Pakistan is the land of the Indus River, which flows through the country for 1,600 miles; from the Himalayan Mountains to the Arabian Sea. It is a land of snow covered peaks and burning deserts, of fertile mountain valleys and irrigated plains. Created in 1947 as a homeland for the Muslims of the Indian subcontinent, Pakistan is inhabited by some 200 million people speaking over 20 different, each with their own unique culture, yet all united by the Islamic faith.
‘The Land of the Pure’ (English translation of the word “Pakistan”) is strategically placed on the crossroads of Asia, where the silk roads from China to the Mediterranean meet the routes from India and Central Asia. For thousands of years this junction has been a melting pot of diverse cultures, attracting traders and adventurers, pilgrims and holy men, helping create a deep and ancient cultural base.
The country’s main cities reflect these many different cultural influences, both historical and modern. Lahore, close to the Indian border, is the cultural centre of the country, with an elegant core of Mughal architecture embellished by the flower of the Raj. Peshawar, on the Northwest frontier with Afghanistan, is a city straight out of Arabian Nights, with tribesman in turbans nonchalantly carrying rifles through colourful bazaars. lslamabad, the federal capital, is a modern garden city planned by Greek architects.
Best of all are Pakistan’s natural wonders. The terrain includes five of the world’s seventeen highest mountains including the second highest in the world, K-2; the vast Thar desert is best explored by camel safari; five huge rivers flow south to the sea creating the largest irrigation network in the world; and on the shores of the Arabian Sea are hundreds of miles of almost uninhabited, beautiful beaches. For those who hunger for exploration and adventure, Pakistan beckons.