Travel and Tourism

Cultural and Natural Heritage Sites of Pakistan in Islamabad Capital, Taxila and Murree Hills

Monument

       Cultural and Natural Heritage Sites in Islamabad,
This is a comprehensive travel information about visiting the beautiful and attractive places of Pakistan. The cultural and natural heritage of Pakistan can be visited at any time of the year. Islamabad (the federal capital of Pakistan) hosts numerous tourist attractions such as. Daman-i-Koh, Margalla Zoo, Margalla Hills National Park on the northern edge of Islamabad Capital Territory and the Margalla Range with many valleys and high mountains belonging to the foothills of the Himalayas, The Pakistan Monument, Faisal Mosque, Shakarparian, Lok Virsa Heritage Museum (a museum of history and culture showcasing the living cultures of Pakistan) and Rawal Lake Viewpoint are among the major tourist attractions in the Islamabad area. The city serves as a stopover for travel to the Murree Hills and northern areas of Pakistan when arriving from the Pakistani provinces of Punjab, Sindh and sometimes even Balochistan.

1–       Pakistan Monument, Islamabad,

The Pakistan Monument is a national monument and heritage museum located on the western Shakarparian Hills in Islamabad, Pakistan. The monument was built to symbolize the unity of the people of Pakistan. It is dedicated to the people of Pakistan who sacrificed their “today” for a better “tomorrow”. Due to its height, the monument is visible from the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi and is a popular destination for tourists.

2-   Daman-e-Koh, Islamabad,

Daman-e-Koh is a tourist lookout point and hill garden north of Islamabad and is located amidst the Margalla Hills. It is located about 2400 feet above sea level and almost 500 feet from Islamabad city. It is a popular destination for both residents and tourists of the capital and has a large parking lot with telescopes for avid observers and a restaurant to make your stay even more enjoyable. A great picnic spot with a good atmosphere. There is a plan to build a chair lift from Daman-e-Koh to Pir Sohawa. Monkeys are a common sight in winter. Cheetahs are often reported descending from the higher hills of Murree during snowfall.

3 –      Faisal Mosque, Islamabad,

Shah Faisal Mosque is a national mosque and one of the largest mosques in Pakistan, ranking sixth in the world in terms of capacity. There are three worshippers in different halls and on the ground. The mosque was named after Shah Faisal bin Abdul Aziz. The king of Saudi Arabia contributed too much to the construction of the mosque. The building was built in Turkish architecture and features four tall minarets and a Bedouin-shaped hall, which is far from the usual dome. It is located at the northern end of Faisal Avenue, making it the northernmost end of the city and at the foot of the Margalla Hills, the westernmost foothills of the Himalayas. The mosque is located on an elevated site against the picturesque backdrop of the national park. The Faisal Mosque is a popular cultural heritage site for tourists meeting on the other side of Pakistan.

The mosque features a modern design consisting of eight slanted concrete shell-shaped roofs that form a triangular prayer hall that can accommodate 10,000 worshippers. The mosque is inspired by the design of a typical Bedouin tent and is a major tourist attraction in Pakistan. The mosque is a contemporary and influential work of Islamic architecture.

4-   Shakarpariyan Hills, near Zero Point, Islamabad,

Shakarpariyan is a historical place with lush green gardens and another picnic spot in the capital city of Islamabad. It is located near Zero Point, near the Star and Crescent Monument, which started Shakarpariyan. The historical significance of the area lies in the fact that the Pakistan Day parade is held here every year on March 23. The area offers a breathtaking view of the twin city and shares its benefits with rose and jasmine gardens and trees that create a pleasant atmosphere to provide a clean place for the public, picnic and playground for children.

5-   Lok Virsa Heritage Museum, Islamabad,

Lok Virsa is the best heritage site of Pakistan in Shakarpariyan hills. It displays a wide range of embroidery, jewelry, woodwork, metalwork, block printing, ivory and bone, as well as wall paintings, glass and marble work; tiles, mosaics and stucco window coverings are also on display. The museum established the Folklore Museum and named it National Museum of Ethnology of Pakistan, commonly known as Lok Virsa Heritage Museum. The aim of the perseverance is to create a link between the culture of the ancestors and the culture of the youth, thus preserving education and creating a treasure trove for the next generation. It is a great way to introduce culture to foreigners.                                                          6-                 Taxila Museum, near Islamabad, Taxila The Taxila Museum is located in Taxila, Punjab, Pakistan. The museum houses a significant and comprehensive collection of Gandharan art dating from the 1st to 7th centuries CE. The museum is a site museum and its collection focuses mainly on Gandharan art. These sites in Taxila date back to 600 or 700 BC. There are about 4000 objects on display, including stone, stucco, terracotta, silver, gold, iron and semi-precious stones. Mainly, the exhibition consists of objects from 600 BC to 500 AD. The Buddhist, Hindu and Jain religions are well represented by these objects, which were found in three ancient cities and more than two dozen Buddhist stupas and monasteries and Greek temples in the region. Taxila, the ancient capital of the Gandhara Buddhist civilization, which are the most important archaeological sites in the subcontinent, and the ruins of the former city of Sirkup, a hilltop former Julian monastery and the site’s magnificent museum, which contains artefacts excavated at the sites. Among them are gold and silver coins from the time of Alexander the Great (326 BC).                                                        7- Taxila Archaeological Ruins, near Islamabad,

Archaeological Ruins Taxila is located in the Rawalpindi district of Pakistan’s Punjab province and is a huge serial site that includes a Mesolithic cave and the archaeological remains of four early settlement sites, Buddhist monasteries, and a Muslim Mosque and madrassa. Taxila is strategically located on a branch of the Silk Road that connected China to the West, and reached its heyday between the 1st and 5th centuries. Today, it is one of the most important archaeological sites in Asia. The ruins of the four settlement sites at Taxila show the pattern of urban development in the Indian subcontinent over more than five centuries. One of these sites, Bihr Hill, is associated with the historical event of Alexander the Great’s triumphal entry into Taxila. The archaeological sites of Saraikala, Bhir, Sirkap, and Sirsukh are all of unique importance in illustrating the development of urban settlement in the Indian subcontinent. Bhir Hill is the earliest historic city of Taxila and was probably founded by the Achaemenians in the 6th century BC. Its stone walls, house foundations, and winding streets represent the earliest forms of urbanization on the subcontinent. Bihr is also associated with the triumphal entry of Alexander the Great into Taxila in 326 BC. The ancient mound of Sarikala represents Taxila’s earliest settlement, with evidence of Neolithic, Bronze Age, and Iron Age occupation. Sirkap was a fortified city founded in the middle of the 2nd century BC. There were many private houses, stupas, and temples laid out according to the Hellenistic grid system, showing strong Western Classical ideas in vernacular architecture. A Central Asian tribe, the Kushanas, destroyed the city in the 1st century. To the north, excavations of the ruins of the Kushan city of Sirsukh have brought to light an irregular rectangle of ashlar masonry walls with rounded bastions. These walls testify to the early influence of Central Asian architectural forms on those of the subcontinent. The site of Taxila was included in the World Heritage List of UNESCO in 1980.

8-               Rawal Lake / Rawal Dam, Islamabad,

Rawal Lake and Rawal Dam in Pakistan is an artificial reservoir that provides the water needs for the cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad. There is a terraced garden on the lake side. The highest point in the garden offers a great view of the lake, Margalla and Murree Hills. Rawal Lake is located within an isolated section of the Village Malpur, Bani Gala and Margalla Hills National Park. Korang River along with some other small streams coming from Margalla Hills have been set to form this artificial lake which covers an area of 8.8 km. The Rawal dam was built across the Korang River at this lake in 1962. It is an ideal place for picnicking, fishing and boating.

9-   Bird Park, Islamabad,

This is just adjacent to the Rawal Lake. The Bird Park is the worlds’ third Largest and comprehensive beautiful Aviary having a variety of birds in Pakistan. There are almost, more than 300 Bird species and over 4000 birds every type of birds ranging from huge variety of parrots, Pelican, Peacocks, Black Swan, ducks, Makao and many other small and large birds. You can walk around the area feed the birds and they will just start following you. Bird Aviary Lake View Park Islamabad is nice place to visit specially for those who love to Birds and walk to walk between the beautiful birds. This park is very beautiful place for entertainment with family and friends especially for Children as well as others activity like—Boating, Bar B Q and Beautiful Sitting Area with Greenery / Flowers with multi-color places. If you get a chance to visit Islamabad, Pakistan, you must visit the bird park.

10-    Melody Food Park, Islamabad,

It is a very Popular Food Center situated in Sector G-6, Islamabad. There are Variety of Food Stalls. Fast food, Bar B Q, Drinks Tea, Coffee etc. All types of Foods are Precious and can be eat in Nominal Prices.

11-  Mall & Markets, Islamabad,

(a)-      The CentaurusIslamabad,

Centaurus is the biggest shopping mall in the twin cities Islamabad and Rawalpindi. It is best for shopping, food with an aerial view of the majestic city Islamabad.

(b)-      Aabpara Market, G-6 Sector, Islamabad, the oldest and most famous markets in Islamabad and a popular shopping hub for the people of Pakistan and tourists, you can find clothes, shoes, consumer goods, kitchen essentials, dry fruits, sporting goods etc.

(c)-      Ayyub Market, Islamabad, also known as F-8 Markaz is a commercial center located in Sector F-8, Islamabad. The market is mainly occupied by District courts, government offices of the Islamabad Capital Territory Administration and Margalla police station. There is also a foreigners registration center in the market. it is a good place for weekend outing as well as variety of all daily use items like clothes, fast food, shoes, grocery etc.

(d)-      Jinnah Super Market, F-7 Sector, Islamabad, the market is situated within the heart of the city has become the most recognized and iconic shopping areas of Islamabad. The biggest market to get mobile phones, clothes, garments and jewelry all together. All type of healthy and refreshing food available here.

               MURREE HILLS, PUNJAB, PAKISTAN

Murree is known as the queen of the mountains. The city is located 62 km from the capital Islamabad in Galiyat region, Rawalpindi, Punjab province and is connected by road with Muzaffarabad, Azad Kashmir and Abbottabad, KPK province.

Murree is one of the most important and beautiful summer and winter destinations in Pakistan. The mountains covered with lush green trees, cool atmosphere, fresh air, beautiful valleys and most importantly the clouds on the roads embrace you full of happiness. The weather in Murree is pleasant all year round except in January and March when it snows heavily and the temperature drops to zero, but the climate here is mild and generally warm and temperate. Even in the driest month there is plenty of rain. People from all over the world visit the beautiful hills to enjoy the natural beauty, escape the sweltering heat in summer and experience amazing snowfalls in winter. The most attractive and beautiful places like Murree Hills, The Mall, Kashmir Point, Pindi Point, Nathiagali, Bhurban, Patriata (New Murree), Ayubia etc. are the major attractions in Murree that attract tourists from all over the world. The best hiking and trekking routes are Patriata, The Mall, Dungagali, Baragali, Muskpuri Hill and Nathiagali etc.

Let us try to reveal the hidden beauty of the top sightseeing spots of Murree that you must visit:

1- The Mall,

The Mall Road is an important as well as popular tourist attraction with many restaurants, hotels, guest houses, handicraft and jewelry stores etc. and is connected with other beautiful places. It offers beautiful flora and breathtaking views and attracts tourists from different parts of the world.

2- Kashmir Point,

Kashmir Point is known for its peace and serenity. Exit the Mall Road at the other end, walk up the GPO and walk for fifteen minutes, almost 1 km, to Kashmir Point and hike up Kashmir Point. From here you will have a beautiful view of the Kashmir Mountains. It is the highest point in Murree and due to the increasing crowds on the Mall Road, this point attracts the attention of visitors day after day.

3- Pindi Point,

Pindi Point is one of the first points you should visit in Murree. It is located 15 minutes’ walk from the mall Road. Pindi Point offers a beautiful view of mountains and lush green trees. From here you can overlook the entire town of Pindi. The chairlift ride down to Pindi Gali Bansara, 1.5 km away, is really nice and the scenery from the chairlift is beautiful. The road zigzags down. Tall pine trees stand throughout the ride. At the bottom of the valley there is a stopping point where you can enjoy yourself. At Pindi Point there is a café and playgrounds for children. Patriata hills can be seen there and a large jungle starts here. The chairlift is open from 9 am to 8 pm and can be supervised.

4- Bhurban,

Bhurban is located only 13 km from Murree and is connected with the main road to Azad Jammu and Kashmir. It has green landscape and pleasant atmosphere around the year. Hotel PC, which is located in Bhurban, has increased the attractiveness of the place with its luxurious facilities. This tourist place is very beautiful and offers various attractions to visit the Murree hills. Tourists prefer to stay at PC Hotel Bhurban and enjoy this place as well.

5-                         Patriata, Murree Hills,

New Murree is located about 15 km away from Murree hills. It is a well-developed hill station with large towering trees and beautiful hills. It is famous for the chairlift, which is worth a ride. There is also a first-class chairlift and cable car system that takes you from New Murree to Patriata. The entire ride is about 7 km long. New Murree is at ground level among the hills. The ride on the chairlift and cable car is an unforgettable experience for tourists. Besides, tourists can enjoy a lot of great scenery of the near and far hills. In winter, all the hills of Murree are covered with snow, while lush green landscapes can be seen in summer.

6- Nathia Gali,

It is a very beautiful and attractive green hill station 35 kilometers from Murree, at an altitude of 8400 feet, located in Abbottabad district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province with mountains, lush green meadows, cottages and beauty of cherry blossom trees as well as surrounded by walnut, maple and oak trees. It offers pristine natural beauty and breathtaking mountain views. Nathia Gali is only two hours away from Islamabad. Tourists can go hiking, horseback riding, skiing and climbing here, with May, June, July and August being the best time for climbing. In the time when the snow falls, it looks more ravishing and attractive to enjoy the snowfall. There are many restaurants, hotels and state rest houses where tourists can stay.

7-     Samundar Katha Lake,

A newly created lake, Samundar katha Lake, is located just a few kilometers from Nathia Gali and is a beautiful, fascinating place for a picnic with family and friends. Tourists can enjoy various activities such as zip-lining, boating, horse riding, camping and other water sports activities.

8- Changla Gali,

Changla Gali is the main mountain resort in Galiyat. It is equipped with numerous hotels and guesthouses for the tourists. The beauty of Changla Gali gains color and astonishment with the change of climate. The whole town experiences mild cold in summer and heavy snowfall in winter. Because of its scenic beauty and long pine trees, the place is always worth visiting for tourists.

8-                            Ayubia, Murree,Ayubia is located at an altitude of 1050 meters and is the second most popular place in the Galiyat, Murree region after Nathiagali. It attracts tourists mainly because of its rolling hills, steep slopes and cool climate. The hill stations in Ayubia are versatile and have standard facilities. Changla gali, Khaira gali, Ghor Dhaka and Khanspur are just a few of them. A chairlift ride from Ayubia is a distinctive way to see the mountains and an amazing excursion attraction for tourists in Nathia Gali. Enjoy the scenic beauty, mountains and lush green trees of Nathia Gali from the chairlift. In winter, the snow-capped mountains look stunning. The chairlift consists of two parts, namely the chairlift itself and the cable car. From the cable car, tourists enjoy and capture the impressive beauty of Nathia Gali. By car, tourists can reach Ayubia Chairlift from Islamabad in about 3 hours. The distance of Ayubia Chairlift from Islamabad is 72.8 km. There are many small stores near Ayubia Chair Lift, so tourists can enjoy tea and snacks while admiring the scenic beauty of the place and experiencing the beauty of nature.

10- Ayubia National Park,

Ayubia National Park is the largest national park in Pakistan and includes seven villages and four small towns; Nathia Gali, Thandiani, Khanspur and Ayubia. There are many amazing and beautiful places in Ayubia National Park. Thirty-one species of mammals (black bear, Kashmir Mountain fox, civet cat, Himalayan palm civet, red flying squirrel, etc.) and two hundred and three species of birds (golden eagle, honey buzzard, kestrel, mountain pigeon, Indian sparrow hawk, etc.) live in Ayubia National Park. The most popular attraction among tourists in Ayubia National Park is the chairlift. The weather in Ayubia National Park is very cold in summer and harsh in winter. By car, tourists can reach Ayubia from Islamabad in 2 hours 30 minutes. The distance from Ayubia to Islamabad is 75 km.

11- Dunga Gali,

Dunga Gali is a famous hiking trail in the greenery from where you can easily reach Ayubia. Tourists can enjoy the irresistible view and relax their mind while hiking. Hikers love this place for its natural beauty. On the Dunga Gali Track, there are many monkeys that you can capture with your cameras. Dunga Gali Track is the best place for hiking and trekking. Dunga Gali Track is an easy and ideal path for a leisurely walk. In winter, the track is covered with snow and the best place to spend time with friends and family.

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