PUNJAB: THE LAND OF RIVERS
The Mughals introduced the word Punjab in 17th century AD. The “Punj” means “Five and “Ab” means “water”, so the word Punjab means land of five rivers. There are five rivers that flow through Punjab namely Chenab, Jhelum, Ravi, Sutlej and Sindhu River. Punjab is the most populous province of Pakistan and second largest in area. Lahore is the capital of Punjab. Punjab shares the borders with Sindh, Khyber Pukhtoonkhuwa, Baluchistan, Azad Jammu & Kashmir, Islamabad and Indian state of Punjab, Rajasthan and Indian Occupied Kashmir. Punjab is the most industrialized province of Pakistan and poverty rate is lowest as compared to all other provinces of Pakistan.
The major language spoken in Punjab is Punjabi followed by Saraiki. The largest population is of Muslims (97.21%) while the largest non-Muslim population is Christian (2.3%).
TOURIST ATTRACTIONS IN PUNJAB
Punjab is famous for its culture, folk stories and religious diversity. It has been home to many civilizations and cultures such as Indus civilization, Gandhara civilization, Persian and Greek. Islam arrived Punjab in 8th century with the arrival of Muhammad Bin Qasim followed by Ghaznavis and Mughal. The culture and heritage of Mughals was very sturdy in Punjab with large number of forts and tombs are still there.Because of its rich culture and civilization Punjab has always been the attraction for tourists. That is why we have collected information about the top tourist destinations of Punjab.
Katas Raj Temples
Katas Raj temples, also known as Qila Katas. There are more than 100 temples that are connected by the walkways. Those temples are built by the Hindu Rajas over a period of 1000 years. The temples are surrounded by a pond, which is considered sacred by the Hindus. They say if you take a bath in this pond, your sins will wash away.
The word Katas is derived from the Sanskrit word “kataksha” means teary eyes. According to the Brahman story, the pond was formed by the tears of Lord of Shiva shed after the death of his wife Sati. It is also believed that Pandwas brothers also lived in katas for 12 years. The temples are 1500 years old.
Katas Raj temples are the top tourist attractions in Punjab located in Chakwal city.
Badshahi Mosque was built by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb in 1673 in Lahore. It is the second largest mosque in Pakistan after Faisal mosque Islamabad and fifth largest in the world. it has the capacity to accommodate 55,000 worshipers at a time. The architecture of the Badshahi mosque resembles the architecture of Jamia Masjid Delhi which was built by Aurangzeb’s father Shah Jahan. After the fall of Mughal Empire, Badshahi mosque was used by Sikhs and British as defense force. Badshahi mosque is very famous tourist attraction in Pakistan. Anyone who goes to Lahore, must pay a visit to Badshahi mosque. The architecture of the mosque is grand and one of the famous monuments of Lahore of Mughal era.
Another historic and national monument in Lahore is Minar-e-Pakistan. Minar-e-Pakistan is also known as “Tower of Pakistan”. It is located at the place where resolution of Pakistan was passed in 1940, the resolution that resulted in the creation of Pakistan in 1947. This is why Minar-e-Pakistan holds a great significance in the history of Pakistan. The construction of Minar-e-Pakistan was started in 1960 and completed in 1968.
Every year thousands of domestic and international tourists visit this historical place.
Derawar fort was built by Rai Jajja Bhatti (Rajput ruler) in 9th century. Later on in 18th century Muslim Nawabs took over the built and rebuilt it. The fort holds significance historically. The structure of the fort is very remarkable and huge. It is located in the heart of Cholistan desert, 100 kilometers away in the south of Bahawalpur City.
Noor Mahal is located in Bahawalpur, which was state before Pakistan’s independence. The palace was built in 1875. It is believed that Nawab Sadiq Muhammad Khan had built this palace for his wife Noor. That’s why this palace was named after her name. Noor Mahal was designed by British engineer. The architecture of Noor Mahal was ahead of its time.In 2001, Noor Mahal was declared as protected monument by Government of Pakistan. This beautiful palace attracts thousands of visitors every year.
Tomb of Jahangir
Jahangir’s tomb was built by his son Shah Jahan. It took 10 years to complete. The tomb of Jahangir is located in Shahdara Lahore, along the bank of Ravi River. The architecture of the tomb is inspired by the Persian architecture (safavid style). The Persian architecture might be introduced by Noor Jahan in Mughal Empire as she was of Persian origin. Tomb of Jahangir is another historical place that is the attraction for tourists both domestic and international.
Rohtas fort is located in Jhelum that was built in 1541. It was built by Sher Shah Suri and is the first specimen of Hindu and Pashtoon architecture in the sub-continent. The unique structure of the fort presents a great sight that reminds of the great architecture of our history.
Wazir Khan Mosque
Another historic tourist place is Masjid Wazir Khan Lahore. There are number of mosques in the sub-continent that hold historical importance, one such mosque is Wazir Khan. Masjid Wazir Khan was built in Shah Jahan’s era by his viceroy Sheikh Ilm Uddin Ansari in 1634. Masjid Wazir Khan depicts another masterwork of Mughal Empire.
Lahore has many historic monuments including Shalimar Gardens. Shalimar Gardens is a classic example of Mughal Empire that was also built by Shah Jahan. A beautiful and calm place that makes you feel closer to nature is a favorite place of the vacationers. If you have plan of coming to Lahore, Shalimar Gardens is not a place to miss.
The city of Taxila was discovered between 1911-1922 by Sir John Marshal, who also have discovered other sites including Moen Jo Daro and Harappa. There is a great influence of Buddhist culture in Taxila. There is a great collection of Gandharan art ranging from dates of 1st to 7th century. Most of the objects are collected from the remains of the Taxila city. If you are interested in history and wants to know about the history of Buddhists and Gandhara art that Taxila museum is the place for you.
Shahi Qila (Lahore Fort)
Lahore fort or Shahi Qila castle in the city of Lahore is a must go place to witness the history of Lahore. This fort also belongs to Mughal Empire and comprehends the history of Mughals. There are many buildings in the Shahi Qila that have their own importance in the history and each building belongs to an era. In 1981 Shahi Qila was declared as world heritage site by UNESCO. This historical place deserved to be visited.
Hiran Minar also belongs to Mughal Empire that was built by Jahangir in the memory of his beloved deer named “Mansraj”. It is located in the northwest of Lahore in the city of Sheikhupura. This is a unique building as it has the grave of a deer. The structure of the building is very exceptional. The view of the Hiran Minar is mesmerizing.
Fort Munro is a beautiful hill station in the south of Punjab that is worth visiting. This beautiful place is located in Dera Ghazi Khan. Because of its pleasant weather, Fort Munro attracts many tourists in summers. The government has provided all the facilities here for the tourists.
Harappa was a city of old Indus civilization. It is located in central Punjab, 24 kilometers from Sahiwal. Harappa was modern city with organized and impressive layout. There are more than hundred villages and towns in that region. Harappa was discovered in 1826.
Attock fort is located in Attock Punjab. It was built by Khuwaja Samsuddin Khuwafi from 1581 to 1583 during the reign of Akbar. Attock fort has 4 gates. The names of the gates are Delhi gate, Lahori gate, Kabuli gate and Mori gate.
Murree is a hill station in Punjab. It is in Galiyat region of Rawalpindi district. Murree is the most famous tourist destination in Pakistan. As it is very close to Rawalpindi and Islamabad, it welcomes thousands of tourists daily. There is no specific season to visit Murree as tourists love to come here in summers and winters both. While staying in Murree you can also visit other beautiful places such as Bhurban, Patriata, Ayubia and Nathiagali that are also very famous and striking tourist destinations.
Nanakana Sahib is the city in Punjab. The city is named after the Guru of Sikhs, Guru Nanak who was born here and started the preaching of Sikhism here. It is the most important religious place for Sikhs and every year thousands of Sikhs pilgrims come here.
Kartapur is another important religious place of Sikhs. Kartarpur is in tehsil Shakargarh, Narowal district of Punjab. The guru of Sikhs Guru Nanak spent last years of his life in Kartarpur. Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran khan has inaugurated the Kartarpur corridor that allowed the Sikhs to visit Kartarpur without visa.
Shrine of Hazrat Bahauddin Zakaria, Multan
The shrine of Bahauddin Zakaria is located in the city of Saints Multan. The shrine was made in the name of Muslim Sufi Bahauddin Zakaria. It was built in 1262. Thousands of people visit the shrine every year.