Islamabad (Meaning “Abode of Islam” or “Abode of Peace”) is the capital of Pakistan, and is the tenth largest city in Pakistan, its population has increased from 100,000 in 1951 to 1.21 million in 2009. The Rawalpindi/Islamabad Metropolitan Area is the third largest in Pakistan, with a population of over 4.5 million inhabitants.
Islamabad is located in the Pothohar Plateau in the north of the country, within the Islamabad Capital Territory. The region has historically been a part of the crossroads of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Margalla pass being a gateway to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The city was built during the 1960s to replace Karachi as Pakistan’s capital.
Islamabad is the greenest city of pakistan and the most planned one. According to a survey, Islamabad is considered the cleanest city in Pakistan. The city is well-organized, being divided into different sectors and zones. Islamabad was ranked as a Gamma world city in 2008. The city is home to Faisal Mosque, the largest mosque in South Asia and the sixth largest mosque in the world. Islamabad has the highest literacy rate in Pakistan. Islamabad is home to the top ranked university in Pakistan, Quaid-i-Azam University, and the top two engineering universities in the country, the Pakistan Institute of Engineering & Applied Sciences and National University of Sciences and Technology. Allama Iqbal Open University in Islamabad is the world’s largest university by enrollment.
Folk heritage Museum
Folk Heritage Museum is situated in Islamabad, Pakistan. It displays the cultural heritage of Pakistani people. The living style of the different areas of Pakistan is exhibited here in statues, pictures, pottery, music and textile work. Folk heritage is the finest cultural museum in Pakistan.
The folk heritagemuseum also known as the Folk Heritage Museum run by the National Institute of Folk & Traditional Heritage represents art works towards preserving the living folk and traditional culture and crafts of Pakistan. It is located near Shakarparian Hills and has a large display of embroidered costumes, jewellery, woodwork, metalwork, block printing, ivory and bone work. Traditional architecture facades exhibiting such skills as fresco, mirror work and marble inlay; tile, mosaic and stucco tracery are also displayed.
Adjacent to the Folk heritage museum, the Lok Virsa Heritage Reference Library is well equipped with resource data on ethnography, anthropology, folk music, art, history and crafts. Books on culture, heritage, audio and video-cassettes of folk and classical vocal and instrumental music are available for sale at sale’s centre
Saidpur is a 4 or 5 hundred years old village nestled in the Margalla hills overlooking Islamabad. Built along the slope of the hills, and gradually creeping upwards, the village presents a picturesque view, particularly in the soft light of morning or afternoon sun.
Saidpur has been named after Said Khan, one of the the sons of Sultan Sarang Khan, the Gakhar chief of the Potohar region during Emperor Babur’s time. Emperor Jahangir’s memoir, Tuzke Jahangiri, mentions Jahangir halting at a place “beyond Rawalpindi”, on his way to Kabul. From his description it seems the place was Saidpur.
The Capital Development Authority (CDA)of Islamabad is developing Saidpur into a tourist attraction, and is spending nearly 400 million rupees on resurrecting the old village and giving it a quaint look with the hope of making it an attractive tourist’s spot
Daman-e-Koh is a popular viewing point in Islamabad. Its name is a conjunction of two words in Urdu: Daman, which means center and Koh, which means hill. Daman-e-Koh therefore meaning center of the mountain. It can also be interpreted as hem of the mountain.
The viewpoint is located north of Islamabad in the middle of the Margalla Hills. It has two picnic spots, known as the “north” and “south” viewpoints, with parking available at both spots. On the north side, there is a small cafe for tea, drinks and snacks. On the south side, there is a restaurant located for lunch and dinner. The south side is a sightseeing spot from where panoramic views of Islamabad are available during the day and night. An informational board, providing basic information about Islamabad, is available.
In 2007, the Capital Development Authority (CDA) further developed the viewpoint by upgrading the restaurant and introducing electric-powered cars to transport tourists to and from the parking area.
An overview of Faisal Masjid and the seventh avenue is so clear from the Daman-e-Koh. We can also have a nice scene of Rawal Lake in the South. A clear view of whole Islamabad city have an attraction for the tourist of the Daman-e-Koh.
The Faisal Mosque in Islamabad is the largest mosque in Pakistan and South Asia and the sixth largest mosque in the world. It was the largest mosque in the world from 1986 to 1993 when overtaken in size by the completion of the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca, Morocco. Subsequent expansions of the Masjid al-Haram (Grand Mosque) of Mecca and the Al-Masjid al-Nabawi (Prophet’s Mosque) in Medina, Saudi Arabia during the 1990s relegated Faisal Mosque to fourth place in terms of size.
Faisal Mosque is conceived as the National Mosque of Pakistan. It has a covered area of 5,000 m2 (54,000 sq ft) and has a capacity to accommodate approximately 300,000 worshippers (100,000 in its main prayer hall, courtyard and porticoes and another 200,000 in its adjoining grounds). Although its covered main prayer hall is smaller than that of the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca (the world’s third largest mosque), Faisal Mosque has the third largest capacity of accommodating worshippers in its adjoining grounds after the Masjid al-Haram (Grand Mosque) of Mecca, the Al-Masjid al-Nabawi (Prophet’s Mosque) in Medina. Each of the Mosque’s four minarets are 80 m (260 ft) high (the tallest minarets in South Asia) and measure 10 x 10 m in circumference.
The Faisal Mosque is named after the late King Faisal bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia, who supported and financed the project.
Taxila is an important archaeological site in the Punjab province of Pakistan. Taxila is situated about 32 km (20 mi) to the north-west of Islamabad Capital Territory and Rawalpindi in Panjab; just off the Grand Trunk Road. Taxila lies 549 metres (1,801 ft) above sea-level.
It dates back to the Gandhara period and contains the ruins of the Gandhāran city of Taksasila which was an important Hindu and Buddhist centre. Taksila, is reputed to derive its name from Taka, who was the son of Bharata (the brother of Rama). Historically, Takasila lay at the crossroads of three major trade routes:
1. The uttarapatha, “the northern road” – the later Grand Trunk or GT Road – the royal road which connected Gandhara in the west to the kingdom of Magadha and its capital Paaliputra in the valley of the Ganga in the east.
2. The north-western route through Bactria, Kapiaa, and Puskalavati.
3. The Sindu (English: Indus) route from Kashmir and Central Asia, via Sri nagara, Mansehra, and the Haripur valley across the Khunjerab pass to the Silk Road in the north to the Indian Ocean in the south. To fully understand the importance of Takasila it must be noted that the Khunjerab pass between Kashmir and Xinjiang – the current Karakoram highway – was already traversed in antiquity.
In 1980, Taxila was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site with multiple locations.
Taxila Museum is located at Taxila, Punjab, Pakistan.
Construction of Taxila museum started in 1918, its foundation stone laid by Lord Chemsford, vicery of India in 1918. Construction was concluded in 1928 and the museum was opened for public by Sir Habibullah then the ministry for Education. Sir John Marshall who was going to be retired from the post of Director General of Archaeological survey of India in 1928, could not complete its original plan. The government of Pakistan constructed the northern gallery in 1998. There are 4000 objects displayed, including stone, stucco, terracotta, silver, gold, iron and semiprecious stones. Mainly the display consists of objects from the period 600 B.C to 500 AD. Buddhist, Hindu and Jain cults are well represented through these objects discovered from three ancient cities and more than two dozen buddhist stupas and monasteries and Greek temples. Taxila Museum is located 35 km from Islamabad on the Grand Trunk Road to Peshawar. It is famous for remains of Gandhara art. Most of the sites at Taxila, dating back 600 BCE to 500 CE, are located around the Taxila Museum.
Sirkap is the name of an archaeological site on the bank opposite to the city of Taxila, Punjab, Pakistan.
The city of Sirkap was built by the Greco-Bactrian king Demetrius after he invaded India around 180 BC. Demetrius founded in the northern and northwestern Indian subcontinent an Indo-Greek kingdom that was to last until around 10 BC. Sirkap is also said to have been rebuilt by king Menander I.
The excavation of the old city was carried out under the supervision of Sir John Marshall by Hergrew from 1912-1930. In 1944 and 1945 further parts were excavated by Mortimer Wheeler and his colleagues
Jaulian are the ruins of an ancient buddhistic monastery near Taxila, Punjab (Pakistan), Pakistan.
The ruins at Jaulian date from the fifth century CE and consist of two main parts. These are 1) the main stupa and 2) the monastery and university of Jaulian. The ruins are situated on a mountain top. The form and building of the university at Jaulian is similar to that of Mohra Muradu, about 1 kilometre away.
The main stupa at Jaulian is badly damaged. It is surrounded by 21 votive stupas. Some experts think that a few of the votive stupas are actually tombs of revered monks. The statues at the stupas are mostly preserved. A number of these have been removed for exhibitions at museums.
The original structure of the building of the Stupa along with the plaster is preserved at some places.
A statue of buddha with a hole in the navel is an odd artifact. It is called the “healing buddha”. Pilgrims would put their fings in the navel hole and pray for the ailment of the patients. The inscription preserved under the statue shows that it was gifted by a friar “Budhamitra Dharmanandin”. This inscription and a couple of others at this site show that the script was still used at Taxila in the fifth century CE.
The monastery contained a number of rooms for the students in addition to a large pool for washings. There are 28 such rooms. The monastery consisted of a second floor with another 28 rooms. Stairs of stone to the upper floor are still preserved. Statues of Buddha are present in front of some of the rooms.
Each room had a window for supply of fresh air and as a source of some light and a niche to hold the lamp of the student. The windows are small at the outer end of the wall and become enlarged at the inner end to keep wild animals out. The rooms were plastered and decorated with painting. The outer wall of the monastery is well preserved, which is very smooth and straight.
The monastery included a kitchen. A stone for grinding spices for the food is well preserved as well as two stone mills that were used to grind different types of grains. A hole in one of the brickstones of the kitchen wall was used for placing large spoons.
The monastery was burnt in 455 CE by the White Huns and thus destroyed.
Mohra Muradu is the place of an ancient buddhistic stupa and monastery near the ruins of Taxila, in the Punjab province of Pakistan. The ancient monastery is located in a valley and offers a beautiful view of the surrounding mountains. The monks could meditate in all stillness at this place but were near enough to the city of Sirsukh to go for begging as it is only around 1.5 km away. The city was built in the second century CE and renovated in the fifth century. Thus it belongs to the Kushan age.
The ruins consist of three distinct parts, which include the main stupa, a votive stupa and the monastery and have been included in the world heritage list of the UNESCO since 1980 under Taxila.
The ruins of Mohra Muradu were excavated under the supervision of Sir John Marshall by Abdul Qadir in 1914-1915. They consist of a buddhistic monastery and two stupas. The main stupa is built on a foundation more than 4.75 meters high. The smaller, votive, stupa lies behind the bigger one.
The monastery consists of 27 rooms for the students and the teachers built around a courtyard with a pool. The large, square shaped pool contained water for ritual washings and was about half a metre deep. Stairs to the pool were present on all sides. The monastery also contained a kitchen and a well for water that still functions today. The rain water was collected into the pool from the roof of the monastery over wooden extensions. Statues of Buddha are found abundantly in the courtyard and the rooms for the students. An assembly hall is also present in one corner of the monastery.
The monastery was a double story building. Stairs to the upper story went through one of the rooms. There was additional connection through wooden constructions from the courtyard. The strength of the walls has, however, led to the idea that there might have existed even a third story.
Chilas is a small town located in the Northern Areas, Pakistan. It is connected to the Silk Road by the Karakoram Highway which links it to Islamabad in the south via Dassu, Mansehra, Abbottabad and Haripur. In the north, Chilas is connected to the Chinese cities of Kashgar and Tashkurgan via Gilgit and Sust.
The Karakoram Highway (KKH) is the highest paved international road in the world. It connects China and Pakistan across the Karakoram mountain range, through the Khunjerab Pass, at an altitude of 4,693 m/15,397 ft. It connects China’s Xinjiang region with Pakistan’s Gilgit-Baltistan and also serves as a popular tourist attraction. It is now part of the route officially known as as N-35 within Pakistan. Due to its high elevation and the difficult conditions in which it was constructed, it is also referred to as the “Ninth Wonder of the World.
Nanga Perbet Mountain (8125m)
Nanga Parbat is the ninth highest mountain on Earth. Nanga Parbat translates to “Naked Mountain” in English; parbat deriving from the Urdu word parbat meaning “mountain, rock”, and nanga an Urdu word meaning “naked”. Known as the “Killer Mountain,” Nanga Parbat was one of the deadliest of the eight-thousanders for climbers in the first half of the twentieth century; since that time it has been less so, though still an extremely serious climb. It is also an immense, dramatic peak that rises far above its surrounding terrain.
Gilgit is the capital city of Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan. Gilgit City forms a tehsil of Gilgit, within Gilgit District. Its ancient name was Sargin, later to be known as Gilit, and it is still called Gilit or Sargin-Gilit by local people. In the Burushaski language, it is named Geelt and in Wakhi and Khowar it is called Gilt. Ghallata is considered its name in ancient Sanskrit literature. Gilgit City is one of the two major hubs in the Northern Areas for mountaineering expeditions to the Karakoram and other the peaks in the Himalayas, the other hub being Skardu.
The Hunza Valley is a mountainous valley in Gilgit in the Gilgit-Baltistan autonomous region, an area under the control of the government of Pakistan. The Hunza valley is situated to the north of the Hunza River, at an elevation of around 2,500 metres (8,200 ft). The territory of Hunza is about 7,900 square kilometres (3,100 sq mi). Karimabad (formerly called Baltit) is the main town, which is also a very popular tourist destination because of the spectacular scenery of the surrounding mountains like Ultar Sar, Rakaposhi, Bojahagur Duanasir II, Ghenta Peak, Hunza Peak, Diran Peak and Bublimating (Ladyfinger Peak), all 6,000 metres (19,685 ft) or higher.
Baltit Fort is an ancient fort in the Hunza valley in the Northern Areas of Pakistan.
In former times survival of the feudal regimes of Hunza was ensured by the impressive Baltit fort, that sit on top of Karimabad. The foundations of the fort are said to date back around 700 years, but there have been rebuilds and alterations over the centuries. In the 16th century the Thum married a princess from Baltistan who brought master Balti craftsmen to renovate the building as part of her dowry. The architectural style is a clear indication of Tibetan influence in Baltistan at the time.
The Mirs of Hunza abandoned the fort in 1945, and moved to a new palace down the hill. The fort started to decay and there was concern that it might possibly fall into ruin. Following a survey by the Royal Geographical Society of London, a restoration programme was initiated and supported by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture Historic Cities Support Programme. The programme was completed in 1996 and the fort is now a museum run by the Baltit Heritage Trust.
Gulmit is the headquarter of the Gojal Tehsil, in the upper Hunza region of the Gilgit territory in the deep in the Karakoram Mountain Range. Gulmit is a centuries-old historic town, with mountains, peaks and glaciers. It is a tourist spot and has many hotels, shops and a museum. Its altitude is 2408m (7900 ft) above the Arabian Sea level. Gulmit, is also a Turkish or Iranian word which means the valley of flowers.
Before 1974, when Hunza was a state, Gulmit used to be the Summer Capital of the state. After the abolition of the state it became the Tehsil’s seat of government. The oldest intact house in Gulmit is more than six centuries old. Most of the families have migrated from Bagrot and chaprot to this wakhi place.
People in the entire Gojal Valley have Central Asian ancestral backgrounds. The people speak Wakhi language and belong to the Shia Imami Ismaili sect of Islam. Population of Gulmit, according to 2003 census, consists of around 2500 individuals. Forty nine percent of the population comprises females
There are six Jamaat-khanas or religious community centres in Gulmit. One notices their presence in every ward of the village. The old Summer Palace of Mir of Hunza stands at the northern edge of Gulmit’s historic Polo Ground. Old mosques, now used as libraries, also adorn the beautiful physique of Gulmit valley. Among new buildings constructed by the government in Gulmit are Tehsil Headquarter, Federal Government’s Boys High School, Civil Hospital, Diamond Jubilee Girls Middle School and Government Girls Higher Secondary School. Al- Amyn Model School, a community based organization, has a beautiful building standing next to the Health Center of Aga Khan Health Services.
Sust or Sost is a dry port in Gojal region of the Northern Areas of Pakistan. It is the last town inside Pakistan on the Karakoram Highway before the Chinese border. The town is an important place on the Karakoram Highway for all passenger and Cargo transport because all traffic crossing the Pakistan-China border passes through this town and the Pakistani immigration and customs departments are based here.Pakistan and China have opened border for trade and tourism at Khunjrab. Silk Route Dry Port, the port has also started its business operations at the port Sost (Upper Hunza) near Khunjarab pass Gilgit-Baltistan. Annual trade between China and Pakistan has increased from less than $2 billion in 2002 to $6.9 billion, with a goal of $15 billion by 2014. Sost dry port is the first formal port at the China-Pakistan border, facilitating customs clearance and other formalities for goods moving from the Chinese regions of Kasghar and Sinkyang to the commercial centers of Pakistan. The town is connected by the Karakoram Highway to Karimabad, Gilgit and Chilas on the south and the Chinese cities of Tashkurgan, Upal and Kashgar in the north.
- Hotel accommodation for 07 nights at per itinerary
- Daily breakfast
- Air condition transport as per itinerary
- 4 X 4 jeep where required and boat service from Ainabad village to Gulmit and Hussani village
- Sust /Taxkorgan transfer by Government bus
- Poterage at airport, hotels and Sust border.
- All entrance fee, parking fee and road taxes.
- Services of ESG
Day 01: Arrival Islamabad
- Meeting on arrival at Islamabad airport and transfer to hotel for overnight.
Day 02: Islamabad/Taxila/Islamabad
- Breakfast at hotel.
- A.M – Tour to Taxila valley which includes, Taxila museum, Sirkap ruins, Julian monastery, and Mohra Muradu . Return back to Islamabad.
- P.M. – Half day sightseeing tour to Islamabad which includes folk heritage museum, Daman-e-Koh , Saidpur village and Faisal Mosque .
- Overnight at hotel.
Day 03: Islamabad/Chilas (450 Kms)
- Breakfast at hotel.
- Early morning drive to Chilas enroute stop at Besham, Pattan, Dassu and Shital rock carvings.
- On arrival at Chilas transfer to hotel.
Day 04: Chilas/Gilgit (130 Kms)
- Breakfast at hotel.
- Drive to Gilgit enroute stop at Thalechi (View point of Mountain Nanga Perbet 8125 m).
- On arrival at Gilgit transfer to hotel.
- P.M – sightseeing tour of Gilgit bazaar, Suspension bridge and Kargah Buddha image on the rock.
- Over night at hotel.
Day 05: Gilgit/Hunza (105 Kms)
- Breakfast at hotel.
- Drive to Hunza valley enroute stop at Nomal village, Mountain Rakaposhi view point – 7788 M.
- On arrival at Hunza transfer to hotel.
- P.M. – Excursion of Karimabad bazaar, Biltit fort and Ganish tower.
- Overnight at hotel.
Day 06: Hunza
- Early morning drive up to Duiker (Eagle’s nest) to see the sun rise.
- Breakfast at Eagle’s nest.
- Later return back to Hunza valley and excursion to Nagar valley to see the hoper glacier.
- Afternoon free at leisure.
Day 07: Hunza/Gulmit (45 Kms)
- Breakfast at hotel.
- Drive to Gulmit – Upper Hunza up to Ainabad, later we shall take boat ride to reach up to Gulmit.
- On arrival at Gulmit transfer to Marcopolo hotel.
- P.M. – free time in Gulmit village to visit 700 years old house, to meet local people and visit of local family.
- Overnight at hotel.
Day 08: Gulmit/Sust/Taxkorgan (300 Kms)
- Breakfast at hotel.
- Boat ride up to Hussani village, later we shall take local (private) transport / Government transport to get up to Sust.
- Border formalities at Sust and drive to Taxkorgan by Government transport.
Does not include
- Any personal expense
- Drinks and mineral water at meals
- Any flight
- Any emergency expense at road (like land slide crossing and extra transport etc)