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Lahore is Pakistan’s second largest city, and the capital of the north-eastern Punjab province. It is widely considered the country’s cultural capital. The heart of Lahore is the Walled or Inner City, a very densely populated area of about one square kilometre. Founded in legendary times and a cultural centre for over a thousand years, Lahore has many attractions to keep the tourist busy. The Mughal and Sikh legacy survives in the Lahore Fort, Badshahi Mosque and Gurdwara, the Mall is lined with colonial-gothic buildings from the British Raj, and the suburbs of Gulberg and Defence feature palatial mansions and trendy shopping districts.
Today, Lahore is certainly worth a visit – but don’t come expecting a tranquil city overflowing with history, art and culture – these qualities do exist but are hidden under the surface of a sprawling south Asian city. Forward planning is recommended if the tourist is going to get the most out of what Lahore has to offer – the time of year to visit, the choice of hotel, the restaurants to dine at, the art galleries and the shopping areas to frequent are all key to getting the most out of your stay.
Lahore is a friendly and socially liberal city. There is an old saying, that in every Lahori, there is a Mughal prince. The city has known ages of cultural, intellectual, musical, literary and humanistic evolution, which has consequently led to the fermentation and over fermentation of this rich brew we call Lahore.
Legend has it that it was founded about 4,000 years ago by Loh, son of Rama, the hero of the Hindu epic, the Ramayana. Reminiscence of its hoary past is the remains of a subterranean temple attributed to Rama, in the northern part of the Royal Fort. Historically, it has been proved that Lahore is at least 2,000 years old. After Islam came to South Asia, it became a center of learning, and attracted some of the region’s greatest mystics, writers and artists. The people of Lahore, when they want to emphasize the uniqueness of their town say “Lahore, Lahore aye” (”Lahore is Lahore”) and “Jinnay Lahore nu nahi takkeya, o jammeya e nai” (”He who has not seen or visited Lahore, is nor born yet ”means” A person should visit Lahore to get himself registered in the list of people who has been born”). Lahore is the city of poets, artists and the center of film industry. It has the largest number of educational institutions in the country and some of the finest gardens in the continent. Apart from being the cultural and academic center of the country, Lahore is the showcase for Mughal architecture in Pakistan. For more than 200 years, beginning from about 1524 AD, Lahore was a thriving cultural center of the great Mughal Empire. Mughal Emperors beautified Lahore, with palaces, gardens and mosques.
Hieun-tasng, the famous Chinese pilgrim has given a vivid description of Lahore which he visited in the early parts of the 7th century AD. Lying on the main trade and invasion routes to South Asia, Lahore has been ruled and plundered by a number of dynasties and hordes. Muslim rule began here when Qutub-ud-din Aibak was crowned in Lahore in 1206 and thus became the first Muslim Sultan of the subcontinent. It waxed and waned in importance during the Sultanate.
However, it touched the zenith of its glory during the Mughal rule from 1524 to 1752. The Mughals, who were famous as builders, gave Lahore some of its finest architectural monuments, many of which are extinct today.
It was Akbar’s capital for 14 years from 1584 to 1598. He built the massive Lahore Fort on the foundations of a previous fort and enclosed the city within a red brick wall boasting 12 gates. Jahangir and Shah Jahan (who was born in Lahore) extended the fort, built palaces and tombs, and laid out gardens.
Jahangir loved the city and he and his wife Noor Jahan are buried at Shahdara. Aurangzeb (1658-1707), gave Lahore its most famous monument, the Badshahi Masjid (Royal Mosque) and the Alamgiri gateway to the fort.
During the eighteenth century, as Mughal power dwindled, there were constant invasions. Lahore was a suba, a province of the Empire, governed by provincial rulers with their own court. These governors managed as best they could though for much of the time it must have been a rather thankless task to even attempt. The 1740s were years of chaos and between 1745 and 1756 there were nine changes of governors. Invasions and chaos in local government allowed bands of warring Sikhs to gain control in some areas.
Lahore ended up being ruled by a triumvirate of Sikhs of dubious character and the population of the city invited Ranjit Singh to invade. He took the city in 1799. Holding the capital gave him enough legitimacy to proclaim himself the Emperor. Descriptions of Lahore during the early 19th century refer to it as a “melancholy picture of fallen splendor.”
The British, following their invasion of Lahore in 1849, added a great many buildings in “Mughal-Gothic” style as well as bungalows and gardens. Early on, the British tended to build workaday structures in sites like the Fort, though later they did start to make an effort to preserve some ancient buildings. The Lahore Cantonment, the British residential district of wide, tree-lined streets and white bungalows set in large, shaded gardens, is the prettiest cantonment in Pakistan. Since Independence in 1947, Lahore has expanded rapidly as the capital of Pakistani Punjab.
All this makes Lahore a truly rewarding experience. The buildings, the roads, the trees and the gardens, in fact the very air of Lahore in enough to set the mind spinning in admiration. A poet has written about this phenomenon one experiences in the environs of Lahore. When the wind whistles through the tall trees, when the twilight floods the beautiful face of the Fort, when the silent canal lights up to herald the end of another chapter in history, the Ravi is absorbed in harmony, mist fills the ancient streets, and the havelis come alive with strains of classical music, the spirit of Lahore pervades even the hardiest of souls.
Islamabad International Airport
Based on Flights Schedule
Arrival at Islamabad, after transfer to hotel, half day tour of Islamabad, including Lok Virsa Pakistan monument, Shakarpara Hill before sunset and watch twin cities Islamabad and Rawalpindi birdwathcing, the garden in which Pakistani and allied countries’ politicians erected trees, a view of Rawal Lake and many fountains. After the museum visits, Faisal Mosque whose architect was a Turkish architect, Vedat Dalokay, The construction of the mosque is financed by Arabic king Faisal, that’s why his name was given to the mosque in honour of him. Islamabad is very young and modern city. When Pakistan was founded, the capital was Karachi which was more difficult to defend. Following the visits, transfer to the hotel. Dinner at hotel.
Following the breakfast, drive to Taxila. It’s an important city of Budhism period and is in UNESCO World Heritage List. After seeing the ruins, visit Taxila Museum. Lunch in Rawalpindi. After the lunch, free time in bazaars of Rawalpindi, visit old Raja Bazaar, truck decoration point and Saddar Bazaar (cantonment area).
Following the breakfast check-out from the hotel. First destination is Rohtas Fort which is in UNESCO World Heritage List. The fort is built by Sher Shah Suri in purpose of defending the city against Mughals. The fort is still intact. It reflects the early Islamic architecture. After visit Lunch will be serve at Dina and will have continue drive to Lahore, transfer to hotel.
Following the breakfast full day tour in the cultural capital of Pakistan, Lahore. First destination is old Lahore city which was walled during Mughal Empire reign. Lahore Fort is our first visit. The fort is in UNESCO World Heritage List along with Shalimar Gardens. We visit the fort and its places available in and around it. After visiting the fort, we will see Badshai Mosque, the 2nd biggest mosque of Pakistan and 5th biggest mosque in the world. In its architecture Islamic, Persian, Central Asia and Hindu features can be recognized. Later, visit to Iqbal Park and see Minar-e-Pakistan which was erected in honor of the date 23 March 1940 when the independence Pakistan idea was declared officially for the first time after the meeting in the park. Lunch time after the visits. Later, visit Wezir Khan Mosque. The mosque is construsted by Shah Jahan’s Prime Minister İlumiddin Ensari. After the visit, continue with Lahore Museum. We will have the possibility of seeing Budhist sculpture of Ghandara art and manuscripts, miniatures, rugs from Islam period. After the museum visit, we will walk in the Anarkali. The bazaar has been active for 200 years.
Following the breakfast, another full day tour of Mughal monuments, the tombs of Jehangir & Noor Jehan. After lunch walks along the mall road to witness the colonial building, drive to Shalimar garden build by emperor Shah Jehan and to Waga border (Pakistan & India) to witness the flag lowering ceremony. Overnight stay at the hotel.
Following the breakfast depart from the hotel for Harappa which is on our way. We will have information about the social life, economic system and writings of Harappa. After visiting Harappa, drive to Multan for accommodation. Dinner at hotel.
Following the breakfast, the start of the tour in Multan. Multan is in such a strategic point of trade ways. It’s an important industrial city dating back 2000 years ago. The city is famous with its shrines. The most famous of these are the shrines of Bahaddin Zakariya, Shems Tebriz and Shah Rukhn-e-Alam. We will visit these 3 shrines and then we will have free time in Hussein Agahi Bazaar and then continue our drive to Bahawalpur. Overnight stay at the hotel.
Following the breakfast, start Bahawalpur tour. Bahawalpur is such a peaceful city in which the transportation is mostly made by bicycle rickshaw, has tree-lined streets, large houses with verandas. Our first destination is Derawar Fort and the tombs around it in the Cholistan Desert. Return to Bahawalpur for and after lunch visit to Bahawalpur Museum. Later, free time in Bahawalpur Market. Overnight stay at the hotel.
Following the breakfast, we will drive to Islamabad via Motorway, en route we visit world’s second largest salt mines at Khewra, after lunch, we will continue our drive to Islamabad for the overnight stay.
Transfer to Islamabad International Airport. From peace and serenity of Southern Pakistan to the hustle and bustles of “modern” trends, you say Khuda Hafiz, the typical farewell, as you depart after a tour into Shangri-La. End of the tour.
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