If you are intending to take a Pakistan tour of this magnificent country, there are some must-read books that you should read to have a better understanding of its people and places. The books on this list are written by some of the most prolific writers who had thrilling experiences in the country. They speak for the beautiful landscapes of the country and a very unique outlook of the Pakistani people of the outside world.
Where the Indus Is Young
Nobody travels like Dervla Murphy. This Irish writer has accomplished in this book what a very few might have been able to. The book is a record of a thrilling adventure that Dervla took on with her daughter in the beautiful yet dangerous northern areas of Pakistan.
With her daughter and a pony called Hallam, she takes on to conquer the vast landscapes of Baltistan and the unpredictable Karakoram range in the mid-winter. Her challenging yet adventurous journey is indeed a thrilling experience to read and it broadens your view of the Pakistani culture.
In the book, we see the impeccable will of the mother-daughter duo that matches that of the Hallam. They tear through the icy storms towards the Karakorum and reach as far as the disputed area of Kashmir. One will think that taking one’s daughter to such an adventure might be a bit too much but hey – it’s Dervla. This story of a mother and daughter reaching the remote corners of the earth is breadth taking and is a source of warmth when melancholy takes over in the winter.
Among Muslims is a must-read book for travellers who want to have a close understanding of Pakistani people and their culture. Kathleen Jamie explains her brief stay with Ismaili Shia Muslims living in the northern areas of Pakistan. It is a true account of how life is in the most volatile region of South Asia.
While you may find familiar descriptions of Purda nasheen women and intense religious culture of the area, the overall substance of the book is a bold narrative that gives the reader an insight into the local life and peoples’ perception of the west. The essence of the book finds a junction between two very opposite cultures – Islam and the West. This book can only be described as entertaining and very important for every traveller.
The Dancing Girls of Lahore
Any true account of Lahore’s Diamond market has hardly ever been registered and purged of the seemingly puritan orthodox mindset like Brown has sketched in this vivid and bold piece of art. It is fascinating and heartwarming. It has its dark moments and someone who isn’t interested in the prostitution culture of Pakistan may also find himself involved.
The book mirrors the gender and class relations in the family life of such a place that is rich in traditions. A must-read for travelers who want to experience the darkest corners of Pakistani culture.
Travelling is never complete without diving into the culture, heritage and tradition of the place you are visiting. You must be able to interact with your surroundings and the people to not only know but to experience what it means to be there. These books give you a bright understanding of Pakistani culture and enable you to blend in with the people. Don’t forget to visit Islamabad and its hilly slopes. Books PIA flights to Islamabad here.