Lying in the most western part of India, Pakistan was the gateway to the plains of India. From the time immemorial the land of Pakistan saw migrations and invasions that shaped the history of Sub-Continent. From the great Aryan migrations to invasions by nomadic tribes from the north, to the annexation by the Persians, the invasion of Alexander the Great whose armies were baffled by the long sojourn, the home sick army retreated from its soil. Thus begins the incessant waves of invasions bringing its own cultural impact on the land of the five rivers. It was from here the Mongols ravaged, prosperous cities reducing them to deserted towns. But again, it was their successors who laid foundation of the most powerful dynasty known in the history as the Great Moghuls. Pakistan is the land of many cultures which changes within a short span of travel one can experience. Its heart is full of color of different folks, reflecting each with their own culture and traditions. Pakistan can very well boast to be the land were existed one of the oldest of civilizations – the Indus Valley that flourished about 2500BC whose ruins lies along the Indus River valleys. Every invasion thence was from the west contributing its own share of historical records which could be seen in today’s multi culture society of Pakistan. It was here where one where famous Gandhara culture flourished with its lasting impact one could see in the great desert cities of western China.
Day 01: Lahore – Rohtas Fort-Islamabad
morning depart for Islamabad via the traditional Grand Trunk Road – the old road which was reinforced and developed during the British rule starting from Calcutta and passing through Agra and Delhi to Lahore onwards via Khyber Pass to Kabul. The road infects existed during the reign of Chandragupta Maurya about 3rd BC as a caravan road from the Ganges River to its western most extension of the Maurya empire whence Kabul was part of it. Later during the Mughal ruler Akbar, the Great it was regulated while Sher Sha Suri who wrested power from the Mughals reconstructed many parts in 16th century. Mughals planted huge tamarisk trees all along the highway whose traces could still be seen at some places. Today the road is lost in oblivion as now there is a modern highway running parallel to it but the significance of Grand Trunk Road is still there. Enroute we shall make a stop at to visit the huge and most impressive Rohtas Fort. After visit of the fort, we shall have our picnic Lunch inside the fort Later continue to Islamabad – we shall arrive in late afternoon after passing through Potohar plateau – known for its unique Soan valley culture. Overnight Islamabad
Day 02: Islamabad City Tour
morning we shall do sightseeing tour of Islamabad, we shall start with visit to Shakerparian Hills for a panoramic view of Islamabad – later visit Museum of Folk Heritage (Lok Virsa). Afterwards drive through important boulevards see Pakistan Foreign Affairs, the Diplomatic enclave, Parliament House, Presidential Palace, the Civil Secretariat buildings. Later drive past the Margalla Hills – stop at Saidpur model village reminiscent of old – proceed to Faisal Mosque. Dinner at a panoramic point in the hills. Overnight Islamabad
Day 03: Islamabad – Taxila – Peshawar
Morning departs for Peshawar enroute we shall visit Taxila – dating 5th BC to 6th AD, Taxila was situated on the cross roads to western Asia and Eastern Asia with Kashmir in the north. It was part of the Great Achaemenian Empire in 5th BC, it was invaded by the Macedonian armies under Alexander the Great in 326 BC. It was part of the Mauryan Empire when Ashoka the Great was appointed as Governor of Taxila during his father’s rule in 2nd BC. Then successive rulers of Taxila were Bactrian Greeks, the Scythians, Parthians but the best period of Taxila was under Kushan rule when massive construction of Buddhist monasteries and stupas took place. We shall visit the site of first city of Taxila and later see the huge stupa court of Dharmarajika. Later visit Sirkap, the second city of Taxila planned by the Bactrian Greeks in 1st BC – we can see well laid out city plan with some interesting buildings. Later we shall visit Jaulian Buddhist monastery ruins situated on a high hill with very well-preserved stupa court and parts of monastery. Afterwards we shall visit the Archaeological Museum of Taxila – see the well-preserved articles and statues from all around the famous site of our history. Later proceed to Peshawar – with some interesting stops at the Indus River crossing with views of Attock Fort built by Akbar the great in 16th century. We shall continue to Peshawar. Overnight Peshawar
Day 04: Peshawar City Tour
Full day sightseeing tour of Peshawar – In the morning we shall start our sightseeing tour with visit to traditional bazaars of Peshawar – we shall start our walking tour with Qissa Khawani bazaar (story tellers street), Copper bazaar, the spice street, cloth market, later walk to local shoe bazaar, the colorful vegetable market. Later we shall walk through the busy street to gold market – see the Jewelry stores with wonderful designs. We shall visit Mohabat Kha’s Mosque constructed by the Mughal governor in 1630 AD. Afternoon we shall visit the beautiful Peshawar Museum housing one of the best collections of Gandharan Art – the Buddhist Art in the best Greco-Roman style of art with admixture of Indian decorative art. Overnight Peshawar
Day 05: Peshawar – Salt Mine – Lahore
Drive to back to Lahore en-route visit khewra salt mines. Khewra Salt Mines are situated in the foothills of the Salt Range. It catches the attention of up to 40,000 visitors per annul and is the second largest salt mine in the world. Khewra Salt Mines are the oldest in the South Asia. According to historians, Salt has been mined at Khewra since 320 BC following the discovery by Alexander’s troops. Dr. Warth in 1872 had developed the main tunnel at ground level and that main tunnel has since been transformed into a tourist resort.
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