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Pakistan as a Religious Tourism Destination

October 18, 2023

In terms of history, geography, customs, religion, and culture, Pakistan is a diverse nation. The Pakistani Statistics Bureau published the 2017 Pakistan Census’s religious statistics on May 19, 2021. 96.47% of the population is Muslim, with 2.14% Hindus, 1.27% Christians, 0.09% Ahmedies, and 0.02% other groups following.  It’s time to draw attention to Pakistan’s religious tourism potential. Pakistan is opening doors for religious tourism, including Sikh and shrine tourism, among other types of tourism, as a result of the growth in the popularity of travel.

 Major religions have actually established themselves in Pakistan, including Buddhism, Sikhism, Islam, and Hinduism. If we make sure to offer the greatest travel amenities, then many pilgrims from other nations will wish to see Pakistan’s history, religion, and culture, and natural beauty.

Religious Tourism And Pakistan

Pakistan’s economy depends heavily on religious and travel-related activities. Another name for it is special interest tourism. Furthermore, religious tourism is typically connected to adherents of particular religions traveling to locations revered. Because of its importance to culture, history, and religion, pilgrims and nonreligious visitors will visit these locations as well. Because religious travel has such powerful motivations and holds such a significant place in people’s lives, it is comparatively less influenced by economic uncertainty than the more professional segments of the tourism business.

Since the beginning of human history, religious tourism has been the predominant type of travel. Religious travel destinations have long been an integral element of the cultural landscape, as well as a vital component of the local economy and marketing strategy. Certain places of worship, like Mecca in Saudi Arabia, 

It’s challenging to define religious tourism precisely. This is because religious and cultural tourism are interchangeable. This is due to the fact that the majority of cultural tourists—also known as religious tourists—have religious sites on their itinerary.

Why Religious Tourism Is Important For Pakistan?

Travel and religion are connected. On the other hand, religious tourism describes travel that is primarily intended to engage in religious activities or to encounter religiously stimulating objects (such as art, culture, tradition, and architecture).

The first type of tourism is a religious pilgrimage, which occurs when Muslims visit to Mecca and Christians journey to Jerusalem. One of the main reasons people travel has traditionally been for religious pilgrimages. When we examine the past of religion, we discover that the main faiths have fueled the world travel and tourism sector in order to propagate their own ideologies.

Among the three major religions practiced worldwide, Islam, Sikhism, and Buddhism, Pakistan enjoys great popularity.

PTDC Taking Measures

480 tourism attractions have been identified by the Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC). Of them, 106 are important in history, 120 are religious, and 26 are both historical and religious. Furthermore, it can draw more Buddhists and non-Buddhist religious travelers to Pakistan. The Central Gurdwara and the temples at the Gurdwara Kartarpur Shrine in Punjab were recently inaugurated by Pakistan. Out of 132 countries, Pakistan comes in at number 112 on the government’s list of priorities for the tourism industry. 

Nonetheless, the present administration is making this a priority by implementing specific policies. In an effort to draw tourists to the region, the provincial government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa intends to repatriate more than 3,000 historical artifacts. To further encourage travel in the area, the provincial government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa just released the first mobile tourist app. 

Thus, our purpose in being here is to showcase Pakistan’s religious tourism attractions, locations, and chances for socio-economic growth, as well as how Pakistan can use religious tourism to further improve its already favourable reputation.

Prominent Places for Religious Tourism In Pakistan 

There are several religious sites throughout Pakistan’s provinces, and tourists come from all over the world to see them. Following is a list of a few of them:

One of Balochistan’s most picturesque locations is Ziarat. This used to be a popular destination for travel, sightseeing, and picnics. Its history spans over 7,000 years, and its juniper forest is the second largest in the world. This is also where the commander-in-chief spent his last anniversary due to its natural beauty. One of the primary tourist destinations is the shrine dedicated to the renowned Sufi saint Hawalibaba.

In a similar vein, Hindus in Balochistan regard a pilgrimage to the Hinglag Mata temple on the Hangul River as a holy duty. But the tourism sector has suffered greatly as a result of the current unrest in Balochistan.

Sindh, commonly referred to as the land of saints, is home to numerous sacred sites for adherents of Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism, and Jainism. The public holds great reverence for the shrines of Sachal Sarmast, Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, and Shah Abdul Latif Bhattay. Furthermore, countless mosques, temples, shrines, Gurdwaras, and other historical places are significant contributors to people’s religiosity. Numerous travelers from South Korea, Japan, Thailand, and other nations are hoping to visit Pakistan’s Buddhist sacred places.

Religious Tourism Around The World

The majority of nations’ economies in the modern world are entirely reliant on tourism. For this reason, in order to encourage national growth, Malaysia, the United Arab Emirates, Thailand, Switzerland, and other nations employ a variety of marketing strategies to draw in foreign visitors. Pakistan offers comparatively more tourism prospects than other nations, but regrettably, no administration has prioritized tourism promotion for the previous 73 years.

The Tourism Promotion Government Committee was given an order by Prime Minister Imran Khan to finish the tourism plan in the next six weeks while keeping Pakistan’s ecology, culture, and natural beauty in mind. The public is still awaiting the recommendations of this high-level group, which is made up of ministers, special assistants, and advisers to the prime minister.

Most tourist locations are still difficult to get to even now. Travelling presents a number of challenges for tourists. Religiously motivated tourists also have to deal with the issue of inadequate amenities. The ancient Qatar Corridor plan has great expectations for promoting religious tourism under the current administration’s leadership, however as yet, this trend has not advanced.

COVID Severely Affects Religious Tourism In Pakistan

Regrettably, the COVID issue harms not only the world’s tourism economy but also everyday life everywhere. Many religious places remain shuttered as a precaution. Still, these sacred sites cannot remain closed for too long. Furthermore, after the fatal Covid-19 outbreak is contained. Then, a lot of people would go to the sacred locations. A robust policy that prioritizes religious tourism must be developed in order to cope with this issue.

However because religious tourism brings in so much money, the government is able to pay off its foreign loans and easily execute all of its construction initiatives. Similarly, there will be a flourishing environment of religious tolerance, which will likewise create a favorable impression of our adored country in the eyes of the international community.

Religious Sites In Pakistan

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


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


Shrine of War Mubarak         

The Shrine of Sadruddin Badsha

Shrine of Khwaja Khadir ( The ‘Green Man’)


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


Shrine of Mangho Pir

Shrine of Abdullah Shah Ghazi


Shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar


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 


Hinglaj Mandir or Nani Mandir, Hingol National Park, Baluchistan


Katasraj Temple in the Punjab Province

Jagannath Mandir in Sialkot


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

The country of Pakistan is home to the ancient cities of Mehrgarh, Moenjodaro, and Harappa; it is also the birthplace of the magnificent Gandhara culture, which is considered the birthplace of Buddhism; it is also home to the fervently carved Hindu Shahi temples at Salt Ring and Tharparkar; and it is the destination of both imported and local The delicate fusion symbolizes the ongoing Bagh dynasty and jewels that grew in the heart of Chahar, much like the mansion of the world’s greatest kingdom built by the young Fergana rulers, the magnificent Sikh creation in the Mughal style, and a shared legacy of eclectic architecture with European influences from the few British colonists.

Final Thoughts

To encourage religious tourism in Pakistan, the government should likewise take the required actions to safeguard these hallowed locations. Pakistan, however, offers a lot of opportunity for religious travel. All we have to do is develop and improve our tourist and law-and-order facilities while properly marketing what we have to offer.

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Read More: Govt Endeavors to Promote Religious Tourism: Aneeq

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