Tourism in Punjab, the province we do not know

When I came to Pakistan eight months ago, I never pictured Lahore as the Cosmopolitan city it really is.

Whether it is the lack of tourism advertisement or the long visa process, it does not seem like that should be enough to hold us back from discovering one of the world’s most beautiful places. Is it possible we are out of focus?

Lahore is the Cultural capital of Pakistan, the Guardian of rich Mughal heritage, the famous ‘Walled City’ and the oldest market in South Asia…However, Lahore is not the only city of Punjab, and most of us tend to forget that.

The Punjab region of Pakistan comprises of 36 districts, each one of them with something different to offer. Together they are the largest contributors to Pakistan’s economy and have the highest Human Development Index out of all of Pakistan’s provinces.

If you thought Lahore alone was interesting wait until you discover the rest of Punjab.

For many years the popular attractions of Punjab have been centralized in the central city (Lahore), fortunately for you and me, things are changing.  

Initiatives like the Hop-on Hop-off Bus and the Desert Rally held in South Punjab are a few of the plans TDCP (Tourism Development Corporation of Punjab) holds for the near future.

The Tourism Development Corporation of Punjab is trying to re-direct our horizons by showing us there is so much more to Punjab than what we are accustomed to seeing.

“We are trying to find more and more places for the people to visit,” a TDCP spokesman said.

Our sources revealed that their aim is not only to promote the hidden pearls of Punjab but to also promote the sites that seem to be forgotten. He also pointed out that the Government is aware of the poor condition of the roads that lead to many important sites, something he believes affects local tourism. “Changes are on the way, and we are looking at solutions to improve this issues.”

In the meantime, you can explore a few of the suggestions TDCP is trying to promote.

The Land of Mystics and Saints

Tourism in Punab, the Land of Mystics and Saints

If History and spirituality are what interests you then probably Multan is the getaway to choose.

Multan has more tombs of saints and Sufis gathered at one place than anywhere else on earth, creating a mystical atmosphere that cannot be found anywhere else.

Multan’s enviable geographical position gives it the privilege to host the meeting point for the five most important rivers of the region while guarding the history of a whole sub-continent behind its gates.

Katas

Katasraj Temple

Katasraj is not a name we hear every day, but such is the importance of this place that the Pakistani Government has considered nominating the Temple as a World Heritage Site.

Dedicated to Shiva, one of the three most important deities of Hinduism, the Temple is said to be over 900 hundred years old, taking us back to the times of the Mahabharata. Abandoned by Hindus in 1947 during the India-Pakistan Partition, worshippers of all Hindu faiths still perform pilgrimage to the mandir in order to seek forgiveness.

Khewra Salt Mines

Khewra Salt Mines

Discovered by Alexander the Great’s troops and located in the World largest’s salt mine range, Khewra has been a popular attraction for many years. With almost 300,000 tourists a year (both international and local) the Government looks to promote the site by improving the roads and tourist services in the nearby areas.

The City of Cut Stone

The City of Cut Stone

Once the home to one of the oldest universities ever registered, Taxila was also granted a visit by Alexander the Great and his troops. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, references indicate that Taxila may have dated back to at least the 8th century BCE, with an Indo-Iranian society background as proof of religious diversity and knowledge.

Today Taxila is a mix of urban and rural environs.

Additionally, to the ruins of ancient Taxila, relics of Mughal gardens and a local Museum are found in the region.    

The Government initiatives sound promising, and we hope that once the planning is taken into action, the beauty of Punjab is not centralized in their primary cities. The discovery and promotion of those hidden spots are something Punjab needs, not only for the economy but also for its people.

 

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