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Pakistan.. The civilizations of the Indus Valley

March 01 to 17, 2018

The Indus Valley Civilization flourished in the vast river plains and adjacent regions in what are now Pakistan and western India. The earliest cities became integrated into an extensive urban culture around 4,600 years ago and continued to dominate the region for at least 700 years from 2600 to 1900 B.C.

The Indus Valley Civilization is also known as the Harappa Civilization, after Harappa, the first of its sites to be excavated in the 1920s, in what was then the Punjab province of British India, and is now in Pakistan. The discovery of Harappa, and soon afterwards, Mohenjo Daro, was the culmination of work beginning in 1861 with the founding of the Archaeological Survey of India in the British Raj. Excavation of Harappan sites has been ongoing since 1920, with important breakthroughs occurring as recently as 1999.

Per person sharing in double occupancy (air and land from JFK): $8,995.00
Single Supplement: $1,100.00   

Led by Professor Mehreen Chida-Razvi, Lecturer in Islamic Art & Architecture

Credit for not using our included airfare $800.00

Price based on a group size minimum of 6 and maximum of 12 participants

Your tour does not include

  • Airport taxes, security charges and fuel surcharges (estimated at $500.00 at time of printing).
  • Airfare from cities other than New York City (price differs depending on gateway city & same other East coast cities could be at same rate).
  • Pakistan Visa (Currently $192.00, subject to change).
  • Items of a personal nature (camera fees, laundry, phone calls, emails, excess luggage, etc.).
  • Transfers if not arriving/departing on scheduled flights/tour dates.
  • Dayroom/overnights necessitated by changes in airline schedules.
  • Travel protection insurance (HIGHLY Recommended).

Your tour includes

  • International airfare into Islamabad & out of Karachi.
  • Airport/hotel/airport transfers in every city.
  • Accommodation in hotels as per the itinerary (based on 3-4 stars categories & few 5* hotels in larger cities.)
  • All meals as mentioned in the itinerary.
  • Sightseeing in each city as per the itinerary.
  • Services of English speaking guide.
  • Visa support letter and approval.
  • Porterage at airports and hotels throughout program.
  • Entrance fees to all visited historical sites and museums.
  • Water & soft drinks on board bus every day.
  • Gratuities to guides, drivers and porters.

Trip Grade:

III Challenging – Parts of the trip are physically challenging, involve hiking on rough terrain or in sand or at high altitudes. There may be very long drives on rough roads (really rough especially in Eritrea); weather conditions with high heat or humidity, presence of insects. You may have simple picnic lunches, primitive bathroom facilities along the road and remoteness from modern towns or cities plus service in Eritrea are very often slow.

Lodging Level:

✶✶✶ - ✶✶✶✶ Superior: Lodges and hotels with additional amenities, refined service and comfort level acceptable to western standards. (3 or 4 stars with a couple of 5 star as well.)

Special trip notes and trip grade: Moderately Rigorous Touring:

Anyone joining this trip must understand that in many places the tourist infrastructure (roads, restaurants and bathrooms) is primitive. Some days entail long drives though most roads in the south are well paved but traffic can be a bit suffocating at city entrances. The hotels and lodges are comfortable but a couple of them lack the usual luxuries of the west. Security checkpoints can sometimes be annoying but one has to be flexible, and patient. By signing up for this tour, participants are acknowledging their full understanding and acceptance of all terms and conditions and are admitting that they are in good physical and mental health and are equipped with an open mind, a sense of adventure and a tolerant and patient spirit to cope with the tour.

Suggested air and post tour extensions:

We recommend using Qatar Airways or Emirates Airline with connecting flights through Doha or Dubai for a possible pre or post stopover at either of these amazing cities. Both cities feature world renowned museums, stunning architecture, a delectable cuisine, and exceptional accommodations and in Dubai the ultimate shopping experience. The other ideal air option is using Turkish Airlines via Istanbul. Contact us for discussing such options.

View Tour Itinerary

Thu-Fri, Mar 01-02
USA - Islamabad

Depart USA, connecting flight to Pakistan’s Islamabad airport arriving the second day very late at night. Upon arrival, you will be met and transferred to your hotel.

Sat, Mar 03

After leisurely breakfast we will head for Faisal Mosque, built in 1976 with a generous grant of $120 million which was funded by King Faisal of Saudi Arabia. Driving through constitutional avenue we will enjoy view of the stunning Supreme Court of Pakistan building, Prime Minister house and secretariat, Presidential Palace and Parliament House. Return to your hotel for dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)

Sun, Mar 04
Islamabad - Taxila - Islamabad

Our day will start with excursion of Historic city of Taxila, National Museum and see some of the best known archeological sites of Taxila. Taxila has one of the most important and best known archaeological treasures, with the remains of three great cities and dozens of Buddhist monasteries dating from 600 BC to AD 600. It also had places of learning (from 5th century BCE to 5the century AD). It was strategically located at the junction of trade routes linking China, India, Central Asia and the west. Return to your hotel for dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)

Mon, Mar 05
Islamabad - Lahore

Today we are taking the morning flight to Lahore and upon arrival we will start our day by exploring beautiful sites of Lahore, starting with Lahore museum, Badshahi Mosque, Samadhi and Lahore fort. Three great forts were built by the Mughals during their days of rule, Delhi, Agra and Lahore. Lahore Fort covering a vast area of 375 by 300 meters. The Fort contains some of the most impressive secular Mughal buildings in the South Asia. Afterwards transfer to your hotel for check in and overnight. (B,L,D)

Tue, Mar 06

In the afternoon we will depart for Shahi Hammam (Royal Bath) and the Wazir Khan Mosque. The Shahi Hammam is the only monumental building in Pakistan which represents the Central Asian/Turkish/Irani tradition of public hot baths. It was designed as a public bathhouse to service both the visiting travelers as well as the inhabitants of the city. Hakim Ilm ud din Ansari, a royal physician during the reign of Shah Jahan, who was granted the title of Wazir Khan, was also responsible for the construction of the famous Wazir Khan Mosque. We will end the day by participating Flags Lowering Ceremony at Wagah Border. Return to your hotel for dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)

Wed, Mar 07
Lahore - Harappa - Multan

After an early breakfast drive to Harappa; one of the world’s first cities which was founded over 5,000 years ago. Archeological discoveries at Harappa in the 1920s have completely changed the history of India. The ancient city discovered at Harappa is thought to be the first ancient Indus urban center. Today it is being studied with modern scientific and multi-disciplinary tools. Before the discovery of Harappa no one knew that the subcontinent has such an advanced and well developed civilization of scale been ever existed in the Indus Valley. Afterwards transfer to your hotel for check in and overnight. (B,L,D)

Thu, Mar 08

Today is a full day to explore the city of saints (Multan) by visiting the famous sufi shrines of Shah Rukun Alam (pillar of the world), Bahauddin Zakerya and Shams Sabzwari. Afterwards visit the famous Hussain Agahi Bazzar and other monuments (if time permitted). Return to your hotel for dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)

Fri, Mar 09
Multan - Bahawalpur

After Breakfast, visit the famous blue pottery factory of Multan and continue to Bahawalpur. Multan is famous for its blue glazed tiles and pottery for many centuries. We will visit one of a workshop on our way to Bahawalpur. These tiles have adorned many buildings of monumental architecture throughout the region. A pleasant town with lots of tree-lined avenues and public parks, Bahawalpur has a relaxed and open feel environment. It is a good base from which it is possible to visit Uch Sharif and the series of forts in the Cholistan Desert. Afterwards transfer to your hotel for check in and overnight. (B,L,D)

Sat, Mar 10

Start your morning with visiting the Cholistan Desert and the extension of the Desert shows that it is the largest desert on the subcontinent. You will see the remains of a great civilization that once flourished here and visit the Derawar Fort at the edge of the desert. In the afternoon depart for Uch Sharif to visit the famous Sufi shrines of Bibi Jawandi and Saeed Jalaludin Bukhari. Return to your hotel for dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)

Sun, Mar 11
Bahawalpur - Sukkur

In the morning drive to Sukkur and visit en route the famous Bong Mosque After lunch, head to visit the extra ordinary Bhong Mosque which has adjoining Library and school for religious and secular education for boys and girls. Sukkur is strategically placed at a crossing point of the Indus where the river cuts through the last outcrop of solid limestone before proceeding to the sea. It has played a vital part in Sind’s history for over 2000 years. Afterwards transfer to your hotel/Guest House for check in and overnight. (B,L,D)

Mon, Mar 12

Today we have chance to visit the famous Hindu pilgrimage center of Sadhu Bela and even we may enjoy watching blind dolphin playing in the Indus River. This is a sacred shrine which is located on the islet of the Indus River and flowing between Rohri, and Sukkur. After crossing Rohri Bridge a road runs along the river towards Sukkur. Walking along this road we will notice a very big and spacious building which is located in a grove of trees on the left hand side. Return to your hotel for the overnight. (B,L,D)

Tue, Mar 13
Sukkur - Mohenjo Daro - Larkana

After breakfast, drive to the Kot Diji archaeological site, to visit the famous fort of the state of Khairpur. The site stands on one of the rare outcrops of limestone that are part of the Rohri Hills to the north. Dating between 3500- 2500 BC, there are two distinct parts to the site. One is comprised of the citadel and the residences of the ruling class and the other is where the residences of the commoners are located. Excavation of the upper level revealed pottery of the Harappan civilization while the lower levels exposed evidence of an unknown pre-Harappan culture, named as Kot Diji. Distinct forms of pottery were found at this level depicting a new type of ceramic industry. Tour the great bath, the granary, the College Square and Pillared Hall, private homes, and the Mohenjo-daro Museum. Afterwards transfer to your hotel for check in and overnight. (B,L,D)

Wed, Mar 14
Larkana-Sehwan Sharif-Bhit Shah-Haidarabad

After breakfast, drive on Indus highway towards Dadu and Sehwan Shareef to visit the famous Sufi shrine of 12th century AD that belongs to Lal Shahbaz Qalander who was a famous Sufi poet and philosopher of the time. Lal Shahbaz Qalandar a contemporary of Rumi, he travelled around Middle East, Central Asia, and Persia then finally settled in Sehwan where he was eventually buried. Afterwards transfer to your hotel for check in and overnight. (B,L,D)

Thu, Mar 15
Haidarabad - Thatta – Makili - Chokundii- Karachi

Start your morning with a drive on the National Highway towards Thatta where we will visit the Grand Mosque of Shah Jahan; built between 1644 and 1647, it was a gift from Shah Jahan in recognition of the hospitality he received in Thatta while seeking refuge from his father, Jahangir. The mosque is a contemporary of one of Shah Jahan’s other great buildings, the Taj Mahal. The mosque is built in the form of a great caravanserai with a large court enclosed by a double arcaded corridor of 93 domed compartments. Afterwards we will head towards to Karachi and visit the historical monuments at Makili. Continue driving to Banbhore to explore the ruins from the Scythian-Parthian, Hindu-Buddhist and Arab periods of influence. End your day in Karachi and transfer to your hotel for check in and overnight. (B,L,D)

Fri, Mar 16

Enjoy your full day in Karachi, visiting the Mausoleum of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of this nation. Later on continue to the National Museum of Pakistan with its numerous galleries housing a multitude of artifacts. Including objects from the pre and proto-history of the region dating from 5000 – 1500. There are some gaps, but the remarkable exhibits represent sites such as Amri (c. 3500-2200 BC) and Kot Diji (c. 3500– 2500 BC). After lunch, visit the Mohatta Palace Museum near Clifton Beach. If the time permits, visit the Saddar Bazaar (Empress Market). Return to your hotel for your overnight. (B,L,D)

Sat, Mar 17
Karachi - USA

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight to the USA.

We (STS) reserve the right to change hotels, restaurants or the order of activities if/as needed