HINDUKUSH & KARAKURAM CIRCLE TOUR

HINDUKUSH & KARAKURAM CIRCLE TOUR
13 Nights / 14 Days

Islamabad-Taxila-Peshawar-Bamboret-Chitral-Swat-Besham-Gilgit-Karimabad-Gulmit-Duiker Village-Chilas-Islamabad

Chitral city is the capital of Chitral District of Khyber Pukhtunkhwa, Chitral or Chetrar translated as field in the native language Khowar, situated on the western bank of the Kunar River (also called Chitral River) in Pakistan. The town is at the foot of Tirich Mir, the highest peak of the Hindukush mountain range, (7708 m) high. The altitude of the valley is 3,700 ft (1,100 m). Chitral valley is one of the remotest but extremely beautiful valleys of Pakistan. It is guarded by two passes of “Lowari” accessible from Dir and “Shandur” from Gilgit/Baltistan region. Visit to these valleys will be one of the memorable experiences in your life time. The North of Pakistan is renowned for its incomparable native landscape and scenic landscape. This 14 days tour takes you to the heart of this well-preserved splendor. Travel all along the Indus to the Karakuram Highway to Gilgit and on to Khunjerab pass, the Chinese border. Come across the exciting beauty of Hunza & Swat valleys and unique Kalash tribes of Hindukush, who ever to be the off spring of Alexander the Great, in the suburbs of Chitral town.

TOUR ITINERARY:

Day 01: Islamabad 

Arrive at Benazir Bhutto International airport Islamabad. Meet, assist & transfer to the hotel. AM at leisure. PM Islamabad city tour.

Our sightseeing tour will start from, Faisal Mosque, Shakar Parian & National monument with a trip to Damn-e-Koh, to catch an eye bird view of the twin cities.

Dinner & overnight at the hotel in Rawalpindi/Islamabad. (Lunch & Dinner).

Day 02: Islamabad-Taxila-Peshawar

Breakfast at the hotel. Morning drive to Peshawar, en-route visit Taxila on the G.T Road.

Taxila is a Tehsil in Rawalpindi District of Punjab province situated just off the Grand Trunk Road about 40 kms northwest of Islamabad the capital city of Pakistan. It is an imperative archaeological site. Taxila accurately claims to be the confluence of the immense civilizations of the world. It came to celebrity when it was under enemy control by Mouriyans, Kushans, Greeks, Scythians and Parthian. Taxila is the region from where Buddhism traveled to the Far East and Persians, Greeks and Hindus all later left their mark. View the sun set from the ruins of a Buddhist monastery or stroll all the way through streets of a dug up Persian city in the information that there are two older ones buried underneath. In 1980, Taxila was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site with many locations. Now it has been given a status as the top tourist destination in Pakistan.

Lunch in a local restaurant. After lunch drive to Peshawar.

PM. Peshawar city tour. Visit Museum, Mohabat Khan Mosque.

Peshawar is located in a big valley near the eastern part of the historical Khyber Pass, and the Indus Valley. Peshawar is also known as (City on the Frontier). In Persian Peshawar’s strategic location on the intersection of Central Asia and South Asia has made it one of the majority ethnically vibrant and vigorous cities in the greater region. Peshawar is the capital of Khyber-Pukhtunkhwa and the business & administrative center and central economic hub for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan. Peshawar has changed into one of Pakistan’s most ethnically, linguistically, and religiously diverse cities. In the last three decades, there has been a major increase in urban inhabitants, in part due to internal resettlement of the people to seek better employment opportunities, education & services and in part because of the entry of Afghan refugees and other people displaced by military operations and civil unrest in adjacent regions. Peshawar is the major educational, political center of Khyber Pukhtunkhwa.

Arrive and transfer to the hotel.

Dinner & overnight in Peshawar. (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner).

Day 03: Peshawar-Bamboret via Lowari Pass

Breakfast at the hotel. Morning drive to Bamboret via Lowari Pass.

Lowari Pass is situated at an elevation of (10,230 ft.) is a high mountain pass that connects Chitral with Dir in Khyber-Pukhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. Lowari Top is a comparatively low pass. Lowari Pass is closed by snow from late November to late May every year. During this time, jeeps cannot cross so men must travel by foot. This is dangerous, as there are high mountains on each side of Lowari Top, and a fatal avalanche can come at any moment without warning. Lowari Top remains popular because it is the shortest route from Chitral to Peshawar. This pass is one of the four major mountain passes to enter Chitral. The others are the Dorah Pass from Badakshan in Afghanistan, Shandur Top from Gilgit, and Brughul Pass from the Wakhan Corridor in Afghanistan. The Lowari Tunnel is currently being constructed under Lowari Pass by a Korean company. The tunnel is expected to be fully open in 2012.

On the way lunch in a local restaurant. Arrival in Bamboret and transfer to the hotel.

Bamboret is the main valley of three valleys, away from Chitral of 2 hours drive. Inhabitants of Kalash valley exist in two unique types of Kafirs (Infidels) the red and the black until the ending of the last century. The Red Kafirs (Infidels) were subjugated by Amir of Afghanistan and converted to Muslims. The Kalash were however not debilitated till to day and preserve their pagan rites.

Dinner & overnight in Bamboret. (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner).

Day 04: Bamboret-Kalash Valleys Excursion-Chitral

After breakfast proceed for full day excursion to two Kalash valleys by Non A/C Willy Jeep.

We shall explore the two valleys of Kalasha (Rambur & Birir). Muslims used the word Kafir to stand for infidels or nonbelievers. There used to exist two distinctive types of Kafirs, the Red and the Kalash (Black). Now, there are only the Kalash, existing in the three valleys south of Chitral. To this day the Kalash people maintain their pagan life, and one can watch their ancient dances and ceremonies. The women are out and about in their villages and will invite you for tea, to look at their unusual dresses and jewelry, and will offer to braid your hair in their fashion. As well as observing the people and their customs, one must notice the spectacular scenery.

Birir remains relatively unspoiled and less visited. The majority of the people are still Kafirs. One can see the village constructed on a mountain slope in a terrace-like fashion, with houses perched upon each other. Evening drive back to Chitral.

Dinner & overnight in Chitral. (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner).

Day 05: Chitral Valley tour

Breakfast at the hotel.

Another interesting place near Chitral is Birmoglasht, the summer residence of the former Mehtars (rulers). About 45 Kms north of Chitral Town are the famous hot springs Garam Chashma, known for their curing properties. Polo, the “Game of the Kings” is best seen here in its land of origin. Played by skillful, daring participants in traditional style, Polo tournament is held every year in July near Chitral at Shandur Pass between Gilgit & Chitral.

Lunch in a local restaurant.

Shahi Mosque, a beautiful white structure built by the former rulers of Chitral, is one of the most interesting buildings in Chitral. In its courtyard are buried former rulers and members of their families. Nearby is the historic Fort of Chitral where a small contingent of the British Army was besieged for almost thirty days. From the fort is an overwhelming view of Trich Mir Mountain with the Chitral River flowing nearby. The winding street of the Chitral bazaar has shops selling house hold objects, antiques and handicrafts obtained from the remote valleys.

Dinner & overnight at the hotel. (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner).

Day 06: Chitral-Swat via Lowari Pass

Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning drive to Swat via Lowari pass. On the way lunch at Dir. Arrive and transfer to the hotel.

Mingora Bazaar is the commercial hub of Swat region and well-worth visiting; there some one will find emeralds for which Swat is well-known. If time permits then continue to Murghazar to visit old white palace constructed from white marble and adorned with ornate carvings.

Dinner & overnight in Swat. (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner).

Day 07: Swat-City tour-Besham 

After breakfast proceed for sight seeing of Swat.

The museum in Saidu Sharif has a huge compilation of Gandhara sculptures collected from some of the Buddhist sites in Swat Valley. There are some local embroidery, carved wood, rare coins & tribal jewelery displayed.

Butkara ruins are one of the most significant Buddhist places of pilgrimage in the valley. Site is consists of a main stupa around which pushed around 215 votive stupas, in it seems that magnificent disarray. The main stupa was supposed to have some ashes of Lord Buddha built by the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka. One can see still there are statues of lions bend down on their side. They may be fell off the ends of the tall columns which once located close to the stupa.

After lunch PM. drive to Besham via Shangla Pass.

Arriving at Besham we are at the base perimeter of Indus valley with fascinating view of the Indus River and the legendary road known as the Karakuram Highway  (KKH) 8th wonder of the world. The widen of our traveling from Besham to Thakot (Shangla) is just a slight glance of the wonders and inspirational values that this road has in store for its travelers who take their journey with it on upstream path. Arrive and transfer to the hotel.

Arrive and transfer to the hotel. Dinner & overnight in Besham. (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner).

Day 08: Besham-Gilgit  

Breakfast at the hotel. AM. Drive to Gilgit along Karakuram Highway.

En-route lunch in Chilas. Arrive and transfer to the hotel.

Gilgit is administratively capital city of Gilgit/Baltistan and business hub in the region. Its ancient name was Sargin, later it is locally known as Gilit. Gilgit was an important city on the Great Silk Road, along which Buddhism was spread from south Asia to rest of the Asian countries.

Dinner & overnight in Gilgit. (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner).

Day 09: Gilgit-Karimabad

Breakfast at the hotel. Morning Kargah Buddha visit. Then drive to Karimabad Hunza.

Located on a rock near Kargah Nullah (Narrow valley), 10 km away from Gilgit city is a Beautiful rock impression of Buddha from 7th century A.D.

On the way lunch at Rakaposhi View Point. Arrive and transfer to the hotel. PM. At leisure.

Karimabad is the delightful old capital of the Hunza Kingdom. From Karimabad, with its souvenir shop, post office and tea shop, you can obtain a superb view of the valley laid out below you and of the peaks at the back. Karimabad area is scattered with natural flowers and blossoming fruit orchards. We will spend half our day in this town enjoying the greenery and enchantment in the sound of waterfall.

Dinner & overnight in Karimabad. (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner).

Day 10: Karimabad full day tour

Breakfast at the hotel. Proceed for excursion to Nagar valley, Baltit Fort and Karimabad Bazaar.

A short jeep traveling will take us to Nagar Valley. The beauties of the village are fruit orchards, longevity of local people and enjoy the many mountain flowers that point the landscape. We have excellent views of Ultar Peak, and the Hunza Valley as seen from Nagar.

Lunch at the hotel.

Baltit fort (Museum) was the old palace of the Mirs of Hunza and was settled until 1960. It is more then 400 years old.  Baltit is a questioning long-winded old place and has four stories, strongly built of stones, sun-dried mud and wood.  Baltit is built on a cliff edging at the back side; it is a gorge and then the Ultar glacier shining in the sunshine. The structural design here, as at Altit Fort, reflects a Tibetan influence.  The local people says that a Princess of Baltistan get married a time in power Mir and brought with her Balti masons, carpenters and craftsmen to build Baltit and Altit as part of her gift/dowry. In the ‘museum room’ are coats of mail, weapons and the warning drums that sounded the alarm in an attack. The view from the top of the fort is well worth the climb.

Dinner & overnight at the hotel. (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner).

Day 11: Karimabad-Gulmit Excursion-Duiker

Morning drive from Karimabad to Gulmit by crossing Attaabad Lake by motor boat.

Gulmit is the head quarter of Tehsil Gojal, in the upper Hunza region of District Hunza/Nagar of Gilgit/Baltistan. Territory is located in the deep in the Karakuram Mountain Range. Gulmit is a centuries-old historic town, with mountains, peaks and glaciers. It is a tourist spot and has many hotels, shops and a museum. Its altitude is (7900 ft / 2408m) above the Arabian Sea level. Gulmit is also a Turkish or Iranian word which means the valley of flowers. Before 1974, when Hunza was a state, Gulmit used to be the Summer Capital of the formerly Hunza state. After the abolition of the state it became the Tehsil’s set up of government. The oldest undamaged house in Gulmit is more than six centuries old.

After lunch in Gulmit drive back to Karimabad. Arrive and transfer to Duiker Village.

Duiker is a small village which is 4-5 kms away from Karimabad, situated above Altit Village at a height of (9,327 ft / 2,850 m) approximately, from where one can get  gorgeous  view  of  whole  Hunza valley  and all  adjoining peaks  as well  as Hoper Glacier from this view point.

Dinner & overnight at the hotel in Duiker. (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner).

Day 12: Duiker-Chilas     

Early morning view Sunrise from Duiker village. Breakfast at the hotel.

After some times drive back to Karimabad and continue drive to Chilas.

Chilas was on the very old caravan track over the Babusar Pass into India and on the Indus trail of Besham, and many rock engravings/impressions were left by travelers in this area. Chilas is standing under the shadow of world famous Killer Mountain Nanga Parbat. Arrive and transfer to the hotel.

Dinner & overnight in Chilas. (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner).

Day 13: Chilas-Rawalpindi/Islamabad

Breakfast at the hotel. Morning drive to Islamabad via Besham & Abbottabad.

On the way lunch in a local restaurant. Arrive and transfer to the hotel.

Dinner & overnight in Rawalpindi/Islamabad. (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner).

Day 14: Islamabad

After breakfast transfer to Benazir Bhutto International Airport Islamabad for home bound flight. (Breakfast only).

SERVICES END