Peshawar derives its name from a Sanskrit word "Pushpapura" meaning the city of flowers. Peshawar's flowers were mentioned even in Mughal Emperor Babar's memories.
Alexander's legions and the southern wing of his army were held up here in 327 B.C. for forty days at a fort excavated recently, 27 1/2 kms north-east of Peshawar at Pushkalavati (lotus city) near Charsada.The great Babar marched through historic Khyber Pass to conquer South Asia in 1526 and set up the Moghal Empire in the Indo-Pakistan sub-continent.
The Khyber Pass and the valley have resounded to the tramp of marching feet as successive armies hurtled down the crossroad of history, pathway of commerce, migration and invasion by Aryans, Scythians. Persians, Greeks, Bactrians, Kushans, Huns, Turks' Mongols and Moghals
The prime attraction in this region is the Khyber Pass situated in the Sulaiman Hills which form the western barrier of Pakistan. The hills dip down here, leaving a passage sometimes as broad as 1 1/2 kms and sometimes as narrow as 16 meters. The pass begins near Jamrud Fort 18 kms from Peshawar and extends beyond the border of Pakistan at Torkham 58 kms away. You may travel by road from Peshawar via Jamrud fort which lies amongst low stony hills capped with pickets manned by Khyber Rifles.
Also on the way you will see Ali Masjid and the fort with insignia of the regiments that have served in the Khyber.
On route is also the Sphola sputa of Buddhist period and Landikotal Bazaar until you reach the border post at Torkham. The other exciting way of seeing Khyber Pass is to undertake a 42 kms and 3 1/2 hours journey to Landikotal by the equally legendary Khyber Railway.
Valley of Swat, with its rushing torrents, lakes, fruit-laden orchards and flower-bedecked slopes is an idyllic valley. It has a rich historical past. It was described as "Udayana" (the garden) in ancient Hindu epics where Alexander of Macedon fought and won some of his major battles before crossing over to the plain of Pakistan.