Pakistan is a diverse country, in terms of culture, religion, tradition, history, and landscape. Per Statistics Bureau of Pakistan released the religious data of the 2017 Pakistan Census on May 19, 2021. 96.47% are Muslims, followed by 2.14% Hindus, 1.27% Christians, 0, 09% Ahmedies, and 0.02% others.  It is time to highlight the possibilities of religious tourism in Pakistan. With the increase in the popularity of tourism, Pakistan is also opening doors for Religious Tourism like Sikh Tourism, Shrines Tourism, and much more.

 

 In fact, major religions such as Hinduism, Islam, Sikhism, and Buddhism have taken root in Pakistan. If we ensure that we provide the best travel facilities, then a large number of pilgrims from other countries want to visit Pakistan’s history, religion, culture, and natural beauty.

Religious Tourism And Pakistan

Pakistan Tourism and Religious tourism are an important part of the economy. It is also called special interest tourism. Additionally, Religious tourism is usually associated with followers of certain religions who visit places considered holy. Not only religious sites will be visited by pilgrims, but also non-religious tourists due to their cultural, historical, and religious significance. The more professional part of the tourism industry is directly affected by economic instability, while religious tourism is relatively less affected by these economic problems because the reasons for travel are very strong and play a very important role in people’s lives.

Pakistan As A Religious Tourism Destination

Religious tourism is the main form of tourism, almost beginning with the dawn of mankind. Since ancient times, religious destinations have not only been part of the cultural landscape but have also become an important factor in local marketing and a key part of the host destination’s economy. Some religious sites, such as Mecca in Saudi Arabia, 

It is difficult to give a specific definition of religious tourism. The reason behind this is that cultural and religious tourism are synonymous. This is because most cultural tourists will visit religious destinations as part of their itinerary, so they are called religious tourists.

Government is Taking Advance Steps to Promote Religious Tourism in Pakistan: Qureshi

Why Religious Tourism Is Important For Pakistan?

Religion and tourism are interrelated. However, religious tourism refers to travel whose main motivation is to experience religious activities or products that stimulate religious activities (such as art, culture, tradition, and architecture).

When Christians travel to Jerusalem and Muslims travel to Mecca, the pioneering form of tourism is a religious pilgrimage. Religious pilgrimage has always been one of the leading factors driving people to travel. Looking back on the history of religion, we find that major religions have stimulated the global tourism industry as a basis for spreading their religious beliefs.

Globally, Pakistan is very popular among the three popular religions in the world, namely Islam, Sikhism, and Buddhism.

PTDC Taking Measures

 The Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) has identified 480 tourist attractions. Among them, 106 are historically significant, 120 are religious, and 26 are religious and historical. In addition, it may attract more religious tourists to Pakistan, including civilians and Buddhists. Recently, Pakistan opened the Central Gurdwara and temples at Gurdwara Kartarpur Shrine in Punjab (Pakistan). Among the priorities of the government’s tourism sector, Pakistan ranks 112th out of 132 countries. 

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However, the current government is focusing on this area by taking certain measures. The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Provincial Government plans to return more than 3,000 historical relics to attract tourists from the area. In addition, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Provincial Government recently launched the first mobile tourism application to promote tourism in the region. 

Pakistan As A Religious Tourism Destination

Pakistan As A Religious Tourism Destination

Therefore, we are here to highlight Pakistan’s religious tourism opportunities, destinations, and socio-economic development opportunities, and how Pakistan can enhance its positive image through religious tourism.

Prominent Places for Religious Tourism In Pakistan 

 

Pakistan is full of sacred places you can find in each province and people from all over the world visit these places. Some of them are listed below:

Ziarat is one of the most beautiful places in Balochistan. Many people used to come here for picnics, sightseeing, and travel. It has the second largest juniper forest in the world and has a history of about 7,000 years. Because of its natural beauty, the commander-in-chief also spent his last anniversary here. The shrine of the famous Sufi saint Hawalibaba is one of the main attractions for tourists.

Similarly, a pilgrimage to the Hinglag Mata temple on the Hangul River in Balochistan is considered a religious obligation of the Hindu community. However, the recent unrest in Balochistan has severely damaged the tourism industry.

Sindh has many holy places for followers of Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism, and Jainism, also known as the land of saints. The shrines of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, Shah Abdul Latif Bhattay, and Sachal Sarmast are very popular among the masses. In addition, hundreds of mosques, shrines, temples, Gurdwara, and other historical sites are important sources of people’s piety. A large number of tourists from Japan, South Korea, Thailand, and other countries hope to visit the Buddhist holy sites in Pakistan. However, The historic church built in the British era may become a center of attraction for Christian tourists from Europe and the United States.

Religious Tourism Around The World

 

In today’s world, the economy of most countries is completely dependent on tourism. This is why Malaysia, United Arab Emirates, Thailand, Switzerland, and more countries use different marketing methods to attract global tourists to promote national development. Furthermore, compared with other countries, Pakistan has relatively more opportunities for tourism, but unfortunately, in the past 73 years, no government has made tourism promotion a priority.

Above all, Prime Minister Imran Khan ordered the Tourism Promotion Government Committee: to complete the tourism plan within the next six weeks, taking into account the ecology, culture, and natural beauty of Pakistan. However, the public is still waiting for the recommendations of this high-level committee composed of the prime minister’s advisers, special assistants, and ministers.

Pakistan As A Religious Tourism Destination

Religious Tourism Destinations Around the World

Even today, reaching most tourist destinations is not so easy. Tourists face many difficulties in traveling. Tourists who are religiously motivated also face the problem of lack of facilities. Under the leadership of the current government, the historic Qatar Corridor initiative has high hopes for the promotion of religious tourism, but this trend has not gone further.

Adventure Tourism In Pakistan

COVID Severely Affects Religious Tourism In Pakistan

Unfortunately, the COVID situation not only disrupts daily life around the world but also damages the global tourism industry. Due to precautions, many religious sites are still closed. But these holy places cannot close for a long time. Moreover, once the deadly Covid-19 attack is brought under control. Then, large numbers of people will visit the holy sites. In order to effectively deal with this situation, a strong policy must be formulated with religious tourism as a priority.

 

However, the government can get so much income from religious tourism, not only can it get rid of foreign debts, but all development projects can also be completed smoothly. Likewise, an atmosphere of religious tolerance will flourish, which will also establish a positive image of our beloved country in the eyes of the international community.

Religious Sites In Pakistan

Religious tourism in Pakistan can make a major difference in the economical sector if used wisely. As people from all over the world visit religious sites in Pakistan for peace and solace. 

Multan

Shah Rukn-e Alam, Multan      

Mausoleum of Hazrat Bahuddin Zakriya

The Mausoleum of Shah Rukn-e-Alam

Mausoleum of Shah Shams Tabriz

Bad-Shahee Mosque

Baba Buley Shah

Hazrat Muhammad Shah Yusaf Gardez

Sukkur

Shrine of War Mubarak         

The Shrine of Sadruddin Badsha

Shrine of Khwaja Khadir ( The ‘Green Man’)

Lahore

Data Darbar Shrine

Mausoleum of Dadaji Ganjbaksh

The Mausoleum of Hazrat Mian Mir

Mausoleum of Shah Inayat Qadiri Shatari

Bibi Paak Daaman / Shrine of Ruqayah bint Ali

Karachi

Shrine of Mangho Pir

Shrine of Abdullah Shah Ghazi

Sehwan

Shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar

Shergarh

Shrine of Shaikh Daud Bandagi Kirmani

Garh Maharajah

Mausoleum of Sultan Bahu

Bhit, Sindh

Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province

Rehman Baba

Famous Hindu Temple in Pakistan 

Baluchistan 

Hinglaj Mandir or Nani Mandir, Hingol National Park, Baluchistan

Punjab 

Katasraj Temple in the Punjab Province

Jagannath Mandir in Sialkot

Sindh 

Panchmukhi Hanuman Mandir in Karachi

Kalka Devi Cave in Sindh

Naval Mandir in Karachi

Khyber Phaunkhawn 

Shri Varun Dev Mandir in Manora 

Gorakhnath Temple in Peshawar 

Buddist Sites in Pakistan

Pakistan is the hometown of Mehrgarh, Moenjodaro, and Harappa, the land of the awesome Gandhara civilization as the seat of Buddhis. Moreover, the devout carvings of the Hindu Shahi temples of Salt Ring and Tharparkar. Additionally, the gorgeous funeral ensemble of Makli, Multan, and Uch Sharif, local and foreigners. The subtle blend represents the continuous Bagh dynasty and jewels that expanded in the center of Chahar. Just like the mansion of the greatest kingdom in the world, by the young rulers of Fergana, the great Mughal-style Sikhs Creation, and a common heritage of eclectic architecture with European touches, the few British who colonized this land.

Shakkai: Tourist Attraction In Buner, Pakistan

  • The famous Gandhara-style Buddha statue in the Taxila Museum, Pakistan.
  • Takht-i-Bhai is an archaeological site and Buddhist monastery in Pakistan.
  • Damarajka Stupa in Taxila, Pakistan.
  • The Amluk Dara stupa near the Nawajai village in Swat.
  • The Stupa of Mehenjo Daro.
  • Gilgit Baltistan-Buddha’s Manthal Rock
  • The stupa of the Jaulian Temple (declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO).
  • Bhir Taxila Mount.
  • The Temple of Jundial in Taxila.
  • The Buddhist temple complex of Takht Bhai Mardan KPK.

Final Thoughts

The government should also take the necessary measures to protect these sacred places to promote religious tourism in Pakistan. However, Pakistan has great potential for religious tourism. All we need is to advance and upgrade facilities for the tourist and law & order situation along with the proper marketing of what we provide.