Buddhism in Pakistan took root some 2,300 years ago under the Mauryan king Ashoka. Buddhism has played a major role in the history of Pakistan, the land of which over time has been part of predominantly Buddhist empires such as the Indo-Greek Kingdom, the Kushan Empire, the Maurya Empire of Ashoka, the Pala Empire.
The majority of people in Gandhara, present-day Southern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, were Buddhist. Gandhara was largely Mahayana Buddhist, but also a stronghold of Vajrayana Buddhism. The Swat Valley, known in antiquity as Uddiyana, was a kingdom tributary to Gandhara. There are many archaeological sites from the Buddhist era in Swat. Buddhist scholar Kumaralabdha of the Taxila was comparable to Aryadeva, Asvaghoṣa and Nagarjuna.
Buddhism came to this part of the country in the late 7th century when most of the masses were practicing Bon religion. Before the arrival of Islam, Tibetan Buddhism and Bon (to a lesser extent) were the main religions in Gilgit Baltistan. Buddhism can be traced back to before the formation of the Tibetan Empire. The region has a number of surviving Buddhist archaeological sites. These include the Manthal Buddha Rock, a rock relief of the Buddha at the edge of the village (near Skardu) and the Sacred Rock of Hunza. Nearby are former sites of Buddhist shelters.
Gilgit Baltistan had Buddhist majority till the 15th century, before the arrival of Islam in this region. Since then the people converted to Islam, the presence of Buddhism in this region has now been limited to archeological sites, as the remaining Buddhists of this region moved east to Ladakh where Buddhism is the majority religion.
Arrival in Islamabad, our guide and driver will meet you at the international/domestic arrival of Islamabad international airport, or at your location, after meeting with staff drive to the hotel in Islamabad.
Drive to Besham, en route we shall visit Taxila museum and heritages sites. Arrive in Besham and transfer to the hotel.
Drive to Chilas, en route we shall visit Rock carvings at Butogah, Rock carvings at Thalpan and Rock carvings at Thor. Arrive in Chilas and transfer to the hotel.
Drive to Skardu, en route we shall visit Alam Bridge inscriptions. Arrive in Skardu and transfer to the hotel.
Today we shall visit Manthal Buddha Rock (Buddhist inscriptions) and Skardu Fort. If time allows we shall visit Sadpara lake and Upper Kachura lake.
Drive to Gilgit, arrive and transfer to the hotel.
Before we drive to Karimabad we shall explore Gilgit city. We shall visit Kargah Buddha and Danyore Rock Inscriptions. Later drive to Karimabad, en route we shall stop at remaining of Old Silk Road at Chalt and Rakaposhi viewpoint. Arrive in Karimabad and transfer to the hotel.
Day to explore around, today we shall visit Baltit Fort, Altit Fort, Royal garden and in the evening, we shall drive to Duiker to see sunset. After sunset we shall drive back to the hotel in Karimabad.
Drive to Ghulkin/Gulmit, en route we shall stop at sacred rocks of Hunza and Attabad Lake, arrive in Ghulkin/Gulmit and visit old house and Mir’s palace.
Day to explore around. Today we shall visit Ghulkin Maktab, Ondra Fort (Ondra Poygah) and if time allows we shall hike Passu glacier and Passu suspension Bridge.
Drive back to Besham via Karakorum Highway. Arrive and transfer to the hotel.
Drive to swat valley. In the afternoon, we shall visit the swat museum and Mingoro market, which are adjacent to Saidu, the Saidu Sharif stupa and the Butkara iii Buddhist site.
Explore the beautiful swat valley (commonly called Switzerland in Pakistan) and the many Buddhist heritage sites, including Butkara stupa (2nd century bce), Shingardar stupa, Nemogram (2nd–3rd century AD), Amluk Dara stupa (2nd–3rd century a.d), and Najigram stupa & monastery.
Drive to Peshawar; we shall drive to the Buddhist monastic complex of Takht-i-Bahi (UNESCO heritage site), which was founded in the early 1st century. Owing to its location on the crest of a high hill, it escaped successive invasions and is still exceptionally well preserved. We shall also visit the nearby ruins of Sahr-i-Bahlol, a small fortified city dating from the same period; later we shall make the easy drive to Peshawar.
Drive to Islamabad. Arrive and visit Shah Alla Ditta Buddhist caves. If time allows we shall Faisal mosque, Pakistan monument and the local bazaar.
Depending on your flight time, if it is in the evening/night we shall explore the twin city “Rawalpindi & Islamabad”. Later drive to the airport, our service ends here and you shall fly to your destination.
Yes, there are Buddhist living in Pakistan – even though they are not too sure about when and how they settled the region. They have more than a dozen villages – dispersed and yet attached to each other, almost like like clints and grykes in a limestone pavement. They are the Buddhists of the Rohi desert. Pakistan is their home: where Buddhism once thrived and the finer points of the Buddha’s teachings were discussed and taught under the patronage of powerful rulers in the Gandhara civilisation.
But over the centuries, things have changed. Buddhism, which was once the dominant religion of areas that are part of modern-day Pakistan, is today the creed of a minority amongst Pakistan’s religious minorities. Today Buddhists live mainly in Sindh and some parts of South Punjab.
Hundreds of Buddhist heritage sites are scattered across the length and breadth of Pakistan: crumbling testaments to the moral and cultural power that was once enjoyed by the tenets of the Noble Eightfold Path – the teachings attributed to the Buddha. Taxila, Sirkap, Takht-e-Bahi, Dharmarajika, Mohra Muradu are but a few of the names of sites that we are familiar with – where Stupas and carved stones speak of a flourishing Buddhist past.
Best time to visit Buddhist sites in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit Baltistan is from March to November, in winter from December to February in Gilgit Baltistan the temperature is below zero, so it is not recommended to go that time of the year, however the sites in Taxila, Swat and Peshawar can be visited anytime of the year.
Yes, kids under 5 years are complimentary and kids from 6 to 12 years will get 50% discount on all tours.
A payment of 30% from the tour price is required to fully book your tour with us.
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.
Yes, you can make payment on our website using any kind of credit/debit card.
Starting and ending point of the tour is “Islamabad international airport” we can pick/drop you at any location inside Islamabad/Rawalpindi.
Yes, a professional guide will escort the tour from the start to the end of tour.
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
Yes, a valid visa is required to enter Pakistan.
Yes, we will provide you all the visa supporting documents after your tour is booked and advance payment is made.