10 Best Historical Places in Pakistan That You Must Visit At least Once

Pakistan is a  rich country when it comes to historical places. Pakistan has 26 places included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites to date. Some of them are mentioned in this article. here I have mentioned the top 10 best historical places in Pakistan you must visit at least once.

Visiting the historical places is the best way to know the civilization of not only Pakistan but of the subcontinent and get to know about your history.

Let’s dive right in.

Historical Places in Pakistan

  1. Buddhist Ruins of Takht-i-Bahi
  2. Taxila
  3. Historical Monuments at Makli, Thatta
  4. Archaeological Ruins at Moenjodaro
  5. Rohtas Fort, Jhelum
  6. Fort and Shalimar Gardens in Lahore
  7. Badshahi Mosque, Lahore
  8. Hiran Minar and Tank, Sheikhupura
  9. Katasraj Temple, Chakwal
  10. Ranikot Fort, Dadu

Buddhist Ruins of Takht-i-Bahi

Historical Places in Pakistan

What’s better than the Buddhist ruins of Thakht-i- Bhai founded in the first century CE.  It is one of the oldest Buddhist monasteries in Pakistan and was used until the 7th century.  It was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1980 because of its historical importance in not only Buddhist culture but also the history of the subcontinent.

According to the locals, the site got its name from two Wells on the hill. “Takht“ means top while “Bhai” means spring and combined together it means is high spring.

If you are visiting the Buddhist ruins of the city by then there are four main areas of the Thakht-i-Bhai complex. 

The Stupa Court: A stupa is a hemispherical structure that contains a relic that was used as a place of meditation. The site contained the Stupa which was located in the Central courtyard

The monastic Chambers: The city consists of individual cells that are arranged around a Courtyard assembly hall and a dining area.

Temple complex: This consists of stupas and similar to stupa Court but they were later constructed.

Tantric Monastery Complex: This denotes traditions of Hinduism and Buddhism the term tantara also means any systematic broadly applicable text theory system method instrument for practice. The 10 Tantric monastic Complex consists of small dark circles with low openings which may have been used for meditation 

Dozens of stone sculptures of ruins of the Bhai or transferred to the Peshawar Museum and the Lahore museum if you want to see the story of Kal Buddhist sculptures then I would recommend you to go to the Peshawar Museum. 

Takht-i-Bahi Location:

Mazdoor Abad, Takht Bhai, Mardan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

Taxila Historical Sites:

Taxila is one of the most important historical cities in the world and one of the best historical places in Pakistan. The origin of Taxila goes back to 1000 BCE. Taxila is among the few UNESCO World Heritage sites of Pakistan and is not just a city or a historical City. It consists of different areas and sides that are historically important some of them are mentioned below. It is also among the top tourist destinations in Pakistan. By some accounts, the University of ancient Taxila was considered to be one of the earliest universities in the world.

The Taxila city is old that evidence of Neolithic, Bronze age and Iron Age occupation is found there.

If you want to get more information about the Gandhara art and numismatic collection and see the statues and sculptures of the historical sites of Taxila then you must visit the Taxila Museum. The museum mainly focuses on Gandhara art and sculptures from Taxila dating back to 1000 are preserved inside the Taxila museum.

Khanpur Cave:

Khanpur Cave is a site which reveals that Taxila was inhabited in prehistoric times. The 10ft deep and 25ft wide Mesolithic period cave high up on the hill and has produced microlithic made tools as well as Buddhist stupas and monasteries.

Sarai Kala:

Sarai Kala The mound of Sarai Kala has evidence of the earliest prehistoric settlement, in the Mesolithic period, and also later Bronze age and Iron age settlements. It preserves Neolithic remains going back to 3360 BC and Early Harappan remains of 2900-2600 BC.

Bhir Mound:

Bhir Mound is an archaeological site that was once a major city founded around the 6th century BC, the oldest ruins of a city at Taxila. The oldest part of the ruins, from the 5th and 6th centuries BCE, is believed to be the remains of Persian/Achaemenid Taxila. Later ruins are from the 4th century BCE, after the invasion of Alexander the Great, and the 3rd, during the time of the Maurya kings of India.

Sirkap:

Sirkap was once a major thriving walled city. It was founded by the Greek king Demetrius I in the 2nd century BCE and was later rebuilt by king Menander I of the Indo-Greek kingdom. Sirkap houses around stupa which is one of the oldest stupas in the Indian subcontinent, a large sanctuary building known as Apsidal Temple, a magnificent Double-Headed Eagle Stupa as well many houses.

Sirsukh:

Sirsukh The fortified ruined city of Sirsukh was once a major city and was among the last ancient cities of Taxila. The city was founded by the Kushan king Kanishka the Great after 80 CE.

Dharma Rajik Stupa:

Dharma Rajik Stupa Is a Buddhist Stupa in Taxila The Stupa was built with small bone fragments of the Buddha. It is claimed that Dharma Rajik Stupa was built by King Ashoka in 3rd Century BCE. Indo Greek coins found at the site date back to 2nd century BCE which may be the suggestion of the establishment of the earliest forcible religious monument at the site.

Historical Monuments at Makli, Thatta

Asia’s biggest graveyard the Makli is a living necropolis and one of the important Historical Places in Pakistan. Containing half a million tombs and Graves in an area of about 10-kilometer square. Tata was once the capital of Islamic culture and effects the outstanding civilization of Sindh from the 14th to 18th centuries.

Makli is just not an ordinary graveyard but contains graves of Kings, Queen, governors, Saints, Scholars, and philosophers.  There are hundreds of small and large tombs built inside the graveyard from normal Graves to you beautiful and luxurious tombs of Kings and scholars.

The monuments of Makli are among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. From 1981 to date UNESCO and the Pakistani government have taken radical steps to preserve the architecture of Makli for future generations.

The Tomb of Jump Nizamuddin is also inside Makli who reigned from 1461 to 1509. Nisha Khan. Sher Khan. Jain Baba is also buried in Makli. One of the most glorious structures inside the Mughal E graveyard is of Diwan Shurfa Khan who died in 1638. 

Makli has a lot of history and in this article, I cannot explain it all, instead, you can watch this documentary by the department of Sindh on Makli to get more information and knowledge. 

Archaeological Ruins at Mohenjo Daro

Mohenjo Daro in Sindh Pakistan built around 2500 BC it is one of the largest and ancient Indus Valley Civilizations and also one of the world’s earliest major cities.  The city was abundant in the 19th Century BC and it was discovered in 1920.  In 1980  the Mohenjo-Daro was included in the UNESCO World Heritage site due to its architectural development, planning, antiques, and sculptures found within the city.

Mohenjo-Daro is among the best historical places in Pakistan only because of its great urban infrastructure and it depicts the ancient Indus Valley Civilization.  

The Mohenjo Daro city was not just an ordinary city but it was a planned City the layout was planned with rectilinear buildings arranged on a grid plan. The buildings were built from fine mortar brick and with wooden superstructures.  

At the time when civilization was at its peak, the population reached and a peak of 40,000 people. The city was divided into two parts the Citadel and the lower city. The city is among the best-preserved ancient cities of Indus Valley Civilization. If you get a chance to visit the Mohenjo-Daro then you can see the city divisions and the planned structure of the city.

The Citadel is a mud-brick mound around 12 meters high it is known for its public baths, large residential structure for 5000 citizens, and two large assembly halls.

The Lower City was designed for the common man; it had a marketplace with a large central pond. Individual households attend to water from small wells there was a proper drainage system, rooms for taking bath, and also an underground finance system.  The Mohenjo Daro city was so advanced that they had a heated bathing system inside their houses where the same system in Europe came into existence after 2000 years. 

Mohenjo Daro Location:

Mohenjo-daro, Larkana, Sindh

How was Mohenjo Daro destroyed?

There is not any solid evidence of how  Mohenjo Daro was destroyed?  Apparently, it is said that the city was destroyed by Indo European migrants from Iran which were the Aryans.  The Mohenjo Daro was not fortified. Mohenjo Daro didn’t have the fortification system the civilization was among the advanced and developed nations at a time. The residents of Indus Valley civilizations including Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro were basically traders they used to trade gold, Copper, and other jewelry equipment to Iran and the present Gulf countries.

The artifacts and the weaponry found from Mohenjo Daro was made of copper; it can be said that the people were unaware of iron or steel. 

The second thought About Mohenjo Daro is that it was not destroyed but abandoned.  As ancient civilizations used to settle near the rivers. Mohenjo Daro and Harappa were built near the Indus river, chances are due to the lack of water in the river Indus the people of Mohenjo Daro and Harappa might have moved to other locations and abandoned Mohenjo Daro.

Rohtas Fort, Jhelum

Rohtas Fort which was built by Afghan King Sher Shah Suri. It is one of the largest forts in the subcontinent. It is also included in the UNESCO World Heritage site in 1997 as an example of Muslim military architectural power. 

Rohtas Fort was built to block the advances of Mughal emperor Humayun who was exiled to Persia after he was defeated by Sher Shah Suri at the battle of kanauj. The Fort is built on the old route which was used by Armies to move from Afghanistan to the subcontinent. 

It is one of the largest forts in the subcontinent which covers an area of 70 hectares. The Fort is about 91 meters high and 810 meters above sea level. Rohtas Fort construction started in 1541 and completed in 1550. Rohtas Fort has seen many eras of history. From the reign of Sher Shah Suri to the Mughal emperor to Maratha and till the end of the Sikh Empire in 1849. 

The history of Rohtas Fort is as old as the history of Mughals.  From 1550  till today 470 years have passed  and Rohtas Fort is still in its original state as built by Sher Shah Suri in 1541.

It is among the best Historical Places in Pakistan to see centuries old fort still in good condition.

Location:

Rohtas Fort Rd, Rohtas, Jhelum, Punjab

Rohtas Fort map:

Rohtas Fort covers an area of about 70 hectares the fort consists of 12 Gates a Masjid, two mahals, and a well. The layout of the Rohtas Fort is triangular and comprises kilometers of walls.  The fort wall is thick and has a maximum depth of 12.5 meters and they are both 18.3 meter high.  Rohtas fort was built for military purposes and it had Chambers used to store equipment for 30,000 soldiers.

Fort and Shalimar Gardens in Lahore

Lahore Fort and Shalimar Gardens in Lahore are one of the most popular tourist spots in Lahore. It can be said that Lahore is known for these two historic places. Shalimar Garden was built in 1642 by Shah Jahan who was known for his love for nature and construction.

Shalimar Gardens:

Shalimar Gardens in Lahore are known for their beauty and the fountains.  The history of Shalimar Gardens is more than 350 years and it was under the property of the Arian Mian family till 1962. In the Governance of Field Marshal Ayub Khan in nationalized Shalimar gardens in 1962.

Shalimar Gardens is spread over an area of 16 hectares.  There are more than 500 mountains inside the Shalimar Gardens and dozens of Pavilion inside. Shalimar gardens also contain different types of fruit trees including almond, apple, apricot, cherry, mango, peach, plum, etc.

Shalimar Gardens is spread over an area of 16 hectares.  There are more than 500 mountains inside the Shalimar Gardens and dozens of Pavilion inside. Shalimar gardens also contain different types of fruit trees including almond, apple, apricot, cherry, mango, peach, plum, etc.

It was included in the list of UNESCO world heritage sites in 1981 because of its remarkable Mughal architecture.  

Shalimar Gardens Location:

Shalamar Chowk، G. T. Road, Shalamar Town, Lahore,

Shalimar Gardens Lahore Timing:

9:30 AM to 6:30 PM.

Lahore Fort:

The beautiful and the most astonishing fort of Lahore the Lahore Fort.  Built by  Emperor Akbar in 1556 the Lahore fort is the evidence of the luxurious lifestyle of Mughal emperors. The Lahore fort contains dozens of beautiful architectures inside which include a Picture wall, Naulakha Pavilion, famous sheesh mahal, summer palace, diwan-e-khaas, Kharak Singh haveli, sahdari pavilion, Moti masjid, etc.

The surroundings of the Lahore Fort are also filled with historical architecture. Minar-e- Pakistan, Badshahi Masjid, Hazori Bagh, Samadhi of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, Iqbal Park, 17th-century Mosque of Mariyam Zamani Begum, National History Museum, Shrine of Hazrat Syed Baba Sabir Shah Wali, Shrine of Allama Iqbal, etc are notable mentions.

Lahore Fort Timings:

8:30 AM to 5:00 PM

Badshahi Mosque, Lahore

Badshahi Mosque is one of the most beautiful mosques built in the Mughal Era. It is also the second-largest mosque in Pakistan. Built by Aurangzeb in 1673 it is one of the iconic landmarks of Mughal architecture.  Badshahi Mosque and Lahore Fort are sides by side.  Mughal emperor used to pray inside the Badshahi mosque. 

The exterior of the Badshahi mosque there is extensive use of red sandstone which gives the beautiful view of a red and white mosque.

Inside Badshahi Mosque there is a place that is unknown it is the small museum.  It is located on the side of the entrance gate of the Badshahi mosque the Museum contains manuscripts of the Quran, the belongings of the prophet Mohammed PBUH Islamic rulers and leaders. If you are visiting Badshahi Mosque for the first time then make sure to check out the museum. Note that photography inside the museum is prohibited.

Hiran Minar and Tank, Sheikhupura

Hinar Minar is the 17th century Mughal Complex in Sheikhupura. The Minar is located near the Sheikhupura Fort and it was built other site of game reserve in honor of Mughal Emperor Jahangir Antilope named Manraj. The Minar was built in 1606 for The Emperor’s pet it also has a massive water tank measuring 229 meters by 273  meters.

Close to Hiran Minar, there is also a Sheikhupura Fort which was built in 1607 by Jahangir. It also has historical importance but the Fort is not publicly opened till now.

Katasraj Temple, Chakwal

Katas Raj Temple Is a complex of several Hindu temples connected to one another by walkways. Katas Raj Temple is surrounded by a pool named Katas  which is regarded as sacred by Hindu. It is one of the most important places among the Hindu civilization. According to the Hindu tradition, it is said that the pond has was created by ear drops of Shiva. The pond occupies an area of two kanals and 15 with a depth of about 20 feet.

The temple was first discovered in the fourth century by a Chinese Monk. in the late 7th century CE Chinese Traveller reported the existence of this stupa dating back to the era of 3rd Century BC King Ashoka. it was said that Stupa was about 20 feet tall and was surrounded by 10 Springs. 

The Katas Raj Temple is among the best historical places in Pakistan not only for Hindus but also for people belonging to all religions. The Shrine was built around 66 BC, and this 3500-year temple is still in very good condition. The  Katas Raj Temple, the contents group of 7 Ancient Temple it contains remains of a Buddhist stupa five other Medieval temples, And Haveli surrounding the pond.

 The Katas Raj Temple  has the following temples inside it

  • Ramachandra Temple
  •  Hanuman temple
  •  Shiva temple
  •  Hari Singh Nalwa Fort 

Katas Raj Temple Location:

Kalar Kahar Rd, Katas, Chakwal, Punjab

Katas Raj Temple Opening Hours:

9:00 AM To 6:00 PM Everyday

Ranikot Fort, Dadu

Rani Kot Fort is the world’s largest Fort at the circumference of approximately 30 kilometers. It is also known as the great wall of Sindh. The Rani Court Fort is built on a small hill And there are 3 more small Forts inside the  Ranikot Fort.

It is not known why the fort was built but it is believed that the Rani Court fort was built by Persian rulers in 500 BC. The Fort is very huge; it connects several mountains of Kirthar Hills and the walls of the fort extend long and covers the total area of 31 kilometers containing Hills and valleys. In 1993 UNESCO World Heritage Sites included the Rani Court Fort in their list and till now it is a UNESCO World Heritage site. 

It is not known why the fort was built but it is believed that the Rani Court fort was built by Persian rulers in 500 BC. The Fort is very huge; it connects several mountains of Kirthar Hills and the walls of the fort extend long and covers the total area of 31 kilometers containing Hills and valleys. In 1993 UNESCO World Heritage Sites included the Rani Court Fort in their list and till now it is a UNESCO World Heritage site. 

It is said that Rani Court Fort was built for military purposes and it was not the residence of any ruler but to date, there has not been proper evidence why the Rani Court fort was built. But it still made up to the list of Historical Places in Pakistan.

If you visit Ranikot Fort then you will see dozens of local people inside the Fort. There are three forts inside the Rani Kot Fort and with the help of locals, you can visit them as there is no proper way of reaching those forts. 

Largest Fort Of World:

Rani Kot Fort is believed to be the world’s largest Fort covering an area of approximately 31 kilometers. The 30-kilometer area includes small Hills, valleys, and plains.  It is also said to be the great wall of Sindh.

More Historical places in Pakistan:

  1. Shah Jahan Mosque, Thatta
  2. Chaukhandi Tombs, Karachi
  3. Archaeological Site of Mehrgarh, Dhaddar, Balochistan
  4. Archaeological Site of Ranigat, Buner, KPK
  5. Baltit Fort, Hunza Valley, Gilgit
  6. Mosque of Jalaluddin Bukharim Uch Sharif
  7. Tomb of Shah Rukn-e-Alam, Multan
  8. Derawar and the Desert Forts of Cholistan
  9. Nagarparkar Jain temple, Sindh
  10. Baghsar Fort, Bhimber District, Kashmir
  11. Mausoleum of Meher Ali Shah, Golra Sharif, Islamabad

Conclusion:

Now I’d like to hear from you.

Which are the best historical places in Pakistan ?

Let me know by leaving a comment below, right now.

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