Day 01: Arrive Peshawar
We are greeted with As Salaam Aleykoum, the traditional greeting, as we arrive at the historical city of Peshawar.
Day 02: Khyber Pass & Peshawar
This day is like walking back into history with a visit first the Khyber Pass, which has been a silent witness to countless great events. Conquered by the Greeks, ruled by the Buddhists, destroyed by the Huns, rebuilt by the Brahmins and invaded by the great Moghuls, it is also reputed that the army of Alexander the Great of Macedonia crossed this pass in 327 BC. An afternoon tour of Peshawar city includes the Museum which houses a rich treasure of art, sculpture and historical relics dating from the Gandhara period (300 BC to 300 AD) to modern times. We then visit Yadgar Square, the beautiful Mahabat Khan Mosque and the Qissa Khawani Bazaar (storyteller's bazaar).
Day 03: Peshawar/Swat
Driving along the picturesque Malakand Pass we first visit the magnificent ancient Buddhist monastery Takht-i-Bahi dating back to 1st to 7th Century AD. We continue next the to the enchanting Swat Valley visiting the famous Churchill's Picket en route. Later we tour Saidu Shariff, the capital of Swat Valley and the small, but well preserved Swat Museum and Mingora known for it's very colourful bazaar and Marghazar.
Day 04: Swat/Chilas
Ascending north, we cross the 2134m Shangla Pass, which gives a
breathtaking and panoramic view of the Swat Valley before getting
along side the Indus River on our way to the Gilgit Valley.
Day 05: Chilas/Hunza
Driving on the world famous Karakoram Highway to Hunza we see
spectacular scenery with high lofty mountain, first from the
Himalayan and later from the Karakoram ranges. En route we stop at
various scenic spots and local villages. The exalting scenery en route
does not prepare us enough for the majesty and serenity that Hunza
Valley will behold on us. As we arrive at Karimabad, the capital of
Hunza Valley, we are welcomed by the Hunzakuts.
Day 06: Hunza
Early morning we head for Eagle's Nest where on the high mountains
to enjoy a local breakfast with a captivating view of the Hunza Valley.
This will be followed by a visit of the Hunza Valley and meeting local
folks, understanding the secrets of their longevity and also visit some
of the important historical sites including the recently renovated,
simple yet overpowering, Baltit Fort and the older Altit Fort.
Day 07: Hunza
Day at leisure. An ideal opportunity for individual and personal search with the Hunzakuts or from the serenity of the valley. Optional tours to either Nagar Valley Hopper Glacier or the Khunjerab Pass are available.
Day 08: Hunza/Gilgit
Driving southwards we reach the ancient silk route town of Gilgit, the
administrative centre of Northern Pakistan. Afternoon we tour Gilgit,
visiting a local school, the home of a Gilgiton, the popular polo
grounds and the very typical mountain bazaar. We'll also visit the
impressive rock carvings of the Buddha near Kargah.
Day 09: Gilgit/Skardu
Today we head for another spectacular and distinguished valley of
Baltistan. Perched at an elevation of 2,286m, Skardu is set in a
landscape of towering mountains, deep gorges, resounding waterfalls
and calm, deep lakes. It is the district headquarters of Baltistan. Our
first visit is to the small shops and markets of Skardu Bazaar followed
by the peaceful, deep blue waters of Lake Katchura surrounded by
high mountains. Teeming with brown trout, near the lakeside, apple
and apricot trees blossom during the season.
Day 10: Skardu
We tour the mountain town of Skardu - which is mecca of
mountaineers attempting on the many towering peaks like the world's 2nd highest mountain K-2, Gashbrum, Masherbrum, Broad Peak etc. This is followed by an excursion to the exquisite Shigar Valley where there are many mineral springs that are revered by the local as curing waters for skin diseases. We also visit local mountain villages.
Day 11: Skardu/Islamabad
A spectacular flight* over the Karakoram and the Himalayas gets us to Islamabad. We take an excursion to Taxila, once the seat of oriental culture. It's famous for the rare specimens of stucco from the Gandhara period excavated from Sirkap and various Buddhist Stupas & Monasteries. The museum houses objects and sculptures dating from the 4thC BC. to the 5thC AD.
Day 12: Islamabad & Rawalpindi
Going back into times we visit the old garrison town of Rawalpindi
followed by a scene into modernity at Islamabad. We get an
interesting insight into the folk traditions by visiting the Institute of
Folk Heritage, a small, neatly decorated ethnological museum. This is
followed by the Shakarparian (sweet hills) Garden, whicj gives us a
panoramic view of Islamabad before driving past various modern
streets and buildings - graceful with a touch of Islamic architecture.
Our tour culminates at one of the world's largest mosque- Shah Faisal
Mosque which also houses a University specializing in Islamic
Philosophy and Law. Afternoon is at leisure.
Day 13: Depart Islamabad
From peace and serenity of Hunza to the hustle and bustles of
"modern" trends, we say Khuda Hafiz, the typical farewell, as we
depart after what will have been a very inspiring tour into Shangri-
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