Man’s quest for peace and eternal bliss has been linked invariably with penance and self-inflicted suffering. Buddha claimed to have attained “nirvana” this way. His disciples, clad in saffron robes, sought to find their peace, likewise, under the ancient trees at Taxila; young devouts assimilated his teachings eagerly; master-craftsmen immortalized their homage to this man of peace in exquisitely-carved statues and figures, which they preserved in bell shaped mounds, called “stupas”.
These relics remain preserved in their original form to this day. And they are fascinating, both to scholars of Buddhism and casual students of history. On this tour, you will visit:
The great centre of Buddhist learning at Taxila with its unique combination of Hellenistic and Oriental religious art… innumerable specimens of Buddhist art and sculpture including the famed Dharmarajika stupa which contained a relic of Buddha; and Gandhara, the ancient site in Peshawar Valley where Buddhism flourished for 900 years.
The Peshawar museum also contains the famous gold vessel with the holy relics of Buddha. Not far away, at Charsadda, you will visit the ancient city of Pushkalawati.
The peace and serenity associated with Buddhist monks still pervades Takht-e-Bahi, an amazingly well-preserved Buddhist monastery, dating back to the 2nd-5th century AD, which is situated atop a 500-foot-high hill.
The tour also includes visits to the picturesque mountain region of Swat and Gilgit. Apart from their breath-taking natural beauty, they will hold you spellbound with their rich archaeological treasures
3 Hours Before Flight Time
Day 1 Islamabad
Day 2 Rawalpindi/Islamabad
Visit the twin cities of Rawalpindi/lslamabad
Drive to Peshawar. Enroute visit Taxila Museum and the excavated sites of the Buddhist Universities at Sirkap and Jaulian.
Later, a brief stopover at the Buddhist monastery at Takht-e-Bahi near Peshawar. Visit the legendary Kissa Khawani Bazar, where time comes to a standstill over a cup of kawalocally brewed tea – at a roadside teashop. You simply marvel at the workmanship of a master craftsman busy at work. Buy handicrafts at throwaway prices.
Day 3 Gandhara the Mughals
Visit Peshawar Museum for a glimpse at the largest collection of Graeco-Buddhist Gandhara sculpture and the casket that carried the remains of Lord Buddha . Fly to Lahore, the garden city of, the grand Mughals which also retains the old grandeur of the British Raj period.
Day 4 Visit Lahore Museum to see the fasting Buddha, the greatest masterpiece of Gandhara sculpture, along with some rare Mughal miniatures.
Day 5 Visit the 3-terraced, walled Shalimar Gardens, laid out in a charmingly typical Persian style of his age by Emperor Shah Jahan in the year 1642 with royal pavilions, a white marble waterfall, 3 lakes, over 400 fountains and sunken tanks amid a variety of trees arid roses and trimmed lawns.
Day 6 Visit Lahore Fort, built by the greatest of the Mughals, Emperor Akbar, with additional edifices by his three successors, Jahangir, Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb, specially the Shish Mahal — the palace of Mirrors, whose walls and ceilings are adorned with intricate patterns of multi-coloured concave mirror chips, the Badshahi Mosque one of the most majestic, and largest mosques of white marble domes and red-stone structure. Free for shopping.
Day 7 Karachi
Fly to Karachi, a bustling port city. Visit the white marble mausoleum of Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the Father of Pakistan, the National Museum which has an extensive collection from the 5000 years old Indus Valley Civilization, besides the Gandhara and Mughal periods, and Dhobi Ghat, the open air laundry or enjoy crabbing tour on the Arabian Sea Coast.
Day 8 A day air trip to Moenjodaro, the excavated sites of 5000 years old city once on the banks of the Indus River with its well-planned roads and buildings that also had the world’s first most “modern” sewerage system.
Day 9 Departure for homeward destination.