CLIMBING THE CHARTS - From historic and cultural to adventure and recreational tourism, Pakistan's tourism industry offers a multitude of experiences for both tourists and residents alike.

By Swathy Sanjay Sindhu

Published: Sun 22 Mar 2020, 11:00 PM

Last updated: Mon 23 Mar 2020, 1:00 AM

In 2019, British Backpackers Society and 'Traveller' by Conde´ Nast declared Pakistan as one of the world's top tourist destinations for 2020. Magnificent monuments, archaeological fascinations and scenic stretches of nature, combined with a sampling of the unique culture of the country through its hospitable people and delicious food, all at economical rates, make Pakistan a top destination for travel.
Built between 1960-1968, Minar-e-Pakistan, which literally translates to 'Tower of Pakistan', commemorates the passing of the Lahore Resolution on its site at Iqbal Park in 1947. It is regarded as the National Tower of Pakistan and the rostrum of the tower faces the Badshahi Masjid.
Badshahi Masjid
Constructed in 1673, the Badshahi Mosque was a symbol of power of the Mughal Empire. Although a magnificent religious structure with a capacity of 10,000 worshippers, its history has almost seen more use as a military base. Before independence of the state, the mosque was used for military storage and was in a bad state of preservation. Following then through to 2008, repairs have been undertaken and the structure is now restored to its original condition and ready to be spectated in all its glory.
Mahodand Lake
Mahodand Lake lies in the foothill of the Hindukush, in the Pakistani province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The lake's water flows as a series of streams of different sizes, and is surrounded by dense forest. Although frozen during the winter months, during the summer it is surrounded by a variety of alpine flowers, making it a beautiful sight to behold.
Naltar Valley
Pakistan is home to some of the most scenic valleys and lakes. Naltar Valley is a mountainous region of stunning scenic beauty, home to three magnificent lakes - Satrangi, Pari and Firoza - collectively known as Bashkiri Lakes. Although it takes an hour-long drive on a series of metalled and unmetalled roads to access the area, the journey is worth witnessing the spell-binding beauty.
Siri Lake
One of the highest lakes in Pakistan, Siri Lake is situated in Kaghan Valley, and is about 8,500ft above sea level. Although quite small in itself, Lake Siri is surrounded by mountains and forests, of varying shades from green to orange, that make it a stunning landscape to take in.
Mohenjo-daro, meaning 'Mound of Dead Men', is one of the largest settlements of the Indus Valley Civilisation. Abandoned in the 19th century BCE, following the decline of the civilisation, this ancient city was rediscovered in the 1920s. It is currently designated as a Unesco World Heritage Site.
Harappan civilisation
Another part of the Indus Valley civilisation, called Harappa, this archaeological site is situated about 24km west of Sahiwal in Pakistan. An ancient city from the Bronze Age, it's modern-esque town planning will give you a glimpse into the glorious civilization's way of life and traditions. A tour of the site will uncover several archaeological fascinations for the history enthusiast.
Sphinx of Balochistan
Believed to have been 'carved by wind and rain', the Sphinx of Balochistan is a natural rock formation that looks as though it were the work of a skilled artisan. Resembling the Egyptian Sphinx in design and even proportion, the Balochistan Sphinx has a striking similarity to its counterpart and is situated at Hingol National Park in Balochistan.
Murree, a city located in the Rawalpindi District of Punjab, is a mountain resort and popular hill station. With pleasant summers and light snowfall during winters, the city is an ideal tourist destination.
South-east of Murree hill is Patriata, also known as 'New Murree'. It is the highest point in the area and the cool climate makes it an attractive tourist hub. Heavily forested with wildlife, a chair lift and cable car system allow visitors to have a view from the highest points of the area.
Shalimar Garden
In 1981, Shalimar Garden was named a Unesco World Heritage site. Constructed by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in 1642 AD, the Persian-style garden is spread over an area of about 42 acres. The stunning landscape has been laid out in three descending terraces from north to south. A canal named 'Shah Nahal' was constructed to irrigate these garden terraces.
Tomb of Mughal Emperor Jahangir
A 17th-century mausoleum famous for its ornately decorated interiors made from marble and frescoes, the tomb of Mughal Emperor Jahangir is situated at the site adjacent to the 'Akbari Sarai', a large and embellished caravan inn, and the tomb of Mughal statesman Asif Khan. it is situated in Shahdara.
Princess of Hope
Much like the Balochistan Sphinx, the Princess of Hope in Hingol National Park is believed to be a work of nature. Staring out into the horizon (perhaps for hope), the Princess of Hope was sculpted by the sea breeze coming in from the Arabian Sea. It was given the name by Angelina Jolie on her visit to the area.

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