Pakistan Travel Guide
Pakistan has always been out on a limb. Even before the Iranian revolution and the afghan war throttled Asian overland travel. Pakistan tended to be an afterthought on the way to India. Few Westerners know much about it beyond media impressions of guns and drugs, communal violence, and recurrent martial law.
In fact, it offers some of Asia’s most mind bending landscapes. A Kaleidoscope of cultures and a deeply generous people. It’s the site of some of the earliest human settlements, home of ancient civilization rivaling those of Egypt and Mesopotamia, and the crucible of two of the world’s major religions, Hinduism and Buddhism.
Pakistan has only existed as a Political unit since the partition of British India in 1947. create as a ‘homeland’ for India’s Muslims, it has had an uphill struggle, with a medieval agricultural system, widespread illiteracy, an anaemic economy and a civil service afflicted with corruption and lethargy. Possessed by fear of India, it has created a military class heavily involved in its politics, and has spent most of its short life under martial law.
Mountaineers appreciated the land long before it was a separate country. The best known attractions are in the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) and the Northern Areas, in a knot of four great mountain ranges- the Hindu Kush, Pamir, Karakoram and Great Himalaya – with the densest concentration of high peaks on earth (including K2, second only to Mt Everest).
Thanks to the audacity of Pakistani and Chinese highway engineers, most of this is now accessible to resolute village-hoppers too: the former princely states of Chitral, Swat and Hunza and the remote, monumental valleys of Baltistan. In the 1980s, the Karakoram Highway (KKH) put these polyglot Kingdoms within reach of travelers and created an overland route from China.
Pakistan’s east-west artery is the Grand Trunk (GT) Road, once part of the Moghul highway from Kabul to Calcutta. At its western end is the Khyber Pass, legendary gateway to the subcontinent, and Peshawar, in whose bazaars you can mix with the dignified and formidable Pashtuns (Pathans).
It was in Swat and the Peshawar valley that Buddhism came of age 2000 years ago. At the road’s eastern end is beautiful Lahore, a virtual museum of Moghul palaces and gardens.
The floodplain of the Indus River in Punjab and Sind provinces is Pakistan’s breadbasket. Four millennia ago this was the heart of the Indus valley civilization, whose grandeur is evident in the excavated city of Mohenjo-Daro. The seaport of Karachi was the country’s first capital and is still its commercial hub and main gateway.
Baluchistan province is a high-desert tribal zone with a history and identity all its own, though too remote and unruly to be on most reasonable itineraries except to or from the Iranian border.
History of Pakistan
Geography Of Pakistan
Geology of Pakistan
Climate and Weather of Pakistan
Flora & Fauna of Pakistan
Government System in Pakistan
Pakistan Population & People
Pakistan Art & Culture
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