uber, and made it to the airport with 10 minutes to spare.”

But the most exciting of it all has to be the K2 trek that Emaad recently did in order to complete his Pakistani Currency series with the 50 rupee note – and it has also been the toughest journey he has ever been at!

It was a nearly 300 km walk round trip, trekking and living on the Baltoro glacier (a monster itself), sleeping with rocks poking you in the back in extremely cold weather, walking nearly 20-30 km a day in the hot sun. All throughout the trek, I kept asking myself why I signed up for this, but once it was over it was totally worth it. Definitely a once in a lifetime experience.

But K2 is notorious for playing hide and seek behind the clouds, and it shows up rarely – that’s kind of what happened with Emaad too…

When I first arrived at Concordia, where you’re finally able to see the mountain, it was all covered with just a little bit of its middle showing. I still took a picture with the 50 rupee note just in case and thought about how to justify that when I share it. I spoke to porters there, who assured me that K2 will clear up and is usually clean from 4 am to 8 am. I slept with high hopes and woke up to rain falling on my tent the next morning. Looked outside, it was even worse with no K2 at all. We trekked to the base camp that day and back, and we could still only see K2’s feet there.

Source: Emaad Paracha

It was not until sunset that K2 finally decided to show itself, and he was finally able to get the K2 picture.

Their original plan was to leave Concordia the next morning (which they did), but Emaad was fully set on staying a convincing the team to stay an extra day to see K2.

View this post on Instagram

I started my Pakistan currency picture project in December 2015 with the 20 rupee note at Mohenjodaro. This project’s taken me to places like the Khyber Pass and Ziarat and made me nearly miss my flight by making me run to Badshahi Masjid 30 minutes before it. And 3 weeks ago, it made me go on one of the toughest treks in the world, a 300km walk to the base camp of the second highest mountain in the world, K2. Nearly 4 years since I took the first picture, and countless miles walked and flown and driven, I finally present the last picture from the current Pakistani banknote series: The mighty K2 with the 50 rupee note bearing it. . . . . . . . #parachexplores #mountain #mountains #pakistan #beautifulpakistan #concordia #k2 #everest #climbing #thelensbible #dawndotcom #etribune #travelbeautifulpakistan #mountaineering #thephotosociety #beauty #beautiful #pakistani #broadpeak #samaatv #pakistan_pics #pakistanblogger #pak #mountainspakistan @vscopk #vscopk

A post shared by Emaad Paracha (@parachaexplores) on

Now that the Pakistani currencies are done and dusted, Emaad now plans to cover some other countries too. He has already covered all of the American notes, some coins from Panama and a Canadian coin, but he plans to cover so much more!

Source: Emaad Paracha

Emaad believes that the project has given him an excuse to travel his own country, and now he wants to use it as an excuse to go to newer places around the world!

Source: Emaad Paracha

You can follow Emaad and his adventures around the world on his Instagram here, or visit his website to amaze yourself with the super cool project!


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