K.P.K known as the North-West Frontier Province and various other names, is one of the five provinces of Pakistan, located in the north-west of the country. It borders Afghanistan to the north-west, Gilgit-Baltistan to the north-east, Pakistan administered Kashmir to the east, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) to the west and south and Punjab and the Islamabad Capital Territory to the south-east.
Places For Tourists
Places of Historical and Tourist Interest
The biggest tourist attraction is the historic Khyber Pass which is 17.7 km from Peshawar City and extends to Afghan territory and now forms part of the main Asian Highway. This legendary gateway to the South-Asian subcontinent is more than 35 km long. For more details on Khyber Pass
About 13 km from Mardan on the road to Swat, it presents a finely preserved specimen of true Gandhara architecture which evolved with the coming of the Greeks in the region.
In the southeastern outskirts of Peshawar city, lie the ruins of the city of Purushpura, which commemorates the conversion of King Kanishka to Buddhism.
In this picturesque valley, located near the headquarters city of Saidu Sharif, excavations at Udigram and Mingora depict the life and teachings of Buddha. The Udigram finds have also some traces of earlier periods around the time of Alexander’s invasion. At Saidu Sharif, there is a small museum mostly dispalying relics of Gandhara art.
Some 30 km north of Peshawar is the modern urban settlement of Charsadda near which lie the ruins of the historic city of Pushkalavati, the pre-Kushan capital of Gandhara, which was captured by Alexander in 324 BC.
Bala Hissar Fort
An impressive landmark in Peshawar city, the fort, was originally built by Emperor Babur. It was destroyed by Afghans, rebuilt by Humayun, captured by the Roshanis led by Bayzid Ansari, reconquered by Emperor Akbar, surrendered by Hari Singh Nalwa, and finally renovated by the British in 1849.
Mahabat Khan’s Mosque
Located in Peshawar city, it is a magnificent mosque built by Mahabat Khan, a Mughal Governor of Kabul in 1570 AD.
Tombs of Celebrities
Located near Akora Khattak, off the main Peshawar, Rawalpindi road, is the tomb of the poet Khushal Khan Khattak who fought the Mughals. The tombs of Shah Ismail Shaheed and Syed Ahmed Barelvi, the great freedom-fighters of the subcontinent, are in Balakot in Mansehra distric.
It is the valley of honey-mooners, of romance, of natural beauty and legend, which combine to endow Kaghan in Mansehra district with a charm unmatched throughout the world. High mountains with their lofty peaks and lakes, including the famous Saiful Muluke lake, make the valley tourist’s paradise. The valley has many suitable sites for hiking and hand-gliding.
At a height of 1,281 meters about 13 km south of Saidu Sharif in Swat, Marghuzar is a beauty spot featured prominently by the White Palace of Swat rulers. On the 2,745 meters high plateau behind lies the temple of Ram Takht believed by Hindus to be the throne of Ramachandra. According to the legend, Buddha also sat on one of the rocks in the temple and the second Buddha was born here.
Situated at the height of 1,328 meters, 56 km north-east of Saidu Sharif on the Kalam Road on the bank of river Swat, Maydan offers a superb view of the countryside and has excellent hiking and camping sites. About 10 km north of Maydan is Bahrain which offers a wonderful view of natural waterfalls and a lovely view of snow-clad mountains. About 60 km north of Bahrain and at an altitude of 2,074 meters is Kalam where Ushu and Utrat rivers meet to form the Swat river. Snow-covered peaks, dense forests, wild flowers and green meadows surround Kalam, while the surroundings abound in wildlife including mountain goats, fowls, pheasants and partridges. Not far from Kalam are the valleys of Utrot and Gabral which offer breath-taking natural beauty.
A few kilometers from Saidu Sharif, Malam Jabba is the place where the first skiing resort of the country is being developed with the help of the Australian Government.
Ayubia and Galis
Situated at an average height of 2,135 meters, Ayubia has a chair-lift at Ghora Dhaka which attracts visitors to enjoy scenic beauty of pine hills. The nearby hill station of Nathiagali, Changlagali, Khanspur, Khairagali and Kala Bagh present an unpolluted environment and scenic beauty.
Located in Chitral, Kalash Valley, the homeland of Kalash tribe, consists of three smaller valleys of Bombaret, Barrir and Rumbur. The Kalash are fascinating people with their pagan rituals and taboos.
To the south of Chitral is Garam Chashma, the headquarters of Latkoh tehsil, famous for a large number of boiling sulphur springs which have a healing effect on skin diseases.
World’s biggest earth and rock-filled dam over Indus, Tarbela lies about 40 km off Rawalpindi, Peshawar highway and is worth a visit.
Other hill stations include Abbottabad, Thandiani, Parachinar, Cherat and Samana.
Pashtun culture is based on Pashtunwali, which is an ancient way of life, as well as speaking of the Pashto language and wearingPashtun dress. The culture of the Pashtun people is highlighted since at least the time ofHerodotus (484-425 BC) or Alexander the Great, when he explored the Afghanistan and Pakistan region in 330 BC. Over the different periods in history, the Pashtunculture has been influenced by the people of South andWestern Asia to a certain degree. For example, just like with most other cultures in the area, it has been fullyIslamised by Arabs during the Caliphate period.
Pashtun men usually wear salwar kameez with a turban or a pakul hat. In the Kandahar region young men usually wear different color topi and in the Peshawar region they wear white kufis instead. Leaders or tribal chiefs sometimes wear a karakul hat.
Music and Dances
Traditional Pashto music is mostly klasik ghazals, using rubab or sitar, tabla, portable harmonium, flute and several other musical instruments. Today’s modern Pashto music is influenced by neighboring music such as Bollywood filmi as well as western or European.
Arts and Crafts
Gandhara art, which was largely expressed through sculpture, is the valuable heritage of NWFP. In the Gandhara school ofart, creation of the Buddha, after nearly 500 years of his death, means search for an ideal human being who is above the common man, but is not a god, who ultimately aims at bringing human beings under the influence of his moral teachings. The Buddhist architecture consisted of stupas and monastic establishments which one finds in Julian near Taxila.
Among visual arts, Persian miniatures and calligraphy can be seen in old buildings. Contemporary paintings still carry Persian influence under which calligraphy of the Holy Quran is taking the shape of a popular art. The Abasin Arts Council and the Department of Fine Arts of Peshawar University are promoting visual arts.
Among the crafts , NWFP possesses a great wealth of skills particularly in carpet-making, textiles, embroidery, woodwork, pottery, metalwork, lacquer work, jewelry and all sorts of small-scale arms and ammunition which has developed in Darra Adamkhel in the tribal areas
Life in the area started about 20,000 BC
In seventh century AD, the socio-political pattern and economy were shattered once again by the invasion and takeover by Hindu-Turkish rulers. Again in the 8th century AD, Afghans took-over in the wake of Muslim invasion. By that time, however, urban settlements had come into being due to improvement in agriculture, promotion of local handicrafts and participation of Gandhara in the international trade. Road system had also developed to the extent that routes from China and India passed through Gandhara for going onwards to Central Asia and Europe.
At the end of 7th century AD, the economy of Gandhara stood shattered. By the 10th century AD, socio-political pattern had changed completely. The Hindu-Turkish rulers known as Hindu Shahis had gone into hill forts. Now, the Muslim rulers from Ghazni and Ghor started invading the area, while in the 16th century AD, the Mughals coming through Khyber Pass, established themselves in India and set up an outpost in Peshawar with Kabul. The Mughals had, however, their attention concentrated on India and tribal system came into practice in this area once again. Later in the 19th century AD, Sikhs were ruling this area. The British then came to rule the area upto 1947 when it got independence as a part of Muslim state of Pakistan.