Rawalpindi lies on the Grand Trunk Road 177 from Peshawar and 275 kms from north-west from Lahore. The twin
city of Rawalpindi/Islamabad lies against the backdrop of Margalla Hills on the Potwar Plateau. On the basis of archaeological
discoveries, archaeologists believe that a distinct culture flourished on this plateau as far back as 3000 years. The material
remains found on the sight of the city of Rawalpindi prove the existence of Buddhist establishment contemporary to Taxila
but less celebrated than its neighbours.
It appears that the ancient city went into oblivion as a result of the Hun devastation. the first Muslim invader,
Mahmood of Ghazni (979-1030 AD), gifted the ruined city to a Gakkhar Chief, Kai Gohar. the town, however, being on invaders'
route, could not prosper and remained deserted until Jhanda Khan, another Gakkhar Chief, restored it and gave the name of
Rawalpindi after the village Rawal in 1493 AD. Rawalpindi remained under the rule of Gakkhars till Muqarrab Khan, the last
Gakkhar ruler, was defeated by Sikhs in 1765 AD. Sikhs invited traders from other places to settle here. This brought the
city into prominence. Sikhs lost the city to British in 1849 AD. It then became the General Headquarters of British Army and
they established a cantonment south of the old city. In 1879, the Punjab Northern Railway was extended to Rawalpindi but the
train service was formally inaugurated on January 1, 1886.
Over the years, Rawalpindi has retained to traditional flavour. However, some modern residential areas and
buildings have come up all over the town since the creation of Pakistan. Pakistan's new capital, Islamabad being the twin
city of Rawalpindi, equally shares the same archaeological and historical background.
Old City and Bazaars
The best way to see Rawalpindi is by wending through its bazaars, but you should orient yourself before setting
out. The city has two main roads: the Grand Trunk Road runs roughly from east to west and is known as The Mall as it passes
through the cantonment; Murree Road breaks north from The Mall, crosses the railway and brushes the east end of the old city
on its way to Islamabad. the two main bazaar areas are Raja Bazaar in the old city and Saddar Bazaar, which developed as the
cantonment bazaar between the old city and the Mall.
The cantonment evokes the British Raj, with its Christian churches and cemetery, spacious bungalows, club,
cricket ground, mall and the colonial-style Flashman's Hotel. Behind Flashman's is Saddar Bazaar, the centre not only for
shopping but also for hotels, banks, airlines and travel agents. The heart of the bazaar is along Kashmir Road and Massey
The Army Museum, near the Pearl Continental Hotel, houses a fine collection of weapons, uniforms and paintings
depicting Pakistan's military history. Hours are 9 am to 3 pm in winter, 8 am to noon and 5.30 pm to 7 pm in summer.
Ayub National Park is located beyond the old Presidency on Jhelum Road. It covers an area of about 2, 300
acres and has a play-land, lake with boating facility, an aquarium and a garden-restaurant. Rawalpindi Public Park is located
on Murree Road near Shamsabad. The Park was opened for public in 1991. It has a playland for children, grassy lawns, fountains
and flower beds. A cricket stadium was built in 1992 just opposite the Public Park. The stadium is equipped with all modern
Rawalpindi Golf Course
Situated near Ayub National Park, Rawalpindi Golf Course was completed in 1926 by Rawalpindi Golf Club, one
of the oldest gold 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.