Traveling in Pakistan during Ramadan

A lot of non-Muslims might consider traveling during the month of Ramadan especially to a Muslim country, a daunting idea. During the month of Ramadan, Muslims fast, in all senses of the word: no food or water, no swearing, no lies, no cigarette or anything that has a taste, before the Maghrib prayer. So, to many non-Muslims, the month of Ramadan can seem to be scary. But for Muslims, the month of Ramadan is the most beautiful time of the year and usually the favourite time of the year too. It’s the month when Muslims come together and enthusiastically practice self-discipline for God. So, here is what its like traveling in Pakistan during Ramadan.

Vendor arranging praying beads
Vendor arranging praying beads. Courtesy: Dawn.com

The best part about traveling in Pakistan during Ramadan

Traveling in Pakistan in the month of Ramadan can be an experience of a lifetime!
If you are fond of learning about culture and religion, you will definitely have the best time traveling in Pakistan during Ramadan. Plus, remember to check your weight before coming to Pakistan, because you are most likely to gain a few pounds in Pakistan, considering the fact that Pakistanis LOVE FOOD and will make you fall in love with food as well!

Live barbecue on streets of Pakistan
Live barbecue on streets of Pakistan. Courtesy: Pukkapaki.com

One thing is for sure, Pakistanis are extremely warm people so you will always be greeted and welcomed regardless of your religion or ethnicity. Besides, you are likely to have the best time at iftari i.e at the time when Muslims break their fast, since a variety of eatables are prepared including the ever popular, pakora, samosa and dahi bhalla. At this time of the day the streets are filled with locals, creating a festive ambience and the ever appetizing smell of freshly cooked food makes it even better!

Caution: You might be joined at the iftari by the whole neighbourhood or people standing nearby since we love having food with guests, especially when he/she is from a foreign land.

pakora
Pakoray. Courtesy: Dawn.com
Dahi Bhallay
Dahi Bhallay. Courtesy: Simmertoslimmer.com
Samosay
Samosay. Courtesy: Unknown

If you happen to stay in Pakistan till Eid, the festivities of Chand Raat (one night before Eid) will make you fall in love with the country. The fully lit up stalls, with mehndi (henna), colourful sparkling bangles and traditional eatables create a beautiful atmosphere of celebration and happiness.

Girls buying bangles on Chand Raat
Girls buying bangles on Chand Raat. Courtesy: PakistankaKhudaHafiz.com
Mehndi stalls flooded with girls
Mehndi stalls flooded with girls. Courtesy: Dawn.com

Will I be safe if I carry eatables around?

It is completely okay for you to carry a water bottle or snacks with you. You will not be punished or anything as you might have heard. Instead there might be people who would take you to their homes for lunch, breakfast or tea. However, as a respect for Ramadan and people fasting, it is advised not to drink or eat in public areas.

Which areas can I visit in Pakistan during Ramadan?

This year the holy month of Ramadan runs between May and June which are the hottest months of the year. Next year will be the same, so whenever Ramadan falls during summers, it is always better to head up north and spend Ramadan in the cooler areas. Otherwise, Lahore, Karachi, Islamabad, Multan etc. are some of the cities where you will experience the actual culture of Ramadan and Eid celebrations.

Neelum Valley Azad Kashmir
Neelum Valley Azad Kashmir. Courtesy: ARYZauq.tv

Pros and cons of traveling during Ramadan

Pros

  • During Ramadan, tourism is usually less, so you can get accommodation at a cheaper rate. Also, the tourist sights are less busy.
  • You get to witness the amazing Ramadan culture with strong community atmosphere and festive ambience.
  • Witness and learn about Islamic religion and culture
  • Free food and invitations at iftaris with all the cultural delicacies and new flavours to try!
  • Warm, enthusiastic and welcoming people who will take extra care of you
  • Eid celebrations and parties at the end of the month.

 Cons

  • Most of the stores and restaurants are closed during the day, so fresh food might not be available. Bakeries are usually open.
  • It is advised not to drink or eat in public areas.
Faisal Mosque view at night
Faisal Mosque view at night. Courtesy: Unknown

What do I need to know about Ramadan before traveling in Pakistan?

  • Sehri is basically a morning meal which has to be taken in order to fast for the whole day. The time for Sehri ends at the call for the first prayer of the day, Fajr.
  • Azaan is the call for prayer which is heard whenever it is time to pray.
  • Iftari is the time when the Muslims break their fast of the day and takes place at Maghrib Azaan.
  • Roza means “fasting”.

The month of Ramadan is a beautiful time for Muslims and otherwise to experience the spirit of brotherhood and observe the culture of the Muslim world. Visit Pakistan with Tripkar where we will plan your trip from scratch and make you experience the true essence of the country!

Meanwhile, here’s a short video for you to enjoy!

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