Pakistan: Ethno-Historical Route through the Center-South

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Trip Duration Days - 15 Days

Pakistan: Ethno-Historical Route through the Center-South

Price Starts from € 3200

Route designed to discover little-known corners of Pakistan. The journey begins at the Afghan border and ends at the Arabian Sea. We will visit places away from the tourist circuits without neglecting iconic places such as the Mughal fort of Lahore or the southern Sufi shrines. We will move with a comfortable vehicle (minibus with a / c) from the center-north to the deep south, parallel to the great river Indos.
Date: 2 March 2021 - 16 March 2021

Duration: 15 days - 14 nights

Guide: Begoña F. Colmeiro.

The price includes:
-
International flights with air taxes
- All transfers
- Transportation by minibus a / c.
- Spanish guide
- Local guides
- Meal regime according to itinerary. BB = Accommodation with Breakfast, HB = Half Board, FB = Full Board
- Mineral water
- Accommodation according to itinerary
- Cook during the camping days
- Tickets to the places detailed in the itinerary (museums, natural parks, towns, etc.)
- Excursions mentioned in the itinerary - Basic travel insurance (does not include cancellation). The insurance company offers extensions to the basic insurance included that cover cancellation. Check price and conditions.

Price does not include:
- Drinks at meals
- Visa and management
- Tips
- Cancellation insurance
- Any service not indicated in the itinerary
 
DAY 1 (Tuesday 2 March): FLIGHT TO PESHAWAR VIA DOHA
Departure from Spain to Doha, Qatar. Connection with the flight to Peshawar. Arrival in the capital of Kibber-Pashtunawa and transfer to the hotel. Accommodation at: Hotel Empire. FB

DAY 2: PESHAWAR
Breakfast. Talk about the "Pashtun Culture". Peshawar, a mythical, thousand-year-old city, a cultural crossroads where history is everywhere. Founded in the SII d.C. by Kanishka, King of the Kushan Empire. Located on the Karakorum road, a strategic point on the Silk Road, at the foot of the Khyber Pass, where the Persian Empire, Alexander the Great, the Mughals, Marco Polo and even Churchil walked. City exploration and visit to Bala Hisar Fortress, Museum, Mahabat Khan Mosque, Shinwar Square, colonial buildings like Peshawar Club, Khyber House and Islamia College, too bad the iconic Deans Hotel, demolished in 2016, no longer exists , which was the scene of agreements, intrigues and conspiracies. The Caravanserai Gor Kathri, the Khyber and Khawani bazaars with their old Storytelling street, where we will observe a large number of Afghan refugees, mainly recognizable by the burqa worn by women. With the local guide we will be able to penetrate the depths of the most authentic Peshawar and understand the essence of the most magical city in Pakistan. Accommodation at: Hotel Empire. FB

DAY 3: PESHAWAR
Breakfast. Talk about the “Gypsy Ethnicity” in Pakistan, their way of life, their economic reality and social position. According to anthropologists, this people is originally from the Indus Valley, from where they expanded to the East to India and to the West, reaching the Iberian Peninsula in the 15th century, where they created a culture with a unique look that continues to connect them with their relatives from the East. Visit one of the semi-nomadic gypsy camps on the outskirts of Peshawar. Then we will approach the Khyber Pass, border with Afghanistan to see the environment (you need a permit). Accommodation at: Hotel Empire. FB

DAY 4: PESHAWAR - TAXILA - RAWALPINDI (3h)
Breakfast. Continuation to Taxila, base to explore the Gandhara culture. Talk about the "Gandhara Culture". Visit to Taxila, a World Heritage Site. Political and cultural center of the Gandhara kingdom, it was built at the confluence of the three main trade routes: the Bactrian towards central Asia, the Kashmir towards India and the Khunjerab pass towards China. The Gandhara culture, whose main exponent was the disappeared Buddhas of Bamiyan, spread through northern Afghanistan, Pakistan and India, between 300 BC. and 500 A.D. Melting pot of Greco-Buddhist cultures, where the Persian Empire, the Macedonia of Alexander the Great and the Mauryan Empire left their mark on bas-reliefs, stupas and monasteries such as Jaulian that we will visit. After the visit we will continue to Rawalpindi, the former capital of Pakistan after Karachi and before finally becoming Islamabad. Walking tour of the lively central market and the district of jewelery and wedding dresses. Accommodation at: Hotel Shalimar. FB

DAY 5: RAWALPINDI - ISLAMABAD - LAHORE (5h)
Breakfast. Morning visit of the Fasial Mosque of Islamabad, the most iconic monument of the Pakistani capital. After the visit we will continue to Lahore, the historical center of the Mughal Empire. He almost did not stay in India, in 1947 70% of the population was Hindu and today only 1%. This forever marked the society and economy of the city and the country in general. Transfer to the hotel and introduction to the most beautiful city in Pakistan, a cultural, intellectual and artistic center. Afternoon visit to the Badshahi Mosque (1647) and urban tour of the walled city center. Accommodation at: Hotel One. FB

DAY 6: LAHORE
Breakfast. Talk about the "Mughal Culture". (1526/1857). Continuation of the visit to the city and its two World Heritage Sites: the Fort Complex with its palaces and Jaganhir tombs surrounded by Persian gardens. We will end up getting lost in the bazaars of the walled city. Accommodation at: Hotel One. FB

DAY 7: LAHORE - MULTAN (4h)
Breakfast and route to the south of Punjab. Our goal is Multan, on the banks of the Chenab River. This historic city sinks its history in more than 5,000 years since the Harapiana era. Zoroastrian pilgrimage center to the Temple of the Sun, conquered by Alexander the Great and under the Abassi Empire. In the 11th and 12th centuries it attracted numerous Sufi mystics, being called the City of Saints, its magnificent Mausoleums adorn the city. The most famous of them, Rukn-ud-Din was restored in 1980 restoring all its splendor. It has remained a large commercial center since medieval times thanks to its bazaar. Accommodation at: Hotel One. FB

DAY 8: MULTAN - UCH SHARIF - DERAWAR - BAHAWALPUR (3h)
Breakfast. On the way to the ancient kingdom of Bahawalpur we will stop at Uch Sharif, founded by Alexander the Great in 500 BC, it became in the SXIII an important religious and cultural center housing the main schools of Sufi mysticism. Its most precious monument is the Bibi Jawindi Mausoleum from 1493, proposed as a World Heritage Site. Octagonal in plan, with three staggered floors and ending in a dome, it is decorated with cobalt and turquoise tiles in the Samarkand style. Talk about "Sufism". Ascetic, heterodox, pantheistic and mystical religious doctrine of Islamism. Arrived in Bahawalpur we will continue to the old Derawar fort in the middle of the Cholistan desert. Currently in ruins, the fort remains the property of the royal family of Bahawalpur. With one of the former court servants, we will explore the fort, the royal cemetery, the white marble mosque and before returning to Bahawalpur, we will visit a semi-nomadic community of Bhil shepherds, a local ethnic group. Near the regional capital, we will visit the abandoned palace of the nawabs (kings) of Bahawalpur, the impressive palace of Sadiq Garh. Accommodation at: Hotel One. FB

DAY 9: BAHAWALPUR - SUKKUR (5h)
Breakfast. We continue to Sukkur already in the Sindh Region. Arrival in the city and lunch in an old palace of Hindu merchants. Talk with the family and afternoon visit of the ‘7 sisters’ a funeral complex in front of the historic bridges over the Indos. Near the river live communities of the Mohana ethnic group, the ancient Dravidian settlers of the Indos. Accommodation at: Hotel One. FB

DAY 10: SUKKUR - KHAIRPUR EMIRATE - KOT DIJI - SURKKUR (2h)
Breakfast and departure to Khairpur, another ancient princely state with a beautiful palace called Faiz Mahal from the late 18th century. We will try to have tea with a member of the royal family to tell us about the process of annexation to Pakistan in 1965 under the government of Ali Bhutto (Benazir Bhutto's father). We will continue to the historical capital of the emirate where an impressive fort stands out and the traditional atmosphere of the population. After lunch we will visit the Hindu neighborhood and continue to Sukkur to spend the night. Accommodation at: Hotel One. FB

DAY 11: THAR - KOT DIJI - MOHENJO DARO - MASHORI SHARIF - LARKANA (2h)
Breakfast. Last explorations through the desert and return to Kot Diji for a shower. Continuation to Mohenjo Daro World Heritage Site and the jewel of the Indus Valley. One of the first and most advanced planned urban settlements in the world. While our European ancestors still lived in caves, between 3000 and 1500 BC. There there existed a culture that inhabited 2-story houses, with a cooling system, baths and running water, cotton, grain and grape crops and a fleet for river and land trade with Mesopotamia, Persia and Arabia. We will go through the ruins surrounded by desert, imagining what life was like for those people. Talk about the "Culture of the Indus Valley". Lunch at Mashori Sharif with the local sheikh. Visit of the sanctuary of the Mashori clan and night in the city of Larkana. Overnight at: Hotel Sambara Inn. FB

DAY 12: LARKANA - LAKE MANCHAR - SEHWAN - HYDERABAD (4h30)
Breakfast. Introduction to the world of the Mohana, a Dravidian group (the first inhabitants of the Indos River Valley). We will reach Lake Manchar where some families of traditionalist Mohanas still survive that live in wooden boats. With a motor boat we will reach them to learn about aspects of their life. After the visit we will continue to the Mausoleum of the Sufi Saint Lal Shah Baz Qalandar in Sehwan. Built in the SXV it is beautifully decorated with tiles in all shades of blue. The atmosphere is already permeated with mysticism with hundreds of faithful, sick seeking healing, beggars, street vendors. We continue to Hyderabad founded in 1757 during the British Raj, it was the capital of Sindh and a great commercial center. Preserves some dilapidated Victorian buildings. Accommodation at: Hotel Indus. FB

DAY 13: HYDERABAD - THATTA - KARACHI (3h)
Breakfast. We will leave for Thatta, a city of great importance from the XIV century and during 4 Muslim dynasties, where we will visit the Necropolis of Makli Hill, a World Heritage Site. A multitude of funerary monuments from the 14th to the 18th centuries, exquisitely sculpted in sandstone with floral and geometric motifs and covered with tiles, among which the Mausoleum of Mirza Jani Beg, the last sovereign of the Tarkhan dynasty, stands out. We will also visit the beautiful Shah Jahan Mosque (1645) with its 93 domes. Continuation to Karachi. Afternoon urban tour of the historic center. Accommodation at: Hotel Avari. FB

DAY 14: KARACHI

Breakfast. Ethnographic morning with a visit to the ‘African’ neighborhood of Karachi. The Siddi community is originally from Africa and came as slaves from Zanzibar over the centuries. Currently they are Sunni Muslims but have preserved their traditional music (percussion), dances and are followers of the pre-Islamic cult of the crocodile. After the visit we will continue to the port area to see the activities of the fishermen (photography not allowed) and after lunch in a restaurant we will continue exploring the old town of the economic capital of Pakistan. We will have a couple of rooms to shower and pack before moving to the airport. Night flight. FB

DAY 15: KARACHI - DOHA - SPAIN
Early morning departure of the Qatar Airways flight to Spain. Arrival home.

END OF OUR SERVICES

Pakistan Visa
A valid passport and a visa are required for travel to Pakistan. Applications for visas have to be made in advance in the travelers’ home country. Last Places assists all travelers that need any type of help applying for the visa at the embassy. We recommend that passports be valid for six months from date of arrival.



Bring 50 passport & visa photocopies. It is good to bring loads of photocopies because, at some check posts, if you have a passport copy, you do not have to get out of the car. Otherwise, you are going to waste your time.




Vaccines and Travel Health in Pakistan
There are no mandatory vaccinations needed to enter or travel through Pakistan. Said this, Polio is still a threat in some parts of Pakistan. Make sure that you have been vaccinated. Denguemalaria and chikungunya are also present. Repellents and netting provide protection. You may require antimalarial tablets based on your itinerary.


Security in Pakistan
Pakistan is a vastly misrepresented country in the Western media. The grand majority of Pakistan is very safe for travellers. In the past, political instability has led to outbreaks of violence and some of this is still ongoing. The best parts of Pakistan, the ones that attract the most foreign attention, are safe for tourists. Whilst you might have to travel with an armed police escort in some places (for example Kalasha Valleys in Chitral), you should not let that put you off the great unique experience that is visiting these remote tribal communities and stunning mountains ecosystems.


When to go to Pakistan
Travelers can visit Pakistan all year around. Last Places offers trips to Pakistan all year around (May - October Pakistan’s summer, November - April Pakistan’s winter. Said this Pakistan’s High Season would be from May till October and Low Season from November till April (cold). The best time to visit Pakistan depends on where you wish to travel. May - October is generally the best season to visit, as the weather is rather dry and warm throughout the country. If you want to visit the north-west regions of Pakistan, like Pakhtoonkhwa, Sindh, Punjab, or Balochistan, October - February would be a good time to travel, as the weather will be cool enough for you to enjoy your trip.


Currency in Pakistan       
The official currency of Pakistan is the Pakistani Rupee (PKR).





Time in Pakistan
Pakistan Standard Time (PKT) is 5 hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).



Electricity in Pakistan
The standard voltage is 230 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz.

In Pakistan the power plugs and sockets are of type C and D. Check out the following pictures.

Type C: also known as the standard "Euro" plug. This socket also works with plug Eand plug F.

Type D: mainly used in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and some African countries. This socket only works with plug D.


Communications in Pakistan
The international dialing code for Pakistan is +92. There are many more mobile telephones than fixed lines and the mobile coverage is much more reliable than fixed lines. Internet access is available at most hotels. Except in Gilgit-Baltistan, the internet works reasonably well throughout the country.


Language in Pakistan
The official languages of Pakistan are English and Urdu. In remote rural areas most people do not speak neither of them and the figure of a translator guide will be needed.



Prohibitions in Pakistan
Do not take photographs of government buildings, or use binoculars near them, as this could lead to arrest. We recommend asking permission to people before taking their picture to avoid uncomfortable situations.

Since 1977 alcohol consumption is forbidden in Pakistan except for non-Muslim minorities such as HindusChristians and Zoroastrians who are allowed to apply for alcohol permits. The ban officially is enforced by the country's Islamic Ideology Council, but it is not strictly policed. A foreign non-Muslim person can drink alcoholic beverages in Pakistan. However, consumption of alcoholic drinks in public places is strictly prohibited. In many hotels, the foreign people can purchase alcoholic drinks upon presenting proof of foreign national ID and age.