One of the two sites of the Indus Valley Civilization, Harappa is located in the Punjab Province of Pakistan and the site lies some 35 kilometres southwest of Sahiwal. Harappa is the first site of the Indus Valley Civilization that was discovered in the 1920s. Harappa is located about 250 kilometres from Lahore.
Harappa has been the centre of curiosity and interest among history students, historians and archaeologists since its discovery some 85 years ago. A date with history is what takes many tourists to Harappa. Excavations in Harappa have revealed a civilization, which was excellent in town planning and other sphere of every day life.
But it is the excellent town planning that have received kudos from the historians and archaeologists. The houses at Harappa were built in burned brick and had excellent drainage system. Every house had a well as an integral part of it. Roads were wide and were well connected to the streets. Excavations have unearthed a number of artefacts that provide a glimpse of the way of life and various customs and traditions prevalent in Harappa. The cemeteries found in Harappa gives a clear indication that the Harappan people used to burry their dead. They were fond of wearing necklace, ring, bangle and other jewellery. As, many skeletons found in Harappa had beads and anklets in their grave.
A tour to Harappa takes you close to one of the largest civilizations in the world. The Harappa tour is a wonderful discovery of our past. Harappa helps us understand, how modern and progressive was the Indus Valley Civilization. A visit to the museum is a wonderful experience. The museum houses some rare artefacts from the Indus Valley Civilization, which include terracotta toys, animal figurines and bronze utensils.
Mohenjo Daro is another wonderful historical site in Pakistan. A part of the Indus Valley Civilization, Mohenjo Daro is situated on the west bank of the Indus River. Discovered in 1921, Mohenjo Daro makes an exciting tour combined Harappa, which is other site of the Indus Valley Civilization. Though similar in nature with Harappa, Mohenjo Daro is a unique experience to travel.
Mud-brick and baked-brick were used to built houses and buildings in Mohenjo Daro. Like Harappa, Mohenjo Daro had wide streets with spacious houses. Excavations have revealed Mohenjo Daro as a well planned and architecturally brilliant town. It is an exciting experience to see and observe how people of that era went about their daily chores and what were the various customs and traditions they used to follow.
The Dancing girl found in Mohenjo Daro is an interesting artefact that is some 4500-year old. The 10.8 cm long bronze statue of the dancing girl was found in 1926 from a house in Mohenjo Daro. It was the favorite statue of the famous historian and archaeologist Mortimer Wheeler. This is what Wheeler said about the beautiful statue, “There is her little Baluchi-style face with pouting lips and insolent look in the eye. She’s about fifteen years old I should think, not more, but she stands there with bangles all the way up her arm and nothing else on. A girl perfectly, for the moment, perfectly confident of herself and the world. There’s nothing like her, I think, in the world.”
A tour to Mohenjo Daro is not only about the past of the Indus Valley Civilization but is also about many tireless workers, historians and archaeologists, who painstakingly unearthed the layers of mystery that shrouded these sites. It is their hard work and analysis of the past that has helped us to get a clear picture of the era gone by.
If you are in Islamabad, a tour to Taxila is a must. Once the great centre of art and philosophy, Taxila is located some 35 kilometres north of Islamabad. One of the wonderful tourist destinations, Taxila is one of the most famous archaeological sites in Pakistan. Famous for its Buddhist heritage, Taxila is also popular for its Gandhara sculpture.
There are a number of spots in and around Taxila that you can visit. The statue of the Lord Buddha is what takes many by surprise. Like most statues of the Buddha world over, this one at Taxila is different. While you may have seen a Buddha with a face that exudes peace and extreme calm, this one with eyes wide open gazes you that you may like to close your eyes in awe.
You may come across other historical figures in Taxila, prominent among them are Alexander and Ashoka. In 327 BC, Alexander from Macedonia conquered Taxila, later it came under the Maurayan Empire and reached at its zenith during the reign of Ashoka.
It is an exciting experience to tour Taxila. The Gandhara sculptures are the prime attractions in Taxila. Taxila is like a book on the Buddha. There are a number of images and sculptures that depict Buddha in his different stage of life. There are three cities in Taxila that are great source of interest among tourists. These cities are well preserved in Taxila.
Apart from these cities, you can visit a number of monasteries that dot Taxila. Just two kilometres from Taxila Museum is Dharmarajika stupa, which is a must visit site in Taxila. The stupa consists of buildings and a monastery.
Jaulian and Mohra Moradu are two other important sites that you can visit on your tour to Taxila. You can also visit Jandial and Sirsukh.
A tour to Taxila is one’s in a lifetime experience. There are a number of sites around Taxila you can visit.
Takht-I-Bahi is another exciting historical site that you can visit on your tour to Pakistan. Located about 80 kilometres from Peshawar, Takht-I-Bahi has ruins of an ancient Buddhist monastery atop a hill.
A French officer General Court in the court of Maharaja Ranjit Singh first mentioned about Takht-I-Bahi in 1836. The monastery is believed to date back to the 2nd or 3rd century AD. Takht-I-Bahi is an impressive Buddhist Monastery in Pakistan. The site has rectangular court and the small shrines that surround the stupa-court. The shrines are classical example of fine design and architecture. The hill offers magnificent views of the surrounding area.
The site is a great source of information on Buddhism and the way of life people here used to follow. The site is an excellent example of brilliant planning and scientific architecture. Song Yun, a Chinese pilgrim, who visited the region, describes Takht-I-Bahi as one of the important city lying on the commercial route to India.
Excavations of the site have unearthed a number of building blocks like the courtyard, the main stupa, assembly hall and the low level chambers.
It is a wonderful experience to tour Takht-I-Bahi. A tour to Takht-I-Bahi is not only about history. The tour also offers a wonderful opportunity to know and understand the culture of the region.
Pakistan is home to some of the magnificent historical sites in the world. There are a number of historical monuments that tourists love to explore. Rohtas Fort is one such monument that attracts tourists to its impregnable fold.
Rohtas Fort is also known as Qila Rohtas and it is located about 109 kilometres from Rawalpindi. Built by Sher Shah Suri after his defeat against Humayun in 1541, Rohtas Fort has survived the attack of centuries of storms and rains. The walls of the fort stretch to more than four kilometres. The fort is a perfect example of the Muslim military architecture.
A symbol of power and determination of its builder, Rohtas Fort is an excellent example of the military astuteness of Sher Shah Suri, who ruled India between 1540-45 AD. About six kilometres in perimeter, the fort is surrounded by a massive wall, which has 12 gates. The highlight of the fort is its 69 bastions. The bastions served twin purpose as they strengthened the wall and also lent a touch of elegance to the fort.
Some of the gates of the fort are in good condition. The gates are a fine example of architecture. At one point in history, the fort used to house thousands of people.
Rohtas Fort can be approached from Rawalpindi or Islamabad. From the main highway one has to turn right at Deena. Deena is a bus stop as well as the railway station. A visit to Rohtas Fort should be avoided during rainy season.
Uch Sharif is one of the beautiful historical sites in Pakistan. Located at the confluence of the Sutlej and Chenab, Uch Sharif is a wonderful tourist destination. Different historians have different views about the history of Uch Sharif, some say the town was there before the reign of Bikramajit. Uch Sharif was under the Hindu ruler before Alexander’s invasion.
Uch Sharif is basically famous for various beautiful shrines and tombs. The beautiful shrines and tombs are what attract many tourists to Uch Sharif. Uch Sharif has been divided into three sections, which are named after three important personalities and rulers. Uch Bukhari is named after the name of Hazrat Syed Jalaluddin Bukhari Surkhposh while Uch Jilani has borrowed its name from Hazrat Shaikh Mohammad Ghaus Qadri Jilani. The third section is Uch Mughlian is named after the Mughal rulers.
Some of the famous shrines in Uch Sharif include Hazrat Jalaluddin Surkh Bukhari, Makhdoom Jahanian Jahangasht, Hazrat Bahawal Haleem, Shaikh Saifuddin Ghazrooni and Bibi Jawandi. The tomb of Bibi Jawinidi is a wonderful monument that is beautifully designed and is covered in a number of tiny blue tiles that present wonderful sight when sunrays fall on them. The shrine of Jalauddin Bukhari is a must visit sight at Uch Sharif. The saint is believed to have converted the legendary warrior Genghis Khan to Islam.
Uch Sharif lies in the district of Bahawalpur, which is two hours distance by train from Multan. From Bahawalpur you can hire a car or take a mini bus to reach the non-descript village of Uch Sharif. If you are in the region during September/October, take part in the festival held in Uch to honor the Sufi saints.
Cholistan is locally known as Rohi. This famous desert is 30 Km from Bahawalpur and comprises of an area of 16,000 sq.km. which extends upto the Thar desert extending over to Sindh. The word Cholistan is derived from ‘Cholna’ which means moving. The people of Cholistan lead a semi-nomadic life, moving from one place to another in search of water and fodder for their animals.
Places Of Interest In Cholistan
Derawar Fort: Derawar Fort is located 48 Km from Dera Nawab Sahib. It is still in a good condition. The rampart walls are intact and still guarded by the personal guards of the Amir of Bahawalpur. The tombs of the ex-rulers of Bahawalpur and their families are located in this fort. The tombs have nice glazed blue tile work. Prior permission of the senior Amir of Bahawalpur is required to enter the fort.
Shrines of Channan Pir: The Shrine of Channan Pir is located 45 Km from Derawar Fort. Channan Pir was a disciple of Makhdoom Jahanian Jahangasht. The annual Urs is held at the beginning of March. A colourful fair known as ‘Mela Channan Pir’ is held here. Devotees gather on the night of full moon to offer “Fateha” at the tomb of the saint.
The discovery of Kot Diji in Pakistan has pushed back the history of the Indian sub continent some 300 years. After the discovery of the Indus Valley Civilization, it was believed that Harappa and Mohenjo Daro were the first civilizations of the sub continent that date back to 2,500 BC. But the discovery of Kot Diji, which is located between Ranipur and Khairpur (on the highway from Hyderabad), made historians and archaeologists believe that there was a civilization before the Indus Valley Civilization.
Excavations of the site and the evidence that archaeologists have found from Kot Diji are of pre-Harappan and pre-Mohenjo Daro time. Historians and archaeologists believe that Indus Valley Civilization borrowed or developed some of the basic elements of life and culture from the civilization that was thriving at Kot Diji.
A journey to Kot Diji reveals the way of life Kot Dijians used to follow. The site at Kot Diji has two sections to it. One, that is spread over on the high ground belonged to the ruling elite while the outer area was inhabited by the common man. Excavations have shown that the houses in Kot Diji were built by mud-bricks and had solid stone foundations.
A tour to this archaeological site is a wonderful experience in Pakistan. Traveling to Kot Diji is like travelling back in time to some 2800 years ago. It is an exciting exercise to think about a time, which was completely different and unique. A fascinating journey to the past is what aptly describes the tour to the historical sites in Pakistan.