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 btowns 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.The incense symbolises the pure and moral Buddha, light denotes wisdom and drives away the darkness, water results in clarity and leads to purity, while flowers not only bring freshness and fragrance but also reflect the ephemeral nature of all things, including humans. Fruits signify enlightenment, while rice or food offerings symbolise freedom from hunger so that mind, body and spirit can function to achieve the perfect state. Following the offerings, monks circumambulated the main monastery and the subsidiary stupa.
Transfer to hotel. Evening city tou of Islamabad/Rawalpindi. Overnight at hotel.
Enroute to Peshawar visit Taxila and Museum for ancient Bhudda ruins. Drive on to Peshawar. Overnight at hotel.
Visit Peshawar Museum which has a good collection of Gandhara Buddhist Kingdom Sculptures. Later the Old City and its colourful Bzaars.
Morning drive to Saidu Sharif in Swat Valley. En route visit Ruins of Takh-e-Bhai Monastery. Afternoon visit Saidu Sharif Museum and Ruins of Butkarra Stupa.
Morning drive to Jehanabad. Walk to a Rock on which the Lord Buddha is Carved. Walk takes about 30 minutes one way. Return to Jehanabad and dive up to Madyan and then back to Saidu Sharif.
Morning depart for Besham. Enrooted cross Shangla Pass. Drive takes about 6 hours.
Early morning depart for Gilgit. En route see Petroglyphs dating back to the 7th century A.D and view Nanga Parbat (8125M) the western most peak of the Himalayas and the 9th highest Peak in the world.
Morning drive in jeeps through the Indus gorge to Skardu in Baltistan. An interesting appro 6 hours drive. Afternoon free.
Morning drive to Khaplu. Afternoon stroll about Khaplu.
Morning drive/walk to Hushe. Later afternoon return to Khaplu.
Morning drive from Khaplu to Shigar Valley. Late afternoon arrive in Skardu.
Morning drive to and then walk up to Ruins of Kharpocho Fort. Then drive to Mantial and Satpara Lake. Afternoon return to Skardu.
Early morning drive through Indus gorge to Gilgit. Afternoon visit Kargah to see the Lord Buddha carved on a Mountain side.
Start return journey and drive to Besham.
Arrive in Islamabad. rest of the day free.
Fly to onward destination.