FROM LAHORE TO SAMARKAND ANCIENT ROUTE, NEW DIMENSIONS

Tayyab Nisar Mir

Pakistan and Central Asia Unbreakable Cultural Links

“I have a fresh impetus to the hearts of men ! From Lahore to the soils of Bokhara and Samarkand” “Love’s spark is once again kindled in Asia’s heart !” Once again robe-wearing Tartarians are galloping on earth’s four corners!”
Allama Muhammad Iqbal

Pakistan and Central Asia Unbreakable Cultural Links

Trade and Commerce continued for centuries between cities of Central Asia and Peshawar, Lahore, Multan and Shikarpur. The Silk Route saw movement of traders, businessmen, scholars, missionaries, artists, artisans, invaders, conquerers and travellers between the entire Region. In Bokhara, the Sarafa bazaars and caravansarais named after Pakistani cities and we meet families of Pakistani origin whoes ancestors settled here as businessmen. In Sethi Houses in Peshawar we find hundreds of old pre-1917 Russian Currency Notes. The Region was a great economic zone for free trade and travel. The trade was carried through a common currency of gold and copper of the Kushans (1st to 4th century AD) and informal promissory notes issued by traders of Peshawar, Lahore and Multan for business houses in Bokhara, also used by English travellers in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Merchants,

artisans and craftsmen who travelled to Lahore, left their marks on urban life. Paper-making, wood-carving, tailoring, variety of copper vessels, gold and silver jewelery made today in Pakistan show deep impact of Central Asian culture.
Many

aspects of Pakistani society like; religion culture, customs, cuisine, art, poetry, languages, traditions, dresses, music and musical instruments, sufi traditions have an unbreakable link with the entire Region.
Trade

between the Indus Valley and the Bronze-age cities of Namazgahtepe and Altyne-tepe, Terracotta Art.
Parthian

state of Nisa, and Taxila (Sirkap city & Jandial Temple) in 1st century AD. Gandhara link with old city of Merv.

Ancient Historical Links

The Greeks and the Bactrian Greeks, the Scythians, the Kushans, The Huns, The Persians Pre-Muslim Turkish tribes (7th-8th AD), The Tarkhan Dynesty, Turki Shahi Dynesty Sultan Mehmud of Ghazni, Shahnama-e-Islam, Tomb of Ismail Samani in Bokhara – Tomb of Marha Sharif in D.I. Khan. Focal points of Islamic Culture - Turki Shahi cities of Peshawar, Ohind (Hund), Nandna, Lahore, Pakpattan and Multan. Ghori Sultans blended with Tajik and Turks formed Turko-Persian culture in Pakistan and Afghanistan - Khiljis, Karlugs, Kara Khittais (from Kashgar), Kara-Khanis, Kara-Begs etc.

Historical Links

Turko-Tajik immigrants during 12th-13th centuries (Mongols Vs Kwarzam Shah) – Khans and Khaqans – Sufi Saints, Scholars, Scientists, Mathematicians – formation of a new language – Urdu. 14th century - Amir Taimur Gorgan’s Golden Age – Central Asia, Afganistan, Iran, Mediterranean Coast, Middle East, Pakistan territories and Delhi Sultanate. A devotee of Hazrat Bahauddin Naksh-i-Bandi, Amir Taimur built many mosques madrassahs and darghahs, Bokhara, Samarkand, Shahar-eSabz, Tirmiz, Khiva. Many Nakhashbani Saints migrated to Pakistan and India. He patronized the miniature painting or “the art of the book”, supported art and science. His son Shah Rukh brought the architecture in Afghanistan (Herat). The Arghun and Tarkhan rulers brought this style to Pakistan (Thatta).

Taimur’s grandson, Ulugg Beg, governor of Samarkand – a great scholar and scientist, built the observatory in Samarkand, compiled astronomical table – The observatory at Jaipur in India is a copy of his observatory. The last Taimuri Sultan Husain Bayqara (1470-1506) in Herat – Persian poet Jami and Turkish poet Ali Sher Nawai The rise of Uzbeks in Mawara-un-Nahr (Shaibani Khan), Safvis in Iran and Moghuls in Afghanistan Pakistan (area) and India. The Great Moghuls – Babur of Ferghana – with Moghuls came Tajiks and Uzbeks who spread out to what is now Pakistan and Northern India – Tomb of Baqi Beg Uzbek at Thatta (Moghuls, Begs, Mirza). People migrated from Iran, Turan and Afghanistan. Moghuls gifted, art, architecture, poetry, cuisine, culture, language (Persian, Turkish and later, Urdu) to the entie South Asia. Pakistan shared this inheritence - mosques, madrassahs, darghahs, forts, palaces, necropolis, havelis spread all over the country.

Karakoram Highway (KKH)
 In 390 AD, the Chinese pilgrim Fa Hsien described his travel on the Silk Route, "The way was difficult and rugged, running along a bank exceedingly precipitous. When one approached the edge of it, his eyes became unsteady; and if he wished to go forward in the same direction, there was no place on which he could place his foot; and beneath were the waters of the river called the Indus.“ Before the completion of the Karakoram Highway in June 1978, the travel in and out of the area could have been the same as described by him.  An agreement for the construction of the KKH was signed by Pakistan and China in 1966. Now, for the first time since the heyday of the fabled Silk Route, the fertile plains of ancient Gandhara and the Punjab were to be linked with the equally fabled Central Asian cities.  In 1967 work started simultaneously from Thakot, Chilas, Gilgit and the Khunjerab Pass, separated one from the other by distances of 145-260 km. Between these points there was no road to transport heavy machinery. The Pakistan Air Force was, therefore called upon to lift 10,000 tons of machinery and stores to strategic points. Casualty evacuation was carried out by a fleet of helicopters located close to major work sites.

Karakoram Highway
 Eight thousand tons of explosives were used to blast the KKH through nature's defences. The glacial moraines and unstable scree deposits had a disconcerting habit of collapsing without notice, taking the road with them. The famous Pattan earthquake, in December 1974, caused large landslides, blocking the road for two weeks.  A 800 kms metalled dual highway snakes through awesome mountains where four giant ranges with peakes averaging 6,000 metres meet and cross. This task took 20 years. During its construction 24,500 Pakistanis and Chinese laboured to turn a dream into a miraculous reality. Some 400 of them gave their lives in the building of the KKH.  There are 24 major and 70 smaller bridges along the route, all of which had to be built according to different ecological prerequisites.  China has completed Urmuqi-Kaghar rail link and the Highway between Kashgar and Bishkek via Turgert Pass and Naryan. There are plans to build new roads between Pakistan and Tajikistan via Wakhan and also between Xinjiang to Taxkistan via Taxkurgan.

Karakoram Highway (Silk Route)

Karachi for Business Travellers

Jinnah International Airport

Karachi Expo Centre

Hotels in Karachi
Avari Towers

Regent Plaza

Karachi Marriott

Sheraton

Pearl Continental

Tourist Attractions in Karachi

Paradise Point

French Beach

Clifton Beach View

Quaid-e-Azam Mausoleum

Frere Hall

Jehangir Kothari Monument

Empress Market

Mohatta Palace

Mermaid’s Palace

Excursions from Karachi

Chaukundi Tombs

Chaukundi Tombs

Debal Ancient port city

Makli Tombs Snake Charmer at Makli

Makli Tombs

Excursions from Karachi

Shahjehan Mosque Thatta

Shahjehan Mosque Thatta

Hyderabad Cultural Museum

Kalhora Tombs Hyderabad

Glass Bangles, Hyderabad

Handicrafts from Sindh

Wax-colours-on-wood

Ajrak

Embriodery work

Rilli

Kid with Sindhi cap

Girls in traditional dresses

Indus Valley Civilization

Buddhist stupa, Moenjodaro

Harrapa remains

Great Bath, Moenjodaro

King Priest, Moenjodaro

Terracotta toys, Harrapa

Bahawalpur & Multan
Mausoleum of Shah Rukn-e-Alam, Multan

Derawar Fort, Bahawalpur

Bibi Jiwandi Tomb, Uchh Sharif

Bahawalpur Central Library

Tile design, Multan

Handicrafts from Multan
Pattern on China-clay pottery

Pottery work, Multan Pottery
Multani “Khussa”

Camel-skin work

Hanicrafts on display

Hotels in Bahawalpur & Multan

Ramada, Multan

PTDC Motel, Bahawalpur

Fiestan Inn, Multan

Ramada, Multan

Sindbad, Multan

Lahore for Business Travellers

Allama Iqbal International Airport Expo Centre

PACE Shopping Mall

Expo Centre

Tourist Attractions in Lahore

Masjid Wazir Khan Masjid Wazir Khan

Badhahi Masjid Badshahi Masjid

Alamgiri Gate, Shahi Qala

Tourist Attractions in Lahore
Jehahgir’s Mausoleum Shalamar Bagh

Entrance gate, Jehangir’s Tomb

Naulakha Pavilion, Shahi Qala

Chauburji

Tourist Attractions in Lahore
Minar-e-Pakistan Food Street at night

Ajaib Ghar (Museum)
Islamic Summit Minar & Punjab Assembly

View of the old city

Tourist Attractions in Lahore

House in the old city Race-course Park Lahore Zoo

Shopping in Anarkali Jallo Park

Excursions from Lahore

Flag Ceremony at Wagha border

Chhanga Manga Resort

Hiran Minar, Sheikhupura

Hotels in Lahore

Pearl Continental

Pearl Continental Avari

Holiday Inn

The Residency

Lahore to Islamabad
Khewera Salt Mines

Ketas Temple

Rohtas Fort

Kallar Kahar Lake

Lahore-Islamabad Motorway (M2)

Islamabad for Business Travellers

Benazir International Airport Jinnah Convention Centre

Jinnah Avenue Aiwan-e-Sadr

Hotels in Islamabad
Islamabad Marriott Holiday Inn Islamabad

Islamabad Serena

Pearl Continental Rawalpindi

Tourist Attractions in Islamabad

National Monument

Rawal Lake

Faisal Masjid

National Monument Museum

Lake View Park

Tourist Attractions in Islamabad

Rose & Jasmin Garden

Saidpur Heritage Village

Saidpur Heritage Village

Lok Virsa Museum

Margalla National Park

Excursions from Islamabad

Patriata Cable Cars

Murree in winter

Ayubia Chairlift

PTDC Motel Ayubia

Ayubia National Park

Excursions from Islamabad

Jaulian Monastery,Taxila Nicholson’s Monument Taxila Museum Panja Sahab Orange Orchards, Khanpur

Karakoram Higway
Thakot Bridge, Indus river

Terraced fields, Shinkiari KKH Milestone A Truck on KKH

PTDC Motel, Besham

Karakoram Higway

Rock Carving near Chilas Ancient Rock Carving near Shatial

Raikot Bridge

Rock Carving near Shatial

Karakoram Higway
Meeting point of 3 mountain ranges
Meeting point of the Indus and the Gilgit rivers

KKH near Jaglot KKH and Nanga Parbat

Nanga Parbat seen from KKH

Gilgit
Suspension Bridge,Gilgit Kargah Buddha

KKH near Gilgit PTDC Motel, Gilgit

Nomal kid with goat

Nagar & Hunza
Dancers from Nagar

Golden Peak, Nagar KKH Memorial

Rakaposhi as seen from Hunza

Rakaposhi View Point, KKH

Hunza
Ultar Peak, Hunza Baltit Fort, Hunza

Altit Fort, Hunza

PTDC Motel Hunza

Upper Hunza (Gojal)
Rock Carving, Hunza Ata Abad Lake near Gulmit

Gulmit

Rope Suspension bridge, Hussaini

Upper Hunza (Gojal)
Passu Village, KKH, Hunza River

Passu Glacier and Peak Khunjerab Pass

PTDC Motel Sost

-KKH near Khunjerab Pass

The People of Pakistan
Kalash Girl

Khyber Kid

Students

Hunza Kid

School Student

Swat Shepherd

THANK YOU

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