Pakistan is a country overflowing in locations of natural beauty and ancient cultural heritage so it’s easy to miss out on a few of its best kept secrets. See our list below for our selection of Pakistan’s top hidden treasures: (You won’t find any of these on the first page of the travel websites but we’ll leave you wondering why!)
Altit Fort, Hunza Valley
Boasting a phenomenal view of the surrounding mountain range and the crystal blue river that flows beneath it, the Altit Fort of the Hunza Valley is the oldest monument in the vast Gilgit-Baltistan region, estimated at around 1100 years old.
Originally the home and power base of the hereditary rulers of the Hunza state, this mountain top fortress its surrounding village have received recognition of their importance as a site of cultural important in the form of restoration funding from the Aga Khan Trust for Culture and the governments of Norway and Japan.
Having only been open to the public since 2007, this rare wonder is well worth the expedition.
Baltoro Glacier, Karakorum Range
A region of rugged beauty speckled with picturesque frozen lakes, this awe inspiring glacier sits below the colossal K2 Mountain in the Karakorum mountain range. Its isolation and distance from civilisation contribute both to its anonymity and its majesty.
Glacier Stream, Concordia, Gilgit Baltistan
Far from the beaten track, and within the larger Baltoro Glacer, this particular spectacle deserves a mention all by itself having spawned award winning natural photography of its stunning azure blue waters cutting a path through the ice, rock and snow.
Translated directly as the ‘Mound of the Dead’, Mohenjo-Daro was once amongst the most advanced cities in the world and one of the pre-eminent settlements of the ancient Indus Valley civilisation over 4500 years ago. Noted for its architecture and inventive engineering, the city was abandoned following the sudden decline of the Indus civilisation around 1900 BC and remained lost until the early 20th Century AD.
Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site as one of the world’s earliest major settlements, excavation and research is finally breathing life back into the Mound of the Dead.
With its 40 gigantic bastions jostling for attention along its 1500 metre-long and 30 metre-high perimeter, the Derawar Fort dominates the Bahawalpur skyline from horizon to horizon from its seat of power in the Cholistan desert.
Conjuring notions of a Troy in the desert, the sheer scale and verbosity of its fortifications are overwhelming and well worth the undertaking to reach them.
Hingol National Park
Stretching across 640 square miles, Hingol represents the largest national park in Pakistan and is renowned for the range and diversity of its assorted flora and fauna across both subtropical and mountainous regions. For the avid explorer or naturist, surveys have indicated the potential for numerous as yet undiscovered species in the area waiting to be found.
Although on the surface this may seem like a rather morbid excursion, the Chaukhandi tombs lay within an Islamic cemetery dating back to the early 16th century and the beginnings of Mughal rule across the Indian subcontinent.
Famed for exquisite, elaborate carvings in the sandstone sarcophaguses, the craftsmanship of these early artists has been remarkably well preserved and often portrays assorted scenes of hunting, weaponry and jewellery of a bygone age.
A third fort makes its way on to our list but with each one displaying vastly different characteristics the Ranikot Fort is no different. Nicknamed the Great Wall of Sindh, it is believed to be the world’s largest fort with walls stretching around 16 miles in length. Anyone making their way through these expansive fortifications is then to be faced with a fort-within-a-fort, as a second wall protecting what is believed to be the former palace residence of the Mir royal family rears up some 5 miles within the outer.
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