Rawalpindi is situated on the southern slopes of the north-western extremities of the Himalayas and on the Potohar plateau, at a distance of 375 km from Lahore via Lahore-Islamabad Motorway. It is an important city due to its common boundary with the Capital city Islamabad.
Rawalpindi district is bounded by Muzaffarabad, Mirpur, Rawalakot, Abbottabad, Islamabad Capital territory, Jhelum, Chakwal, Attock, and Haripur districts. Lahore-Islamabad Motorway M-2 runs in the eastern side of the district. Then it connects with Peshawar via Islamabad-Peshawar Motorway M-1. National Highway N-5 run across the center of the district. It is also connected with Lahore-Peshawar railway track as a main railway station.
In ancient history, the area between the Indus River and the Jhelum River belonged to a Naga tribe, known as Takshakas, who called this area as the city of Takshasila. Then it was known as Taxila by the Greek historians, ruins of the Shahdheri in the north-west of the district is identified as an ancient city. Arrian described Texila as populated and flourishing city between the Indus and hte Hydaspes at the time of Alexander invasion.
Ruins of old Taxila is lies at a distance of 25 km from Rawalpindi city. Old Taxila, located on the eastern bank of the Indus River, was an important city in the ancient India. It was founded in 1000 BC. The ruins of various dynasties are found there. The city was destroyed by the nomadic Central Asian Huns in the 5th century.
The Dharmarajika Stupa, also known as the Great Stupa of Taxila, is a Buddhist stupa near Taxila in the Rawalpindi district. It was built by Ashoka in 3rd century over an older stupa that was believed in second century during the Kushan in order to house relics of the Buddha. The stupa with large monastic complex around it forms part of the Ruins of Taxila. It was inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1980. The site was destroyed by the White Huns in the 5th century and then abandoned. The Hun king Mihirakula persecuted the Buddhists in the region. During his reign, thousands of Buddhist monasteries throughout Gandhara were destroyed. On the excavation of the site, human skeletons were discovered in the south of the stupa, those may be the remains of monks killed during invasion of the White Huns. It is located about 3 km east of the Taxila Museum.
Taxila Museum is situated in Taxila and has a collection of Gandharan art and several objects collection excavated from the ruins of ancient Taxila.
Murree is a famous hill station located in the Galyat Region of the Pir Panjal Range in the Rawalpindi district. It is the most popular hill station with an average altitude of 7,516 feet. It was identified as hill station by Major James Abbott in 1847. It was also a popular tourist point for British citizens during the British regime. The church was also constructed there in 1857. The weather of Murree is pleasant in summer season and it also receives heavy snowfall in the winter season.
Kotli Sattian is located in the Pir Panjal Range along the Jhelum River at a distance of 50 km from Rawalpindi city. It has border with Azad Kashmir in Bagh and Rawalakot. There are also many scenic views for tourists.
Mankiala, also known as Manikiyala, is a small village in the Potohar plateau in the Rawalpindi district. Mankiala Stupa is a Bhuddisht stupa in the Mankiala village and as per legend, Buddha scarified some of his body parts for the purpose to feed seven hungry tiger cubs. It was built around 2000 years ago in the Buddhist period. It is located at a distance of 36 km from Islamabad on the top of Mankiala village. The articles found from site are now preserved in the British Museum London.
Rawat Fort was built as a caravan serai in 15th century during the Mughal Empire, Then it was fortified in 16th century by the Mughal Emperor Humayun to defend the Pothohar plateau from the forces of Afghan King Sher Shah Suri. The area between Rawat Fort and Rohtas Fort in Jhelum as the war field in 1546 between the Mughal Emperor Humayan and the Afghan King Sher Shah Suri. Fort is in squared-shape with two gates. There is a quadrangular building with a dome inside the fort. There are small rooms along with the main wall. There is also a mosque having three domes on its roof. Mankiala Stupa can also be seen from the roof of the mosque.
Kallar Syedan is an historical location in the Rawalpindi district dated 1200 years ago. The town is mainly influenced in the Sikh era, as one can see several havelis, gurdawaras, and small fortresses build in that regime. A Hindu temple, Krishna Temple, was built in the Sikh rule. Bedi Mahal is a palace located in Kallar Syedan at a distance of 40 km from Rawalpindi city. It was built in 19th century by Sikh spiritual and political leader Baba Khem Singh Bedi who was direct descendant of Guru Nanak.
The climate of Rawalpindi is hot in summer with humidity. In monsoon, Rawalpindi and Islamabad receive a maximum number of thunderstorms which become the cause of damaging of infrastructure. In the winter season, the weather becomes extreme cold due to the snowfall on Murree hills.