Pakistan is the land which attracted Alexander the great from Macedonia in 326 B.C., with whom the influence of Greek culture came to this part of the world. During the 2nd century B.C., it was here that Buddhism was adopted as the state religion which flourished and prevailed here for over 1000 years, starting from 2nd century B.C., until 10th century A.D. During this time Taxila, Swat and Charsaddah (old Pushkalavati) became three important centres for culture, trade and learning. Hundreds of monasteries and stupas were built together with Greek and Kushan towns such as Sirkap and Sirsukh both in Taxila. It was from these centres that a unique art of sculpture originated which is known as Gandhara Art all over the world. Today the Gandhara Sculptures occupy a prominent place in the museums of England, France, Germany, USA, Japan, Korea, China, India and Afghanistan together with many private collections world over, as well as in the museums of Pakistan.
Nevertheless, the zenith of this Gandhara Art is one and only “Fasting Buddha” now on display in Lahore Museum, Lahore. Finally, the light of Islam penetrated in this part of the world as early as 7th century AD. from the west with the Arabs and during the 10th century AD from the north with the Turks. Islam replaced the early way of life of worshipping idols and introduced new philosophy of faith in one God. With Islam in came a new culture in this land from Arabia and Central Asia. Hence, a new type of architecture, hitherto unknown in this area, was introduced. Tens of thousands of Mosques, Madrassahs, tombs and gardens were created by the Muslim rulers all over the Sub-Continent. The new style of Islamic architecture prevailed and matured in this land for over a thousand years. The most important contribution of the Muslim rulers to this land, however, is a new language Urdu which became the national language of Pakistan since its independence in 1947. Buddhism is just one aspect of the legacy of Gandhara. It was the seat of inspiration and learning that created an expansion of Buddhism throughout the region in the first millennium AD. The great Mauryan king, who had embraced Buddhism, established his capital as the center of spiritual enlightenment.? It was from here that Buddhism spread to the eastern regions through the northern valleys of Karakoram, the Himalayas and the Hindu Kush. The vivid heritage of its golden period is preserved not only in the form of ancient artifacts and monuments, but it can also be observed in the daily life of its people. While visiting the historic cities of Taxila, Peshawar, Swat and many other places one can relive in the glorious period of Gandhara.
3 Hours Before Flight Time
Day 1 Arrival Islamabad Reception and transfer to hotel, PM Sightseeing
Day 2 Islamabad-Peshawar Enroute Visit Taxila Museum and transfer to Peshawar
Day 3 Peshawar Sightseeing of Peshawar.
Day 4 Peshawar-Swat Transfer to Swat. Enroute visit Takht Bhai site.
Day 5 Swat Sightseeing of Swat.
Day 6 Swat-Besham Drive to Besham over Shangla Pass.
Day 7 Besham-Gilgit Continue drive to Gilgit. Enroute visit rock carvings at Shatial, Chilas and Alam Bridge.
Day 8 Gilgit Sightseeing of Gilgit and visit rock inscriptions Danyore Village and Konodas and Buddha image at Kargah.
Day 9 Gilgit-Hunza Drive to Hunza and visit Altit and Baltit Forts.
Day 10 Hunza Reserved for optional exploration or rest.
Day 11 Hunza-Gulmit Full day excursion of Khunjerab Pass and back to Gulmit.
Day 12 Gulmit-Gilgit Return back to Gilgit.
Day 13 Gilgit-Islamabad Fly or drive back to Islamabad.
Day 14 Islamabad Fly home.