by Andy Khong
Pakistan, situated in South Asia, is a country known for its rich history, diverse geography, and vibrant culture. Established in 1947 following the partition of British India, Pakistan is home to over 200 million people, making it the fifth-most populous country in the world. Its landscapes range from towering mountains to expansive plains, lush valleys, and coastal areas along the Arabian Sea. Most tourist going to Pakistan tend to explore its northern wonders like Hunza and Swat Valley, but miss out on the attractions from the capital city of Islamabad to the bustling metropolis of Karachi in the south.
These are some tourist attractions you will come across when travelling from Islamabad to Karachi:
Islamabad: Your gateway to exploration in Pakistan normally starts in the dynamic capital of Islamabad. Amidst the green avenues and bustling city life, Pakistan welcomes you with open arms. The iconic Faisal Mosque, a modern marvel, stands as a symbol of unity, while the Margalla Hills invite you to seek serenity at Daman e Koh viewpoint. Traverse through the pages of history as you explore the old city of Rawalpindi, uncovering the layers that shaped this region. Sangni Fort in Rawalpindi served as a defensive and strategic point in the past, offering a glimpse into the area’s history and past civilizations. On the way out of Islamabad, there is Rohtas Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site located near Jhelum in Punjab. Built during the 16th century by the Afghan king Sher Shah Suri, the fort was constructed as a defensive stronghold to prevent the return of the Mughal Emperor Humayun. It’s renowned for its massive stone walls, imposing gates, and architectural grandeur, making it a symbol of military prowess and historical significance.
Taxila: A short drive from Islamabad, the ancient city of Taxila awaits. Its museum houses relics and artefacts that whisper tales of civilizations that flourished over two millennia ago. When you wander the ruins of Jaulian Monastery, the echoes of time lead you deeper into the past.
Lahore: For your journey to Lahore, you will immerse yourself in the heart of Pakistan’s cultural mosaic. Lahore’s historic wonders, such as the enduring Lahore Fort and the grandeur of the Badshahi Mosque, resonate with stories of empires and epochs. Your exploration extends to Jahangir’s Tomb, the city Museum, and the vibrant labyrinth of the Old Walled City. You savour the city’s culinary delights at the bustling “Food Street” and witness the enthralling Wagah (Wahga^) border ceremony (^ spelled Wagah in India, but Wahga in Pakistan).
Multan: Your path leads to Multan, the “City of Saints,” where you’re embraced by the shimmering blue tiles of mystical shrines. Roaming through the bazaars, you catch a glimpse of artisans crafting their creations, embodying the city’s vibrant spirit.
Bahawalpur: Bahawalpur’s Derawar Fort stands majestically in the Cholistan desert, a testament to its historical significance. The Royal Graveyard, adorned by the tombs of the Abbasi family, offers a connection to the past. The opulent Noor Mahal and the city’s museums and bazaars offer an enchanting glimpse into Bahawalpur’s heritage.
Mohenjo-daro: As your journey leads you to Sukkur and Mohenjo-daro, the echoes of an ancient civilization resonate. The Derawar Fort punctuates the Cholistan desert, while the Harappa site transports you back to a time of marvels. Rohri, a city in the Sukkur district also known as Sateen Jo Aastan is the resting place for seven female friends who veiled themselves from the view of men, and died protecting their chastity. Another important Harappa site (3000 – 2600 BCE) situated at the foot of the Rohri Hills is the majestic Fort of Kot Diji. Larkana, a city near Mohenjo-daro, is home town of the famous Bhutto Family Mausoleum – a family whose legacy endures as a testament to dedication, sacrifice, and an unwavering commitment to Pakistan’s progress. Read about the Bhutto Mausoleum here.
Karachi: Your voyage concludes in the bustling metropolis of Karachi. Near to Karachi are Chaukhandi Tombs, and Makli Necropolis.
Chaukhandi Tombs (about 1 hour from Karachi) are an ancient cemetery that dates back to the 15th century. These intricate sandstone tombs are known for their distinct architectural style, characterized by intricate carvings and geometric patterns. They honour various regional rulers and dignitaries from the past, reflecting the cultural diversity and artistic heritage of the region.
The Makli Necropolis is one of the largest historical cemeteries in the world, situated near Thatta in Sindh (2 hours from Karachi). This UNESCO World Heritage Site boasts an astonishing array of elaborately carved tombs and monuments, spanning several centuries and reflecting diverse architectural influences. The necropolis stands as a testament to the artistic and cultural accomplishments of the region’s past civilizations.
The shores of Clifton Beach offer a tranquil respite, while the National Museum unrolls the pages of Pakistan’s history. As you stand before the Mohammad Ali Jinnah Mausoleum, you pay homage to the father of the nation. Your senses are immersed in the vibrant ambiance of the city, its markets, and its cultural riches.
Pakistan’s beauty is woven into its landscapes, its history, and the hearts of its people. As you navigate through this diverse nation, you uncover the layers that have shaped its identity. From ancient ruins to vibrant cities, from tranquil valleys to bustling streets, Pakistan offers an adventure of a lifetime. We invite you to experience the warmth of its hospitality, the grandeur of its history, and the splendour of its landscapes. Embark on a journey that weaves threads of the past with the vibrant tapestry of the present. Come, explore Pakistan, and create memories that will forever grace the canvas of your travel experiences.
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