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Buddhism Footprints in Pakistan

8 Days

Buddhism was introduced into the areas, now included in Pakistan, by Buddhist missionaries like Madhyantiak, during the reign of the Mauriyan Emperor Ashoka who had converted to the new Dharma. However, when Buddhists faced persecution in the Ganges Valley, during the period of Sunga Dynasty (185-73 BCE), 50 years after the death of Ashoka, they migrated in the larger numbers to safer havens, including the Punjab, Ghandhara and Sindh. Ghandhara fully assimilated the new dharma which flourish and bloomed into vibrant civilization.

The seeds of Buddhism sown by Ashoka (called Dhar Raja, the Righteous One), sprouted under conducive environment during the reign of Indus-Greek ruler Menandar-I (endeared as Dharmamitra, the friend of the Dharma), blossomed under the patronage of Kanishka and spread to the regions beyond the lofty mountains as far as Japan and Korea. It expanded into the adjoining areas, such as the Kabul Valley, Potohar, Gilgit Baltistan and Kashmir. Its signs are writ large in the form of rocks paintings, inscriptions, stupas, sangharmas and viharas.

The Takshasila (Taxila) and Swat Valley, Uddiyana of those times, were its centers, Padmasambhava, the legendary Buddhist mystic, also known as Buddhism to Tibet, in the 8th century CE, was born in Swat. Buddhism reach the peak of its glory under the Kushan rulers, especially Kanishka-I. However, it suffered a mortal blow at the hand of White Huns who swept the region during the second half of the 5th century. They ruthlessly destroyed monasteries and icons of Buddhist faith.

A Chinese traveler who visited Gandhara during the first quarter of the 6th century wrote about the ruination of Buddhist sanctuaries about “two generations ago”. Its influence weakened even further during Kabul Shahi and Hindu Shahi dynasties for the lack of patronage. It had almost lost its vitality by the time of advent of Muslims into the region. Although it declined in Gandhara, yet it was Gandhara from where it spread northwards and reached as far as China, Japan and Korea.

The earlier followers of Buddhism believed in individual salvation, following the path of the Enlightened One, by crossing the stream of life to reach the shores of arhathood or nirvana. It draws inspiration from a saying of Lord Buddha ” Dharma may be compared to a raft”. This orthodox doctrine was later called Hinayana or the ” Small Ferry Boat” as against the new liberal doctrine called Mahayana of the ” Big Ferry Boat “. In fact, there emerged a split on the matters of interpretation after the Great Council convened by Kanishka in the 1st century CE. Those who adhered to the orthodox views were called elders or thera. Their school came to be know as Theravada ( the teachings of the elders). The liberals professed that one’s spiritual goal should not be restricted to individual salvation on nirvana rather it should aim at helping the humanity in seeking salvation following the example of the Lord Buddah himself. They believe that ” Big Ferry Boat ” can carry the entire humanity to Buddhahood. Moreover as against the orthodox belief in 24 Buddhas, they believe in numerous Buddhas or Bodhisattva, in the past and future, to help the believers achieve Buddhahood. They also believe in Buddha as a divine being, worthy of reverence, which led to elaborate iconography and sculptures of Buddha. Apart from compassion and care for the fellow beings, Mahayana Buddhism popularized the belief in Bodhisattva, who postpones his nirvana to help others.

Vajrayana ( Diamond Vehicle), also called Tantric Buddhism, lays emphasis on esoteric practices. It originated in Uddiyana, the present days Swat in Pakistan. The sage Padmasambhava, from Uddiyana, introduced it to Tibet, where he is revered as Guru Rinpoche.

(Research contents dedicated to Dr. Safdar Ali Shah & Syed Javaid A. Kazi)

The Wheel of Law, set into motion by Buddha at the Hindu holy city of Benares, blazed a glowing traol across the Subcontinent to Sri Lanka, onto the Far East, and along the Silk Road, over the Hindukush and the mighty Himalayas into Afghanistan, CHina and regions fat beyond. The road to Buddhism carries enduring imprints of Buddha,from Nepal where he was born, to India where he established the first sangha, to Sri Lanka, where his footprints are enshrined, to Gandhara, which emerged as a center of Buddhist learning and civilization, and distant lands in the  form of Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path, which transformed the lives of countless millions over more then twenty-five centuries. The story of spread of Buddhism is interesting and instructive. The message of the Enlightened One was carried over the mountain trails and the trade routes by his followers, traders and travelers.

The Road to Buddhism passes through many splendid places, from fabulous valleys to lofty hilltops, strewn with majestic monuments and monasteries. There are rich collections of sacred relics and superb specimens of art and architecture  which are the integral part of human heritage.

This tour is an attempt to showcase some of these wonderful places, artifacts and icons in Pakistan, which are the priceless treasures of national heritage and of immense interest to Buddhists and researchers around the world.

In addition to the Buddhist Heritage in Pakistan, we will also show you the cultural and architecture heritage of Mughal & British Era.

<p>Our staff will welcome you at Islamabad airport & all the guests will be transferred to the hotels. After hotel check-in all the guests will go to their rooms for rest. </p><p>As this day if mainly depending upon the flight arrival time therefore it can be altered accordingly. </p><p>The guests who will arrive early morning will be taken to half day city tour of Islamabad in the evening and will cover Faisal Mosque and Saidpur Village for dinner.</p><p></p><p>Guests who will arrive on late evening or night flights will be take rest and will have dinner in the hotel.</p>

<p>After having breakfast at around 07:00 AM, we will depart from hotel in Islamabad to Taxila.</p><p>Our first stopover will be at Taxila Museum, where we will have 2 hours museum tour. Taxila Museum is having some 4000 objects displayed, including stone, stucco, terracotta, silver, gold, iron and semiprecious stones. Mainly the display consists of objects from the period 600 B.C to 500 AD. Buddhist, Hindu and Jain religion.</p><p>After museum tour we will go to archaeological sites of Bhir Mound & Dharmarajika. After visiting Dharmarajika we will have lunch (Lunch Boxes) .</p><p>After lunch we will resume our tour to other Buddhist archaeological sites of Sirkap, Mohra Muradu, Pipplian & Julian. Stay at each site will be 30 minutes.</p><p>At around 04:00 PM we will move back to Islamabad.</p><p>After reaching Islamabad we will have some rest at hotel before going to Dinner at a local restaurant in Islamabad.</p><p>After dinner we will come back to hotel.</p><p>This will be the end of day 2 </p>

<p>We will make early start and will have breakfast at around 6:30 AM.</p><p>After breakfast we will check-out from the hotel and will depart, at around 08:00 AM, to Lahore via Motorway (M2). During this journey we will make a detour to 7th CE old Hindu Temple Ketas Raj, here our stay will be 1 Hour. From here we will go to Kallar Kahar where we will stop for lunch beside lake. Lunch stay will be 1 hour.</p><p>After lunch we will move to Khwera Salt Mine. Khwera Salt Mine is the world's 2nd largest salt mine. Salt mine tour will be 1 Hour & 30 Minutes. </p><p>From salt mine we will move towards our final destination Lahore.</p><p>We will reach Lahore at around 08:30 PM.</p><p>After hotel check-in we will have dinner and go to our rooms.</p><p>Here day 3 will be end.</p>

<p>After having breakfast at around 08:00 AM. We will departure from hotel at around 09:00 AM for Lahore City Tour.</p><p>Our first stay will be at Lahore </p><p>Museum.</p><p>Lahore Museum has one of the largest collection of Gandhara, Jain, Hindu, Muslim artifacts.</p><p>Our Museum tour will be for 1 Hour & 30 minutes. After Lahore Museum Tour we will move towards Greater Iqbal Park We we will visit 15th century Lahore Fort & later Badshahi Mosque. Lahore Fort & Badshahi Mosque</p><p>visit will be 2 Hours.</p><p>After this we will have 1 hour lunch time. After lunch we will move to Dehli Gate for Lahore Wall City Tour. This tour will be 2 hours & 40 minutes long. Lahore Wall City Tour will be including Dehli Gate, Shahi Hamam (Royal Bath), Wazir Khan Mosque, Lahore Wall City Streets & Bazars.</p><p>After finishing Walled City Tour we will move back to Greater Iqbal Park for Musical Fountain Show where our stay will be approximately 1 hour. From here we will move to Lahore Food Street for dinner</p><p>where we will have 1 hour stay for dinner. </p><p>After dinner we will move back to hotel for overnight stay.</p><p>This will be the end of our 4th day.</p>

<p>After having breakfast at around 08:00 AM, we will start 2nd day of our Lahore City Tour.</p><p>Our First stopover will be 17th century's constructed Jahangir's Tomb. Here our stay will be 1 Hour.</p><p>From Jahangir's Tomb we will move to another Mughal Monument of 16th century named "Shalimar Garden". Here our stay will be 30 minutes. After Shalimar Garden's visit we will stop at a restaurant for lunch, after which we will move towards Wahaga Border to see the colorful Flag Lowering Ceremony. This Ceremony is organized by the Pakistan & Indian Border Security Forces.</p><p>Flag Lowering Ceremony is a British Colonial tradition.</p><p>After attending ceremony we will move back and go to a restaurant for dinner & later come back to hotel for overnight stay.</p><p></p><p>Here our 5th day will come to an end.</p>

<p>After having breakfast and hotel checkout we will leave Lahore at around 08:30 AM. Our journey to Islamabad will be via Grand Trunk (GT) Road. On the way we will make a stopover at Jehlum River for lunch. Here our stay will be 1 hour, after which we will take a detour to 15th century constructed fort named Rohtas Fort.</p><p>Rohtas Fort tour wiull be around 2 hours.</p><p>From here we will resume our journey towards Islamabad at around 04:00 PM.</p><p>We will reach Islamabad at around 06:30 PM. After hotel check-in and some rest we will again move out at around 08:30 PM, to Monal for dinner and to have spectacular view of Islamabad City.</p><p>Here our stay will be 1 hour and 30 minutes.</p><p>After dinner we will move back to our hotel for overnight stay.</p><p>Here 6th day of our journey will come to an end.</p>

<p>This will be our relaxed day because we do not have to cover longer distances, therefore after having breakfast we will move out for Islamabad City Tour at around 09:00 AM.</p><p>Our first stopover will be Shakarparyan, which was once the famous iconic landmark of Islamabad, because here many world famous world leader planted trees. Here our stay will be 30 minutes. From here we will go to Pakistan Monument & History Museum. Pakistan Monument is the new iconic landmark of Islamabad. Here in the Pakistan History Museum one can see beautifully sculptured history from the advents of Arabs and Islam in the region till the creation of Pakistan.</p><p>Here our stay will be 1 hour & 30 minutes.</p><p>From here we will move out to a local restaurant for lunch.</p><p>Lunch time will be 1 hour. After having lunch we will move to Shah Alladita caves to see the caves which were once used by Buddhists monks for meditation and later by Hindus, before the existence of Pakistan.</p><p>After visiting this centuries old place we will move to Centaurus Mall where we will have time for shopping and dinner.</p><p>At around 09:30 PM we will move back to hotel for overnight stay.</p><p>Here our 7 days of journey will come to an end. </p>

<p>Schedule of final day is all depends on the flight departure time from Islamabad.</p><p></p><p>Those guests who will have flights early morning will check-out from the hotel after having breakfast and move to Islamabad International airport, where our staff will see off all the guests.</p><p></p><p>Those who will have late evening of late night flights will be taken to half day city tour after breakfast.</p><p>Here we will cover Faisal Mosque & Saidpur Village where we will have our lunch.</p><p>At around 03:30 PM we will reach our hotel & take rest or pack our luggage and finally move to airport based on the flight time.</p><p></p><p>This will be the end of our tour.</p>

Includes

  • 1- Visa assistance where required.
  • 2- Airport pick & drop.
  • 3- Hotel accommodation on twin sharing basis. (Hotel star rating will depend upon the customer or package)
  • 4- Comfortable air conditioned luxury transport, fuel & tolls.
  • 5- All 3 meals per day.
  • 6- 1 mineral water bottle per day per guest.
  • 6- Entry tickets.
  • 7- English speaking tour guide
  • 8- Taxes
  • 9- Basic First Aid
  • Optional:
  • 1- Private security guards
  • 2- Chinese interpreter.

Excludes.

  • 1- Visa Fee
  • 2- Air tickets
  • 3- Insurance
  • 4- Ironing & laundry.
  • 5- Cold drinks, tea, coffee, liqueur or anything which is not the part of package meals.
  • 6- Anything ordered from Room Service
  • 7-Any personal shopping.
  • 8- Anything not the part of package mentioned above.
  • 9- Rescue cost in case of any accident or mishap, which will be divided on each guest on reciprocal basis.
  • 10- Tips
Is Pakistan safe place for foreigners?

Yes Pakistan is as safe as any other country. Normally people are having misconceptions about Pakistan due to the media projections, but infect Pakistan i are the most friendliest hospitable persons who really care about their guests. IN the recent times many international bloggers and v-loggers came to Pakistan and there blogs and v-logs are available on internet.
Infect once you will come here you will have very different picture of Pakistan from the one you will have in media.
In the recent past our armed forces have taken very strict actions to secure our borders and within the country & we have more secured then past.

Do foreigners required NOC to travel in Pakistan?

No NOC is required to travel within Pakistan if you are here on Tourist Visa.
However there are some zones which are restricted for foreigners and in some cases even for local and most of them are within the military installations or any high level public offices.

However if you are here on Working, Diplomatic or any other visa you need to have NOC from Ministry of Interior to travel within Pakistan.

Do we need visa to visit Pakistan?

Pakistan government has taken many steps to promote tourism in Pakistan. One of the major step is relax visa policy. Now applicants from 175 countries would be able to apply E-Visa, which will be augmented with Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) .
For details please follow the link below

http://www.dgip.gov.pk/Files/Visa%20Categories.aspx#N

What kind of hotels you will use for this tour?

Our first priority is the selection of comfortable hotels for the guests.
However selection of Star Hotels will be based on the requirement of customer or the package.
Most of our packages are based on twin sharing rooms.

What kind of transport you will use?

We only use latest model vehicles for our guests, but selection of vehicle is based on the size of the group.
Like if there will be 1 to 2 persons then we may choose any +1300 CC 4 seat car, In case of 3-10 persons we may use Toyota Hiace vans and in case of group size upto 20 we may use Coaster Vans.

However this may vary based on the requirement of customer about private security, interpreter or any other escort services.

What kind of meals we will have?

We will use all best restaurants for lunch and dinners & breakfasts will be served in hotels.

Food menus will differ on daily basis. We will use Desi, Continental & Chinese foods.

Will it be a child friendly tour?

Yes this tour is absolutely child friendly.

You can send your enquiry via the form below.

Buddhism Footprints in Pakistan