Tourism is travel for family, religious, recreation, cultural and heritage, adventure or business purposes, for a limited time period and it is commonly related with international travel but may also related with to travel within the same country. According to the World Tourism Organization, tourists are the people “traveling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes”. Both the domestic or international level travelling to change the environment and to release the tension of busy work schedule is called tourism.
Today, tourism has become a major source of income for many states of the world and it affects both the countries of source and the host. Unusual environment, beautiful natural and man-made structures, high mountains, stunning valleys, deserts and deep sea are some of the features that can attract the tourists. People belong to the countries which have bad weather conditions, also seek to visit a place where they can enjoy their vacations in the lovely environment and can see the gifts of nature.
Tourism in Pakistan
Pakistan is blessed with extra ordinary rich historical heritage, high adventure and outstanding natural beauty. It is a land with diverse culture, people with different nature and traditions and unique landscape. There are thousands of different places in the country that creates interest of millions of tourists from not only within the country but outside the country as well. Countless old fortresses and ancient architecture in the northern part of the country attracts the tourists to saw the golden eras of history.
Pakistan has a wealthy cultural and ethnic background and the region of Pakistan has been invaded, occupied and settled in the past by different people. Greeks, Aryans, Arabs, Turks, White Huns, Mongols and various other groups have been attached with this land by any means. The region of Pakistan has formed a different cultural unit within the main cultural complex of South Asia from past. Buddhist monuments, Hindu/Buddhist temples, Palaces and Monuments built by Emperors, tombs, pleasure grounds and Anglo-Mogul mansions are included in the ancient sites of Pakistan. Pakistani society is multilingual and multicultural society and the traditional family values are considered sacred and highly respected in the country.
In order to highlight some features of historic and heritage tourism in Pakistan, we have given the detailed introduction of some attractive places in Pakistan.
Chaukhandi tombs, are accredited to Baloch and Jokhio tribes, and were mainly built during Mughal rule in the 15th and 18th centuries when Islam became dominant.They are situated 29 km east of Karachi and close to the N-5 National Highway near Landhi Town. The style of structural planning is ordinary to the locale of Sindh as well as extraordinary as in it is not a single where else in sight in the Islamic world. The style of structure of these tombs is not only typical to the region of Sindh but distinctive in the sense that it is nowhere else to be found in the Islamic world. Chaukhandi tombs are decorated other than geometrical crowd and themes with figural representation, for example, mounted horsemen, chasing scene, arms, gems and so forth.
Makli Hill is one of the biggest necropolises on the earth, with a diameter of approximately 8 km. It lies approx. 98 km east of Karachi and is the interment spot of by most accounts 125,000 nearby rulers, governors, scholars, Sufi holy people and others. Makli is situated on the edges of Thatta, the capital of lower Sindh until the seventeenth century, in the southeastern province of Pakistan. It was engraved on the World Heritage List in 1981under the name of Historical Monuments of Thatta.The unique assemblage of huge structures introduces a magnificent order of monumental structures in distinctive compositional styles. These structures are remarkable for their combination of differing impacts into a nearby style and that is the reason behind its attraction.
Shah Jahan Mosque (Thatta)
The Shah Jahan Mosque is situated in Thatta, Sindh territory, Pakistan. It was built during the rule of Mughal ruler Shah Jahan. The mosque was built in 1647, as a blessing to the populace of Sindh for their hospitality and kindness. It has been on the conditional UNESCO World Heritage list following 1993. The mosque is constructed with red blocks with blue hued coating tiles most likely imported from the town of Haala, Sindh and an aggregate of 93 arches. The architecture of Shah Jahan Mosque is very beautiful and thousands of tourists from Pakistan and other parts of the world visit there to see the Mosque.
Rawat Fort is situated in Pothohar Pakistan. The fortress was constructed during the 16th century by Gakhars, an assigned warrior group raised by nearby tribes to shield the Pothohar level. It is 17 km east of Rawalpindi on Grand Trunk Road. The Rawat Fort was the scene of a fight between the Gakhar ruler Sultan Sarang and Afghan ruler Sher Shah Suri in 1546 AD. Rawat Fort is in square shape and has two entry gates. Thetomb of Sultan Sarang Khan is in the center of the fort like many other graves. Rawat Fort contains a Mosque made up of three major vault molded rooms.
Rohtas Fort is a historical garrison fort situated close to the city of Jhelum in Punjab, Pakistan. It was constructed by Raja Todar Mal, under the requests of the Afghan lord Sher Shah Suri, to stifle the insubordinate tribes of the northern Punjab area, in the 16th century. Rohtasfort is around 4 km in perimeter and was built to crush the nearby tribes of Potohar, who opposed the Sur dynasty after the Mughal ruler Humayun was removed by the previous. It took eight years to build the fort by Mughal ruler Humayun in 1555. During their respective campaigns in then Punjab region, Nadir Shah, the Turkic leader of Persia, Maratha and theAfghan ruler Ahmed Shah Abdali also camped in the Rohtas Fort. All the twelve gates of the Rohtas Fort are fine examples of the state of art of that period.
Indus Valley Civilization
The Indus Valley Civilization was a Bronze Age civilization that was home to the largest ancient urban civilization of the world. It was also the most widespread civilization of the ancient times which had covered the area of 1.2 million km, with the population of approximately more than five million, according to the estimate of historians. From the 3rd till the middle of the 2nd millennium BC, the Indus Valley Civilization was at its peak and it is also known as Harappan Civilization. Moenjodaro was a metropolis of great importance once with forming part of the Indus Valley Civilization with Kot Diji, Harappa and Mehrgarh. Moenjodaro is considered one of the most eye-catching ancient cities of the world. While Harappa is also a major city of the Indus Valley Civilization which was surrounded by huge brick wall fortification.
Mehrgarh is located in Kachi district at the foot of Bolan Pass near Sibi and it is approximately 9000 years old site. It is one of the most Neolithic sites in archaeology and the second oldest site of the Indus Valley Civilization after Bhirrana. Mehrgarh is one of the earliest sites with the evidence of herding and farming in South Asia. It is located in the west of the Indus River valley, between the cities of Quetta, Sibi and Kalat in Pakistan. Mehrgarh was discovered in 1974 by an archaeological team, which was directed by French archaeologists Jean-Francois Jarrigeand Catherine Jarrige. The site was excavated continuously during the periods of 1974 to 1986 and 1997 to 2000, in the second attempt. In the beginning, people lived in mud brick houses and stored their grain in the granaries. Later on, craft activities like bead production, tanning and knapping were also adopted by the people of Mehrgarh.
Gandhara was an ancient kingdom comprises of Mardan, Peshawar valley, Dir, Swat, Malakand and Bajaur agencies in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Taxila in Punjab and up to Jalalabad in Afghanistan. Gandhara was also known as the “city of men” and it is the sixth most beautiful place on earth, according to Zend Avesta. Under the Kushan Kings, Gandhara achieved its height from the 1st to the 5th century and it was conquered by Mehmood Ghaznavi in 1001 AD. The area of Gandhara was administrated from Kabul or Lahore, during the Muslim rule. Gandhara was an independent district during the Mughal rule and Kabul province was also included in this area. The vast collection of sculptures of Gandhara Civilization is not only present in the museums of Pakistan but also occupy a prominent place in the museums of Germany, France, USA, England, Japan, India, Afghanistan and Korea.
Pakistan is also known as a treasure house of Muslim architecture the city of Lahore is the cultural hub of the country. Lahore has witnessed the rise and fall of many rulers like Ghaznavis, Ghoris and Slaves, before Mughals arrival. Babur of Ferghana, the founder of the Mughal dynasty had conquered the city in 1524 AD and ruled till 1764 AD. Royal Fort and the Mosque, Wazir Khan’s Mosque, Tombs of Jehangir, Asif Jah, Noor Jehan and the Shalimar Gardens, and many other important monuments including Hiran Minar, were constructed during this period. The Mosques, shrines and forts located in Bahawalpur and Multan are also the masterpieces of the Muslim architecture. Shrines of Shaikh Bahauddin Zakaria, Shah Rukan-e-Alam, Hazrat Shams Tabrez at Multan,Tomb of Bibi Jiwandi at Uch Sharif near Bahawalpur and Forts at Multan and Derawar (Bahawalpur) are some important treasures of the Mughal Empire in Pakistan.
Uch Sharif is a very old town, located 73 kilometers away from Bahawalpur, in Bahawalpur district, South Punjab. It was founded by Alexander the Great and it was under the Hindu rule at that time. Uch Sharif is believed to be existed in 500 B.C. and Alexander came to Uch after conquering northern parts of India, according to some historians. Due to which, it is also called as Sikandara or Iskalanda. Uch Sharif contains the tombs of Bibi Jawandi, Hazrat Bahawal Haleem,Ustad Nuriya and Hazrat Jalaluddin Surkh Bukhari, which are considered masterpieces of Islamic architecture.Today, Uch is small town which is divided into three different quarters, known as Uch Bukhari, Uch Jilani, and Uch Mughlan.