THE NATURAL SPLENDORS OF PAKISTAN
( Pakistan, a country of natural treasures, hospitable people, diverse culture, and rich history)
Pakistan is one of the most blessed regions that is gifted with spectacular landscapes, diverse cultures, and fascinating history. The confluence of mighty peaks of Himalaya, Karakoram, and Hindukush stretching across the northern areas to the gold carpeted deserts of Thar, Thal, and Cholistan located in Sindh and Punjab; Pakistan is a paradise for tourism. It is consecrated with magnificent tourist sites almost all across the country. Captivating natural sites coalesce with historical places in ways that confer it an aura of some fairyland. Domestic and foreign tourist all over the world visits northern areas of Gilgit Baltistan; which is as beautiful as Switzerland, Canada or US, to say the least.
Last year, the Forbes magazine placed Pakistan in its list of ‘10 coolest places to visit’. Likewise, British Backpacker society also declared Pakistan a hotspot for tourists. Similarly, there are numerous stimulating travel sagas of travelers whose visits to Pakistan was extremely enriching and transformative.
Moreover, the improved security situation has facilitated the increase in annual tourist arrivals in Pakistan by 300% in the last few years with a number of tourists reaching 1.75 million before the corona pandemic. Also, domestic voyagers have increased by 30% as per the report of state Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation.
Interestingly, six Pakistani sites have been enlisted as ‘world heritage sites’ by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) including, the glorious Shalimar Gardens, the fort in Lahore, the Makli monuments in Sindh, the ruins of Moenjodaro, Rohtas Fort near Jhelum, Buddhist ruins in Takht-i-Bahi and the ancient city of Texila. Besides, 18 other sites, with the Baltit fort in Hunza and the tomb of Shah Rukne Alam in Multan, have been categorized as ‘tentative sites’ by the same.
All the voyagers visiting Pakistan are pleasantly surprised by the hospitality of their host country. The warmth and friendliness of the locals whether you are in a big city or backpacking in northern areas will astound you; anyone will help or inform you regarding whatever you need and the conversation will end up in them inviting you to their homes for lunch or tea. Moreover, locals offer interesting sightseeing tours and will apprise you about the area, its unique cuisine culture, and history to let you explore the area more intimately.
Pakistan is a land of diversity; with five provinces having their own distinct history, culture, traditions, cuisine, music, and art. It is also home to hill tribes like ‘kalasha’ hidden up in the lovely mountains and having a unique lifestyle that truly gives the tourist a ‘time-travel’ experience. Pakistan is a distinctive amalgamation of various ethnic and linguistic groups that profoundly influences the entire culture as a whole.
LAND OF MIGHTY PEAKS, LAKES, AND GLACIERS
One half of Pakistan’s beauty is encapsulated in the region of Gilgit-Baltistan. It is famous not only for its natural beauty but also for its geographical significance around the world. It is bestowed with captivating lakes of mesmerizing shades and hues. Eight highest peaks, out of the seventeen highest mountains worldwide are located in Gilgit-Baltistan. Fairy Meadows is a site that shows the magical sites of these mighty peaks. Moreover, Gilgit is often called as ‘third pole’ owing to the fact that it contains most glaciers outside the Polar Regions. Paragliders, mountaineers, hikers, hill climbers from all over the world visit this region; such expeditions are arranged both locally and internationally. Besides, KKH-(Karakorum Highway)-the eighth wonder of the world is also situated here. It’s the world highest road pass connecting Pakistan with China and is known as ‘silk road’
SOME OF THE BEST ATTRACTIONS IN PAKISTAN.
Enclosed by the majestic mountains of Karakoram and Himalaya, the world-famous Hunza Valley is one of the most visited places in Pakistan. The excursion through this little paradise offers you histrionic sights of marvelous landscape, bewitching snow-covered mountains, and the mighty Hunza River. Hunza is positioned in the extreme northern part of Pakistan bordering China and Afghanistan. The Karakorum highway passes through Hunza valley and connects Pakistan and China through the Khunjerab Pass. Some of the most favorite tourist spots are the forts of Altit and Baltit, Eagle nest, the market of Karimabad, Passu Cones, mountain views of Rakaposhi and Nanga Parbat, and the interesting culture and lifestyle of the locals.
The Deosai plains which is the highest plateau in the world is situated at the periphery of the Karakoram and the western Himalayas; hence, bequeathing it with the charm of both the ranges. In summer it is a striking and lush green pressure with its peculiar fauna and flora. The sight of the Karakorum Range from this rooftop of 4,785-meters is mythological. Besides the fairies butterflies and fireflies, Deosai is the habitat of engendered Himalayan Brown Bear and several other wild animals. Today’s modern and mechanical life has snatched the peace of soul and mindfulness which one can seek in these deserted yet magical lands. If you are in search of divine solitude and wilderness full of natural treasures, then Deosai is a place for you.
Just as the name suggests fairy meadows are fairy meadows. This name was given by German climbers- German Märchenwiese, ″fairy tale meadows. Its local name is Joot- it’s a grassland near one of the base camp sites of Nanga Parbat. It is placed at an altitude of about 3,300 meters above the sea level, and functions as the beginning point for trekkers summiting on the Rakhiot side of the Nanga Parbat. Fairy Meadows is like the garland of flowers and dense forest established afore the gigantic killer mountain-Nanga Parbat. Moreover, its night sky offers one of the most appealing views of the Milky Way. Its splendor is beyond the realm of words.
Rama Valley that is located in Astore, Gilgit-Baltistan is another valley pregnant with natural wonders. It’s a picture-perfect tourist destination surrounded by flowers, green meadows, trees, and lake and mountain vistas full of tranquility and calm. Due to it elevation at about 3300 meters above sea level, it remains snow-covered for 7–8 months of the year. However, its summer grandeur is unparalleled. It also serves as a trek to reach the eastern side of the Nanga Parbat-the 9th highest and most dangerous peak in the world.
Naran valley is another splendid part of the northern areas of Pakistan which is raised at 2500 meters above sea level. Its easy accessibility captures the attention of both domestic and foreign tourists and trekkers. The weather of Naran remains cold and ice on the mountain tops never fully melts, even in the peak summer season glaciers and mountains are covered with snow are to be found here. Naran valley is famous for an exquisite lake of Saif-ul-Malook, the dreamlike lake of Lulusir, lovely meadows of Lalazar, Jalkhad, Dodipatsar Lake, and Babusar Top.
Mohenjo Daro is another remarkable archeological site in Sindh, Pakistan. Mohenjo Daro literally means ‘Mound of dead men’; it was built around 2500BC and is considered as one of the largest settlements of the Indus valley civilization concomitant with the civilizations of ancient Egypt. For the tourists especially those who are fascinated by archeological sites, Mohenjo Daro is the place to unwind and explore the ruins that belong to the long-forgotten and bygone era. The exciting fact about Mohenjo Daro is the 10.8 cm dancing girl was unearthed in 1926.
The famous historian and archaeologist Mortimer Wheeler describes this statue as:
“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.”
Lahore is the heart of Pakistan, and it is known as the land of the most lively and fun-loving people. Besides offering you mouthwatering foods, other attractions of Lahore are the majestic mosque of Wazir Khan that was built in 1634, Lahore Fort that was constructed by Mughal emperor Akbar, Badshahi (Imperial) mosque, Shalamar Gardens- Persian style royal gardens with as many as 450 fountains, grassy lands, and walls. The fort and Shalamar Garden were jointly nominated as UNESCO World Heritage site in the year 1981.
Rohtas Fort is a chef-d’oeuvre; that is emblematic of the traditions and cultural heritage of Pakistan. It is located in Jhelum and was built during the 16th century by the Afghan King Sher Shah Suri. It is a mixture of Afghan-Persian architecture and its great walls with 12 gigantic gates are worthy of homage. For tourists, Rohtas fort offers famous attractions inside the fort such as Haveli Man Singh, Phansi Ghat, and a museum near Sohail Gate, Rani Mahal, Royal Mosque, and the like.
Takht-i-Bahi is a well-preserved archaeological site of an ancient Buddhist monastery located in Mardan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. It has been considered as one of the most impressive ruins of Buddhism in all of Gandhara civilization. This monastery was constructed on the crest of a high hill in the one century B.C. These ruins are exceptionally wondrous and will transport you back to that century when this place used to the hub of Buddhism.
KARACHI THE CITY OF LIGHTS:
Karachi is the seventh-largest city worldwide. Karachi is blessed to have its own distinctive tourists attractions; to name a few, there is superb Churna Islands-where you can swim, snorkel and scuba dive and watch different kinds of maritime life, Quad-i-Azam house museum with its colonial-style architecture surrounded with serene gardens, Turtle beach where you can watch turtles, The fascinating Chaukhandi tombs- graveyards of a local tribe with attention-grabbing architecture and design, National Museum of Pakistan to enjoy all things related to art, culture, and history, Do Darya- the multitude of cozy restaurants built right along the seashore, Cape Monze Beach with striking cliffs and the like.
BALUCHISTAN-THE EXOTIC GARDEN:
Baluchistan that is the largest province of Pakistan in terms of landmass, is imparted with some captivating sites as well. Some of the hotspots are: Hingol Nationa Park- outlandish mountains, exotic animals including Markhor and several others of the deer family, surrounded by shallow sapphire waters is site travelers search for, Pir Chattal Noorani Ghandawa- an oasis in the middle of vast land, catering to the thousands of rare species of fishes, Kund Malir Beach- is another eccentric beach that tourist frequently visits each year.
All in all, Pakistan is granted abundant natural or manmade wonders, the aforementioned sites are just a few of the places to explore the magical places of Pakistan; though Pakistan has a lot more to offer to voyagers and adventurers of all ilk.
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