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Pakistan is a destination of special interest. Its main attractions include adventure tourism, cultural and archaeological tourism as found at Taxila, Moenjodaro, Harappa and Swat.

Northern areas of Pakistan are the most fascinating regions of natural beauty. Amidst towering snow-clad peaks with heights varying from 1,000 to 8,000m, the regions of Gilgit, Hunza and Baltistan recall Shangri-La. The cultural patterns of these regions are as interesting as their geography. The people with typical costumes, folk dances, music and sports like polo and buzkashi, provide the tourists an unforgettable experience. Nowhere else in the world is such a great concentration of high mountains, peaks, glaciers and passes except in Pakistan.

Of the 14 over 8,000 meters high peaks on earth, 4 occupy an amphitheater at the head of Baltoro glacier in the Karakoram range.

These are K-2, Broad Peak Gasherbrum-1 and Gasherbrum - II. Nanga Parbat is equally great. In addition to that, there are 68 peaks over 7,000m and hundreds others over 6,000m. Pakistan has some of the longest glaciers such as Siachen, Hispar, Biafo, Baltoro and Batura outside the Polar region.

For centuries, the Silk road remained the main trading route between South and Central Asia. After the completion of the Karakoram highway in 1978 along the same route, joining Pakistan with Chinese Muslim autonomous region of Xinjiang, the ancient trade link has been revived. Karakoram has provided a great opportunity for international travelers to explore the unspoilt natural beauty, unique culture and ancient traditions of Pakistan together with other Silk road countries like China, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. The Indus Valley civilization was at its peak from 3rd till the middle of the 2nd millennium BC. Discovered in 1922, Moenjodaro was once a metropolis of great importance, forming part of the Indus Valley civilization with Harappa, Kot Diji and Mehrgarh.

Moenjodaro is considered as one of the most spectacular ancient cities of the world. It had mud-baked bricks buildings, an elaborate covered drainage system, a large state granary, a spacious pillared hall, a college of priests, a palace and a citadel. Harappa, another major city of the Indus Valley civilization, was surrounded by a massive brick wall fortification. Other features and plan of the city were similar to that of Moenjodaro. The Kot Diji culture is marked by well-made pottery and houses built of mud-bricks and stone foundations.

Mehrgarh was the pioneer of the Indus Valley civilization. The evidence of crop cultivation, animal husbandry and human settlements have been found here. The inhabitants of Mehrgarh were living in mud-brick houses and learned to make pottery around 6,000 BC.
The Gandhara region had once been the cradle of the world famous Gandhara art, culture and knowledge. Taxila attracted the attention of the great conqueror, Alexiander in 327 BC, when it was a province of the powerful Achaemenian empire. It later came under the Maurian dynasty and reached a remarkable mature level of development under the great Ashoka. Then appeared the Indo-Greek descendants of Alexander’s warriors and finally came the most creative period of Gandhara. The Kushan dynasty was established in about 59AD. During the next 200 years, Taxila, Peshawar and Swat became a renowned centre of learning philosophy, art and trade.

Pilgrims and travelers were attracted to Gandhar from as far as China and Greece. In the 5th century Ad, the White Huns snuffed out of the last of successive civilizations that held unbroken sway in this region for several centuries.


Source: The Kathmandu Post, March 23, 2005

keyterms: Touristic, Pakistan, Karakoram high way, Silk road, hotels, mountains













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