UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Pakistan

The earliest readers of my blog, mostly my friends, may remember my very old post on my birthday wish – a trip to Pakistan. Sadly it still hasn’t come true! Recently when I wrote my post on the UNESCO Sites in Gujarat, I had fond memories of getting so close to Pakistan, just 40km from the border, at Dholavira!!! This country is the home to 6 UNESCO sites.

Pic Courtesy: Nikesh Chawla, own work via Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 4.0 

Pic Courtesy: World Imaging - Self-photographed via Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 3.0
 
Archaeological Ruins at Moenjodaro:
Mohenjadaro is an extension of India’s own Dholavira, its all the part of the same Indus Valley Civilization!!! While we say India, Pakistan and Afghanistan are different countries today, it was all the same region historically! The Indus Valley Civilization bloomed in this belt, where, obviously, river Indus flows! The whole city was built in 3000 BCE. The extensive town planning, including a acropolis, water reservoirs, huge common bath, sewage systems etc & more! As someone who loves prehistoric sites (see my posts on Alambadi, Anegundi, Stonehenge), Harappa & Mohenjadaro are my dream destinations!!!

Pic Courtesy: Aliraza Manjothi - Own Work via Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 4.0
 
Historical Monuments at Makli, Thatta: Apart from Moenjodaro, the other UNESCO Site in southern Pakistan is the Necropolis of Makli. Necropolis means it was a burial site (like Hal Safleni Hypogeum). I has 5-10 lakhs burials of 14th-18th C CE, including royalty, Sufi saints, scholars & more. While the early tombs were simple, small, pyramidal structures; the later ones, were well decorated with yellow sandstone carvings (reminding me much Adalaj Vav).

Pic Courtesy: Majid.Baryar - Own Work via Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 4.0
 
Fort and Shalamar Gardens in Lahore: Similar to the various Mughal forts & gardens like The Red Fort of India, the Lahore Fort is an architectural marvel. While the foundation was laid in the times of Mohmad of Ghazni, a lot of additions were done by Akbar, Jahangir (who built Shalimar Gardens in Srinagar), Shah Jahan (who built the Taj Mahal) and Aurangazeb. 

Pic Courtesy: Usman.pg - Own Work via Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 4.0
 
Rohtas Fort: The fort of Rohtas was built in 1541 and as a defensive structure to block Mughal invasion. Its located at the base of Afghanistan mountains before the plains to Punjab to stop Humayun from moving ahead. With its ramparts, mosques, gates, stepwells and more, it is in a very good state. 
 
Pic Courtesy: Sasha Isachenko - Own Work via Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 3.0
 
Taxila: Like India’s Nalanda University, University of Taxila is one of the universities that has been in existence since 5th C BCE. It was where many of the knowledgeable people of our history, studied at including contemporaries of Buddha, Chanakya, Chandragupta Maurya and more. People from various cultures exchanged ideas here and various subjects including medicine to astronomy!

Buddhist Ruins of Takht-i-Bahi and Neighbouring City Remains at Sahr-i-Bahlol: This Buddhist monastery was the seat of Gandhara art since 1st C BCE. It is one of the well-preserved ruins. 
When will my wish come true, of visiting Pakistan and soaking myself if the magic of Mohenjodaro??? Fingers crossed…..

To Get Here: The nearest International airport to the first two sites is Jinnah International Airport, Karachi; next two is Allama Iqbal International Airport, Lahore; last 2 is Islamabad International Airport. The national carrier is Pakistan International Airlines. PIA flight tickets are available from various destinations across the world including Paris & Copenhagen in EU, London, Toronto in Canada, various cities of USA, various countries of Middle East & more!

While local transport in Pakistan is possible by train, the quicker option would be to take domestic flights. For eg., Karachi to Islamabad takes about 17 hrs by train but only 2+ hrs by flight. Serene Air and Air Blue cheap air tickets can be booked online and are 2 of the cheap domestic airlines.

Bhushavali

An ardent traveler by passion. I am a wanderlust.. Read more about me here.

17 comments:

  1. This was news for me. I certainly wasnt aware that there existed UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Pakistan. But i guess its kinda justified, as we did study about all these places of historic importance, which are now part of modern day Pakistan.

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  2. The Fort and Shalamar Gardens in Lahore is such a beauty, and so grand ! The details on the columns of Moenjodaro is so meticulous ! Love to check out these wonders some day ! =)

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  3. I love the sides of that fort! It's such an interesting construction. I never really thought about Pakistan having UNESCO sites, but I guess they are all around the globe. So informative!

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  4. Wow those are some beautiful UNESCO sites. Honestly speaking even I was not aware that Pakistan had UNESCO sites. Really a good information for me too. Looks like they are well maintained too.

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  5. Amazing! Visiting historical sites is always on the itinerary, no matter where I go. Rohtas Fort looks like something I would enjoy. I love the architecture of it. The Buddhist ruins would also be very fscinating to visit. I will have to add some of these to my bucket list!

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  6. I hope you will be able to visit Pakistan one day! We went to see the Wagah-Attari border ceremony in 2014 and it was fun! So close to Pakistan but so difficult to reach.

    The UNESCO World Heritage sites in Pakistan looks really interesting, all these majestic forts! Beautiful!

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  7. I hope you get to visit Pakistan soon. I am interested in the Indus Valley Civilisation and how this region had acropolis, water reservoirs and huge common baths. It is so similar to the Roman Civilisation. It will be great to see the Rohtas and Lahore Forts too. They hold such important history, I see why they are UNESCO World heritage sites.

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  8. I had no idea about so many UNESCO heritage sites being there in Pakistan apart from Taxila. The Rohtas fort looks very interesting.Buddhist Ruins of Takht-i-Bahi would also be very interesting to visit as Buddhism as a religion has always fascinated me.

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  9. As I love the historic stories from Indus Valley civilization, then it must be great to see its key center of Mohenjo Daro and how in ancient world this used to be flourishing. Good to know that Mohenjadaro is an extension of India’s Dholavira. I know many foreigners know India, Pakistan and Afghanistan as different countries today but historically they all belong to same regions as well culturally. This great civilization flourished in 3000BC sounds really unbelievable and it would be a great place to visit to learn something from past.

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  10. It seems as if you have torn a page out of my own wishlist. I too, have Mohenjodaro as the first on it, followed by the Mughal gardens and palaces. And then the Makli site. Gosh! Shall we make the trip together ;-)?

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  11. I've been to a few UNESCO World Heritage Sites: one in Japan and one in South Korea. This is the first I've heard about ones in Pakistan! <3 This is a great place to go to. Hopefully, when the pandemic's over, I can get to see these especially the Archaeological Ruins at Moenjodaro. All these are very beautiful!

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  12. It is my dream to visit the Mohenjodaro ruins. Not sure when we will be able to travel to Pakistan but that country has some wonderful places to visit. The UNESCO sites you have listed would be definitely on our list.

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  13. Agree..its my dream too to visit the Indus valley sites!

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  14. I had no idea about the UNESCO sites in Pakistan. Though curious to know whether is it safe to visit Pakistan with an Indian passport? Also, loved the architecture of Lahore Fort and one of German friends went to Lahore a few years ago and she loved this historic city!

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  15. I have never really considered visiting Pakistan but you have me convinced! I always love seeking out the UNESCO sites of a destination that are so rich in history and enlightening of the region.

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  16. Wow! Now, this is something really new to me. I never knew Pakistan has so many UNESCO Heritage sites. But the way you have explained a relation between India, Pakistan and Afghanistan, all makes a lot of sense. Hopefully some day will get to explore some of these.

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  17. Wow, what a topic. Though I knew that the biggest sites of Indus valley civilization lie in Pakistan, but never thought that there will be so many and these are real beauties.

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