Top Ten Pakistani Attractions

Top Ten Pakistani Attractions

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Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a 1,046 km (650 mi) coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. Strategically, Pakistanis located in a position between the important regions of South Asia, Central Asia and the greater Middle East. The region forming modern Pakistan was the site of several ancient cultures including the neolithic Mehrgarh and the bronze era Indus Valley Civilization. Subsequently it was the recipient of Hindu, Persian, Indo-Greek, Islamic, Turco-Mongol and Sikh cultures through several invasions and settlements. As a result the area has remained a part of numerous empires and dynasties including the Indian empires, Persian empires, Arab caliphates, Mongol, Mughal, Sikh and British Empire. Pakistan gained independence from the British Empire in 1947 after a struggle for independence, led by Mohammad Ali Jinnah, that sought the partition of India and the creation of an independent state for the Muslim majority populations of the eastern and western regions of British India. With the adoption of its constitution in 1956, Pakistan became an Islamic republic. In 1971, an armed conflict in East Pakistan resulted in the creation of Bangladesh. With over 170 million people, it is the 6
th most populous country in the world and has the second largest Muslim population after Indonesia. With a semi-industrialized economy, it is the 27th largest in the world in terms of purchasing power. Since gaining independence, Pakistan’s history has been characterized by periods of military rule, political instability and conflicts with neighboring India. The country faces challenging problems including terrorism, poverty, illiteracy and corruption. Pakistan has the 8th largest standing armed force and is the only Muslim-majority nation to possess nuclear weapons. It is designated as a major non-NATO ally of the US and a strategic ally of China.

  1. Lahore
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           Lahore is the capital of the Pakistani province of Punjab and the 2nd largest city in the country. With a rich history dating back over a millennium ago, Lahore is a major cultural center of Pakistan. One of the most densely populated cities in the world, Lahore remains a vibrant economic, political, transportation, entertainment and educational hub. Considered a gamma+ world city, Lahore maintains its historical status as one of the world’s most cosmopolitan and lively of cities. Lahore has been a center of cultural heritage for many civilizations. It successively served as regional capital of the empires of the Shahi kingdoms in the 11th century, the Ghaznavids in the 12th century, the Ghurid State in the 12th and 13th century, the Mughal Empire in the 16th century, the Sikh expansion in the early 19th century, and it was the capital of the Punjab region under the British Raj in the mid-19th and early 20th century. The traditional capital of Punjab for a thousand years, Lahore was the cultural center of North India which extends from the eastern banks of the Indus River to New Delhi. Mughal structures such as the Badshahi Mosque, the Lahore Fort, Shalimar Gardens, and the mausolea of Jehangir and Nur Jehan are popular tourist attractions for the city. Lahore is also home to many British colonial structures built in the Indo-Saracenic style, such as the Lahore High Court, the General Post Office, Lahore Museum and many older universities including the University of the Punjab. The Lahore Zoo, thought to be the 4th oldest zoo in the world, is also situated here. Lahore is referred to as the cultural heart of Punjab as it hosts most of the arts, cuisine, festivals, film-making, music, gardening and intelligentsia of the country. Known for its affiliation with poets and artists, it has the largest number of educational institutions in Punjab and some of the finest gardens in the continent. Lahore has always been a center for publications, where 80% of Punja’’s books are published and remains the foremost center of literary, educational and cultural activity in Punjab. It is also an important religious center as it is home to hundreds of temples, mosques and shrines like Data Durbar Complex. It is ranked 40 in the most populated urban areas in the world, with approximately 8,590,000 citizens, and the 8th largest city within the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. In 2008, Lahore was ranked as a city with High Sufficiency to become a Gamma world city. In 2010 it was ranked by The Guardian as the 2nd Best Tourist Destination in Pakistan.
    Links: Top Ten Zoos, Top Ten Minaretshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lahore,
  2. Taxila
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           Taxila is a Tehsil in the Rawalpindi District of Punjab province of Pakistan. It is an important archaeological site. Taxila is situated about 32 km (20 mi) northwest of Islamabad Capital Territory and Rawalpindi in Panjab; just off the Grand Trunk Road. Taxila lies 549 m (1,801 ft) above sea level. The city dates back to the Gandhara period and contains the ruins of the Gandhāran city of Takṣaśilā which was an important Hindu and Buddhist centre. Takṣaśilā is reputed to derive its name from Takṣa, who was the great grandson of Bharata, the brother of Rama. Historically, Takṣaśilā lay at the crossroads of three major trade routes: The uttarāpatha, 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 Pāṭaliputra in the Ganges valley in the east; The northwestern route through Bactria, Kāpiśa, and Puṣkalāvatī; The Sindu (Indus river) route from Kashmir and Central Asia, via Śri nagara, Mansehra, and the Haripur valley across the Khunjerab pass to the Silk Road in the north to the Indian Ocean in the south. The Khunjerab passes between Kashmir and Xinjiang, the current Karakoram highway, and was traversed in antiquity. Recently it has been ranked as the top tourist destination in Pakistan by The Guardian, which described it thus: “This is the region from where Buddhism travelled to the far east, and Persians, Greeks and Hindus all subsequently left their mark. You can watch the sun set from the remains of a Buddhist monastery or wander through the streets of an excavated Persian city in the knowledge that there are two older ones buried below.
    Links: Top 100 Gold Artifacts, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taxila,
  3. Archaeological Ruins at Mohenjo-Daro
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           Mohenjo-daro, literally “Mound of the Dead,” is situated in the province of Sindh, Pakistan and was one of the largest settlements of the ancient Indus Valley Civilization. Built around 2,600 BC, it was one of the world’s earliest major urban settlements, existing at the same time as the civilizations of ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia and Crete.
    Links: Top Ten Ancient Cities, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moenjodaro,
  4. Fort and Shalamar Gardens, Lahore
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           The Lahore Fort, locally referred to as Shahi Qila is citadel of the city of Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan. It is located in the northwestern corner of the Walled City of Lahore. The trapezoidal composition is spread over 20 hectares. Origins of the fort go as far back as antiquity, however, the existing base structure was built during the reign of Mughal emperor Akbar (1556–1605) and was regularly upgraded by subsequent rulers, having thirteen gates in all. However, it is said to be built first in 800 BC. Thus the fort manifests the rich traditions of Mughal architecture. Some of the famous sites inside the fort include: Sheesh Mahal, Alamgiri Gate, Naulakha pavilion and Moti Masjid. The Pakistan Pavilion at Expo 2010 is designed as a replica of the fort.
    Links: Top Ten Forts, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lahore_Forthttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shalimar_Gardens_%28Lahore%29,
  5. Historical Monuments at Makli, Thatta
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           Thatta is a historic town of 220,000 inhabitants in the Sindh province of Pakistan, near Lake Keenjhar, the largest freshwater lake in the country. Thatta’s major monuments especially its necropolis at Makli are listed among the World Heritage Sites. Located 62 miles (98 kilometers) east of the provincial capital of Sindh; Karachi, it makes for a practical escape for people from the city seeking to visit the picturesque old town.
    Links: Top Ten Dome Interiors, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thatta,
  6. Badshahi Mosque, Lahore
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           The Badshahi Mosque or the ‘King’s Mosque’ was commissioned by the 6th Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb in 1671 and completed in 1673. Epitomizing the beauty, passion and grandeur of the Mughal era, it is Lahore’s most famous landmark and a major tourist attraction. Capable of accommodating 5,000 worshippers in its main prayer hall and a further 95,000 in its courtyard and porticoes, it remained the largest mosque in the world from 1673 to 1986 (a period of 313 years), when overtaken in size by the completion of the Faisal Mosque in Islamabad. Today, it remains the 2nd largest mosque in Pakistan and South Asia and the 5th largest mosque in the world after the Masjid al-Haram (Grand Mosque) of Mecca, the Al-Masjid al-Nabawi (Prophet’s Mosque) in Medina, the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca and the Faisal Mosque in Islamabad. To appreciate its large size, the four minarets of the Badshahi Mosque are 13.9 ft (4.2 m) taller than those of the Taj Mahal and the main platform of the Taj Mahal can fit inside the 278,784 sq ft (25,899.9 square m) courtyard of the Badshahi Mosque, which is the largest mosque courtyard in the world.
    Links: Top Ten Mosques, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Badshahi_Masjid,
  7. Buddhist Ruins of Takht-i-Bahi and Neighboring City Remains at Sahr-i-Bahlol
    Buddhist Ruins of Takht-i-Bahi and Neighboring City Remains at Sahr-i-BahlolBuddhist Ruins of Takht-i-Bahi and Neighboring City Remains at Sahr-i-Bahlol1Buddhist Ruins of Takht-i-Bahi and Neighboring City Remains at Sahr-i-Bahlol2Buddhist Ruins of Takht-i-Bahi and Neighboring City Remains at Sahr-i-Bahlol3
           Takht Bahi is a Buddhist monastic complex dating to the 1st century BC. The complex is regarded by archaeologists as being particularly representative of the architecture of Buddhist monastic centers from its era. Takht means “throne” and bahi, “water” or “spring” in Urdu. The monastic complex was called Takht-i-Bahi because it was built atop a hill watered by a spring. It is located about 15 km from Mardan in Pakistan’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province. Sahr-i-Bahlol, a small fortified city, dating from the same era, sits nearby. The ruins also sit near a modern village known by the same name. The surrounding area is famous for sugar cane cultivation, and a sugar mill is located in the middle of the town.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Takht-i-Bahi,
  8. Archaeological Site of Harappa
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    Harappa is an archaeological site in Punjab, northeast Pakistan, about 35 km (22 mi) west of Sahiwal. The site takes its name from a modern village located near the former course of the Ravi River. The current village of Harappa is 6 km (4 mi) from the ancient site. Although modern Harappa has a train station left from the British times, it is today just a small crossroads town with a population of approximately 15,000. The site of the ancient city contains the ruins of a Bronze Age fortified city, which was part of the Cemetery H culture and the Indus Valley Civilization, centered in Sindh and the Punjab. The city is believed to have had as many as 23,500 residents, considered large for its time. The ancient city of Harappa was greatly destroyed under the British Raj, when bricks from the ruins were used as track ballast in the making of the Lahore-Multan Railroad.
    Links: Artifacts, Top Ten Indus Valley Artifacts, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harappa,
  9. Wazir Khan’s Mosque, Lahore
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    The Wazir Khan Mosque in Lahore, Pakistan, is famous for its extensive faience tile work. It was built in seven years, starting around 1634–1635 AD, during the reign of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jehan. It was built by Shaikh Ilm-ud-din Ansari, a native of Chiniot, who rose to be the court physician to Shah Jahan and the governor of Lahore. He was commonly known as Wazir Khan. (The word wazir means ‘minister’ in Urdu.) The mosque is inside the Inner City and is easiest accessed from Delhi Gate.
    Links: Top Ten Mosques, Top Ten Gates, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wazir_Khan_Mosque,
  10. Faisal Mosque, Islamabad
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           The Faisal Mosque is the largest mosque in Pakistan and is located in the national capital city of Islamabad. Faisal Mosque is conceived as the National Mosque of Pakistan. It is the largest mosque in South Asia and one of the largest mosques in the world. The Faisal Mosque is named after the late King Faisal bin Abdul-Aziz of Saudi Arabia, who supported and financed the project.
    Links: Top Ten Mosques, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faisal_Mosque,
  11. Uch
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    Uch or Uch Sharif is located in 75 km from Bahawalpur in Bahawalpur District, South Punjab, Pakistan Uch is an important historical city, being founded by Alexander the Great. Formerly located at the confluence of the Indus and Chenab rivers, it is now removed to Mithankot, some 100 km from that confluence. It was an important center in medieval India, as an early stronghold of the Delhi Sultanate in the 13th century during the Muslim conquest. Uch Sharif contains the tombs of Bibi Jawindi, Baha’al-Halim and Jalaluddin Bukhari, which are considered master pieces of Islamic architecture
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uch,
  12. Chaukhandi Tombs, Karachi
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    The Chaukhandi tombs are situated 29 km (18 mi) east of Karachi on N-5 National Highway near Landhi Town in Pakistan. The Chaukhandi tombs are remarkable for the elaborate and exquisite stone carving. The style of architecture is typical only to the region of Sindh, and unique in that it is found nowhere else in the Islamic world. Generally, the elements are attributed to Jokhio (also spelt Jokhiya) also known as the family graveyard of Jokhio tribe, some people of Baluch tribe also buried were built between the 15th and 18th centuries.
    Links: Top Ten Tombs, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chaukhandi_tombs,
  13. Shahjahan Mosque, Thatta
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    The Shah Jahan Mosque was built in the reign of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. It is located in Thatta, Sindh province, Pakistan. This mosque was built in 1647 during the reign of Mughal King Shah Jahan, also known as the builder King. The mosque is built with red bricks and blue colored glaze tiles imported from Hala. The mosque has 100 domes and has been built keeping acoustics in mind. A person speaking inside one end of the dome can be heard at the other end.
    Links: Top Ten Mosques, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shah_Jahan_Mosque,_Thatta,
  14. Archaeological Site of Mehrgarh
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    Mehrgarh is one of the most important Neolithic (7,000 BC to 2,500 BC) sites in archaeology, lying on the “Kachi plain” of Balochistan, Pakistan. It is one of the earliest sites with evidence of farming (wheat and barley) and herding (cattle, sheep and goats) in South Asia.” Mehrgarh is located near the Bolan Pass, to the west of the Indus River valley and between the Pakistani cities of Quetta, Kalat and Sibi. The site was discovered in 1974 by an archaeological team directed by French archaeologist Jean-François Jarrige, and was excavated continuously between 1974 and 1986, and again from 1997 to 2000. The earliest settlement at Mehrgarh, in the northeast corner of the 495-acre (2.00 square km) site, was a small farming village dated between 7,000 BC to 5,500 BC and the whole area covers a number of successive settlements. Archaeological material has been found in six mounds, with around 32,000 artifacts having been collected.
    Links: Artifacts, Top 100 Asian Artifacts, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mehrgarh,
  15. Archaeological Site of Rehman Dheri
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    Rehman Dheri is an Pre-Harappan Archaeological Site situated near Dera Ismail Khan in the North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan. This is one of the oldest urbanized centers found to date in South Asia. Dated about 4,000 BC, the site is situated 22 kilometers (14 mi) north of Dera Ismail Khan. Since the earliest occupation, except for the extension outside the city in the south, the entire habitation area was enclosed by a massive wall, built from dressed blocks made from clay slabs. The low mound of this fortified town is visible from Bannu Road. This rectangular mound is covering about 22 hectares and standing 4.5 m above the surrounding field. The fortified town of about 10,000-15,000 inhabitants shows signs of town planning. Pottery and stone and metal tools were found. No seals were found and no writing was discovered, though some forms of engraving or scraping on the pottery were observed.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rehman_Dheri,
  16. National Monument, Islamabad
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            The Pakistan Monument in Islamabad, Pakistan, is a national monument representing the nation’s four provinces and three territories. After a competition among many renowned architects, Arif Masood’s plan was selected for the final design. The blooming flower shape of the monument represents Pakistan’s progress as a rapidly developing country. The four main petals of the monument represent the four provinces (Balochistan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab, and Sindh), while the three smaller petals represent the three territories (Gilgit-Baltistan, Azad Kashmir and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas). The Monument has been designed to reflect the culture and civilization of the country and depicts the story of the Pakistan Movement, dedicated to those who sacrificed themselves for future generations. 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.
    Links: Top 100 Monuments, Top Ten Architectural Works by Arif Masood, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Monument_Islamabad,
  17. Rohtas Fort
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           Rohtas Fort is a garrison fort built by the great Afghan king Sher Shah Suri. This fort is about 4 km in circumference and the first example of the successful amalgamation of Pashtun and Hindu architecture in the Indian Subcontinent.
    Links: Top Ten Forts, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rohtas_Fort,
  18. Shahbazgarhi Rock Edicts
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    Shahbazgarhi is a village in Mardan District of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. It is about 12 km from Mardan city. It has beautiful mountains, green trees, open fields and a small river in the center of the village. In old times all these facilities made it attractive for the army and travelers to dig in their tents here, stay for few days and organize their further strategy. The historic Stones of Ashoka and other sites like Mekha Sanda are worth visiting. The town is the location of ancient rock-inscriptions that are cut into two large rock boulders and written in the Kharosthi script. They retain immense historical importance, as they appear to be the first examples of writing in South Asia. They were constructed during the 3rd Century BC, during the reign of Asoka, the famous Mauryan emperor.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shahbazgarhi,
  19. Rani Kot Fort, Dadu
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    RaniKot Sindhi, The Great Wall of Sindh, also known as Deware Sindh in sindhi language is the world’s largest fort with a circumference of about 26 km or 16 miles.
    Links: Top Ten Forts, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ranikot_Fort,
  20. Baltit Fort
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    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 sits 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 program was initiated and supported by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture Historic Cities Support Programme. The program was completed in 1996 and the fort is now a museum run by the Baltit Heritage Trust.
    Links: Top Ten Forts, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baltit_Fort,
  21. Secretariat Islamabad
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  22. Tomb of Shah Rukn-e-Alam
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    Links: Top Ten Tombs,
  23. Port of Banbhore
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    Links: Top Ten Ports,
  24. Archaeological Site of Ranigat
    The archaeological site of Ranigat, meaning “Queen’s Rock,” is located in Tehsil Totalai in the Buner District of Pakistan. The site of Ranigat is situated on the top of a ridge, where the remains of the region’s largest Buddhist monastic complex reside. Structures on the site include stupas, monasteries, shrines, drainage networks and other buildings.
    Links:
  25. Links: Top Ten Pakistani Hotels, Top Ten Pakistani Restaurantshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pakistan,

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