Written by Kamran Ali
Pakistan is a country known for its various cultures and languages. Pakistan has diverse weather conditions which attracts tourists and makes it unique. Famous mountains ranges in Pakistan are Karakorum range, Hindu Kush range, and the Himalaya range. There are different civilizations sites in Pakistan like Mohenjodaro, Takht Bhai ruins and the Indus Valley civilication. There are hundreds of beautiful cities in Pakistan and a survey done stated that Pakistan received 1.9 million tourists in 2018. In 2018 “British Backpacker Society” ranked Pakistan as a top adventure destination in the world. In the past years, Pakistan was engaged in “war on terror,” and hence the tourism industry suffered the most. Slowly the country began opening up for tourists and with the initiatives taken by the government in 2018 tourism began to flourish. Even though the major cities of Pakistan have a lot to offer the tourists but five unique cities have been chosen for tourists due to their natural beauty, pollution-free environment, and famous ancient sites. These unique cities are the best for nature lovers, hikers, mountain climbers and campers.
Upper Dir District
This was a princely state during partition and is a district in the Malakand district of KP (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) province formerly known as NWFP (Northern Western Frontier Province). This city is famous around Pakistan because of its natural beauty and the untouched sites attract many tourists. Kumrat Valley is a valley in the Upper Dir district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. It is just 45 minutes away from the town of Thal. It is one of the most pictureque sites of Pakistan.
Kumrat Valley is located in the Upper region of Dir Kohistan while Gabral (Swat Kohistan) is at the backside. Panjkora river, snow-clad mountains, lush green pastures, and the lakes are the main tourist attractions of this region. One of the lakes known as “Katora lake” is quite famous as the word “Katora” means bowl in Urdu as the lake resembles a bowl.
Terah valley is also one of the most beautiful tourist spots, located in Khyber, Kurram and Orakzai districts in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. It is accessed by road easily and takes only 1 hour from Peshawar to Terah. Some of its parts are also straddling to the Afghanistan province, Nangarhar. The valley is populous for its lush green fields of wild olives, walnut, mulberry trees, and grounds. Going still higher, we will find the renowned blue pines. Ever since the government focused on tourism, it has become one of the favourite tourist places for visitors. According to locals, many visitors come to Terah and admire its gardens and natural springs. Among five valleys which are Barra, Rajgul, Waran, Mastura and Maidan valley are the homes of the Afridi tribe (the real inhibitors of Terah valley) because it is attached with Safed Koh a mountain range in eastern Afghanistan known as Spin Ghar. So, these tribes come to Maidan in summer.
Another district of Malakand district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and formerly a part of Swat district is Shangla District. It is located between the mounds and hilly environs embellished with Deodar, blue pines, etc. From the north, it has been attached by the Kohistan district, and it is bounded by Battagram district in the east, while bound by the Buner district in the south and by Swat district in the West. There are also many Greeks and Hindu relics. The locals also believe that Alexander the Great had also camped here in Shangla at Pirsar.
The district population comprises 757,810 based on the census of 2017. It is famous for its variant weather because all the four seasons can be observed at a time in this district. Because in some parts of the Shangla district the weather is hot like urban areas of Pakistan while the other parts are cold. While in some parts of Shangla one can enjoy spring, the other side of Shangla are cold like winter.
Yakhtangi is also a place that attracts hundreds of tourists having many springs and forests. The government has built huts which are also the main attraction. Pir khana, a union council in Shapur valley is another famous spot for tourists. At the top, there is a plain ground that attracts many tourists. However there is no proper road, so tourists must use other means of getting there.
Zhob is one of the districts in Baluchistan province. Previously it was known as Appozai, which was derived from a nearby village. Under the British rule, the name was converted to “Sandeman” after Robert Sandeman. Silyazzai is also one of the tourist spots in the Zhob district on “DI Khan” highway. There are gardens of grapes and springs that are the main attractions for tourists. Many tourists come to Silyazzai just for the beautiful springs and its beautiful gardens. It’s like water and greenery found in the middle of the desert. Zhob is also famous among the archaeologists because of an ancient rock art gallery. Out of fifty, only eight rock shelters are part of the ancient art gallery. There is a dam in Zhob which also attracts tourists for fishing and canoeing.
Headquartered in the Sheikhupura district, Sheikhupura is a city in the Punjab province of Pakista. It is also known as Qila Sheikhupura and was formerly named by Mughal King Jehangir Abad. Hiran Minar is also located in Sheikhupura, which was built by emperor Jehangir. According to the 2017 census, the city population is 473129. At the time of partition, the Sikhs wanted that the commission should be awarded this area to India despite the 19% population.
Despite these mentioned cities, there are many more famous cities in Pakistan which are populous among the tourists. Every year thousands of tourists come to these cities and enjoy their holidays. But these cities need more exploration along with other hidden cities having an indigenous and natural beauty. Tourists can enjoy the beauty and hospitality of Pakistan.