Buddhism reached to the Indus Valley in the third century BC. Gandhara was the core of Buddhism, from where the religion spread to Northeast regions of Tibet and China.
Gandhara, the ancient name of the North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan was the threshold of the Indian Sub-Continent. For cultural influences, trade and invasions its geographical position has been fundamental as it is situated on the principal road between Central Asia and the plains of the Indian Sub-Continent and connected them with a trade route called the Silk Route, which linked China with the Mediterranean across Central Asia.
The Buddha images seem to have been an integral part of Gandharan sculpture from the outset. Gandharan art served the Buddhist religion, drawing on well-established religious and artistic traditions from the Sub-Continent.
Gandhara Buddhist treasures in the shape of stupas and monasteries and sculptures can be seen at Texila, Peshawar, Takht-i-Bhai, Swat and Dir. The rock carved Buddhist relics are of exceptional interest, which are found scattered in Gilgit, Baltistan, and Chilas and on the Karakoram Highway unto Tibet in China. There is a famous center of Buddhist learning located at Texila and one of the most priced possessions of Pakistan is the Gandhara art flourished in the valleys of Peshawar and adjoining regions of Swat, Bunair, Bajuar and the sites referred to above.
The collection in museum galleries as well as the sites of stupas, monasteries and shrines at various places in the North of Pakistan and Punjab have great attraction and sanctity for the followers of Buddha. The tour also gives opportunity to see the picturesque mountains region of northern areas. Apart from their breath taking natural beauty, they will hold you spellbound with their rich archaeological treasures.
Pakistan is the land which attracted Alexander the great from Macedonia in 326 B.C., with whom the influence of Greek culture came to this part of the world. During the 2nd century B.C., it was here that Buddhism was adopted as the state religion which flourished and prevailed here for over 1000 years, starting from 2nd century B.C., until 10th century A.D. During this time Taxila, Swat and Charsaddah (old Pushkalavati) became three important centres for culture, trade and learning. Hundreds of monasteries and stupas were built together with Greek and Kushan towns such as Sirkap and Sirsukh both in Taxila. It was from these centres that a unique art of sculpture originated which is known as Gandhara Art all over the world. Today the Gandhara Sculptures occupy a prominent place in the museums of England, France, Germany, USA, Japan, Korea, China, India and Afghanistan together with many private collections world over, as well as in the museums of Pakistan. Nevertheless, the zenith of this Gandhara Art is one and only "Fasting Buddha" now on display in Lahore Museum, Lahore.
Culture and Nature through Ghandahran Civilization
Durring this Peshawer and Swat tour you will visit the excavated sites of the Gandharan civilization at Texila, which has extended its roots to Peshawar and Swat. The multi-petal art demonstrates the waves of invaders but the core importance has given to the religion that reveals the Buddhist sculptures, stupas and monasteries that can be seen across the Ghandhara region. In addition, the region can also be enjoyed by its natural serenity coupled with the historical Khyber pass excursion.
Khyber Pass the historic Gate-way of commerce, migrations, invasions from centuries. A walk through the under ground market and bazaar at LandiKotal present a retrospect of the hoary past when the weary camel caravans halted hear in transit and the chime of camels haunted the valley. We still see the old and typical restaurants preparing BBQ in traditional way - where big pieces of meat hang rested on a big fire of logs. We drive up to a view point to have a distant birds eye view of the Torkham border between Pakistan and Afghanistan; We drive back to Peshawar stopping at photogenic points for photography, proceeding onward to and arriving in time at Islamabad.
Day 01 Islamabad
Upon arrival- at Islamabad Airport meet your guide and transfer to your hotel. Afternoon sight-seeing of the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad. We drive on the Mall by an ancient basilica in Gothic architecture and other buildings. Visit Raja Bazar the ancient city center in the old Rawalpindi city. Raja Bazar retains the hoary fervor with its lively oriental markets in bright tinge, simmering with folks from different walks of life. Amidst the market festooned with garland shops, and stalls of fortune tellers, chewing tobacco and snuff sellers, money changers, we might come across , the astonishing sight of a snake charmer with his cobras (a gypsy people of Dravidian ethnic origin).Proceed to Islamabad the modern capital of Pakistan, drive past by Government buildings, the Presidency planned an American architect Eward Durrel Stone, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and secretariat blocks planned by a group Italian architects Fernorolli, Rosili and Geo ponit. We arrive at Shah Faisal's Mosque the largest in the world.Proceed to Damin-a-Koh an elevated photogenic point for a panoramic view of entire Islamabad. Islamabad has developed as a rendezvous of various cultures and ultimately a cosmopolitan metropolis. We drive back to the hotel. Overnight at hotel.
Day 02 Islamabad-Taxila-Peshawar
Morning departure-for Peshawar via Taxila, Visit Taxila Museum, archaeological sites of the Buddhist University monastery of Jaulian, Sirkap, Mohra Muradu and BhirMond. The archaeological history of Taxila dates back from 600 B.C. to 500 A.D when it was at ist culmination and where flourished the Greco Buddhist School of Ghandara Art, under the Mahayana doctrine of Buddhism. Latter proceed to Peshawar.Peshawar the Capital city of North West Frontier province.On arrival at Peshawar transfer to hotel. Afternoon sightseeing of Peshawar, visit Peshawar Museum, Qissa Khawani Bazar and Mohabat. Khans Mosques. Visit Railway Loco-shed workshop in detail. Return to your hotel. Overnight at hotel.
Day 03 Peshawar-Landikotal-Peshawar
After breakfast proceed to up the Khyber Pass to Landikotal and onward towards Torkham, Pak-Afghan border by coach. Return journey back to Peshawar by the same route after picnic lunch. Evening shopping tour of Peshawar offering a variety of handicraft in onyx, brazz, lather and oriental and local carpets.
Day 04 Peshawar-Saidu Sharif
Depart for Saidu Shariff via Charsadda and visit the site of the ancient Capital of Gandhara. En route visit Takht Bahi monastery of 45 A.D.Proceed to Saidu Shariff, visit Shangerdara Stupa and the rock carved Buddha at the road side. On arrival at Saidu Shariff transfer to hotel.Overnight at hotel.
Day 05 Saidu Sharif-Miandam
Morning visit Saidu Shariff Museum and archaeological site of Butkara (Gulkada) and directly proceed to Miandam via MalamJabba. On arrival at Miandam transfer to Motel.Overnight at Motel.
Day 06 Saidu Shatiff-Islamabad Via Shabaz Gari
Drive back to Islamabad. En-rout visit to Asoka’s rock edicts at ShabazGari.On arrival at Islamabad transfer to residence.
Day 07 Islamabad-Onward
Transfer to airport in transit for your onward destination. Assistance at the airport.
End of our services
Buddha attained "nirvana" by meditating and practicing the selflessness. After his death however the Budhism could not flourish but in 275BC a King of Taxila known as Ashoka The Great was inspired by the teachings of Buddha and started promoting Buddhism. Ashoka's inscriptions are spread all over Pakistan in Different areas. While the Buddhist monks created the rules of the new religion the master-craftsmen immortalized their homage to Buddha the man of peace in exquisitely-carved statues and figures, which were decorates on "stupas" and monasteries.
These relics remain preserved in their original form to this day. And they are fascinating, both to scholars of Buddhism and casual students of history. On this tour, you will visit:
The great centre of Buddhist learning at Taxila with its unique combination of Hellenistic and Oriental religious art... innumerable specimens of Buddhist art and sculpture including the famed Dharmarajika stupa which contained a relic of Buddha; and Gandhara, the ancient site in Peshawar Valley where Buddhism flourished for 900 years.
The Peshawar museum also contains the famous gold vessel with the holy relics of Buddha. Not faraway, at Charsadda, you will visit the ancient city of Pushkalawati.
The peace and serenity associated with Buddhist monks still pervades Takht-e-Bahi, an amazingly well-preserved Buddhist monastery, dating back to the 2nd-5th century AD, which is situated atop a 500-foot-high hill.
Day 01 - Meet on arrival in Islamabad and transfer to your hotel in Islamabad. remainder of day Free at leisure. Overnight at hotel
Day 02 - Morning tour of Rawalpindi & Islamabad later drive to Peshawar via Taxila visit Taxila Museum and the excavated sites of the Buddhist Universities at Sirkap and Jaulian and the stupa of Dharmarajika. overnight at hotel.
Day 03 - Visit Peshawar Museum for a glimpse at the largest collection of Graeco-Buddhist Gandhara sculpture and the casket that carried the remains of ashes of Lord Buddha. Afternoon free at leisure overnight at hotel.
Day 04 Drive to Swat via Takht Bhai & Shahbaz Garhi both are the important sites of Buddhist period. Overnight at hotel.
Day 05 Morning visit Swat Museum Butkara and Mingora bazaar. Afternoon visit Butkara 2 and other sites overnight at hotel.
Day 06 Drive to Islamabad via Shingardar stupa and Charsaddha overnight at hotel.
Day 07 Transfer to airport for flight to next destination.