RE-LIVE THE PAST
Over the centuries the land we now call Pakistan has been the cradle of many a civilization. The ruins at Harappa and Moenjodaro are evidence of a highly advanced habitation that was born in the dawn of human history -- almost 5000 years ago. Many centuries later, the conquering hordes of Alexander the Great marched through the towering mountains in the north of Pakistan and left behind indelible footprints on the culture of the region.
Alexander's departure saw the prospering of the great Gandhara Civilization, an era devoted mainly to Buddhist art and architecture.
With the passing of the years came the Muslim rule in the subcontinent and the glorious grandeur of the Mughals. They built the magnificent Badshahi Mosque, laid out the exotic Shalimar Gardens, and erected majestic mausoleums for their family and loved ones.
Travelling through Pakistan, you can easily pick up the threads of history. You can experience it in the museums, the ruins, the shrines and bazaars. And you can relive it in the stories and legends that still surround these places of beauty.
Arrival Karachi -- transfer to Hotel Pearl Continental. AM at leisure. PM proceed for city sightseeing tour of Karachi. The tour commences with a visit to the Mausoleum of Quaid-e-Azam (Father of the Nation) Mohammad Ali Jinnah. The Mausoleum is built entirely of white marble. It has an impressive dome which holds a huge crystal chandelier of Chinese origin. Next we drive to the quaint Bohri Bazaar, whose narrow streets and yelling hawkers make an unforgettable sight. We then drive through Zaibunnissa Street, the modern shopping center clearly identified by neon lights. Our next and final stop is the National Museum, whose Ghandara Art collection is the finest in the world. Meals and overnight at the hotel.
Transfer to the airport for your flight to Moenjodaro. Arrival and transfer to the Site for excursion. Moenjodaro -- The "Mound of the Dead" is one of the world's oldest civilizations, dating as far back as 2000 B.C., and it is proceeded in age only by the Egyptian and Mesopotamian Civilizations. This archaeological wonder was discovered in 1922, and subsequent excavations show it to be divided into two parts. PM transfer to the airport for your flight to Karachi. Arrival and transfer to your hotel. Meals and overnight at the hotel.
Transfer to the airport for your flight to Lahore. Arrival and transfer to Hotel Pearl Continental. PM proceed for city sightseeing tour.
We drive through Lahore's crowded streets to the Shalimar Gardens, designed by Ali Mardan of Persia and set out in the Persian style with marble pavilions, a marble waterfall and more than 400 fountains in an area of 42 acres. Emperor Shah Jahan ordered the construction of this "Garden of Heaven" in 1642. Next we proceed to the Anarkali Bazaar, named after a pretty dancer named Anarkali who was put to death by Emperor Akbar for having an affair with Prince Salim, who later became Emperor Jehangir. We will also visit Wazir Khan's Mosque, constructed under the stewardship of the Governor in 1643, and Jehangir's tomb. Meals and overnight at the hotel.
Proceed for a full day city sightseeing tour. We begin at the Lahore Fort, a marvel of Mughal architecture begin in the 11th century and completed finally by the end of the 16th century. Amongst the Emperors who contributed to its splendour are Emperors Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jahan. We will visit the beautiful palace of Mirrors, Shah Jahan's Quadrangle and the Pearl Mosque. Overlooking the Fort is the Badshahi mosque -- the world's largest -- and it is our next stop. It was constructed during the reign of Emperor Aurangzeb. Pakistan's famous poet-philosopher, Dr. Mohammad Iqbal, lies buried outside the mosque. We will visit also the Pakistan Day Memorial, Punjab University Campus and Lahore Museum. Meals and overnight at the hotel.
Transfer to the airport for your flight to Islamabad. Arrival and transfer to Hotel Pearl Continental. Proceed for city sightseeing tour. We will begin at the old city of Rawalpindi, at the Raja (King) Bazaar. A stop in the silver and gold bazaars will allow us to catch traditional craftsmen at work. We will then continue on the main street linking the Twin cities -- Murree Road -- before arriving at the gleaming new capital. We pass shining new buildings and thousands of park areas -- a full 50 percent of the 350 square mile site is set aside for parks. We will then stop at the Shakar Parian, "Sweet Hills" to catch a bird's eye view of Islamabad, before returning to the hotel. PM proceed for Taxila excursion.
Taxila Excursion. Situated 35 miles from Rawalpindi, Taxila was once the seat of Oriental culture. It was first mentioned as a satrapy of the Archemenian empire in 6th century B.C. It was invaded by Alexander the Great and passed along the other rulers until finally reaching the hands of Ashoka the Great, who moulded the city into a center of learning. The creative Gandhara period followed shortly thereafter and Taxila remained the centre of learning, philosophy and art. It came to a disastrous and pathetic end when attacked by the White Huns. Today, Taxila is an archaeologist's paradise: there is a well-maintained museum here and eight sites scattered around a very short radius. Amongst the best preserved are Sirkap, Jaulian (the University) and Mohra Moradu. Meals and overnight at the hotel.
Transfer to the airport for your flight to Peshawar. Proceed for Khyber Pass excursion (if permission granted). Otherwise Darra excursion.
This famous pass has been a silent witness to the countless number of invaders, pleasure seekers, adventurers and soothsayers that have filtered through its narrow gateway over the centuries. The historic Khyber Pass begins at a distance of 15 miles west of Peshawar at the Bab-e-Khyber watchtower, which acts as a gateway to the Pass. You then begin a winding journey through a tribal area, passing the Jamrud fort, and for 36 miles are another invader, witnessing the stark and severe beauty of this passage hewn through great rocks. The pass ends at the Torkham Border, passing the smugglers' bazaar, Landikotal, which at a height of 3518 feet straddles the top of this historical passageway. At Torkham the Durand line separates Pakistan from Afghanistan.
Kohat Pass (the tribal gun factory) is named after Raja Kohat, who settled there during the Buddhist period. The ancient town was situated near a spring which is two miles away from the present town. Kohat is 1768 feet above sea level, built on undulating ground and surrounded by a wall. We will stop at Darra Adam Khel, in the tribal area belonging to the Afridis. Darra is the famous gun factory of the North. Here artisans, in their backyards, assemble a variety of guns, from the pen pistol to the sub-machinegun. These are copies of well-known guns -- right down to the serial number -- and these artisans thus keep the local tribes well-stocked with ammunitions. PM proceed for city sightseeing tour of Peshawar. We begin by visiting the rich museum of Peshawar, which houses treasures of the Gandhara period. Proceed to old Peshawar through the Kabuli Gate -- one of the sixteen -- to the Qissa Khawani bazaar, "the street of story tellers", and witness unusual and unforgettable sights. We will also visit the coppersmith's bazaar, which flourished from the last century B.C., to the 5th century AD. Continue to Mahabat Khan's mosque, built in 1670 by the Governor of Peshawar under Moghal Emperor Shah Jahan. Our tour will pass by Bala Hisar Fort, built by Babar in 526-30, and rebuilt by Hari Singh Nalva, under the guidance of French engineers in 1830. Meals and overnight at the hotel.
Drive to Swat. Enroute visit Takht Bahi. Takht-Bhai, situated 500 feet high on a rocky spur. This site, dating back to 45 A.D. has produced sculptures in stone and stucco that are uniquely arranged on small shrines that surround the main stupa. Continue drive to Swat.
Arrive and transfer to Swat Serena. Meals and overnight at the hotel.
Proceed for a full day valley sightseeing tour. 35 miles north of Saidu is the charming town of Madyan, lying at an elevation of 4336 ft. The town borders the Swat river and trout fishing is a favourite pastime. 6 miles further north is the town of Bahrain, whose precarious wire bridge and fabulous woodcarving makes it a must. Meals and overnight at the hotel.
All our tours in Pakistan are conducted in A/C Car or coaches and are accompanied by professional English speaking guides.
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