New Delhi: For any ordinary Indian, the very thought of Pakistan generates images of guns, terrorism and the quintessential ‘bad guys'. Despite people from both sides sharing a historic cultural resemblance, the thought of travelling to Pakistan for an Indian is the last thing to cross the minds of even the most avid travellers. The political relations between both sides have hardly ever been friendly and the hostility on our borders can send tempers soaring through the roof.
As things stand today, the situation doesn't appear to be getting any better. The complex relationship between the two countries – are there are good reasons behind them being so – and Pakistan's perception in the larger international community have left Pakistan's natural beauty largely unexplored and unknown to the much of the world. While we may like to perceive Pakistan a certain way, the story hardly ends there.
Unlike popular perception, Pakistan is home to myriad breathtaking and captivating tourist destinations; enough to leave even the most well-travelled spell-bound. Here, we bring you a list of seven such places.
Apart from its mesmerising natural beauty,calm and picture-perfect atmosphere, the tale of Persian prince Saif falling in love with a fairy princess at the lake attracts thousands of visitors every year. The sparkling lake is situated in the Mansehra district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province at an elevation of 3,224 metres above sea level. There are lots of controversies about the depth of the lake. A paradise for nature lovers, Lake Saif-ul-Malook offers majestic views of Malika Parbat. The best time to visit the lake is between May and July as the lake and the road leading to it remain closed due to heavy snowfall.
Hingol National Park
Situated in Pakistan's southwestern province of Balochistan, Hingol National park is one of the largest national parks in the country. Spread over an area of 1,650 km, it is an ideal escapade from the hustle and bustle of city life. The national park includes topographical features, ranging from arid forests in the north to cooler regions in the west. It is also home to hundreds of species of amphibians, reptiles and birds.
Situated on the Grand Trunk Road between the cities of Amritsar, Punjab, India, and Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan, Wagah Border is only crossing point between India and Pakistan. Thousands of people on both sides converge to watch the majestic ceremonies of closing of gates and lowering of flags of the two nations that are carried along with chanting and singing.
An exemplary fusion of contemporary and Islamic architecture, the Faisal Mosque is the largest mosque of Pakistan situated on the buzzing Faisal Avenue of Islamabad. The mosque is named after the Saudi king Faisal bin Abdul-Aziz who suggested the idea of a national mosque in Pakistan and largely financed its construction.
One of the most visited tourist destinations in Pakistan, the Kalash Valley is situated in the Chitral district. Home to the Kalasha tribe, the valley is famous for its tranquillity, culture and festivals. The tribals here live in small villages which they build on the hill sides. When you are here on a trip, don't forget to witness the Uchal Festival, Phoo Festival and Chomost Festival.
For those who have a history nut in them, nothing can beat the historical site of Mohenjo-daro. Situated in the Larkana district of Sindh, it was one of the most flourishing cities of the Indus Valley Civilisation. One of the most-frequently visited historical attractions in the world, this UNESCO World Heritage Site was established around 4,000 years ago.
Tomb of Muhammad Ali Jinnah (Mazar-e-Quaid)
Mazar-e-Quaid is the mausoleum of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the man considered key to the independence of Pakistan from the British empire. It is also the final resting place of his sister Fatima Jinnah (Mother of the Nation) and Liaquat Ali Khan, the first prime minister of Pakistan. Made of white marble, its simple yet iconic design attracts the eyes of visitors.