phone 051-2612448, 0345-8566048
email stfp.info@gmail.com

Visit Swat Valley

  • But-Kara
  • Takht Bahi Monastery
  • Kundol Lake
  • Mahudand Lake
  • Kalam
  • Kalam
  • Godur Lake
  • Swat River
  • Spinkhopr Lake
  • Shingerdar Stupa
But-Kara1 Takht Bahi Monastery2 Kundol Lake3 Mahudand Lake4 Kalam5 Kalam6 Godur Lake7 Swat River8 full screen slider9 Shingerdar Stupa10
Welcome to Swat Valley

The Land of Enchanting Beauty.

Swat is without doubt one of the most beautiful tourist destinations in the northern Pakistan. Swat has a rich historical past. It was described as “Udyana” (the garden) in ancient Hindu epics and where in 327 BC, Alexander the Great fought and won some of his major battles before crossing over to the plains of the five rivers. The famous Gandhara Buddhist civilization later flourished in this valley.
There are many remains of Buddhist stupas, monasteries and settlements in the lower Swat. This area is full of rich and amazing archaeological sites in an environment still intact and dominated by the calm majesty of Mount Ilam. In the area south of Barikot, in about 200 sq. km, archeologists have documented more than 400 sites from protohistory to Islam. A little is North of Barikot area, in the valleys of Jambil and Saidu, close to Mingora, visitors might enjoy the serenity of a pleasant environment rich with vestiges of Buddhist times.
Under the joint venture with ACT- Field School and Sustainable Tourism Foundation Pakistan (STFP) we have developed various tour packages to promote community based ecotourism in lower Swat Valley. You can select one of our following especially designed tour packages depending on your interest and availability of time.

Brief Introduction of archaeological sites covered by our Package Tours


Barikot

Barikot is the ancient Bazira mentioned in the History of Alexander the Great. If the evidence of the actual passage of Alexander is still eluding us, what has been uncovered is a large fortified city of Indo-Greek period (2nd century BC). The city’s walls are still well visible, with bastions distanced every 100 feet, a large built-up area and the acropolis.

Butkara Stupa

Near Swat Museum, is one of the most important Buddhist shrines in Swat. This site is located about one kilometer from the museum. The stupa, which dates from the 3rd century BC, was possibly built by the Mauryan emperor Ashoka to house some the ashes of the Buddha. This site was excavated by the great maestro of the Gandhara archeology DOMENICO FACCENNA of the Italian Archeological Mission between 1958 and 1962.

Udegram

This is the site of the ancient town of Ora which Alexander the Great captured in 327 BC. Udegram was a fairly large town of the ruins which, encircled by huge walls, climb along the slopes of the mountains towering above the valley. On the super of the mountain there existed a castle which, as tradition goes was destroyed by Mahmood of Ghazni in the 11th century. The remains of an 11th century mosque built by Sultan Mahmood Ghazni are located near Udegram along the hillside. The mosque is the third oldest mosque in Pakistan after those of Banbhore and Mansurah. Up the hillside is the site of Raja Gira’s castle.

Shingerdar Stupa

The Stupa of Shingerdar is situated on the left side of the main road. This is the famous stupa which was built by King Uttarasena to house his share of the relics of the Load Buddha.

Gogdara and Galagai

The settlements of Gogdara and Galagai are also located on the main Mingora-Malakand road. Both the places are historically very significant. There are relief carvings in a cave at Galagi. At Gogdara there are several Buddhist carvings from 6th to 7th century AD can be seen on the rocks.

Nimogram Stupa

A Buddhist monastery is situated on the top of a hillock, giving an overall view of the area. There are three main stupas, surrounded by a number of small votive stupas. Dressed stones have been used in construction and bear similarity to Andan Dheri monastery in District Dir.

Gumbat Stupa

The great sanctuary of Gumbat, the only double-domed Gandharan monument was erected no later than the 2nd century AD, and that the sacred area, dominated by three surrounding large sanctuaries, remained in use until relatively late times. A visit to the prehistoric altar of Kandak is also be arranged.

Amluk-Dara Stupa

During 5th-8th centuries AD, the great stupa of Amluk-dara, the major monument of the Swat Valley, underwent a series of reconstructions contemporary with the great stupas of the Kabul valley, marked, like the one at Amluk-dara, by huge frontal niches. Other Buddhist sites sites like Abbasaheb-china and Tokar-dara in Najigram valley can be easily visited from Barikot.
The Buddhist site of Amluk with its monastic rock-cut cells dominates the heights of Kandak and Kotah valley. A visit to the mountain sanctuary of Topialai can also be arranged. Kakai-kandao represents agricultural cycles without any exterior signs of Buddhism (stupas) or the horse icons, that appears in Swat only during the first millennium. It is dated to Bronze Age (1400 BC).
Particularly impressive is the shelter of Sargha-sar which resembles a human face. The paintings are located at the base of a huge rock slab in a natural opening (that appears as the "mouth"), while two natural cavities create the illusion of two enormous eyes. It is dated to Bronze Age (1400 BC).Kamal-china represents mounted warriors and hand-print icons. It belong to Early Iron Age (1000 BC). In the vicinity also the monumental Brahmi-Sarada rock inscription of Talang (10th Century CE) can be visited.
Other rock paintings: deep in the valley of Kotah and along the Southern watershed about other 30 impressive rock-painting sites might be visited. Most of them belong to Historical period; amongst them we may list the shelter of Takht and of Lal-kamar (with more than 100 figures)
Buddhist rock carvings of the Jambil and Saidu valley dominate the landscape with beautiful representations of Avalokitesvara in wonderfully pleasant scenarios.
On the footsteps of Alexander: the climbing of Mt Ilam, the Aornos of Alexander the Great, where the inhabitants of Bazira fled during the Macedonian siege in 327 BC. The mountain was sacred to the ancestral population of prehistoric Swat but was worshipped even in Buddhist times.

Itineraries for Package Tours to Lower Swat

1 Night/ 2 Days Trip to Lower Swat Valley

Day-1 Early morning drive to Saidu Sharif/Mingora from Islamabad.
En-route visit world heritage site of Takht-e-Bahi.
Lunch at Chakdara. Visit archaeological sites of Barikot, Shingerdar Stupa and Sultan Mahmood Ghaznavi’s mosque at Udegram. Arrival at Saidu Shaif/Mingora and transfer to hotel.
In the evening visit Fizagat Park along Swat River subject to availability of time.
Dinner and night stay at hotel.
Day-2 Breakfast at hotel. Visit Swat Museum, archaeological site of Butkara, Saidu Sharif Stupa and Jahanabad Buddha.
Lunch at Mingora. Drive back to Islamabad via Malakand Pass. En-route visit Amluk-dara Stupa near Barikot.
Arrival at Islamabad in the evening. End of tour.

2 Nights/ 3 Days Trip to Lower Swat Valley

Day-1 Early morning drive to Saidu Sharif/Mingora from Islamabad.
En-route visit world heritage site of Takht-e-Bahi. Lunch at Chakdara. Visit archaeological sites of Barikot and Shingerdar Stupa.
Arrival at Saidu Shaif/Mingora and transfer to hotel. In the evening visit Fizagat Park along Swat River subject to availability of time.
Dinner and night stay at hotel.
Day-2 Early morning trip to visit archaeological sites of Sultan Mahmood Ghaznavi’s mosque and Raja Gira Castle at Udegram. Return to hotel for breakfast. After breakfast visit Jahanabad Buddha, Swat Museum, archaeological sites of Butkara and Saidu Sharif Stupa.
Lunch at Mingora.
Half day trip to Jambil Valley to see Buddhist rock carvings Drive back to Saidu Sharif/Mingora.
Dinner and night stay at hotel
Day-3 Breakfast at hotel. Departure for return journey to Islamabad.
En-route visit Gogdar, Amluk-dara Stupa, Abbasaheb-china and Thokar-dara.
Lunch at Barikot.
Visit Gumbat stupa. Drive to Islamabad via Malakand Pass.
Arrival at Islamabad in the evening. End of tour.

3 Nights/ 4 Days Trip to Lower Swat Valley

Day-1 Early morning drive to Saidu Sharif/Mingora from Islamabad.
En-route visit world heritage site of Takht-e-Bahi.
Lunch at Chakdara. Visit archaeological sites of Barikot and Shingerdar Stupa.
Arrival at Saidu Shaif/Mingora and transfer to hotel. In the evening visit Fizagat Park along Swat River subject to availability of time.
Dinner and night stay at hotel
Day-2 Early morning trip to visit archaeological sites of Sultan Mahmood Ghaznavi’s mosque and Raja Gira Castle at Udegram. Return to hotel for breakfast.
After breakfast visit Jahanabad Buddha, Swat Museum, archaeological sites of Butkara and Saidu Sharif Stupa.
Lunch at Mingora.
Half day trip to Jambil Valley to see Buddhist rock carvings Drive back to Saidu Sharif/Mingora.
Dinner and night stay at hotel
Day-3 Breakfast at hotel. Trip to visit archaeological sites of Gogdar, Amluk-dara Stupa, Abbasaheb-china and Thokar-dara.
Lunch at Barikot.
Visit archaeological site of Nimogram Buddhist monastery.
Drive back to Saidu Sharif/Mingora.
Dinner and night stay at hotel.
Day-4 Breakfast at hotel. Departure for return journey to Islamabad.
En-route visit Gumbat stupa, Kakai-Kandao, Sargah-sar, Kamal-china and Talang.
Carry water and packed lunch.
Drive to Islamabad via Malakand Pass.
Arrival at Islamabad in the evening. End of tour.

What is covered in the package tour cost?

  • Air conditioned transport from Islamabad and back to Islamabad as per itinerary.
  • Hotel accommodation on two person sharing basis in standard/deluxe package and three persons sharing basis with breakfast.
  • Tool tax on roads and vehicle parking fee etc.
  • Services of guide escort and local community guide

(Other expenses such as unscheduled refreshments, tea, cold drinks, mineral water and expenses of personal nature will be directly paid by the participants.

For queries, price details and bookings, please contact:

Incredible Journeys (Pvt) Ltd

House No.9, St No.11, Main Road
Banigala, Islamabad
Tel: 051-2612448, 0345-8566048
Email: info.ijpl@gmail.com, stfp.info@gmail.com

ACT-Field School

A project funded by PIDSA-EAD

The Italian archaeological experience in the Swat Valley, Pakistan, dates back to 1955, when Giuseppe Tucci, the famous Tibetologist and Orientalist, conducted his first visit to the region. Tibet had been recently closed to foreign visitors and therefore Tucci turned his attention to the Swat Valley, an important region in Tibetan history, being the birthplace of sadhu Padmasambhava, who introduced Buddhism in Tibet in the 7th century. The mission has obtained great results since the very beginning, with the successful excavations in the Buddhist sanctuaries of Butkara I, Panr I and Saidu Sharif I. Soon after the mission opened other important excavations, uncovering Protohistoric graveyards, Early- and Late-Historic settlements, and Islamic monuments. An important lesson from the Mission’s continuous work in the area, even during most difficult times, was that wherever the local communities were engaged in the Mission’s work, they managed to defend and preserve their local archaeological sites. This model of a sustainable protection proved to be successful even under the most challenging circumstances. With this in mind, the Mission together with its then counterpart, the Department of Archaeology and Museums, Government of Pakistan (Federal) drafted a new project, named "Archaeology-Community-Tourism Field School" (ACT). Funding for ACT was obtained through the "Pakistan-Italian Debt Swap Agreement" (PIDSA).


TOURISM OPTIONS

USEFUL LINKS

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  • TRAVEL TIPS

    Swat, known as the Switzerland of Asia due to its natural beauty, has opened its arms for according warm welcome to tourists as security and peace have been restored and militants have been pushed out of the region by security forces.

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  • TOURIST INFORMATION CENTERS

    Islamabad
    Agha Khan Road, Markaz F-6, Super Market, Islamabad.

    Tel: (051) 9212760, 9202766,111-555-999
    Fax: 9204027

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  • USEFUL PHONE NUMBERS

    DCO Swat Office
    Tel: 0946-9240340
    Tourist Information Centre, Saidu Shairf Swat
    PTDC Motel, Opposite Serena Hotel, Saidu Sharif, Tel:0946-9240159


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CONTACT US

Sustainable Tourism Foundation Pakistan (STFP) is a non-profit and non-political organization dedicated to promote and facilitate the growth of sustainable and equitable tourism in Pakistan in close partnership with concerned stakeholders from public, private and NGO sectors.
For more information visit website http://www.stfp.org/

icon 1 Sustainable Tourism Foundation Pakistan
        House No.9, St No.11,
        Main Road Banigala, Islamabad .

icon 2 051-2612448, 0345-8566048

icon 3stfp.info@gmail.com