Rawalpindi, colloquially known as Pindi, is the capital city of the Rawalpindi Division located in the Punjab province of Pakistan. Rawalpindi is the fourth-largest city proper in Pakistan, while the larger Islamabad-Rawalpindi metropolitan area is the country’s third-largest metropolitan area
The bazaars of the old city offer exciting bargains. You can leisurely browse in the quaint old shops in Saddar Bazaar, Moti Bazaar, Raja Bazaar and Kashmiri bazaar while Sarafa bazaar is famous for beaten gold and silver jewellery, brass and copperware.
Rawalpindi specializes in handicrafts such as inlaid Sheesham and walnut furniture, Kashmiri silver, shawls and jackets, embroidered and woollen ‘Kurtas’ and household linen, Potohar Jooties and Chappals (slippers), cane baskets and furniture, walking sticks and hand-woven Kashmiri and Bokhara carpets. You can go shopping for these items at handicraft and carpet shops in Saddar bazaar, especially around Flashman’s Hotel and Rawalpindi Club building on the Mall.
Parks And Gardens
Liaquat Memorial Hall and Garden
This hall was built in memory of the late Mr. Liaquat Ali Khan, the first Prime Minister of Pakistan. It has a large auditorium and library. Art exhibitions, cultural shows and stage plays are performed here frequently. A well-laid garden with sports facilities and children’s park has been developed near the Hall.
Ayub National Park
Ayub National Park is located beyond the old Presidency on Jehlum Road. It covers an area of about 2,300 acres and has a play-land, lake with a boating facility, an aquarium, a garden restaurant and an open-air theatre.
Rawalpindi Golf Course
Situated near Ayub National Park, Rawalpindi Golf Course was completed in 1926 by Rawalpindi Golf Club, one of the oldest golf clubs of Pakistan, founded on 2nd November 1885. The facility was initially developed as a nine-hole course. After several phases of development, it is now converted into a 27-hole course. The successive Presidents of Pakistan are patronizing the Club. From the elegant clubhouse, one can have a wonderful panorama of Faisal Mosque, the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi and the Golf Course itself. Major national golf tournaments are held here regularly.
Rawalpindi Public Park and Cricket Stadium
Rawalpindi Public Park is located on Murree Road near Shamsabad. The Park was opened to the public in 1991. It has a playland for children, grassy lawns, fountains and flowerbeds. A cricket stadium was built in 1992 just opposite the Public Park. The 1992 World Cup cricket matches were held on this cricket ground. The stadium is equipped with all modern facilities.
Rawat Fort is located 17 km east of Rawalpindi, on the Grand Trunk (G.T) Road leading to Lahore. The fort was built by Gakkhars, a fiercely independent tribe of the Potohar Plateau, in the early 16th century. The grave of a Gakkhar Chief, Sultan Sarang Khan is located inside the fort. He died in 1546 AD fighting against the forces of Sher Shah Suri. Rawat is a corruption of the Arabic word ‘Rabat’ meaning Serai. The Fort is oblong in plan, measuring 306 feet 9 inches east-west and 348 feet 9 inches north-south with semi-circular bastions on the four corners and also on either side of the two gates located on east and north. On the western side of the fort, is located a mosque. The main gate is on the east. Flanking the gates and the mosque along the fortification are small cells each measuring 6 feet 9 inches. Originally, there were as many as 76 cells. In the northwest corner is located a massive tomb. The enclosure wall is crowned with merlons created in the form of a pointed arch. The entire construction is in a coursed rubble of sandstones with a sprinkling of brunt bricks. The surface of the mosque, tomb and gateways was originally treated with lime-surkhi plaster in glaze, only traces of which exist now. The bricks have been used in arches, domes and stringcourses, which also serve as an ornamental element.
This fort is about 40 km from Rawalpindi beyond Lehtrar road. It was built in the 15th century by a Gakkhar ruler, Sultan Kai Gohar, on the ruins of a 10th century Hindi Shahi Fort. Emperor Babar conquered the fort in 1519 AD. Later, in 1825, Gakkhars were expelled by Sikhs from this fort. Though the fort is in a crumbling state, it is still an attraction for castle lovers. The fort, being situated in a prohibited area, is only open for Pakistani visitors.
The glen of Giri is located 8 km northeast of Taxila, at the foot of Margallah. It is approached through a rough torrent bed near two villages named Khurram Gujar and Khurram Paracha. There are remains of two monasteries and stupas, one on the top of the hill and the other below it. The remains of Giri Fort are perched on the hilltop, with spring water falling within it. The fort was built in the 5th century by Buddhist monks. Later, it was used by Sultan Masud, son of Sultan Mahmud of Gazni.