Islamabad is located on a plain surrounded by hills and inhabited for thousands of years in northern Pakistan, not far from the capital, just 15 km away, is the “sister city” in Rawalpindi, smaller than the first, but definitely more animated. Visitors to one of the two cities generally take advantage of the proximity to visit the other, where you will find an atmosphere still distinctly different. Rawalpindi has been developed in the nineteenth century, thanks to its strategic location on the route of the Grand Trunk Road, from a small village which was quickly turned into a big shopping center. In the mid-nineteenth century, however, the British conquered the city and began to build buildings and districts, which still remains a mark in its architecture.
The birth of Islamabad, however, occurred in the twentieth century, when the British decided to create from nothing a capital precise and orderly in a convenient location and it is for this reason that the city looks like a perfect network of boulevards and parks, with areas residential and services deployed in every neighborhood. As mentioned, while in Rawalpindi raging traffic and chaos typical of commercial cities, the atmosphere here is too quiet, and its main functions are administrative and political, but it is expected that in a not too distant future the two locations will eventually merge into a unique metropolis.
While not presenting many points of interest, Islamabad offers some interesting insight to its visitors; worth a stroll within itself the Shakarapian, an urban park south of the capital where you can enjoy a beautiful view of the city. On these hills is the spectacular Pakistan National Monument, which celebrates the history of the Pakistani nation, with a museum attached to the modern conception. The Lok Virsa Museum is worth a visit: it began as an ethnographic museum and houses several collections including traditional objects, jewelry and wood carvings and a well stocked library. Those who wish to immerse themselves in the daily life of Pakistan may go to Sunday at the Juma Bazaar, a huge craft market where it will be hard to hold back the temptation to shop for traditional items, carpets, jewelry and more.
One of the biggest attractions is the Islamabad Shah Faisal Mosque, near the Margalla Hills, by far one of the largest of Asia. Completed in 1986, has four tall minarets 88 meters and a main hall that can accommodate up to 10,000 people, the mosque is visited by non-believers (recommended option, however) conforming to the rules and norms of behavior specifications (for example, recall to leave their shoes at the counter before entering).
Still on the subject of places of worship, but moving out of town a few kilometers away in the village of Nurpur Shahan, there is a shrine dedicated to Shah Abdul Latif Kazmi (also known as Bari Imam), the patron saint of Islamabad. Particularly interesting is the evening of Thursday, when they reach many pilgrims who are having a party and sing songs Muslims. In the area of Margalla Hills, Daman-e-Koh is an extremely popular location for picnics, where you can also view the panorama of the capital and the surrounding area, not far away is also Saidpur, a village well known for production of ceramics.
The Margalla Hills are part of the National Park, and is crossed by several footpaths, hikers can organize themselves autonomously buying a guide book available in the city and choosing a trip to be made between the various proposals, bearing in mind that the duration of various walks can vary from a few hours to three days. In nearby Rawalpindi, however, the main attraction is the crowded Rajah Bazaar which covers the city from Fowara Chowk, here you can find all kinds of goods, and in any case it will be a pleasure to get lost in it and drifting the flow of people and colors that characterize it.
Not far from Islamabad is also one of the most interesting archaeological sites in the country (and perhaps the whole of Asia), Taxila was once an important city of Buddhist and one of the main centers of the region of Gandhara. In the sixth century BC, it became the capital of this region, and it also housed two hundred years later, Alexander the Great during his trip to India. Later it became home to a large Buddhist university before becoming also the capital of an empire, until the White Huns destroyed in the fifth century AD The ruins of the city are open to the public, as well as numerous other ruins that arise in its around in a total extension over twenty-five square miles. Many relics are preserved in the Taxila Museum, including Buddhist statues, artifacts, coins and many other items.
To reach Taxila there are several options: from Rawalpindi with a bus or minibus departing from Haider Road and Railway Road in 40 minutes, or by train with a comfortable journey of 50 minutes. Alternatively, you can also take a tonga or a Suzuki service between the two towns. Once in Taxila, to move from one site to another, you can use taxis, tonga, buses or Suzuki, remembering that among some sites may even be enough on its own feet.
Islamabad is connected to the rest of the world thanks to the airport international flights depart from here to destinations both domestic and foreign. From Europe there are direct links to Paris, London, Amsterdam, but they are mostly Asian destinations to be particularly served by flights from Islamabad : from Singapore to Dubai from Bangkok to Kuwait, there are certainly opportunities to move to the continent. As for domestic travel to Pakistan, as there is a bus station in the capital, long-distance, the best way to move is to travel to Rawalpindi and choose one of the many buses from the station Pir Wadhai.
Originally posted 2012-08-27 06:32:23.