DAY EXCURSION FROM ISLAMABAD

The modern town of Taxila is 35 km from Islamabad. Most of the archaeological sites of Taxila (600 BC to 500 AD) are located around the Taxila Museum. For over 1000 years, Taxila remained famous as a center of learning for the Gandhara art of sculpture, architecture, education and Buddhism in the days of the Buddhist glory. There are over 50 archaeological sites in the radius of 30 km 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 (250 BC) and Jaulian Monastery (200 - 600 AD). A museum comprising various sections with rich archaeological finds of Taxila, arranged in chronological order and properly labeled, has been established close to the site. It is one of the best and well-maintained site museums of Pakistan.

 

Day excursion to the majestic Rohatas Fort combined with Rawat Fort and Bankiala Stupa is a thrilling experience. The tour starts with a visit to Rawat Fort near Rawalpindi before we set off to Mankiala Stup, a symbol of sacrifice, lord Buddha said to have sacrificed his body parts to feed seven cubs and this stupa is one of them. Several gold, silver and copper coins (660 - 730 AD) and a bronze casket having Khroshti inscriptions, were discovered from this stupa. Gakkhars, a fiercely independent tribe of the Potohar Plateau built the Rawat fort in early 16th century. The grave of a Gakkhar Chief, Sultan Sarang Khan is located inside the fort. Who died fighting the forces of Sher Shah Suri. The majestic Rohatas Fort is one of the most impressive historical monuments of Pakistan. Enlisted with UNESCO's World Heritage Sites, the fort represents the Pashtoon architectural style. The gigantic fort is founded on steep rocks jutting into the river Kahan, its walls protected on the west and north sides by the river and by high hills on its east and south.

 

A blend of history, pilgrimage and amazement, tour starts from Islamabad with an early morning breakfast. We drive on motor with a visit to our first site of the tour, the Ketas Raj, an important Hindu temple that is said to be lord Shiva's one of crying eyes on the death of his wife. From here we proceed to Khewra salt mines, biggest in the world. Inside the mine, a small beautiful mosque built of transparent salt bricks with lights concealed in its walls. The mines were discovered during the Greek time when Alexander's army camped here and their horses start to lick the stones. Another historical highlight of the tour is a visit to the extensive ruins of a fort and a town - temple is present. It was here, the celebrated traveler, historian, philosopher, mathematician, astronomer and scientist, Al-Beruni came to the subcontinent in the period of Mehmood of Ghazni during 11th century. It was at Nandana, that he measured the circumference of the earth.

 

With an absolutely stunning story behind it, this is a pilgrimage tour to holy temple of Guru Nanak, the creator of Sikh Religion. After travelling through Arabia and many other countries, in 1521 A.D during the summer season, Guru Nanak reached Hasan Abdal. This is hilly area and some places here have natural fountains which flow from the ground. On top of the nearby hill lived a Muslim saint, Baba Wali Qalanderi, who lived near to the source of fresh water. When people started going to Guru Ji, Baba stopped the water to village and people went to Guru Ji who sent one of his companions and to request Baba to let the people quench themselves and their animals which Baba refused. On a collective prayer on request of Guru Ji a spring of fresh water sprung and Baba's springs dried, angrily Baba threw a boulder which Guru Ji stopped and his hand has been imprinted on that stone. En-route we also visit one Waha Gardens, a Mughal souvenir.

 

Referred as "Queen of Pakistan" Murree is an absolutely stunning summer station for Pakistanis as well as the foreigners living in Islamabad. With a pristine jungle, the lush green hills of Murree are a perfect summer escape. There are a number of spots to enjoy, from luxurious Bhurban Resort to comfort of a camping in the Ayubia National Part.



 
DAY EXCURSIONS FROM LAHORE

After breakfast we drive out to Sheikupura, formerly known as Jahangirabad, Sheikupura which was named after Dara Sheikh the older brother of Emperor Aurangzab. The tour starts with a visit to the glorious Mughal Fort built by Emperor Jahangir who was fond of the area. Afterwards we go to visit Hiran Minaret and the lake; the emperor also constructed an artificial lake to make his hunting visits more pleasing. On the death of his pet deer Manseraj, he constructed a minaret in loving memory of his pet which is the prime attractions of the area. The fort later became residence of Ranjit Shing's one of wives Rani Nakyan and her private quarters are decorated with beautifully preserved frescos depicting court scenes, hunting images of Guru Nanak. Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of Sikh faith, was born here in 1469. The historical Gurudwaras in Nankana Shaib that we will visit are Gurudwara Janam Asthan, Gurudwara Bal Lila, Gurdwara Patti Sahib, Gurudwar Kiara sahib, Gurudwara Mal ji Sahib, Gurudwara Tambu Sahib and Gurudwara Chhevin Patshahi. The ends back in Lahore, we have our lunch in Sheikhupura before driving back to Lahore.

 

A three hours drive on Multan Road to Sahewal and then a detour to Pakpattan brings us to an important holy shrine of Pakistan. The Shrine of Hazarat Baba Farduddin Ganj-e-Shakar which means the 'Treasury of Sugar'. A man with miracles came here to settle and started preaching Islam. Khwwj,a Nizamuddin Aulia constructed his tomb, the shrine has two doors, namely Noori darwaza and Bahishti darwaza. Bahishti darwaza opens once a year during the birth celebrations and thousands of people pass through it, it is said to make ones sins wash away by passing this door. Door that is made and decorated with silver and floral designs are laid in gold sheet. Thousands of devotees come to visit the shrine daily from within the country and from abroad. After the tour we return back to Lahore, with an hour long break for lunch.

 

Kasur is one of the oldest cities of Pakistan. In ancient times, it was just a small settlement with Katcha houses on the northern bank of the older river Beas. According to an estimate Kasur was a big village in 1 AD. In 553 Ad this was occupied by Khaweshgan. In 1020 AD, Kasur was included in the territory of Lahore, which was the capital of the state under Raja Jaipal. When Emperor Baber captured the whole of India in 1526AD, he gave this city to the Afghans as a token of their service towards his victory. During the reign of Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb, Kasur was glorified and every rich man constructed his own palace in Kasur. In 1830 AD Maharaja Ranjeet Singh captured Kasur and it was under Sikh role by the year 1847 when the British took over control of India.

The tour of Kasur begins by a visit to Kasur Museum. The museum is located in a building that used to be the sub-divisional magistrate before partition of Ino-Pak. It has a fine collection of hand-written Quran manuscripts, fossils from Chakwal, jewelry items and artifacts from the Sikh period and a manuscript of the Holy Quran, handwritten by prominent calligrapher Hafiz Mustafa Afghan Kasuri in 1179, manuscripts in Nastaleeq style, weapons belonging to the Muslim period and a special Pakistan Movement Gallery are some important items displayed. From here we proceed to pay homage to Baba Bulleh Shah's and some other influential Sufis' Shrines of Kasur. Bab Bulleh Shah, born in 1680 and died in 1758 was one of the great humanists, philosophers and a teacher and Sufi poet. After we are done with the sightseeing go Kasur and before ending our trip to go back to Lahore we visit Kasur Ganda Singh Wala Border. A joint check post located at Ganda Singh Wala was constructed in 1959 for holding joint Flag Hosting Ceremony. It is located at a distance of 18 Km from Kasur and 9 Km from Ferozpur (India) on Lahore Ferozpur road. Our tour concludes here and we drive back to Lahore.

 

A two and a half hours drive from Lahore towards Multan takes us to Harappa Sites, part of the ancient Indus Valley Civilization and twin capital to Mohenjo Daro, the Mound of Dead in Sindh along the Indus River. Harappa is one of the most important archeological sites of Pakistan and Indus Valley Civilization, with its magnificent remains it has been enlisted under UNESCO's World Heritage Program. The Indus Valley Civilization (also known as Harappan culture) has its earliest roots in cultures such as that of Mehrgarh, approximately 6000 BCE. The two greatest cities, Mohenjod Daro and Harappa, emerged circa 2600 BCE along the Indus River valley in Punjab and Sindh. The civilization, with a writing system, urban centers, and diversified social and economic system, was rediscovered in the 1920s after excavations at Mohenj Daro.



 
DAY EXCURSIONS FROM KARACHI

A tour to Thatta is a wonderful experience of its own nature. Starting from Karachi, the tour takes you through a series of historical monuments and landmarks. The tour starts with a visit to Chaunkhundi Tombs, an astonishing collection of exquisitely carved sandstone tombs thought to be the work of the Jokhio and Baloch tribes dating back 13th to 16th centuries. Hundreds of tombs stretching 3km along the low ridge and in the smller area near the entrance there are some well preserved tombs. From here we proceed to Bahhore Archeological Site, the Banhore is an interested archeological site where ancient settlements of various periods have been discovered, it is also important because it is said to be where Mohammad Bin Qasim landed on his conquest to Sindh. We then visit the museum located adjustment to ruins which has a nice collection exhibiting pottery shards, metal work, ornaments and utensils. Our next destination of the tour is Makli Hill, couple of kilometers before Thatta, it is one fo the most visually stunning archeological sites of Pakistan. Makli Hill has a collection of over a million tombs in an area covering fifteen and half kilometers, which is considered to be world;s largest necropolis. Following the trail we further go to Thatta which has been capital of Sindh for many years. Thatta's landmark is Shah Jahan's Mosque a fine reminder of Thatta's past which was a thriving port which became deserted when Indus abandoned it, it has a known history of 600 years and after a short visit to its bazaar we proceed to Karachi where our tour concludes.

 

With an early breakfast, we start our tour to Helaji Lake, just 87 kilometers away from Karachi Helaji Lake is a winter heaven for migratory birds. Considered to be birdwatchers paradise, over a hundred species of birds make it their home when they fly away from the harsh cold winters of Siberia, Central Asia. Birds that are likely to be watched on their way from Central Asia and Siberia are Flamingoes, Sea Gulls, various species of Duck, Whimbrel, Egrets, Jacana, Eagle, Herons, Falcon, Koonj, Whimbrel, Goose, Cormorat, Hubara Bustard, Sandgrouse, Bee Eater and King Fisher with some more others species. The winter season brings over a hundred thousand birds down to Haleji from Siberian cold weather. A Birdwatchers paradise, the lake is situated between Bhanbhore and Thatta. Halej Lake is country's largest home of migratory birds with winter; the lake feels alive with migratory birds' activities which come to this lake in very large numbers. The drive along the 16 km. track around the lake is an ideal spot for bird watching and photography by providing excellent views. We spend our entire day spotting migratory birds and have our lunch at the bank of the lake. We return to Karachi about 5PM where our tour ends. On request, we can arrange a specialist bird spotter.