Islamabad is the Capital of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The city was built between 1960 - 1970 to replace the Capital from Karachi to the new capital, Islamabad. Before this it was just a small village, a part of which still exists; with its mud houses and typical village life. Islamabad is a city of modern architecture there are some great examples of modern buildings in Islamabad. The roads are wide and lined with grass & roses. The city is divided into several residential & commercial areas. Blue area , Jinnah Super Market , Aabpara are the main commercial Areas. Among the buildings, the new Prime ministers secretariat , Assembly building , The Awami Markaz , Islamabad convention center, The Serena hotel, Some embassies on Diplomatic Enclave, and The great Faisal Mosque are worth seeing.
Places to See in Islamabad
If you are in Islamabad take one of our tours or make a point to visit some of the following places.
Shah Faisal Mosque
Islamabad's most recognizable landmark, a very large mosque gifted by King Faisal of Saudi Arabia. Beautiful in the day or night, definitely worth the short taxi ride. Dress and act respectfully, this is much more a place of serious worship than a tourist site.
Lok Virsa or Folk Heritage Museum
Located at Shakarparian Park this is an effort of government to bring the ethnology of Pakistan in shape of a museum. Folk Heritage museum ha been recently re-done and is worth a visit. It features more than 25 large galleries in four blocks linked through passages depicting different influences on Pakistan culture eg Iran central Asia & greeks
There are large halls dedicated to architecture, musical heritage, textiles, romances, Sufi shrines and several other cultural themes. It has a large collection of embroidered costumes, jewellery, woodwork, metalwork, block printing, ivory and bone work on display. Lok Virsa also celebrates the national events in a befitting manner with musical concerts, exhibitions and public film shows on cultural heritage.
Shakarparian viewpoint & Pakistan National Monument
Just off the folk heritage museum the Shakarparian viewpoint is worth a visit. Consist of beautiful hilly area for a nice evening walk in a green natural atmosphere. The recently constructed National Monument near Shakarparian, represents Pakistan's four provinces and three territories. From air the monument looks like a star (center) and a crescent moon (formed by walls forming the petals), these represent the star and crescent on Pakistan's flag.
National Art gallery
(F5/1) Opened in 2007, the gallery is a modern, light filled, air conditioned edifice that would not be out of place in many european cities. A diverting collection of almost 450 art pieces, purchased or gifted by the artists for National Art Gallery. Covers a surprising diversity of contemporary and classical paintings, sculpture and other installations. The Gallery is also home to an indoor and outdoor theatre (word-of-mouth and local press for schedules). Open 7 days a week - from 11am-1pm (free) and 2pm-7pm (Rs. 500) - hence it is empty in the afternoons and you may find yourself trailed by gallery staff turning the lights on and off for you! Located in F5/1, on the corner of Jinnah & Constitution avenues, opposite the Parliament building.
Daman-e-Koh view point
A viewpoint in the hills above E-6 are of Islamabad with great views of the city on a clear day/night. Its beauty is enhanced by the greenery and flowers at different sites. High quality restaurants, good food, live music, hiking trails and lush green hillsides make it a favorite place for local and foreign tourist alike.
Islamabad Zoo is located at the foot of Daman-e-Koh view point. It has more than 300 animals including 200 birds of different kinds were also there for visitors, besides tigers, lions and other animals.
Pir Sohawa. Birds eye view of Islamabad. There are now two eateries at Pir Sohawa and both worth visiting. A walk up from Trail 3, from F-6/3 will get you to the hill top in around 2 hours with the perfect appetite, but you can reach Pir Sohawa by road in around 35-40 minutes.
Lake View Park is a beautiful laid out park with gardens, picnic spots, and secluded paths. The terraced garden and the lake are used for fishing and boating purposes. The highest point in the garden offers a panoramic view of Islamabad. Boating, sailing, water skating and diving facilities are organized by private clubs. To the west of the lake is the Islamabad Club, which offers different sporting facilities.
Fatima Jinnah Park; also known as the F-9 park is considered one of
the largest in South East Asia. The park also has an indoor facility with a nice
The Saidpur Village used to be a sleepy little village lying in the foothills of the Margallas with a mystic past and breathtaking natural beauty. It has now been remodeled. The resort has now become popular with the citizens of Islamabad who want an occasional break from the frenzy of urban life. Surrounded with lush, tranquil wilderness, the centuries old village is furnished with rustic fittings and offers amenities like a wide range of local food outlets. Exhibitions are held regularly to show case the traditional arts, crafts and the rich cultural heritage of Pakistan.
Attend open-air theater or just sit by the Lotus lake and relax.
Check to see if there are is anything happening. The schedules are entirely
calendar and weather dependant.
Caravan Park is at a little distance away from the Shakarparian Hills. This park is open and accessible only for foreigners, making it exclusive and safe. Adequate facilities are provided to make visitors to the area comfortable and at home.
Rose & Jasmine Garden is located near Islamabad sports complex & Jinnah Stadium. South of Shahrah-e-Kashmir road and east of Islamabad Highway. Not too far from Rawal Lake.
Imam Barri Shrine Historical shrine of a Sufi saint located in the
beautiful valley of NurPur Shahan (Islamic religious site).
Golra Sharif Shrine of Pir Mehr Ali Shah(RA), a Sufi Saint located in a village of Golra (Islamic religious site).
Golra Pakistan Railways Heritage Museum, Golra Sharif train station (west of F11 - (look on google maps)), â˜Ž 051 4316954. 8am-4pm. A little known gem - worth seeking out for a trip back in time to the glory days of the North West Railway - the station house has been renovated and houses a small museum, and several old locomotives and rolling stock are there to be explored. Makes a nice cycle-ride from Islamabad. Rs 5. edit
Rawalpindi though twin city to Islamabad, is the main city with a population of around 2 Millions; is a bustling city with a lot of activity. Rawalpindi was the garrison town in the English times and even now it is the head quarter of Pakistan Army. The bazaars of Rawalpindi are no less then any oriental bazaar like the Sunday market in China or Afrasiab Samarkand. Only Raja Bazaar can take at least two days to stroll around.
Hotels in Islamabad
Hotels In Rawalpindi
Islamabad - Peshawar
170 KMs 3 - 4 Hours usually combined with the tour of Taxila. Drive on the Grand Trunk road stop at the confluence of Indus & Kabul rivers. later continue to Peshawar.
275 Kilometers usually takes 8 - 9 Hours with stops at Abbottabad & Taxila road is pretty good Specially after Abbottabad there are great views of rice fields on the terraced lands. Mountains start growing higher after Thakot where you meet the river Indus. Besham is a small town located at the bank of River Indus. It is the first main town on Karakorum Highway.
Islamabad to Murree:
60 KMs drive to the green Murree hills once the hill station for the English officers now enjoy largest No. of visitors from within Pakistan. There is an interesting Bazaar and a wide street (Jinnah Road ) where one can see some nice eating places. Just 9 KMsfrom Murree is the beautiful Pearl continental hotel Bhurban, emerged as modern 5* Hill resort in Pakistan. The road has great views of the foot hills and some villages on the way.
Tours in Islamabad
Half day Rawalpindi Islamabad:
Visit the Shakarparian view point , Faisal Mosque (2nd largest mosque in the world) , Museum of folk heritage, drive through some of the best buildings of Islamabad and later have a walk in Raja bazaar.
An evening at Monal Islamabad With dinner:
Drive to Monal Restaurant Islamabad Pir Sohawa, located 17 kilometers from central Islamabad on top of Margalla Hills at an elevation of 3000 feet. Enjoy a superb dinner at the Monal Restaurant walk in the area to see the nature flora and fauna of Margala hills.
Full Day Excursion to Murree hills:
Drive to Murree visit the Bazaar there and later drive to Bhurban for a Lunch and short hike in the green hills Late Afternoon return to Islamabad/Rawalpindi.
Full Day Taxila:
Drive to Taxila40 KMs visit the site museum and Sirkap , Julian and Dharma Rajika Stupa later return to Islamabad.
Full Day Rohtas fort & Salt range.
Drive to the Salt range visit the Salt Mosque built entirely of salt in the mines later continue to Rohtas. On arrival transfer to the Horse carriage to go to the fort visit the fort and have a picnic. Afternoon return to Islamabad.
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