In case you are a frequent traveler and like vacationing with your family or friends, you sure are supposed to know about the place you are about to travel. Here is a collection of articles which will help you find helpful information like modes of travel, best season to visit, etc about these places.

Kashmir is an area in the northern part of India and the northeastern part of Pakistan. It is split between the two countries.

Ninety-seven percent of Pakistanis are Muslim; 81.3 percent of Indians are Hindu. Kashmir is 64 percent Muslim and 37 percent Hindu.

Kashmir was an autonomous part of British India, ruled by a prince, but in 1947, British India was partitioned into two independent countries, India and Pakistan. Kashmir's leader, a Hindu, chose to join mostly Hindu India rather than Muslim Pakistan. Ever since, Pakistan has argued that U.N. resolutions call for a Kashmiri vote to decide between India and Pakistan. Fighting broke out in and around the disputed region.

A U.N. cease-fire in January 1949 stopped the fighting, but Kashmir was split between Pakistan and India along a cease-fire line monitored by U.N. observers.

In 1957, Jammu and Kashmir was declared a part of India under a new state constitution. India regards the region as a territory.

As a result of a war in 1962, China gained control of a portion of Buddhist-controlled Kashmir. Pakistan accepts Chinese control over this area but India does not.

In 1965, clashes between Indian and Pakistani border patrols escalated into a second war over Kashmir. Both sides retreated to their original positions.

The third war between India and Pakistan broke out in 1971 over East Pakistan (Bangladesh) , which wanted to break away from Pakistan. India backed the independence movement. A truce produced an agreement to respect the cease-fire line in Kashmir, renamed the Line of Control, but no final agreement on borders.

Over the decades, there have been attacks across the Line of Control by both Indian and Pakistani troops.

== History Of LAHORE ==

Lahore is undoubtedly ancient. Legend had it that it was founded by Loh, son of Rama, the hero of the Hindu epic, the Ramayana. Some others think that the name means Loh-awar, meaning a "Fort as strong as Iron". It waxed and waned in importance during the Sultanate. But, Muslim rule began here when Qutub-ud-din Aibak was crowned in Lahore in 1206 and thus became the first Muslim Sultan of the subcontinent.
It reached its full glory under Mughal rule from 1524 to 1752. It was Akbar's capital for the 14 years from 1584 to 1598. He built the massive Lahore Fort on the foundations of a previous fort and enclosed the city within a red brick wall boasting 12 gates. Jahangir and Shah Jahan (who was born in Lahore) extended the fort, built palaces and tombs, and laid out gardens. Jahangir loved the town and he and his wife Noor Jahan are buried at Shahdara. Shah Jahan was born in Lahore and added buildings. The last of the great Mughals, Aurangzeb (1658-1707), gave Lahore its most famous monument, the great Badshahi Masjid and the Alamgiri gateway to the fort.

During the eighteenth century, as Moghul power dwindled, there were constant invasions. Lahore was a suba- a province of the Empire. There were subadars, provincial rulers with their own court. These Governors managed as best they could though for much of the time it must have been a rather thankless task to even attempt. The 1740s were years of chaos, and between 1745 and 1756 there were nine changes of Governor. Invasions and chaos in local government allowed bands of warring Sikhs to gain control in some areas. Lahore ended up being ruled by a triumvirate of Sikhs of loose character and the population of the city invited Ranjit Singh to invade. He took the city in 1799. Holding the capital gave him some legitimacy; he became Emperor. The Sikh period was bad news for the protection of ancient buildings. Some survived, misused and knocked about a bit and a few new ones were added. Nevertheless, descriptions of Lahore during the early 19th century refer to it as a "melancholy picture of fallen splendor."

The British added a great many buildings, plenty of "Moghul Gothic", as well as some shady bungalows and gardens. Early on, the British tended to build workaday structures in sites like the Fort, though later they did start to make an effort to preserve some ancient buildings. The Lahore Cantonment, the British residential district of wide, tree-lined streets and white bungalows set in large, shaded gardens, is the prettiest cantonment in Pakistan. Since Independence in 1947, Lahore has expanded rapidly as the capital of Pakistani Punjab. It is the second-largest city in the country and and important industrial center.

== History Of Balochistan ==

Balochistan is the largest province of Pakistan with an area of 347056 sq. Kms, over 40% of the country's land mass. It traces its history from times immemorial. Before the birth of Christ, it had commerce and trade with ancient civilization of Babylon through Iran and into the valleys of Tigris and Euphrates. Alexander the Great also had an encounter with the Serbia tribe of Balochistan. Muhammad Bin Qasim and Mehmood Ghaznavi also invaded Balochistan resulting in the development of Muslim character. Even today most tribal people of this province resemble Arabs and the inhabitants can be quite a fascinating subject of study by anthropologists.
Balochistan is a land of contrast. It has places with lofty and rugged mountains under Chiltan, Takatu, Suleiman, Sultan etc. and plains stretching to hundreds of miles. It has fertile land like that of Nasirabad, as well as, tracks' which are thirsty for centuries, and where even a bush could hardly be sighted like that of Pat section of Sibi District and Dasht-e-Makran in Makran Division.
It has hottest places in the country like Sibi and Dhadar, where temperature shoots up to over 120 °F, as well as coldest towns like Quetta, Kalat, Ziarat, Kan Mehtarzai where mercury falls down much below freezing point."The mountains are the Balochi's forts; the peaks are better than any army; the lofty heights are our comrades; the pathless gorges our friends. Our drink is from the flowing springs; our bed the thorny bush; the ground we make our pillow". These lines are from a Balochi war song. The land which nurtures such independent and brave people is indeed daunting. Barren, rugged mountains that burn in the summer and freeze in the winter In between the cheerless mountains are dry and wide deserts and, of course, beautifully fertile valleys - wherever water is available. These give this rugged land great scenic beauty.
Balochistan Province covers a huge area in the southwest of Pakistan. It is a sparsely populated land bordering Afghanistan and Iran. Much of it is a high barren plateau 1,000 to 1,250 meters (3.000 to 4.000 feet) above sea level, enclosed by the Toba Kakar mountain range along the Afghan border and by the Suleman range which borders the Indus river. To the south lies one of the most inhospitable deserts in the world, the Makran. which nearly defeated Alexander the Great when he marched through it on his way home.Balochi is a generalized term, for the people include the Dravidian-speaking Brahui possibly the last descendants of the Indus Civilization, and the Jat or Zutt, an Indo Aryan speaking people of Indian origin. In the northwest of Balochistan, Pathans make up the majority of the population, and there is a sizeable minority of them elsewhere in the province. Most people speak Brabui, Baiochi and Pushto. Almost half the population of Balochistan lives within 80 Kms (50 miles) of the provincial capital, Quetta.
Development of underground and surface water resources laying down of road over its vast stretches and taking industry to Balochistan have been the first priorities of the Government. Talking of fruit, the date industry occupies a special position - mainly in the Makran district ,which with an area of 23,460 sq. miles is the largest district in the country. More than a 100 commercial varieties of dates are produced here. Other date-producing areas are Thalwan, sub-division of Kalat and Mashkhel tehsil of Kharan district. Incidentally the Balochi language has one ~ hundred words for dates as also for camels. The Balochistan coastline extends over 750 Km from near Karachi at Hub River to the Gwadar Bay on Pak-lran border. The whole area is rich in fish.
The north of the Province presents picturesque fruit farms on the slopes of snow-clad hills and blissful juniper forests. In the south there are extensive date farms and rows upon rows of branchless coconut palms in Makran District. There is scanty rainfall throughout. From 3 to 5 inches in the plains: maximum 12 inches in the hills.

In spite of the intrinsic hostility of its landscape and climate, archaeological discoveries have confirmed that Baluchistan was already inhabited in the Stone Age, and the important neolithic site at Mehrgarh is the earliest (7000-3000 B.C.) on the subcontinent. Until its overthrow by Alexander the Great, Baluchistan was part of the Persian Empire, whose records refer to it as "Maka".
In 325 B.C. Alexander led part of his army back from his Indus campaign to Babylon across the Makran Desert at the cost of terrible suffering and high casualties. Thereafter Baluchistan lay for centuries on the shadowy borderlands of the Zoroastrian rulers of Iran and the local Buddhist and Hindu dynasties of northwestern subcontinent.
Islam was brought to Baluchistan in 711 when Muhammad bin Qasim led the army which was to conquer Sind across the Makran route, but the area was always too remote for firm control to be exerted by any of the later local dynasties. It accordingly receives only very passing mention in the court histories of the time. The connections of the inland areas were variously with Iran, Afghanistan and India, those of coastal Makran rather across the Arabian Sea with Oman and the Gulf.
The name "Baluchistan" only came into existence later with the arrival from Iran of the tribes called Baluch (usually pronounced "Baloch" in Pakistan). Just how and when they arrived remains a matter of hot debate, since the traditional legends of their Middle Eastern origins, supposed to have been in the Aleppo region of Syria have been further confused by cranky theories either that like the Pathans they may descend from the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel, or that they originated from Babylon, since "Baluch" is phonetically similar to the names of the god Baal or the Babylonian ruler Belos.
Better evidence is suggested by the Baluchi language which beIongs to the same Iranian group of Indo-European as Persian and Kurdish. This suggests that the Baluch originated from the area of the Caspian Sea, making their way gradually across Iran to reach their present homeland in around A.D. 1000, when they are mentioned with the equally warlike Kuch tribes in Firdausi's great Persian epic, the Book of Kings:
Heroic Baluches and Kuches we saw,
Like battling rams all determined on war.
Warlike the history of the Baluch has certainly always been. As the last to arrive of the major ethnic groups of Pakistan they were faced with the need to displace the peoples already settled in Baluchistan. Some they more or less successfully subjugated or assimilated, like the Meds of Makran and other now subordinate groups. From others they faced a greater challenge, notably from the Brahui tribes occupying the hills around Kalat.
The origins of the Brahuis are even more puzzling than those of the Baluch, for their language is not Indo-European at all, but belongs to the same Dravidian family as Tamil and the other languages of south India spoken over a thousand miles away. One theory has it that the Brahuis are the last northern survivors of a Dravidian-speaking population which perhaps created the Indus Valley civilisation, but it seems more likely that they too arrived as the result of a long tribal migration, at some earlier date from peninsular India.
As they moved eastwards, the Baluch were initially successful in overcoming the Brahuis. Under Mir Chakar, who established his capital at Sibi in 1487, a great Baluch kingdom briefly came into existence before being destroyed by civil war between Mir Chakar's Rind tribe and the rival Lasharis, whose battles are still celebrated in heroic ballads. Although the Baluch moved forward into Panjab and Sind, the authority of the Moghuls stopped them establishing permanent kingdoms there, although the names of Dera Ghazi Khan in Panjab and Dera Ismail Khan in NWFP are still reminders of the Baluch chiefs.

== History Of Rawalpindi ==

Rawalpindi is a city in the Potwar Plateau near Islamabad, the current capital of Pakistan. It is the military headquarters of the Pakistan Armed Forces and also served as the nation's capital while Islamabad was being constructed in the 1960s. The city is home to many industries and factories. Islamabad International Airport is actually in Rawalpindi, and it serves the city along with the capital. Rawalpindi is located in the Punjab province, 275 km (171 miles) to the north-west of Lahore. It is the administrative seat of the Rawalpindi District. The population of Rawalpindi is approximately 1,400,000.

Rawalpindi, also known as Pindi, has a long history spread over several millennia. Archaeologists believe that a distinct culture flourished on this plateau as far back as 3000 years. The material remains found at the site prove the existence of a Buddhist establishment contemporary to Taxila, but less celebrated than its neighbor.

It appears that the ancient city went into oblivion as a result of the Hun devastation. The first Muslim invader, Mahmud of Ghazni (979-1030), gifted the ruined city to a Gakhar Chief, Kai Gohar. The town, however, being on an invasion route, could not prosper and remained deserted until Jhanda Khan, another Gakhar Chief, restored it and named it Rawalpindi after the village Rawal in 1493. Rawalpindi remained under the rule of the Gakkhars till Muqarrab Khan, the last Gakkhar ruler, was defeated by the Sikhs in 1765. The Sikhs invited traders from other places to settle here. This brought the city into prominence.

Following the British conquest of the Sikhs and their occupation of Rawalpindi in 1849, the city became a permanent garrison of the British army in 1851. In the 1880s a railway line to Rawalpindi was laid, and train service was inaugurated on January 1, 1886. The need for having a railway link arose after Lord Dalhousie made Rawalpindi the headquarters of the Northern Command and Rawalpindi became the largest British military garrison in British India.

In 1951, Rawalpindi saw the murder of the first elected Prime Minister of Pakistan, Liaquat Ali Khan, in Liaquat Garden. Today Rawalpindi is the headquarters of the Pakistani Army and Air Force.

The famous Murree Road has been a hot spot for various political and social events. Nala Lai, famous for its floods, runs in the middle of the city, dividing it into city area and Cantonment area. History describes Nala Lai water pure enough to do washing clothes but now it has become polluted with the waste water from all sources including factories and houses.

It is rapidly developing into a large modern city. It has many good hotels, restaurants, clubs, museums, playgrounds. It has a number of parks, of which the largest is Ayub National Park. Rawalpindi is the nearest major city for the holiday resorts and hill stations of the Galiyat area, such as Murree, Nathia Gali, and Ayubia. It is also a common starting point for tourists visiting Abbottabad, Swat, Kaghan, Gilgit, Hunza, Skardu and Chitral.

== History Of Karachi ==

Karachi is the capital of the province of Sindh, and the most populated city in Pakistan. It is located on the coast of the Arabian Sea in southeastern Pakistan, northwest of the Indus Delta. The city is the financial and commercial centre as well as the largest port of Pakistan.

The site of an ancient community of fishing villages, the modern port-city of Karachi was developed by authorities of the British Raj in the 19th century. Upon the creation of Pakistan in 1947, the city was selected to become the national capital, and was exposed to a massive influx of immigrants from India, which radically expanded the city's population and transformed the demographics and economy. Karachi has faced major infrastructural and socio-economic challenges, but modern industries and businesses have developed in the city, and the population expanded even after the capital was moved to Rawalpindi in 1959.

Karachi is the most ethnically and religiously diverse city in the nation.

The history of Karachi prior to the nineteenth century is brief. Karachi was known as Barbarikon during the Indo-Greek Kingdom. According to legend, Krokola was settled when an old fisherwoman by the name of Mai Kolachi settled near the delta of the Indus River to start a community [2]. At Krokola, Alexander the Great camped and built a fleet for the voyage back to Babylonia. Alexander's admiral Nearchus sailed back to Mesopotamia from 'Morontobara' port, which is probably the modern Manora Island at Karachi harbor. When Muhammad bin Qasim conquered modern Pakistan in 712, the area was called Debal (or Debul) which may have been the ancestral village of present-day Karachi. According to the British historian Eliot, parts of city of Karachi and the island of Manora at port of Karachi constituted the city of Debal.

Karachi gained in position as a port which led to its importance being recognized by the British, and consequently led to the conquering of the town on the February 3, 1839. Three years later, it was annexed into British India as a district.

In 1876, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, was born in the city, and he would later be buried there. By this time Karachi was a developed city with railroads, churches, mosques, paved streets, courts and many commercial centers as well as a magnificent harbor built by the British. Many of the buildings were built in classical British colonial style, contrasting significantly with the "Mughal Gothic" of Lahore. Many of these old buildings exist today and provide interesting destinations for visitors. Karachi continued to grow in size as well as importance due to its position as a major port. A railroad connected Karachi to the rest of British India in the 1880s. Population grew from 73,500 (1881), to 105,199 (1891), to 115,407 (1901) (Britannica 1911 ed.). In 1899 Karachi was said to be the largest wheat exporting port in the East (Feldman 1970:57). In 1911 when the capital was shifted to Delhi, Karachi became closer to being a Gateway to India. Karachi was declared the capital of the newly formed Sindh province in 1936, chosen over the traditional capital city, Hyderabad.

In 1947, Karachi was made the capital of the new nation of Pakistan. At that time Karachi was a city of only 400,000 people, and its growth accelerated as a result of its new status. Being the capital, Karachi became a focal point for the new nation and this added to its status as a cultural centre in this part of the world. Although the capital later moved to Rawalpindi and then Islamabad, Karachi remains the economic centre of Pakistan, accounting for a large portion of the GDP of the country and large chunk of the nation's white collar workers. In the 1960s, Karachi was seen as an economic role model around the area and there was much praise for the way its economy was progressing, but in the 1990s, the the city was wracked with sectarian violence. In the last 20 years, Karachi has continued to grow, passing the 12 million mark. The current economic boom in Pakistan has created a sudden growth spurt in Karachi as jobs and infrastructure projects are increasing with time.

Karachi is located in southern Pakistan, directly north of the Arabian Sea. The city covers 591 square kilometers (228 square miles) while the metropolitan area covers 1450 km² (560 mi²).[3] Karachi mostly comprises flat or rolling plains with hills on the western and northern boundaries of the urban sprawl. Two rivers pass through the city: the Malir River (north east to centre) and the Lyari River (north to south). Many other smaller rivers pass through the city as well with general drainage being from the western and northern areas towards the south. The Karachi Harbor is a protected bay to the south west of the city. The harbor is protected from storms by Kiamari Island, Manora Island and Oyster Rocks, which together block the greater part of the harbor entrance in the west. The southern limit of the city is the Arabian Sea and forms a chain of warm water beaches that are rich in natural beauty.

Karachi is located on the coast and as a result has a relatively mild climate. The level of precipitation is low for most of the year (approximately 10 inches per annum). However, due to the city's proximity to the sea, humidity levels usually remain high throughout the year. The city enjoys mild winters and hot summers. Karachi also receives the tail end of the monsoon rains.