Day 01: Arrive Islamabad
Meeting on arrival assistance and transfer to your hotel. Afternoon sightseeing tour of Islamabad visit Shakerparian Hills – the wonderful view point, later visit Lok Virsa – the Folk Heritage Museum. Drive through the main avenues of Islamabad, passing by important Govt buildings. Also visit a living village of Saidpur and Faisal Mosque Meals and overnight
Day 02: Islamabad – Taxila – Besham – 280 kms
Morning departs for Besham enroute see Taxila We shall visit Taxila Archaeological Museum one the best with its large collection of artefacts and Statues from nearby monasteries. Later we shall proceed to the sites of Sirkap city ruins was founded by Bactrian Greeks with their typical chessboard pattern. See the town plan, the shrine of Double Headed Eagle, a private stupa the acropolis in the distance. Later we shall proceed to the Buddhist monastery of Jaulian dating from 2nd to 5th AD – it is one of the most preserved of monastery with its plan, the stone walls, the stupa court with its beautiful figures, the main monastery courtyard with its other establishments later continue to Besham with lunch stop at Abbotabad – we shall continue on the Karakoram Highway though beautiful landscape of terraces rice fields to narrow valleys. We shall drive on the mouth of the valley meeting river Indus at Thakot – not far from this point higher above is the defile of mount Ora or Aornos of the Greeks, captured by Alexander the Great and his Macedonian army. We shall then cross river Indus and drive to Besham and on arrival transfer to motel by the river.
Day 03: Besham – Gilgit – 347 kms
Morning departs for Gilgit on the Karakorum Highway we shall drive by the river Indus flowing down through the gorge with might furor. There are some scenic points with wonder views of the valley. Our first stop will be at Shatial near the bridge to see a large collection of rock art work – the rock drawings and inscriptions dating from 1st BC to 7th AD these collections of stupa drawings, bronze period signs, various inscriptions in Kharoshti, Khotanese, Brahmi, Devanagari and Chinese. Later we shall continue and on a clear day we shall see the first glimpse of Nanga Parbat(8125m) more famous as the killer mountain is known to be the most difficult. As we continue further, we shall see some great views of other peaks like Haramosh and Rakaposhi. Arriving in the late afternoon to Gilgit and transfer to hotel. Early arrival will enable us that we may see the game of Polo in town!!!
Day 04: Gilgit – Karimabad – 110 kms
Morning we shall visit Gilgit town – the rock engraved image of 5th or 7th century Buddha. The town bazaar a walk across the old bridge on river Gilgit, later depart for Hunza valley with short stops enroute see the beautiful Rakaposhi peak (7788m) continue to Karimabad and on arrival transfer to hotel. Short hikes in the village around the hotel. Dinner and overnight
Day 05: Karimabad – Khunjerab Pass – Karimabad
Today we shall explore the upper Hunza valley as it tends to be narrow through the high mountain scenery surrounded by glaciers Passu peak(7478m) see the glacier under its shadow by the same name. Drive through Passu village we drive past a huge ice mass of Batura Glacier about 58 kms long. As we drive through wonderful mountain views through the village of Khyber valley open up at Sust village – the border formalities point. We are escorted by border guards as we start climbing though the narrow passage climbing gradually to Khunjerab Top (4934m) – the highest point on the road stands the cross over point into China. Later after some moments on top we shall start to return in the afternoon the mountain light changes with sun as we can see some stunning moments of Gojal Peaks in bright afternoon sun, we shall visit Ghulkin village and shall have meal with a local Wakhi family. Later return to Karimabad.
Day 06: Karimabad
Morning we shall visit Baltit village and Fort and later drive to Altit village and fort, we shall have lunch with local family house – see the way of life and interact with the family members, and in the afternoon, we shall make an excursion to Hoper village in the valley across in Nagar. Overnight
Day 07: Karimabad – Gilgit – Gupis – 240 kms
Morning departs for Gupis west of Gilgit – we shall make a brief stop at Gilgit and later proceed to Ghizer valley. Enroute we shall make a short detour to Sher Qila, once the central part of the valley – we shall visit village and after a meal at local house proceed to Gupis. Many short stops at the villages enroute to see the daily life of the people living west of Gilgit. These valleys are inhabited by Shina Language speaker which is Indo-Dard group of languages. Before the arrival of Islam local people professed Buddhism, Hinduism and Zoroastrian faith. Unfortunately, the signs of old beliefs are gone however they preserve their ancient religions in present day Islamic traditions. They still regard fire as holy and believe in spirits controlling the world. On arrival transfer to PTDC motel. Later we shall make a short drive up north to Yasin valley to the village of Tawus. Return to Gupis Overnight.
Day 08: Gupis – Phandar Lake – Shandur Pass – Mastuj – 129 kms
This will be an interesting day as we make short visits enroute making stops at the villages enroute. This is mostly photographic stretch and we will make stops at the people doing their daily work in the fields or carrying fire wood – on arrival at Phandar Lake we shall see a wonderful sight of the whole valley from top. Later after a short stop we shall start decent into the valley and again climb up a steep ravine to reach an opening at 3800m is Shandur Pass with a large lake. This marks the boundary between Gilgit and Chitral and as we enter into Chitral the language changes again – locally it is called Khowar we shall continue driving to Mastuj, the district Head Quarters once was used for the caravans coming from Wakhan On arrival transfer to local Guest House.
Day 09: Mastuj/Chitral – 116 kms
Morning we shall depart on a paved road to Chitral – we shall make short stop at the sights of beautiful Bonizom Peak (6542m) of Hinduraj group of mountains later continue further to Chitral we shall see on our back Tirichmir Peak (7708m) the highest of Hindukush range, later we shall have walking tour of Chitral visit Old Fort of Chitral with nice view of TirichMir in the background. Later walk to Shahi Mosque the oldest of Chitral and the Bazaar Late afternoon we shall check if Polo Game is in progress and if so shall see polo game. Overnight
Day 10: Chitral – Birir – Bomburet – 70 kms
Morning departs for Bomburet Kalash valley – we shall first visit the village of Birir the more orthodox of the three valleys. Visit the village of Guru up on the hill Later after spending some time we shall depart for Bomburet – the main valley of the Kalash – on arrival transfer to Guest House, make short hikes in the valley visit the Kalash village of Batrik and afterwards to Shiekhnandeh – the people from this village came from Nuristan in 1893 during the Afghan Kings purges for forcible conversion to Islam. They settled in this valley for a long time though converted and keep strict adherence to Islam, If the tour happens at the time of Joshi Festival – we shall visit the village of Batrik and see the first rituals and dances of start of the festival.
Day 11: Bomburet
Morning we shall have walked tour of Batrik and Anish village Kalash villages – it will be an interesting opportunity to visit their houses and places of worship to know about Kalash pantheon the mill houses and schools. These are great photo ops. keeping in view the customs and traditions of Kalash people.At the time of Chilmjusht or Joshi – we shall see and walk around with the Kalash to celebrate with them the festival in full fervor. See their dances and music in full swing of their traditional cultural performances After lunch at the Guest House we shall proceed on excursion to Rumbur village the second Kalash village – see also how they celebrate Later return to your hotel Overnight’
Day 12: Bomburet – Lowari – Saidu Sharif – 297 kms
Morning departs for Swat Valley – we shall drive passing through Drosh town on to Lowari Tunnel and later descend into Dir – we shall stop for Lunch Later continue to Saidu Sharif and after arriving at Chakdara head in the valley. We shall make short stop to see Shenghardara Buddhist Stupa continue and on arrival transfer to hotel Overnight.
Day 13: Saidu Sharif
Morning we shall drive upto Jehanabad to see rock carved image of Buddha dating from 5th AD – later visit Madyan village and later return Afternoon visit Swat Museum – see the wonderful collection of artefacts and statues reflecting the northern Gandharan sculpture. This collection comes from nearby sites Afterwards proceed to Butkara Buddhist monastery – Saidu Stupa this place was excavated and restored by the Italian mission under Dr Tucci. Later return to your hotel.
Uddiyana – the Buddhist Kingdom:
Uddiyana or Garden of the Buddhists, Swat valley was once cradle of Buddhist thought and culture. It once boasted of numerous Buddhist monasteries and stupas spread all over the valley which mentioned by the Chinese pilgrim Huen Tsang at 1400 in number. These monasteries when visited by the Chinese pilgrim were already in decadence as described by the pilgrim that in the monasteries there are monks but they do not know meaning of their chants. Prior to his visit these badly destroyed during the brazen invasion of the White Huns in 5th AD who supplanted Kushan rule in the region. Swat the land of the birth of Padmasambhavan the 8th century sage – initiated in Tibet with great reverence and founder of Tantric Buddhism.
Day 14: Saidu Sharif – Karkara Pass/Swabi-Islamabad – 277 kms
Morning departs for Islamabad we shall drive up Barikot (Bazira of the classical writers) towards Karkara pass. Afterwards proceed to down into the plains to reach Shahbazgarhi See the rock edicts of Ashoka the Great dating 250BC – later continue to Islamabad. Arrive in the late afternoon and transfer to Hotel Farwell Dinner at local restaurant.
Day 15: Islamabad – Depart
Early morning transfer to airport for your departure flight.
End of the Services.
Mobile: +92 3004287493