PAKISTAN TOUR: ANCIENT CULTURES
TOUPKPAC - 12 days / 11 nights
Dec 22, 2003
Pakistan is a home to one of the most ancient civilization of the world that thrived 4500 years ago along the Indus River. The Indus Valley Civilization developed a highly organized culture and commerce as it was connected by land and sea routes with Sumerian and Mesopotamian cultures. A later culture Gandhara which had developed contacts with the eastern parts of the Roman world resulting in the development of Greco-Roman art, known as Gandharian Art. From the cosmopolitan city of Karachi to the capital city of Islamabad in northern part of Pakistan. The Ancient Culture Tour is a combination of varied cultures and ethnic groupings of Pakistan with their rich traditions. The tour includes visits to the grand monuments, the minarets, mausoleums of the great Moguls, deserts of lower Punjab as well the 2nd largest Salt Mines at Khewra.
LAHORE - The heart of Pakistans culture lies in the 2,000-year-old city of Lahore. Lahore is many things - the City of Gardens and Flowers, the City of Dynasties, the City of Music and Art, the City of Famous Dead, the City of Moguls and of course the City of Festivals. Lahore has experienced an eventful history. The first Muslim to conquer the city was Mahmud Ghaznavi in 1021 A.D. A long chain of conquerors followed this until the city passed to the Moguls in 1524 A.D. This was a time of resplendent glory for the city, and the historical monuments from this era include a masterpiece of leisure architecture - the Shalimar Gardens. Other famous landmarks are Lahore Fort, the huge Badshahi Mosque, the Mausoleums of Emperor Jehangir and Empress Nur Jehan, and the Kims Gun. Lahore also has, place of historical interest from others eras, which include Wazir Khans Mosque, the Golden Mosque, Chauburji, Maharaja Ranjit Singhs Samadhi, the Pakistan Day Memorial, Bagh-e-Jinnah, and the Lahore Zoo - a zoological and botanical garden. The city and its surroundings are deeply associated with incident legendary lore and have witnessed momentous events from pre-historic times. The archaeological site of Harappa, 205 Km from Lahore, dates from 2,500 B.C. and was an important settlement of the Indus Valley civilization. Today, Lahore is the second largest city of Pakistan and the principal cultural and academic center, with the oldest university in the country. Its three bazaars are all equally renowned; the Mall, a tree-lined boulevard with modern shops; the Anarkali Bazaar, named after the court dancer who was the beloved courtesan of the Mogul King Jehangir; and the Kashmiri Bazaar, situated deep in the walled city area. There is always a lot to see and do in Lahore.
MULTAN - Multan is probably the oldest living city in South Asia. Popularly known as the City of Saints, it lies on the main route taken by almost all invaders of the sub-continent. It has born the impact of many armies since the Greek invasions of Alexander the Great in 327 B.C. It is an ancient city noted for its antiquity as well as its spiritual and cultural traditions, elaborately decorated shrines and attractive handicrafts. The old fort near the city is worth a visit and has a number of shrines, the most prominent being those of Hazrat Bahuddin Zakriya, Shah Shams Tabriz and Shah Rukn-e-Alam. It also has the distinction of being the birthplace of Mohammad Tughlaq, Emperor Bahlol Lodhi and Ahmed Shah Abdali, three noted men of Pakistans history. Multan is also famous for its cottage industries such as tile work, enamellings, silk, camel skin lamps, and carpet weaving.
|Karachi||Mehran||Sheraton Hotel / Avari|
|Hyderabad||City Gate||City Gate|
|Larkana||Sambara Inn||Sambara Inn|
|Sukkur||Interpak Inn||Interpak Inn|
|Bhawalpur||PTDC Motel||PTDC Motel|
|Lahore||Gulberg Kabana / Ambassador Hotel||Avari Hotel / Holiday Inn|
|Islamabad||Regency / Marina||Marriott Hotel|
Day 1 Monday: Arrive Karachi
Khush Amdeed as you are welcomed at Karachi airport and transferred to the hotel. Afternoon city tour of Karachi. The tour commences with a visit to the modern Defense Mosque of Masjid-i-Toba to see the world's largest concrete shell dome. It then continues to New Clifton Beach followed by visit to the Quaid-e-Azam Mausoleum where the Father of the Nation, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, lies buried. Built entirely of white marble, the Mausoleum has an impressive dome housing a huge crystal chandelier of Chinese origin. Next stop is the National Museum with its fascinating display of ancient relics of the Indus Valley Civilization and an excellent collection of Gandhara art, before ending with a visit to a handicraft gallery. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 2 Tuesday: Karachi /
Departure for Hyderabad via ancient town of Thatta. Situated 100 KMS. East of Karachi, Thatta is an ancient town with an interesting history dating back to the time of the Macedonian, Alexander the Great, who used the port to rest his weary troops. The present Thatta was founded in the 15th century. Under the Mughals it was a provincial capital and during this period there were as many as 400 institutions of learning in the city. Some outstanding architecture left from the Mughal period remains in the religious and historical monuments. Makli Hill is a large necropolis of mausoleums, made up of stone tombs with geometric and floral carvings, which retain their indigenous beauty of the coloured brick enamel and glazed tile used in their construction. The great Mosque of Emperor Shah Jehan, built in the mid 17th century A.D., has 99 domes with incredible acoustic quality. Later resume your drive to Hyderabad and on arrival transfer to hotel. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 3 Wednesday: Hyderabad
Today we will make a full day excursion to Bhit Shah & Hala. Bhit Shah is famous for the shrine of Shah Abdul Latif, one of the most famous Sufi poets of Indian sub-continent during 18th century. Situated about 50 Kms from Hyderabad, the shrine of Shah Abdul Latif is the hub of devotional activities including the singing, folk music and dancing by his devotees from all the corners of Sindh. The special events are the evenings of every Thursday and his annual death festival, when Bhit Shah becomes the capital of Sindh. Situated at another 05 Kms from Bhit Shah is Hala, which is the most famous handicraft center of Sindh as well as Pakistan. The New city of Hala is located about 03 Kms from banks of River Indus as the old city was destroyed during the disastrous flood. Even today the potters in Hala produce the best of blue lined white ceramics besides the other specialties of Hala, which include pottery vases, birds & tiles, lacquer work chairs, beds and cots and wood carvings. We will also visit the Mausoleum of famous Muslim Saint, Makhdoom Nooh. The facade of his mausoleum is covered by some of Hala's best blue and white tile work in floral and geometric designs. Later we drive back to Hyderabad. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 4 Thursday:
Hyderabad / Sehwan / Larkana
Morning drive to Larkana via Sehwan. At Sehwan we will visit the shrine of great Hazrat Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, a famous Muslim Sufi Saint of 10th century. The main attraction of shrine is Dhamal (sufi's dance) with folk music and colorful dress and this dhamal is at its full swing during the annual urs (death ceremony), when his devotees from all around Pakistan get gathered here. After visit to Sehwan, we will continue to Larkana and on arrival transfer to hotel. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 5 Friday: Larkana /
Moenjodaro / Sukkur
Morning drive to Sukkur with a visit to Moenjodaro, enroute. Moenjodaro is the archaeological site of Indus Civilization, which flourished here some 5000 years ago. This is third oldest civilization in the world, being preceded only by those of Egypt and Mesopotamia. Moenjodaro excelled in practically every conceivable facet of town planning. From the articles discovered here it is believed that the Iron Age had not yet dawned on the Indus Valley civilization. The vessels discovered are of lead, silver, copper or bronze, whereas the weapons are made only of bronze. The museum displays interesting relics found during excavation, such as engraved seals, utensils, ornaments, weapons, sculpture, and pottery. Once the tour is finished in Moenjodaro, then we will resume our journey to Sukkur. On arrival transfer to hotel. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 6 Saturday: Sukkur
Full day sightseeing tour of Sukkur. Morning we will make an excursion to Kot Diji, which is a magnificient early 19th century fort built by Talpurs, the former rulers of Sindh from 1789 to 1843. It is a well preserved fort perched on the ridge of a steep narrow hill and is an interesting place to visit. At Kot Diji, we will also visit the pre-historic site located at the foot of the hills. Archaeologists believe that Kot Dijians were the forerunners of the Indus Civilization and even the Indus Civilization borrowed or developed some of the basic cultural elements of the Kot Dijians in about 2800 B.C. However, no when is sure about the origin and destruction of Kot Diji Civilization. Afternoon, we will make a sightseeing tour of Sukkur, which has become a famous town in 10th century when Aror, the former capital of Upper Sindh was destroyed due to earthquake. At Sukkur, we will visit Minaret of Masum Shah (16th century), Faiz Mahal, an octagonal brick building with a glazed brick dome. From here we will continue to banks of River Indus to see Mohana boat people who either live on their boats or in temperory mud huts on the banks of Indus. If time allows then we will visit various forts, tombs, shrines and mosques in the city. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 7 Sunday:
Sukkur / Bahawalpur
Today we will drive to Bahawalpur via National Highway, which runs through irrigated farmlands and rich cultural countryside of Lower Punjab. On the way we will stop at Bhong, which boasts an extraordinary modern mosque started in the 1960s and winner of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture. It is built in traditional style with extravagant use of gold leaf, mirror work and onyx; it is particularly famous for its stylized Arabic calligraphy. A rich merchant Rais Ghazi sponsors the mosque. After visit to Bhong, we again take our way to Bahawalpur and on arrival transfer to hotel. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 8 Monday: Bahawalpur /
After a short drive through the Bahawalpur city, we will drive to Multan, which is a historical city and is known as city of Saints. On arrival at Multan, transfer to hotel.
Afternoon city tour of Multan that commences with visit to Old Fort, which is an eloquent example of the proud history of this city. Among the attractions inside the fort are the elaborately decorated shrines of Sheikh Bahad-ud-din Zakriya, Shah Shams Tabriz and Shah Rukn-e-Alam. Damdama, the highest point in the fort, provides a bird's-eye panoramic view of the city, which has survived the destructions of invaders since Alexander the Great in the 4th century B.C. Among the other places to visit are Eidgah Mosque and Hussain Agahi Bazaar. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 9 Tuesday: Multan / Lahore
Today we drive to Lahore via Harappa. Harrappa is the site of an ancient and important settlement of the prehistoric Indus Valley Civilization (3rd to 2nd millennium B.C.) and stands witness to the 5000 years old cultural continuity of civilization in Pakistan. Harrappa was the cradle of one of the earliest civilizations known to man and conjures up images of fifty centuries ago, a period about which very little is known. An interesting and well maintained museum at the Harrappa site houses artifacts found in the area. Harrappa is located about 175 km from Multan and about 30 km (19 miles) from Sahiwal. On arrival at Lahore transfer to hotel. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 10 Wednesday:
Full day city tour of Lahore. In just one corner of Lahore is a heterogeneous example of Mogul, Sikh, Colonial and Contemporary architecture. The historic Lahore Fort, built in the 11th century A.D., is the only place where one can see different phases of Mogul architecture, as a long line of rulers made additions. Inside the Fort you visit many of the rooms, including Shish Mahal, the Palace of Mirrors. Overlooking the Fort is the Badshahi or Royal Mosque, beside the tomb of the philosopher and poet Iqbal, who infused the idea of Pakistan among the Moslems of British India. Another interesting complex of nearby buildings are the Samadh of Maharaja Ranajit Singh and Guru Arjun Dev, both solid gold tombs dating back to the Sikh era. The tour concludes with a visit to Shalimar Gardens, which were laid out during the reign of Shah Jehan in the early 1640's and are a tribute to the aesthetic and artistic sense of the Moguls. In the afternoon continue the city tour of Lahore. Lahore Museum houses a rich and varied collection of historical objects. This is the oldest museum in Pakistan and has many galleries displaying artifacts from the Gandhara, Buddhist, Jain, Mogul and Colonial periods. The famous statue of the fasting Siddhartha (Buddha) is also on display here. Next, you will visit Emperor Jehangir's mausoleum that was built in the 1630's and is another example of the talented Mogul architecture. Nearby is the tomb of Empress Nur Jehan, wife of Emperor Jehangir. In Old Lahore, the walled city of narrow, dimly lit alleys leading from Sarafa Bazaar (Jewelers Bazaar) to Kashmiri Bazaar, you'll find bargains in the local handicrafts, including brass inlay work. You will also visit the Golden Mosque and Wazir Khan's Mosque, which reflect the nobility of Persian design with floral designs, superb calligraphy and lofty minarets. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 11 Thursday: Lahore /
Islamabad via Khewra Salt Mines
Morning drive to Islamabad via Motorway and with visit to Khewra Salt Mines, enroute. Khewra Salt Mines, the 2nd largest Salt Mines in the world and which were discovered long way back in 326 B.C. when Alexander the great had a battle with Raja Porus on the bank of river Jhelum. However, Dr. Warth introduced the scientific mining at Khewra in the year 1872 during the British Empire in this region. On arrival meet with the management of the Khewara mine and start your tour with local guide. Most interesting part of the visit is to see the models of Badshahi Mosque, Mall Road and Lake Saif-ul-Muluk. Moreover it would be a scintillating experience to come across a small pound of the crystal water in the mine. Later resume your drive to Islamabad and on arrival transfer to hotel. Afternoon we will visit the old garrison town of Rawalpindi followed by a scene into modernity at Islamabad. Visit Shakarparian (sweet hills) Garden, which gives you a panoramic view of Islamabad before driving past various modern streets and buildings - graceful with a touch of Islamic architecture. Your tour culminates at one of the world's largest mosque - Shah Faisal Mosque, which also houses a University specializing in Islamic Philosophy and Law. During the tour we will also drive past various Government Buildings, which are blend of modern and traditional Islamic architecture. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 12 Friday: Islamabad -
After an unparalleled insight into an ancient culture, transfer to airport for your departure flight.
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