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Gandhara Civilization

Punjab & Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

6 days

Tour Type

Specific Tour

Group Size

40 people




The Gandhara Civilization existed in what is now Northern Pakistan and Afghanistan from the middle of the 1st millennium BCE to the beginning of the 2nd millennium CE. Although multiple major powers ruled over this area during that time, they all had in common great reverence for Buddhism and the adoption of the Indo Greek artistic tradition which had developed in the region following Alexander’s invasions into India.

The Extent of Gandhara

Although mentioned in historical sources at least as far back as the reign of the Achaemenid king Cyrus the Great (r. c. 550-530 BCE), Gandhara was not known to have been geographically described in detail until the pilgrimage of the Buddhist monk Xuanzang (Hsüan-tsang, 602- 664 CE) in the 7th century CE. He visited the region during the tail end of the Gandhara civilization, after the time when it had achieved its greatest feats and was falling into decay. Following ancient Buddhist sources, he described quite accurately the area and its various cities and sites, being the first known account that survives to the modern day and indeed which helped in identifying the remains found in this region during modern times as being of Gandharan origin.

It has been speculated that Gandhara was a triangular tract of land about 100 kilometers east to west and 70 km north to south, lying mainly to the west of the Indus River and bounded on the north by the Hindukush Mountains. The extent of Gandhara proper actually included the Peshawar valley, the hills of Swat, Dir, Buner, and Bajaur, all of which lie within the northern boundaries of Pakistan.

However, the bounds of Greater Gandhara (or regions where the cultural and political hegemony of Gandhara held sway) extended towards the Kabul Valley in Afghanistan and the Potwar plateau in the province of Punjab in Pakistan. Indeed, during certain times, the influence spread as far as Sindh where remains of a stupa and Buddhist city are still visible built over the even older remains of Mohenjo-daro. Well-known cities of the Gandhara include Takshasila (Taxila), Purushapura (Peshawar) and Pushkalavati (Mardan), where remains have been discovered and continue to be found to this day.

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  • Taxila city tour
  • Islamabad city tour
  • Peshawar city tour
  • Explore Swat valley


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Day 01: Islamabad

Arrival at Islamabad international airport in Islamabad, our guide and driver will meet you upon your arrival at the international/domestic arrival gate (OR at your location). After meeting with our staff, drive to the hotel in Islamabad.

Day 02: Taxila

Day to explore Taxial heritage / archaeology sites. Visit Taxila museum, Jaulian Buddhist Stupa & Monastery, Dharmarajika Stupa And Monastery, Mohra Moradu Buddist Stupa & Monastery, Sirkap Remains, Jandial Remains,

Day 03: Islamabad – Peshawar

Drive to Peshawar, arrive and visit Mahabat Khan Masjid, Sir Cunningham Clock Tower, Shahi Bagh, Qissa Khwani Bazaar, Bala Hisar Fort (if allowed by authority), Bab-e-Khyber, Jamrud Fort

Day 04: Peshawar – Swat Valley

Drive to Swat Valley. Enroute we will visit Takht-i-Bahi (UNESCO heritage list) and the nearby ruins of Sahr-i-Bahlol.

Day 05: Explore Swat Valley

Day to explore Swat valley. Today we will explore the beautiful Swat valley (commonly called Switzerland in Pakistan) with many Buddhist heritage sites, including Butkara stupa (2nd century BCE), Shingardar Stupa, Nemogram (2nd–3rd century A.D), Amluk Dara Stupa (2nd–3rd century A.D), Najigram Stupa & Monastery and if time allows we will visit more Heritage sites.

Day 06: Swat Valley – Islamabad – Fly to your destination

Drive back to the capital of Pakistan, depending on your flight time, if time allows then we will explore the twin city “Rawalpindi and Islamabad” later drive to the airport and fly to your destination.


  • Experienced tour guide
  • Private Transport
  • Rooms on twin sharing
  • Meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner)
  • Airport transfers
  • Visa supporting documents
  • Additional Services
  • Insurance
  • Drinks
  • Entrance Tickets
  • International/domestic air ticket
  • Visa fee

Things to see

Abakh Hoja Tomb
Baab e Khyber
Bala Hisar Fort
Butkara I
Chowk Yadgar Road
City Museum Karavan Serai
Faisal mosque
Id Kah Mosque
Lok Virsa
Manglawar stupa
Masjid Mahabat Khan
Mohra Moradu
Pakistan Heritage Museum
Peshawar Museum
Saidu Sharif Stupa
Saidu stupa
Sethi House Museum
Sethial Street
Shingardar Stupa
Shingardara stupa
Sirkap Remains
Swat Museum
Swat Valley
Takht-i-Bahi Buddhist ruins
Taxila heritage sites
Taxila Museum
Taxila museum
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Tour's Location

Punjab & Khyber Pakhtunkhwa


What is the best time to explore heritage sites of Gandhara Civilization?
Best time to explore heritage sites of Gandhara civilization is winter season from October to March.
Where is Gandhara civilization?
The Gandhara Civilization existed in what is now Northern Pakistan and Afghanistan from the middle of the 1st millennium BCE to the beginning of the 2nd millennium CE.
What is Gandhara civilization famous for?
Gandhara is noted for the distinctive Gandhara style of Buddhist art, which developed out of a merger of Greek, Syrian, Persian, and Indian artistic influence. This development began during the Parthian Period (50 BC- 75 AD).
How did Buddhism spread in Gandhara region?
Under Kanishka the Great (128–151), Buddhist stupas and monasteries were built in the Gandhāran city of Peshawar (Skt. The Kushan support of Buddhism and their establishment of secure trade routes from Gandhāra to Asia allowed Buddhism to continue its spread to Bactria, Central Asia and China along the Silk Road.
Why is Taxila significant in Gandhara civilization?
It was the main centre of Gandhara and is over 3,000 years old. It attracted Alexander the Great, who was welcomed by Taxila's king, and brought Greek culture to this part of the world. During the Kushan era Taxila, Swat and Charsadda (old Pushkalavati) became three important centers for culture, trade and learning.
Is there any discount available for kids?
Yes, kids under 5 years are complimentary and kids from 6 to 12 years will get 50% discount on all tours.
How much advance payment is needed to book the tour?
A payment of 30% from the tour price is required to fully book your tour with us.
Mode of payment
We prefer payments through bank transfer, western union transfers are also accepted. We have the option available on our website to pay using your credit card.
Can I make payment on your website using my credit card?
Yes, you can make payment on our website using any kind of credit/debit card.
Where does this tour start and end?
Starting and ending point of the tour is “Islamabad international airport” we can pick/drop you at any location inside Islamabad/Rawalpindi.
Can you organize the tour from another city than Islamabad?
Yes, we can organize the tour from all city of Pakistan if it is a private tour, for fixed departure tours most are starting and ending in Islamabad
Do we get a separate guide or the driver will guide us during the tour?
Yes, a professional guide will escort the tour from the start to the end of tour.
Do I need visa to enter Pakistan?
Yes, a valid visa is required to enter Pakistan.
Do I get visa supporting documents from your company?
Yes, we will provide you all the visa supporting documents after your tour is booked and advance payment is made.
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