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The Swat valley is one of the most fertile and easily accessible mountainous areas in northern Pakistan.
The main attraction is its scenic beauty – lush green valleys with thick pine forest, surrounded by snowy peaks – and pleasant climate in summer. In addition, the area is rich in historical sites dating back to the Gandhara Buddhist period and earlier. Swat is one of the most popular hill destinations for foreign tourists, after Murree and the Galis. Rising in the Shandur Range, the three principal sources of the Swat River the Gabral, Bahandra and Ushu – unite at Kalam 2013m into a single hill torrent which then drops 18 meters per kilometer in a narrow gorge for 39 kilometers before reaching Madyan (1312m). The people of Swat Valley are mostly Yusafzai Pathans, displaced from the Peshawar Valley by the related Mandnar Yusufzais late in the 16th century.
The Swat Valley favorable environment for settlement has been compared with that of Zagros Mountains in present-day Iran, the traditions ‘Cradle of Civilization’. The earlier evidence of settlement goes back at least 10,000 years to the early ‘Grave Culture’, so called because of primary evidence of settlement comes from the graves. The first written reference to the valley comes from the Vedic literature of the Aryans who called it ‘Suvastu’. Later in 327 BC, Alexander the great passed through the great when he came through Afghanistan, by way of Bajour and Dir, he captures the ancient fort of Bazira in present-day Barikot, and Ora (Udegram before he went on to the plain of Peshawar. At the height of the Buddhist Gandharan civilization in the first century AD, there were at least 1400 monasteries in lower Swat alone. The Tantric and Mahayana schools of Buddhism were developed here, spreading throughout the subcontinent.
The valley is still rich in Buddhist Monasteries ruins, stupas, sculptures and rock carving. From about the 17th century AD, the Swat Valley became the refuge for a much reduced Buddhist culture. Hinduism grew and Hindu Shahi rulers extended their control into the valley during 18th, 19th century AD until they were supplanted by the Muslim, Mahmud of Ghazni. Later, under the Mughuls, both Babur and Akbar fought to control the Yusufzai Pathans of Swat, the former marrying into the tribe in 1519. During the British period, Swat was the scene for the famous Malakand Campaign of 1897 against the Sayyid Hajji Shoain Baba who preached jihad against the British. Swat Valley was consolidated into an independent state in 1926 by the Wali or ruler, Miangal Gulshezada Abdul Wadood, the grandson of the Akhund of Swat, a famous Sufi ascetic, and religious leader. His son Miangak Jahanzib took over in 1940 until 1969 when Swat was integrated into NWFP. They were the competent leaders who achieved internal political integration and promoted the building of roads, hospitals, and a free school system. The peak season generally from Mid April to end of September when the climate higher up the valley is at its best.
Islamabad International Airport
subject to your flight schedule
Arrival at Islamabad international airport, transfer to centrally located hotel/guest house. In the afternoon site seeing of twin cities (Islamabad & Rawalpindi), visit modern mosque Shah Faisal, Doman-e-koh, Shakarparian hills, Lok Versa, Modern markets (Jinnah supper & super markets), Raja Bazaar, Cant area etc. O/N stay in hotel.
Following breakfast, we will start drive to Swat. En route we will visit Buddhist Monastery at Takht Bhai. After visit we will continue our drive to Mingora Swat. Check-in will be around late noon. Dinner & night stay at hotel.
Following breakfast, for half day we will visit Malam Jaba where is one of the best high ski resort in Pakistan. Around noon we will come back to Swat and visit Museum, Butkaras, white palace and mingora bazaar. Evening we will get back to hotel for dinner and accommodation.
Morning we will leave hotel and drive to Kalam. En route we will stop for lunch and trout fishing at Bharain and later we will continue our drive to Kalam. Evening we will walk in Kalam bazaar. Dinner will be served at traditional restaurant.
Full day excursion to Mahodand Lake which is in upper Usho. Before that we will stop at jungle and lower Usho for pictures. We will spent couple of hours at lake and around late noon we will come back to Kalam for accommodation.
Following breakfast, we will have another full day excursion to excursion by 4×4 Khalkhada lake through Gabraal side and in the evening back to Kalam for night stay.
We will drive back to Swat and from afternoon till evening we will visit remaining site of Swat Valley. The visit will include, weaving bazaar and rock buddha. In the evening we will back to hotel for dinner and accommodation.
Frive back to Islamabad. half day city tour of Rawalpindi includes saddar bazaar, raja bazaar and truck art painting. We will back to hotel around evening for accommodation.
You will be transfer to Islamabad International airport. From peace and serenity of Hunza 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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