Pakistan contains some of Asia’s most amazing landscapes, a multitude of cultures and a long tradition of hospitality. The pleasures of Pakistan are ancient Buddhist monuments, Hindu temples, Islamic palaces, tombs, etc. Sculpture is dominated by Greco-Buddhist wall paintings and crafts by ceramics, jewellery, silk goods and engraved woodwork and metalwork. Traditional dances are lusty and vigorous and music is classical, folk or devotional. Most Pakistanis are Muslim and Islam is the state religion.

The major events are Ramadan — a month of sunrise-to-sunset fasting which changes dates every year, Eid-ul-Fitr — two to three days of fasting and goodwill that marks the end of Ramadan, Eid-ul-Azha in which animals are slaughtered and the meat is shared among relatives and the needy and Eid-Milad-un-Nabi — Prophet Mohammad’s birthday. The major attractions of the country are Quaid-i-Azam Mausoleum — a monument to Pakistan’s founder Mohammed Ali Jinnah, Defence Housing Society Mosque — the remarkable white-marbled dome claimed to be the largest of its kind in the world. Lahore Museum is another attraction, which is the best and biggest in the country. Lal Suhanra National Park, an important wildlife reserve, too attracts many besides the Holy Trinity Cathedral and St Andrew’s Church —good examples of Anglo-Indian architecture.

Pakistani food includes peppered with baked and deep-fried breads, meat curries, lentil mush, spicy spinach, cabbage, peas and rice. Street snacks — samosas and tikkas (spiced and barbecued beef, mutton or chicken) are famous. The most common sweet is ‘barfi’ — dried milk solids and comes in a variety of flavours. The country brews its own beer and spirits which can be bought from specially designated bars and top-end hotels.