Islamabad is the capital city of Pakistan and is the prime center for its administration and government. It is a quiet city that comprises chiefly of the Parliament House, Federal Government offices, the diplomatic residences, and the official residences of the Prime Minister and President. Islamabad is sprawled over an area of 1,165.5 sq km, of which 906 sq km is the proper city. It recorded an approximate population of 1.15 million in 2011.
Located on the foothills of the Margalla Hills, the city of Islamabad lies at the edge of the Pothohar Plateau. With an average elevation of 1,663 feet, the city has Kotli Sattian and Murree to its east, Haripur District of North-West Frontier Province to its north, Rawalpindi to its southwest, Kahuta to its northeast, Wah Cantt, Taxila, and Attock District to its northwest, Kallar Syedian, Gujar Khan, Rawat, and Mandrah to its the northeast. The southern region of this city is believed to be an undulating plain.
How to reach (transport)
By Air: Rawalpindi/Islamabad Airport is situated in a central location of Rawalpindi. Various international flights from Europe, Dubai, and Asian cities operate to and fro from this airport. Other international destinations are served by the airports of Lahore and Karachi.
By Bus: Skyways, Daewoo Sammi, and Niazi Express are the popular night bus operators that you can count on. Skyways provide direct bus services to and from Islamabad and Karachi, Peshawar, and Lahore. Daewoo has its personal terminal and most of the buses leave and arrive at Rawalpindi, 45 minutes away from Islamabad. For a convenient and hassle-free journey, make sure to book your tickets in advance. As of now, it serves the cities of Peshawar, Karachi, Multan, Faisalabad, Abottabad, Sialkot, and Murree.
By Train: Rawalpindi, the twin city of Islamabad, is connected well to the prominent cities of Peshawar, Lahore, and Karachi.
By Car: Cabs are quite common in Islamabad and considered to be a safe option as well. It’s a great option for getting around, though most of the directions and road signs are visible only on the main roads. However, you won’t find it too difficult to travel around as the entire city has a good grid and numbering system.
When to visit
You can plan a tour to Islamabad anywhere between the months of November to March as the weather is extremely pleasant during this point of time. You may also enjoy occasional rains and snowfall during the winters.
Culture (fairs and festivals) and traditions
The city is noted for its fairs and festivals and the residents love the idea of celebrating the festivities with joy. Some of the important festivals/events celebrated chiefly in Islamabad are:
Shab-e-barat: This religious festival features loads of fireworks and light displays. Besides Islamabad, it is celebrated throughout the country with joy and fervor. People across all income groups ensure decorating their homes with lights, lamps, and candles.
Pakistan Day: This day is celebrated in reminiscence of the 1940s' decision to come with a Muslim country independent of India. The day starts with processions, parades as well as other activities. Islamabad holds the largest parade and includes a perfect display of weapons and war planes. On this day, the president of the country also honors brave army professionals with civil and military awards. A national holiday is observed on this day.
Folk Festival of Pakistan: The festival is noted for folk dances, displayed folk products, folk music, classical dances, magic shows, open air theater, cultural activities, puppet shows and photographic exhibitions. You can also get a taste of regional cuisines at the various food stalls that line up on these days of mirth. The festival is organized at Folk Heritage Complex (Islamabad) by the Institute of Folk Heritage.
Points of interest (places to visit)
On your trip to Islamabad, some of the attractions that call for a visit include:
- Faisal Masjid is noted for its exclusive architecture and design. Located at the heart of the city, the mosque is named in honor of Faisal Bin Saud, a great Saudi emperor.
- Margalla Hills or Margalla Mountain Range is a portion of the lesser Himalayas, located towards the north of Islamabad. The range covers an overall area of 12,605 hectares and consists of several valleys and high mountains.
- Pir Sohawa is a popular tourist resort and lies 17 kilometers away from Islamabad. The resort is located on top of the Margalla Hills and has an approximate elevation of 3,000 meters. Both international tourists and locals love the idea of visiting this destination.
- Daman-e-Koh is located to the north of Islamabad. It gets its name from both Urdu and Persian words, where Daman implies center and Koh means hill. Hence the term “Daman-e-Koh” jointly implies “center of the hill”. On your way to Pir Sohawa, you’ll find this tourist destination.
- The Pakistan Monument Museum is a national monument that represents three territories and four provinces of the country. The monument has the shape of a blooming flower, which symbolizes the nation’s progress as a developing country. The four petals of this monument symbolize the four provinces, while the three smaller petals symbolize the three territories.
- Rawal Lake is Pakistan’s artificial reservoir that quenches the water requirements for Islamabad and Rawalpindi. The lake covers an approximate area of 8.8 sq km and is located in the Margalla Hills National Park.
When you are planning for a tour, then accommodation is something that you will focus on for sure. While you should certainly choose stay options as per your budget, comfort is yet another factor that you need to take care of. For those, who can afford being a bit extravagant can choose the Islamabad Marriott Hotel and Islamabad Serena Hotel for sure. Others can plan their stay at less expensive options like Shalimar Hotel, Ambassador Hotel, The GuestHouse, Hill View Hotel, and Oasis Residency.
Last Updated on : December 17, 2013