One of the first cities planned by the British Raj, Faisalabad has since blossomed into one of Pakistan’s most modern metropolises. For that reason, history buffs may find the city somewhat lacking, but if it’s leisure and recreation that you’re after then look no further. Faisalabad is built for it.
Despite being a modern and diverse city, you’ll find the region’s cultural traditions alive and well in Faisalabad’s markets. Whether you plan to buy anything or not, these are always worth a wonder around. Katchery Bazaar is probably the most famous, but you might also want to visit more specialist markets like Rail Bazaar for gold and clothing, Bhawana Bazaar for electronics, or the Jhang and Gol Bazaars for food and produce.
You’ll find plenty of regional treats to eat in Faisalabad too, from market stalls to fine dining restaurants. The city’s samosas are considered among the best in Pakistan, as is the dal chawal. Other must-try foods including gol gappe, biryani and stuffed parathas. Many of the best places to try these things can be found near the city’s iconic clock tower, or Ghanta Ghar.
People and Traditions
Faisalabad is an industrial city and economic hub. It attracts migrants from all over Asia and the world, making it one of Pakistan’s most diverse cities. Punjabi and Urdu are the most widely spoken languages, but English is also common, particularly among the educated population. You’ll find the city at its most festive around Ramadan, when you can expect to be woken every morning by people playing drums and other traditional instruments.
Winters in Faisalabad can be cold, with lows averaging around 5ºC but reaching up to 20ºC in January. Summers regularly see temperatures exceeding 40ºC, with July and August making up the bulk of the monsoon season.
Faisalabad has many glorious gardens and parks to visit should you fancy a relaxing stroll, a picnic or simply just people watching. Jinnah Gardens is particularly well-manicured and easily accessible for tourists as it’s close to many of the city’s main sights. The Pahari Grounds (or Kashmir Park) and D Ground Park are also nearby, but if you fancy a little more adventure, head to Gatwala Wildlife Park on the northern outskirts of the city. It’s home to huge greens, forests and nature trails, as well as a botanical garden, a boating lake, a crocodile lake and an animal breeding centre.
If shopping’s more your thing, visit the city’s premier shopping malls, Kohinoor One, Al-Fateh and the Sitara Mall.
Ghanta Ghar is arguably Faisalabad’s most famous landmark. Built by the British Raj in 1903, the clock tower remains the pride of the city, the centre of its bazaar district, and the meeting place for many political rallies and demonstrations. A short walk away is another key colonial sight – the striking pink and white Gumti Water Fountain. For a more comprehensive delve into the city’s heritage, however, visit the Lyallpur Museum, which dons Faisalabad’s original colonial name. There are few better places to learn how this large metropolis was erected amid the region’s forest-dwelling tribes. An elegant monument to Sir James Lyall – Lyallpur’s namesake – can be visited nearby.
For entertainment try the Nusrat Fateh Ali Auditorium, named after Faisalabad’s most famous musical son and home to many of the city’s best concerts. Families should enjoy a day out at Sindbad’s Wonderland. The many rides and amusements are aimed mainly at younger children but it’s also open till midnight, making it a popular social spot for tourists and locals. If you’d prefer to cool off with a dip in the water, however, head to Happy Land Water Park instead.