Pakistan, the crucible of many cultures and from the Stone Age sites to the British era has historical remains scattered all over the country. However, the most popular are the Indus valleys and Gandhara civilization. Almost all the major museums of the world have pieces of Gandhara Art exhibited in their galleries. Gandhara, the ancient Peshawar valley and the cradle of Buddhist civilization, which gave birth to the famous Gandhara Art, is first mention in the Rig-Veda. It remained one of the provinces of the Achaemenian Empire according to a Darius period inscription of 6th century B.C. Pushkalavati, its first capital from 6th century B.C to 1st cent.AD was invaded in Mauryan, indo-Greek, Scythian, Parthians and Kushans, who established their capital at Pushapura or Peshawar in 1st century AD.
In 7th century AD, the shahi dynasty established its capital at Hund, which remained their centre till the invasions of Gaznavids in 998 AD, hence ending the rule of Gandhara. The sites and antiquities of Takht-i-bahi, Shari Bahlol, Jamal garhi, rani gat, aziz dheri, Bukhara, Saidu Stupa, Andan Dheri, Chat Pat, Dam Kot Khanpur, and the monasteries int eh Taxila valley provided richest collection of the Gandhara Art to the Peshawar, Mardan, Pushkalavati, Taxila, swat, Dir museums through the excavations by British, Italian and Pakistani scholars.
Day 01: Islamabad – Peshawar – Peshawar Museum (200kms/3hrs)
Drive to Peshawar and transfer to hotel on arrival. In the afternoon, we will visit Peshawar Museum, housing a good collection of Buddhist artifact. Later on, the city sightseeing tour would include a visit to Qissa Khawani bazaar and Masjid Mohabat Khan.
Day 02: Peshawar – Saidu Shareef, Swat Valley (170kms/5hrs)
After breakfast in hotel, we will depart for Swat Valley and on arrival transfer to hotel. In the afternoon, we will drive to Manglore, a nearby town to visit the laregest rock cared figure of Lord Buddha at Jahanabad.
Day 03: Saidu Shareef – Takhat-e-Bahi – Shahbaz Garhi – Khanpur (230kms/7hrs)
After breakfast, we will checkout and visit Swat Archaeological Museum, mainly with the collection of Buddhism relics and pieces of art. We will visit the site of Butkara 1 as well, prior leaving Swat Valley. Crossing the picturesque Malakand Pass, we will make stop at Takhat-e-Bahi, one of the most important sites in the region. Resuming our drive, we will visit the Ashoka Rock Inscription at Shahbaz Garhi near Mardan. We continue our drive to Taxila and make a night stop at Khanpur, a scenic spot with turquoise green lake.
Day 04: Khanpur – Jaulian – Sirkap – Taxila Museum – Islamabad (60kms/2hrs)
After breakfast, we will check out and visit the famous site of Jaulian with a good collection of votive stupas and statues in the monastery above a hillock. We will later visit the site of Sirkap, which was the second city of Taxila and then visit the Archaeological Museum of Taxila, which would complete the story of the tour.
We will drive back to Islamabad and drop participants at the designated spot.
-End of the Tour-