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Heritage Pakistan

  Overview

Experinece the ancient sites of Moenjodaro, Harappa, Takht Bhai, Taxilla etc to touch back history. Indeed, many aspects of modern civilization and culture came into being in Gandhara, Indus art, philosophy .....

It's a heady feeling to walk on stones that may have been trod by Alexander the great, Ashoka or Budha, Guru Nananak and many more.... But at many places in Pakistan, where ancient ruins are surrounded by the noise and smells of traffic, or where pristine villages and lakes and beaches are packed by visitors, it's apparent that the influence works the other way as well: These sites, it sometimes seems, has been overtaken by the modern world it spawned.

The trick for travelers in Pakistan is to find the golden mean - in this case, the balance between environment and history, between crowds and quiet, between ancient and modern. With a bit of planning, you can find beautiful settings that can soothe your soul, while centuries of art and history invigorate your mind. And very likely, you'll be as charmed by the Pakistani people as you are by their landscape, mountains and hospitality.

Trip Features:

  • Guided by highly experienced and qaulified professionals with the help of the best supporting staff available in Pakistan, having undergone on the job training over many seasons with us. They are highly experienced at catering to the needs of our members, and do a tremendous amount to contribute to the overall success and satisfaction of our groups

  • Build your exact dream trip--Itinerary can be customized. Leaves any day you desire--Lengthen or shorten trip, if you like.

  • 4 to 5 star accommodations and services--Designed for higher end budgets (hotels can be changed for lower budgets)

  • Lowest Price guaranteed and the best value for money--Save 40-50 % vs. comparable guided tours of this same quality

  • Group Discounts Available. Details

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Itinerary

 

17 DAYS  ITINERARY (Day by Day)

DAY 01:   ARRIVAL ISLAMABAD          

Arrival Islamabad today. A member of the Vertical Explorers staff will meet you at the airport and escort you to the hotel. Today either you can relax or you can enjoy an exploratory walk in the old part of Rawalpindi; wander past the vegetable and spice markets, beautifully carved old houses and trucks, cows pestering the vegetable vendors, catch traditional craftsmen at work in silver and gold bazaars .You will then continue on the main street linking the Twin cities - Murree Road - before arriving at the gleaming new capital, Islamabad. You pass shining new buildings and thousands of park areas - a full 50 percent of the 350 square mile site is set aside for parks. You will then stop at the Shakar Parian to catch a bird's eye view of Islamabad. Our next stop will be Shah Faisal Mosque which is the landmark of Islamabad.

Meals provided: Welcome Dinner
Accommodation: Green Palace Hotel, Civic Hotel, Regency Hotel, Pearl continental

DAY 02:   ISLAMABAD - PESHAWAR

Today we will start our journey towards Taxila," The World Oldest Existing City", 32 kilometers from Islamabad spanning a rich history from 516 B.C to 600 A.D. In the 6th century B.C, the Achaemenians of Persia made it the Gandharan capital. Alexander the Great paused here en route from Swat. The Mauryan emperor Ashoka, a patron of Buddhism, built a university here in 2nd century B.C biggest of its time in the world, to which pilgrims and scholars came from all over Asia. It requires two days to explore this richest archaeological sites of Asia but we will spent one hour to view its excellent museum houses one of the best collections of Gandharan Buddhist in the world. Most of the archaeological sites of Taxila (600 BC to 500 AD) are located around Taxila Museum. For over the thousand years, Taxila remained famous as a center of learning Gandhara Art of Sculpture, architecture, education, and Buddhism in the days of Buddhist glory. There are over 50 archaeological sites scattered in a radius of 30 kms around Taxila. Some of the most important sites are: Dhamarajika Stupa and Monastery (300 BC – 200 AD), Bhir Mound (600-200 BC), Sirkap (200 BC – 600 AD), Jandial Temple (c.250 BC) and Julian Monastery (200- 600 AD).Another 10 kms on grand trunk road we will stop at Wah Moghul Garden which is a pale reflection of the Moghul Garden in Srinagar and being laid out by the Moghul emperor Akber in  late 16th century. It was a favorite resort of Akber and Jahangir on their journeys to Kashmir. Our next stop is Hasan Abdal a sacred place of Sikhs and Hindus. The seventh century Chinese Buddhist pilgrim Xuan Zang who stayed here recorded in his journal that a water tank dedicated to the Hindu serpent King Elapatra. The guide will show you the Gurduwara of Panja Sahib and Shrine of Baba Wali. Next we stop at 16th century hotel with four rows of small rooms set around a huge court yard on the junction of River Indus and River Kabul where ladies of Mughals families use to stay. Attock's massive fort's, built by Moghal Emperor Akber in 1581 AD. view can get from the new bridge on River Indus. Next we pass by a town Jahangira laid out by Emperor Jahangir in 16th century. Peshawar is further 43 kilometers from Jehangira passing through Nowshera,a beautiful and well maintained cantonment by British in 18th century.

Drive: 3 hrs

Meals provided: Breakfast
Accommodation: Greens Hotel. Pearl Continental, VIP Guest House

DAY 03:   PESHAWAR – KHYBER PASS - PESHAWAR

After the breakfast in the hotel we move out to Peshawar Museum formerly Victoria Memorial Hall built in 1905. It has one of the best collection of Gandhara art and sculptures illustrating the life of the Buddha are laid out in chronological order. The ethnological section has a moghul Gallery. Our next stop will be the massive Bala Hisar Fort built by Emperor Babur in 1530 . Muguls really turned Peshawar into a city of flowers by planting trees and laying out gardens. The city is famous for Balahisar Fort, Qissa Khawani Bazaar, Mahabat Khan Mosque and the Museum. We will move out to Khyber Pass, located at a distance of 56 kilometers The most famous historic pass of the world. It has been, throughout history, the most important gateway to the plains of the South-Asian sub-continent both for migration and invasion. The Khyber Pass has been the silent witness to countless great events in the history of mankind. The Khyber Train runs on schedule between Peshawar and Landi Kotal is world most adventurous steam train safari built by British in 1920s. It passes through 34 tunnels and over 92 bridges pushed and pulled by two SG060 oil fired steam engines. We will be back to the hotel in the afternoon. In the evening we will go out for bazar tour which is the most exciting part of the tour as its elements date from Sikh, Mughal and even Buddhist time. The Qissa Khawani Bazaar was described by the British Commissioner in Peshawar, Sir Herbert Edwardes as the Piccadilly of Central Asia. Other places we visit are Khyber Bazaar, Chowk Yadgar, Banjara Bazaar and Mohabat Khan Mosque built in the 1670s.

Drive: 10-12 hrs. 

Meals provided: Breakfast
Accommodation: Greens Hotel. Pearl Continental, VIP Guest House

DAY 04:    PESHAWR -- SWAT VALLEY

We leave today after breakfast for Swat, a picturesque northern Pakistan valley towards north east. It has a rich historical past, too. The "Udayana" (Golden) of the ancient Hindu epics; the land of enthralling beauty, where Alexander of Macedonia fought and won some of his major battles before crossing over the plans of Pakistan. This is the "valley of hanging chains" described by the famous Chinese pilgrim chronices, Huain Tsang and Fa-Hian in the fifth and sixth centuries. Swat was also the historical land where the Muslim conquerors, Mahmud Ghaznavi, Babar and Akbar fought their battles preparatory to conquest of South Asia. En route we visit the Bala Hisar mound at a distance of 28 kilometers dating back to 2500 years old and the capital of Gandhara from sixth century B.C to second century A.D .According to Herodotus , the Greek historian writing in about 460 B.C Darius sent the explorer Scylax of Caryanda to sail down from here and find the sea. Gandhara remained with Achaemenid Empire for next 200 years until its overthrow by Alexander the Great in the fourth century B.C.Our next stop will be at Takht e Bahi Buddhist monastery of first century A.D. It has 38 votive stupas and the largest statues must have been 33 feet high donated by rich pilgrims. The next part of our journey is through Malakand Pass to Chakdara an ancient crossroad between Asia and Europe.Chakdara Fort, was built by Emperor Akber in 16th century and now in use of Army. It also has 3500 years old graveyard still in use, Buddhist monasteries of first century A.D and Hindu Shahi forts on the hill top. Damkot hill has a Churchill's Picket on a 15 minutes climb. Winston Churchill served here in 1896 and very interesting details are given in his book " My Early Life ". Six boulders with Buddhist carving mostly of Padmapani date to sixth and seven century.The Aryaans forerunners of the Hindus arrived from Central Asia and settled here in 1700 BC and also composed world oldest religious text "The Rigveda". Then we will visit ancient site of Chat Pat and Chakdara museum. This museum has a rich collection from first century to seventh century Buddhist Gandharan sculpture and of Hindu Shahi period.The important historic towns we come across are Barikot and Udergram . Birkot is the ancient town of Bazira which was sacked by Alexander the Great in 327 BC and Udergram is the ancient town of Ora which gave a tough battle to Alexander's Army. Massive ruins of the castle of Raja Giri , the last Hindu ruler of eight century , scattered up the hill side. Karakar Pass is nearby where Emperor Akber lost most of his 8,000 man army in abortive attempt to invade Swat in 1586. We will have a photo stop at Shingerdar Stupa built by King Uttarasena to house the relics of the Lord Buddha in 2nd century AD and also a large Buddha carved on a rock in sixth century AD. Headquaters of Swat valley, Saidu sharif houses the Swat Museum, which contains one of the finest collection of Ghadhara Art in the world. Mingorr, 3 Km, from Saidu Sharif, has yielded magnificent pieces of Buddhist sculpture and the ruins of great stupas.

 

Meals provided: Breakfast,
Accommodation:  PTDC, Swat Continental

DAY 05:  SWAT   FREE DAY

Today we will spent most of the time in sight seeing and visiting some historical places. After breakfast we will move to Saidu Sharif Museum which has collection of Gandharan sculpture and thnographic section features local embroidery , carved wood and tribal embroidery. Our next stop will be Batkara Stupa built in second century BC by the Mauryan emperor Ashoka. There were 215 votive stupas built around the main stupa by rich pilgrims hoping to gain merit.

 Next we will visit a ski resort at Malam Jabba and enjoy black tea with milk . Our beautiful journey is of 120 kms along the river Swat to Kalam and in way stop for shopping at Madyan and Bahrain where cottage industry thriving for 2500 years. By afternoon we will be back to hotel after lunch at picnic spot lying on the junction of Ushu and Utrot rivers. Evening is free at leisure or can take a walk along the Hindu pilgrim trek to prehistoric sacred Mount Ilam starting from Mingora along the Saidu stream. 

Meals provided: Breakfast
Accommodation: PTDC, Swat Continental

DAY 06:     SWAT - LAHORE

Today we drive via Malakand Pass, Nowshere  and then on motorway to Lahore.

 

Meals provided: Breakfast
Accommodation:  Sunfort Hotel, Regency Inn, Pearl Continental Hotel

DAY 07   LAHORE  - HISTORY TOUR

Today morning after breakfast at hotel we will move out on The Mall Road, which was a modern thoroughfare lined with exquisite buildings of great public and private utility during British time. We will stop over at Gymkhana Club or Little Britian opposite Lawrence Gardens to take a view of this symbol of prestige and a favorite haunt of men of diverse talents and fortune. The halls of club were built in memory of two Governors Sir John Lawrence and Sir Robert Montgomery. We will move to The Lahore Museum built by the British in Moghul Gothic style and opened in 1894.John Lockwood Kipling, Rudyard's father was the museum's first curator. It is the best museum in Pakistan with a superb collection of Moghal period includes illustrated manuscripts, miniatures, rugs and carvings. It also has excellent galleries of pre historic Pakistan and a superb collection of Buddhist stone sculpture. The famous Zam - Zama gun casted in 1760 stand in front of the Museum. From here we move to Royal Palace of Lahore Fort which rank in size and beauty with the Moghul forts at Delhi and Agra. Akber began building it the 1560s on the site of an older fort. From here we walk to Badshahi Mosque built by Emperor Aurangzeb in 1674 after the mosques of Delhi and Agra. It consists of a huge square with a minaret at each corner. You can climb up the 204 steps to the top of one of the minarets for a bird's eye view of the old city of Lahore. We will move for lunch to a local restaurant and enjoy the best local taste known the world over as Tanduri. From here we move to Jahangir's Tomb across the River Ravi 's bridge.The Tomb was built by his son Shah Jahan , of Taj Mahal fame in 1627. A 180 room hotel Akbari Serai was also built here by Shah Jahan in 1637 around spacious garden. The Tomb of Asif Khan father of Mumtaz Mahal is also here , the lady for whom the Taj Mahal was built in Agra. We will now move to impressive Shalimar Garden built by Shah Jahan in 1642 for the royal household, it follows the Moghul concept of the perfect walled garden with geometrically arranged ponds, fountains and marble pavilions, surrounded by flowers and fruit trees.

 Lahore is considered the cultural capital of Pakistan because of its numerous colleges, places of learning, sports activities frequent stage plays etc.

 

Meals provided: Breakfast
Accommodation: Sunfort Hotel, Regency Inn, Pearl Continental Hotel

DAY 08:    LAHORE - HARAPPA - MULTAN

Today after breakfast drive to Multan with an en-route stop to visit Harrappa. Harrappa located about 200km (124 miles) from Lahore and about 30 km (19 miles) from Sahiwal, 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 civilizationa known to man and conjures up images of fifty centuries ago, a period about which very little is knwon. An interestng and well maintained musuem at the Harrappa site houses artifacts found in the area.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.
 

 

Meals provided: Breakfast
Accommodation:

DAY 09:     MULTAN  - BAHAWALPUR

After visiting mystic shrines of sufi saints of Multan, we drive to Bahawalpur, about 93 kms from Multan. On arrival visit the small museum with local collection of artifact,  Cholistan desert zone,the cultural life of this area; forts, monuments, palaces, museum, zoo, stadium and a fine cricket ground in and arround Bahawalpur are main attractions. Bahawalpur was formerly the capital of Bahawalpur State, which has now included in Pakistan. Bahawalpur takes its name from Nawab Bahawalpur Khan, who founded the state in 1748 AD by raising a wall around a villa..

 

Meals provided: Breakfast
Accommodation:

       DAY 10:     BAHAWALPUR - DERAWAR   FORT EXCURSION

Today we will make an excursion to Derawar Fort, an impressive building in the heart of Cholistan Desert. At Derawar, we will visit the unique Derawar Mosque made by white marble in contrast to the desert all around. In the evening we will return to hotel at Bahawalpur.

 

Meals provided: Breakfast
Accommodation:

        DAY 11:     BAHAWALPUR - SUKKUR

Today we will drive to Sukkur 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. Sukkur is an important road and rail junction while traveling between Karachi, Lahore and Quetta. Muslim shrines and a river island having a Hindu temple are of particular interest for locals and visitors alike.


 

Meals provided: Breakfast
Accommodation:

        DAY 12:      SUKKUR - KOT DIJI  EXCURSION 

Today in the 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.Shooting of game birds is possible in the nearby lakes, canals and green spots around  Sukkur
 

 

Meals provided: Breakfast
Accommodation:

        DAY 13:     SUKKUR  - MOENJODARO - LARKANA

Morning drive to Larkana with a visit to Moenjodaro, enroute. The archeological ruins of Moenjodaro are situated on the western bank of the river Indus, in Larkana district. Moenjodaro is the archaeological site of Indus Civilization. The ruins represent a grand city of Indus Civilization, which is believed to have flourished from 2500 to 1700 B.C. 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 Larkana.

 

 

 

Meals provided: Breakfast
Accommodation:

        DAY 14:     LARKANA - SEHWAN - HYDERABAD

Today in the morning we will drive to Hyderabad 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 Hyderabad.

 

Meals provided: Breakfast
Accommodation:

        DAY 15:     HYDERABAD - BHIT SHAH  EXCURSION

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.
 

Meals provided: Breakfast
Accommodation:

        DAY 16:     HYDERABAD - THATTA - KARACHI

Departure for Karachi via ancient town of Thatta. Situated 100 kilometer 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 drive to Karachi.
 

 

Meals provided: Breakfast
Accommodation: Avari Hotel, Paradise Hotel, Marriott Hotel

        DAY 17:     KARACHI - CITY TOUR

Our last day of trip is about sight seeing of Karachi city. Our 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.
 Karachi’s recorded history goes back to the 18th century, when it was a small fishing village known as Kalachi-jo-Goth. With the development of its harbor, it gradually grew to  the largest and most populous city of Pakistan with an interesting and colourful combination of the old and new. The narrow twisting lanes and alleys of the old city throb with life alongside wide metalled roads and elegant modern buildings. Within the city, talented artisans with age-old skills produce handicrafts. Karachi offers a variety of pleasant attractions: wide sunny beaches, deep-sea fishing, yachting, golf and horseracing all year around. Its restaurants cater to a wide choice of Pakistani and Western cuisines. Its market and bazaars offer an endless variety of exciting shopping, including indigenous handicrafts.

 

Meals provided: Breakfast
Accommodation: Avari Hotel, Paradise Hotel, Marriott Hotel

End of Tour

2008 & 2012 Group Departure Dates from Islamabad: 

September 15,            October 10,                November  4

 November  25,            December 15,            January  5,

 January 25,                 February 15,              March 7

 March 27,                    April 15,                    April 25   

 

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