History in Taxila

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Kushan Couple

Kushan Couple

Prehistoric Taxila of Takshaka Rulers

The Oldest rulers of Taxila, the Takshakas, their modern descendants being Taka tribe, whose name originated from their worship of Takila, i.e. serpents, have given rise to the name of the city,Taxila, correctly Taksha-sila, i.e. the hill capital of the Takshakas, the exact Persian translation of which id Margalla, correctly Mar (serpent)-I-Qila (fort).it is on the western side of the Margalla Hill that Taxila is located on bank of a local river,called Tamra-nala, correctly Dharama-nala (Dharma meaning "Buddhist moral law) –a name derived from a nearby Budd

Buddhist stupa, called Dharmarajika stupa, the first of its kind erected by the Mauryan emperor Asoka about the middle of the 3 rd century B.C.

HATHIAL AND SARAIKHOLA RUINS

The remains of the Takshakas of Bronze Age (3 rd -2 nd millnnium B.C.)have been found at the bottom of the Hathial Mound on the bank of Tamra-nala, at the edge of the Mathial spur about half a mile to the north-east of Taxila Museum . Their painted pottery, polished stone tools, beads and bone implements, also found at another local site, called Saraikhola on the bank of the Kala rivulet, a few miles to the south-west of the Museum,a little distance from the main National Highway , belong to a cultural period earlier then the mature Indus Civilization of Mohen-jo-Daro fame. Saraikhola is named after a Mughal Caravan-serai not gar from the site in the thick settlement of the modern town of Saraikhola . It is near the Saraikhola site that the earliest Neolithic agricultural fields are traceable. The hill fort (sila) of the Takshakas is now completely missing but the name Taksha-sila (Taxila) survives even today in that of Margalla.

TAXILA OF THE ARYANS

The Aryans arrived in Taxila around the middle of the second millennium B.C.and gave rise to the regional name Gandhara (meaning the land of Fragrance ), continued to rule here until the time of the Indian epic Mahabharata. Gandhara gave the queen Gandhari to the Mahabharata pandava heroes. One of the local Takshaka ruler bit (i.e. defeated) Parikshita, a grandson of Arjuna, a Mahabharata hero, but his son janmejaya routed the Takshakas, and established his seat at Taxila on the top of Hathial Mound. Here on this site for the first time Mahabharata was recited by Vaisampayana to the king janmejaya. And thus the spot become famous and the entire hill Range, called Hathial, become popular as it later was Hasti (meaning elephant) and AI, i.e. Aiaya (meaning abode) – the Place of Elephants. Others would like to derived it as Asthi and Aiaya, i.e. Place of Bones.

HATHIAL MOUND

On Hathial Mound the Aryan settlements structures of Kanjur stone , laid in rough fashion, have been excavated. This type of stone masonry is unique in Taxila. Along with the structures have been found terracotta human and animal figurines, beads of precious stones, burin, arrow-head, whet-stone, copper bars, needles, bone pins with globule head, found in other Aryan graves as well. Human figurines have a pointed bottom, joint legs, heavy buttocks and splayed arms, also found in the oldest layers in the Bhir mound and also known from the Aryan graves in Swat and Dir. Still more important are the varieties of red and gray pottery, which include storage jars, stemmed and pedestal cups, bowls, goblets and tall vases.

TAXILA UNIVERSITY
(7 th Century B.C. to 8 th Century A.D.)

Taxila university , which is the oldest in the world, has been in existence even before the time of the Buddha and before the occupation of the Taxila valley by the Achaemanid rulers in 6 th - 5 th century B.C. Probably in the period of the  (7 th century B.C.) philosophers gathered here to have their own schools of thought and imparted instructions. By the time of the Buddha it rose to be a strong educational Centre, where instructions were given in military science, medicine, political science, philosophy, religion, language and literature, and grammar. Among the famous products are jotipala, later to become the commander-in-chief of the Banaras King, Jivaa, later a physician of  the Magadhan ruler Bimbisara and physician of the Buddha himself, and the famous king Prasentajita of Kosala around modern Ayodhya, and still later prince Chandragupta, founder of the Mauryan Empire. Among the teachers we have Panini, the great grammarian of 6th  century B.C. Kotelia, the famous writer of the Arthsastra, a book on political science, and the great physician Charaka. One famous Centre of the later period was Uttararama,where lived the Kasyapiyas, who probably gave rise to the name Sirkap ( correctly Sri Kasyapas) site. The earliest date of the university can be inferred from an Assyrian seal on steatite "With an engraving of a worshipper in Assyrian costume in front of an Assyrian god" and the latest can be gathered from the coin finds of Hermaes, Maues, Azes, Rajuvala, Condophares,Kadphises, Huvishka, Spalapatideva, a Turki shahi ruler of 8 th century A.D. it is probably the philosopher from this university whom Alexander the Great met during his stay in Taxila.

University in Mahal Site

From Hathial site we can walk to the east to a beautiful retreat, surrounded by the Hathial spurs on three sides, each of which is topped by stupas and monastic establishment, one of them could be Uttararama, while the enclosed lower plain are excavated remains called Mahal site by Sir John Marshall. It is wrong called Magal site by Sir John Marshall. It is wrongly called "Magal"(i.e. palace) because the structural remains do not those of a palace. The incomplete excavation shows part of five sets, each having a courtyard in the middle and rooms on the sides. The presence of courts with surrounding corridor and room speak of more than an ordinary residential house. Their internal means of communication points to a madrassah style of architectural planning, and hence it appears to be a university site, where the name Uttararama was recorded in a ladle inscription.other finds include two-handled baking pan, an offering stand, an amphora –all of pottery; a small bowl , a casket and a small lamp- all of steatite ; eight five beads, forty-three coins; the copper objects include significantly nineteen circular mirrors, a handled jug, a hoard if sixteen vessels, fourteen standard beakers, seven open bowls and among others ten ladles. They are all objects of ordinary use, as ban be seen in Taxila Museum , and probably they be-long to groups of men, such as students living together.

Taxila of the Achaemenids
(521- 326 B.C

Taxila become a part of the Achaemenian Empire at least from the time of Darius I     ( 521 – 486 B.C. ), when the last local rulers, Pukkusati, was overthrown and Taxila become a seat of the Achaemenian province of Gandhara . Gandhara solders were recruited by the Achaemenians and they even fought on the side of Darius III in the battle of Gaugamela (331 B.C.) against Alexander the great. Gandharan men are depicted at the tomb of Artaxarxes III (died 338 B.C. ). It is only after the Achaemenian defect that Taxila resumed its independence under the local ruler Ambhi. It is the Achaemenian practice of engraving on rocks that was later copied by the Mauryan emperor Asoka in hi Rock Edicts. In the same way the Mauryan highway with inns was an extension of the Achaemenian road link from Susa and Persepolis to Taxila. The Achaemenian columns having capital with bull back to back and pillared halls were also copied by the Mauryans. Similarly the Achaemenian employment of Aramaen clerks, who used Aramaen writing, gave origin to the local writing, known as Kharoshthi . in the same way the Achaemenian use of coins currency gave rise to the local currency, known as bent bar coins and circular discs. Punch-marked coins, derived from them, because common in the time of the Mauryan emperors. They also followed the Achaemenian model of administrative. Taxila wasl inked in trade with the west, and Taxila University received many new impulses.

Hathial To Bhir Achaemenian Remains

As we walk back from the university site to Hathial Mound, we cross the open un excavated agriculture ground, and then see the newly excavated structural walls built in limestone boulders of a type different from the older Aryan walls of kanjur stone. This was the beginning of Achaemenian construction on Hathial Mound. From this top as we look on the western bank of the Tamra-Nala, we notice a wide open ground, on the side of which stands the present Taxila Museum and further shed is the site of Bhir (derived from the Muslim word Pir , a saint ) Mound . Excavation have been conducted here by Sir John Marshall, Sir Mortimer wheeler, and twice by the Department of Archaeology, Government of Pakistan . The excavations of Sir John Marshall present a better picture of the house plan, city streets and lanes, drainage system, sanitary arrangement, water supply and shopping centres, making a complex of residential houses, professional quarters-cum-shops, administrative building and a market plaza. Only towards the west one see a temple complex. Of the four structural periods of Marshall , only the lowest belong to the Achaemenian. How ever, the whole construction at this time speaks of a haphazard extension of the city from Hathial to Bhir and hence does not show a planned city. And yet the street alignment all west. The alignment of the streets speaks of the vehicular traffic that must have connected the Bhir site with the northern route.

TAXILA OF THE TIME OF ALEXANDER THE GREAT

Taxila, on the eastern side of the Indus, lay as the main city of Pother plateau, in the heart of the rival kingdoms, the greatest of the kings was Porus, whose kingdom spread out on the fringe of the Salt king Abhisares in Hazara area, and the third was Astes, the king of the eight Aryan tribes located at the western capital of Gandhara at Pushkalvati (modern Charsadda ) and the last was the kingdom of Massagain the Panchkora (the land of the Kuru-Panchala tribe ) valley north of the Malakand Range. Only one king Taxila, where Alexander stayed for five days. Curtius Refuse of the first century A.D. gives detail:

"" The sovereign of the territories on the other side was Omphis (Amble ) who had urged his father to surrender his kingdom to Alexander on Alexander,s ,s approach he went to meet him at the head of an army equipped for the field. He had even brought his elephants with him, which, posted at the short interval amidst the ranks of the soldiery, appeared to distant spectator like towers. Alexander at first thought was not friendly but a hostile army that approached, and already ordered the soldiers to arm themselves, and the cavalry to divide to the wings, and was ready for action. But the Indian prince, on seeing the mistake of the Macedonians, put his horse to the gallop, leaving orders that no one else was to their stir from the place. Alexander like wise galled forward, not knowing whether it was an enemy or an enemy or a friend he had to encounter, but trusting for safety perhaps to his valor, perhaps to the other’s good faith.they met in a friendly spirit, as for as could be gather from the expression of each one’s face but from the want of an interpreter to converse was impossible. An interpreter was therefore approached, and the barbarian prince explained that he had come with his army to meet Alexander that he might at once place at his disposal all the forces of his empire, without waiting to tender his allegiance through deputies. He surrendered, he said, his person and his kingdom to a man who, as he knew, was fighting not more for fame than fearing to incur the reproach of perfidy."

Aryan describes the memorable scene at Taxila: "He (Alexander was received in a friendly manner by Taxila, the governor of the city, and by Indians of that place; and he added to their territory as much of adjacent country as they asked for, Thither also came to him envoys from Abhisares, king of the mountaineer Indians, the embassy including the brother of Abhisares as well as the other most notable men. Other envoys also came from Doxares, the chief of the province, bringing gift with them. Here again at Taxila Alexander offered the sacrifices which were customary for him to offer, and celebrated a gymnastic and equestrian contest. Having appointed Philip son of Machates, viceroy of the Indians of that district, he left a garrison at Taxila. Curtius adds further information: "when therefore, he (Taxila) had entertained Alexander for three days with lavish hospitality, he showed him on the froth day that quantity of corn he had supplied to Hephaestion's, s troops, and then presented him and all his friend with golden crowns, and eight talents besides of coined silver. Alexander was on exceedingly gratified with his profuse generosity that not only sent back to Omphis (King of Taxila) the presents he had given, but added a thousand talents from the spoils which is carried, along with many banqueting vessels of gold and silver a vast quantity of Persian drapery, and the thirty charges from his own stalls, caparisoned as when ridden by himself. Plutarch add: "The philosophers  gave him no less trouble than the mercenaries (on previous occasions), because they reviled the prince who declared for him and account he hanged many of them".

One such philosopher was Kauthila, whose student was Chandragupta Maurya. Plutarch says: Androcottos himself, who was then but a youth, saw Alexander himself .Justin adds: having offended Alexander by his boldness of speech and having been ordered by that King to be put to death, he saved himself by swiftness of foot."

Jandial, Sirkap and Bhir

Where did Alexander and his troops stay in Taxila and where was he welcomed by Ambhi? Fortunately we have one desecration of a temple by Apollonius of Tyana, born about the beginning of the Christian era, who visited Taxila:

"just outside the walls was a temple of near a hundred feet, of porphyry, and in it a shrine, small considering the size of the temple and it many columns, but still very beautiful. Round the shrines were hung picture on copper tables, representing the feats of Alexander and Porus. The elephants, horses and soldiers, and armours were portrayed in a mosaic of orichalcum, silver, gold and oxidized copper, the spears javelins, and swords in iron ; but the several metals were all worked into one another with so nice a gradation of tints, that all the picture they formed, in corrections of drawing, vivacity of expression, and trustfulness of perspective, remind one of the noble character of porus, for it was not till after the death of Alexander that he placed them in the temple and this, though they represented Alexander as conqueror, and himself as conquered and wounded, and receiving from Alexander the Kingdom of Indian."

This temple was certainly built than Alexander but the associations with him is so suggestive that the temple spot had something to do with Alexander’s statu in Taxila. This temple is today located at Jandial, half a mile north of Sirkap site, and consists of a Greek plan with Ionic columns, having an inner shrine and an outer vestibule. On three sides is a corridor, but in the stead of columns we have a wall pierced with windows. From this spot to the oldest city on Hathial Mound lay the open ground, where the later the Greeks built the city of Sirkap . On this open ground Alexander’s troops appear to have camped and hence it become important for the later Greeks.

Finally the contemporary city was at Bhir Mound, where Alexander must have been welcomed by the Ambhi, no important building was discovered by the Sir John Marshall here worthy of such a reception. But Sir Mortimer wheeler discovered important jewellery in his excavation here.the recent excavation has revealed the structural remains of important building, one of them could be palace, where Alexander was possibly entertained. This building was wide spacious room with unusually thick walls that are distinguished from all other constructions in Bhir Mound time discovered after the Indus Civilization, again pointing to the unique feature of the site. It appears that this spot continued to receive importance until its last days when the later Greeks built their on constructions.

TAXILA OF THE MAURYANS AND INTRODUCTION OF BUILDING

Justin writes about the founder of the Mauryan Empire…. And while he (Vhandragupta Maurya) was lying asleep, after his exertion a lion of great size, having come to him, licked off with hi stung the sweat that was running, and after gently waking him, left him. Being first prompted by this prodigy to conceive hopes of royal dignity, he drew together a band of robbers and instigated the Indians to overthrow the existing Greek government. Sometime after, as he was going to war with the generals of Alexander, a wild elephant of great bulk presented itself before him of its own accord and as tamed down to gentleness, took him his back and become his guide in the war conspicuous infields of battle. Sandrocottus, having thus acquired a throne, was in possession of India when Seleucus was laying the foundation of his future greatness.’’

There was further feather added to the cap of Chandragupta when Seleucus Nikator, in 305-06 B.C. warred with him and "entered into an alliance and marriage affinity with him." Several Mauryan princes were associated with the city of Taxila . In the time of the second Mauryan emperor Bindusara prince Susina was appointed viceroy and then Asoka was sent twice to pacify the Taxilans. In the time of Asoka prince Kunala was appointed viceroy. Then followed Dasaratha and his son Samprati and finally came Salisukha identified with Sophagsenus, with whom Antiochue III(223-187 B.C.) renewed his friendship and left him strong in Taxila.

Bhir and Dharmarajika Stupa

From Hathial Mound on the east of Tamra-nala to Bhir excavations on the west of the nala there is long march. In fact the Mauryan remains are buried at Dibbiyan Mound opposite Hathial and continue through the Taxila Museum site to Bhir. It is in the Museum compound that Marshall discovered his second hoard of Bhir while another hoard of jewellery was discovered in 1945 excavation. This Nauryan material is preserved in Taxila Museum . Apart from these discoveries Mauryan remains can be identified at Kachcha Kot opposite Jandial where black polished pottery has been found. But the most important discovery its an Aramaic Inscriptions(now in Taxila Museum), engraved on an octagonal memorial pillar of white marble, later buried at Sirkap, built into one of the walls of the priest’s quarters, belonging to the shrine of the Double-headed Eagle stupa. The inscription names the King as Priyadarsi, a title of Asoka, and speaks of his moral preaching about non-injury to creatures.

In the new excavation at Bhir the palace structures show square pillerse, probably a reconstruction of the Mauryan time, copying the pillared hall of the Achaemenians.

We leave behind Bhir excavation and follow the road east-word, cross the Tamra-nala, and reach the site of Dharamarajika Stupa – the oldest Buddhist monument in Taxila. We can as well follow the river to Hathial Range , or come vice-versa. On the Hathial Range we have more stupas and monasteries around Uttararama(Northern Monastery).

The name Dhararajika stupa comes from an inscription of the time of the Parthian ruler Azes. The main stupa was probably built by Dhararaja, a title of the Mauryan emperor Asoka. The sit of divided into two parts: the stupa area in the south and his monastic area in the north. The main attraction on a raised terrace, approached by four flights of steps. It was long known as Chir Tope because in the 19 th century it was torn asunder(Chir) and the relics robbed by a French general of Ranjit Singh. The foundation consists of a wheel of spokes (Dharam-Chakra). Around the stupa is a paved ambulatory passage outside we have a number of votive stupa erected later by the pilgrims. On the floor of the main stupa three hoards of coins were found, as a ritual burial by the visiting pilgrims. The coins belong to the Scythian, Parthian, Kushana and Indo-Sassanian rulers. The votive stupas are of different kinds, from one of which a relic casket was recovered and presented to Sri Lanka in 1924. In between can also be seen small chapels containing Buddhas and Bodhisattvas of stucco. By the side of the river there is a row of residential cells for monks. In the monastic area there is an accumulation of several monasteries of different period, some of which have stupas in the middle. The whole construction here continued to the end of the seventh century A.D. when Buddhism declined and meet its doom for lack of patronage.

At the stop of Hathial Range there are remains of a Buddhist stupa and a monastery associated later with the name of prince Kunala, son of Asoka. The remains lie on a small rocky eminence well inside the city wall. A third monastery, located at a still higher elevation, is remembered as Hathial monastery. More structures are located on the still lower elevation with the Maha structures continued right upto the foot of the Range. The fortification wall of the Sirkap City over this southern ridge appears to be of later period. However, all these constructions can be associated with Uttararam

Taxila of the Greeks, Seythians and Parthians and the Beginning of Gandhara Art

The Mauryan rule in was finished by those later Greeks who were settled in section by Alexander the Great and who had declared independence in about 250 B.C. The earliest Greek coin found in Bhir mound belongs to the ruler Demetrius I on of Euthydemus(225-190 B.C.). His descendants, Agathocles, Pantaleon, and Menander built a new city of the north of Hathial Range, known today as Sirkap(correctly Srikap of Sri Kasyapa the old inhabitants of Uttararama monastery on Hathial Range). Another branch of the Greeks, who advanced from Heart and Kandahar , are descended from Eucratides I, whose coins have been found in Srikap. Eucratides was followed by Plato, Heliocles, Apollodotus and Antialcidas(140-130 B.C.). The latter’s ambassador Helioder calls himself as a "Greek from x Taxila." However, it is Menander who consolidated Greek rule in Gandhara and who is well known in Buddhist literature. His son Strato, along with the queen mother Agathocleia, ruled in Taxila until his old age. The last Greek King was Hermaeus.

It is these Greek king who introduced minted coins with royal portraits in Taxila. Greek sculptural art came with them from Bactria, and they themselves copied the local Khasoshthi writing and local gods and goddesses along with Greek ones on their coins. After them we find here Greek gods and goddess's, toilet trays, columns with Greek capitals, drinking and dancing scenes, love stories, cupid, musicians, wavy garlands, terracotta and stucco figurines, pottery and seals of various kinds, so well represented in Taxila Museum.

The Greek were followed by Scythians and still later by Parthians, who continued to role in Sirkap city of Taxila . Of the Scythians the most important ruler was Maues, from whose time stone Sculptures are seen in Taxila Museum . Of the Parthians Condophares is well known as he is associated with the Christian story of St.Thomas.

It is the Parthians city that is described by Apollonius of Tyana:

"Taxila was about the size of Nineveh , walled like a Greek city, and was the residence of a sovereign……….. Just outside the walls was a temple………. In this temple they wait until the the King can be apprised of their arrival……….they are taken to the palace. They found the city divided by narrow streets, well-arranged and reminding them of Athens . From the streets, the houses seemed of only one story but they all had an underground floor. They saw the temple of the sun, and in it statues of Alexander and porus, the one of the gold and the other of bronze, its wall were of red marble, but glittering with gold, the image of the god was of pearls, having, as is usual with barbarians in sacred things, a symbolical meaning. The palace was distinguished by no extraordinary magnificence, and was just like the house of any citizen of the better class. There were on sentinels or bodyguards and but few servants about, and perhaps three or four persons who were waiting to talk with the King. The same simplicity was observable in the courts, halls, waiting and inner rooms; and it pleased Apollonius more than all the pomp of Babylon . When admitted to the king’s presence, Apollonius through the interpreter, addressed the king as a philosopher, and complimented him on his moderation. The king, phraotes, in answer, said that he was moderate because his wants were few, and that as he was wealthy, he employed his wealthy in doing good to his friends and in subsidizing the barbarians, his neighbors, to prevent them from themselves ravaging, or allowing other barbarians to ravage his territories. Here, one of his courtiers offered to crown him with a jeweled , but he refused it, as well because all pomp was hateful to him because of Appolonius presence."

Bhir to Sirkap

In Bhir mound the earliest Greek construction belongs to the time of Demetrius I. This can be recognized in the long stone-built covered drain, discovered in the new excavations. From Bhir the new city was shifted to Sirkap, whose limits are defined by Tamara-Nala on the west and Geri rivulet on the east and north beyond Kachcna Kot but now dried up. Sirkap is a planned city with a fortification wall, the foundation of which was laid by the Greeks. The fortification wall descends from Hathial Range and has its main gateway on the north. The northern wall also shows square bastions at intervals. The interior presents an example of a pre-planned city with a layout of a regular straight streets, and houses are arranged in block system a derived from the west. However, the individual houses were planned in the eastern style with a central open courtyard in the middle, the exposed stone walls seen today belong to the Parthian period, when the city was reconstructed after the earth-quake of 20-30 A.D. but following the old plan. Hence today the city blocks present houses planned in the oriental style and they are interspersed with Buddhist stupas and other shrines. The city is dominated by the main street along, which are small rooms meant for shops. As we enter the gateway, we see the refuse the walls just inside, and than the passage bends and we have the inner guard rooms before we reach the main street. After the poor houses of the first block A on the right side is a residential complex, as also the next blocks B and B, on both the left and the right side. The next block C’ on the right again has in the corner a stupa within the quadrangle, with the double steps leading from the main street. The next block D on the left is occupied wholly by an apsidal temple in a large raised quadrangle, approached double steps by from the main stupa. The next block E on the left shows the solid drum of a round stupa. On the right is a sun-temple , by the side of which was found a statue of the god Sun, new in Taxila Museum . In block F on the left we see the double headed Eagle stupa within a courtyard, displaying a mixture of architectural features. This is followed by a block G, which again has a stupa within a courtyard. Three more blocks intervene before we come to the palace remains. There is still much more to be excavated on the western side. Where the does not follow straight line because of the Tamra-nala on the side.

Deep digging was done in a limited area on the right where scanty structural remains of rubble wall were found, it is here that pre-Greek level was noted, presenting punch-marked coins and Earth-goddess of the oldest type, also found from Bhir Mound. From the Greek level a sacred shrine has been identified, which has produced objects of Greek or west Asiatic origin.

 

TAXILA OF THE KUSHANAS
Peak of Buddhist and Gandhara Art

In Taxila the Parthians were succeed, in the 1 st century A.D. by the great Kushanas, who had succession of rulers Kujula Kadphises, his son Vima I Takto, his son Vima II, Kadphises, his son Kanishka, followed by Vasishka and his son Kanishka II, and Huvishka and Vasudeve I. Of them the greatest was Kanishka I, who started, from the beginning of his reign (about 78 A.D.), anew era which continued for 99 years. These king began a new series of gold and copper coins, with standing or sitting royal portrait, boring the title of Shao-nao-Shao (Shain Shah). Kanishka was a great patron of Buddhism, and the portrayed the figure of the Buddha on his coins. They were followed by the little Kushanas, Kanishka III and Vasudeva II, who lost their Indian possessions of Mathura . Towards the end of the 3 rd century A.D. they were pressed from the west by the Sassanian rulers of Iran who established their suzerainty and started a new series of Indo-Sassanian coins. It is an their time that new local dynasties, as subsidiary rulers rose up. One of them was Gadakhara or Gakkhara, as known from coins but tradition remembers them as Kiyanis. Their kings, peraya, Kirada and Samudra, issued coins of the type of the Kushanas and of the Sassanians. Finally came the Kider Kushanas, who gradually asserted their independence and continued to rule until the coming of the Huns in the middle of the 5 th century A.D.

It was in the time of the Great Kushanas that Gandhara art took its final form and new sect of Buddhism, popularly known as Mahayana, become common in Gandhara. Figures of Buddha, his life story, Bodhisattvas and of the goddess Hariti were beautiful produced in schist stone, stucco and terracotta and large number of monasteries were built. From the of the little Kushanas big size of Buddha statues began to be erected in stucco. Sassanians brought their own influence on Gandhara art but both the art and religion flourished. Buddhist monks and men of learning went on missionary activity along the Silk Road to central Asia, China, Korea, and Japan, thus carrying the Gandhara art to those countries.

Kushana City of Sirsuk And Mohra Moradu and Jaulian Monasteries

The Kushana founded another city at Sirsuk to the north of the Lundi-Nala fortified settlement, rectangular in plan. The wall, which had a roll plinth at the base, has unlike Sirkap, semi-circular bastions on the outside. Both the bastions and the wall have loop holes at the height of five feet. Among the antiquities were forty coins of copper, which included right upto the time of the Turki shahi ruler Spalapati Deva, suggesting that the settlement continued here munch later than the time of the Kushanas.

Mohra Moradu is a small village, approachable by foot from the university  at Mahal, or from the eastern gate of Sirkap. Today we drive from the main Khanpur road. On this site there was a Muslim Ziaratgah, sometime associated with the of Panch-Pir. The approach from the village is through a gap, which leads to a bowl like valley, drained by a rivulet. Here we have a stupa on the western side and the monastery on the eastern, both erected in the second century A.D. in the of the Great Kushanas. In the monastery coins of the Hun ruler Truman and of the Turki shahi Samanta Deva have been found. The monastery has been described by Hiuen Tsang in the early 7 th century A.D. the stupa stands on a double rectangular terrace with an off-set projection for the steps on the east. The plinth walls were decorated with stucco reliefs, which go right upto the top of the drum. In the bays between the pilasters were groups of Buddha's with attendant Bodhisattvas and Devas. The monastery consists of a square court with cells around and additional halls for assembly and other rooms for kitchen, refectory and guardroom. There are a number of niches added to the outer wall of the cell, which enshrined Buddhist figures. In addition, one cell had a complete stupa later installed inside, the like of which is now in Taxila Museum . Some stucco sculptures have also been removed to Taxila Museum . The open court is at a lower level with a place for the lustral bath.

Jaulian, probably derived from Jail walian(place of Muslim religious heads) Buddhist establishment is picturesquely perched on the top of Hathial Range further ahead a little way off from the Khanpur Road . By its side a new road now passes. From its top can have a marvelous view of Taxila valley. But the present roof around the main stupa does not give a god of view of the decorated votive stupa around. In actual planning the monastic establishment is an exact copy of the Buddhist monument at Mohra Moradu, though later additions give different perspective. As we climb up from the north, we enter the later court of niches through the postern entrance and come directly in front of the main stupa, to the north of which there is flight of steps. Just before this towards our right, in a small room, there is a stucco seated Buddha, with its head changed several times in the past. Around the main stupa a number of votive stupas can be seen, the square bases of which show a marvelous decoration of stucco Buddha's and Buddhisattvas. They are the best-preserved stucco art in Taxila. After seeing the main stupa, we pass through the complex of empty niches and reach the entrance of the monastery. On the left side of the entrance there is a cell, in the Centre of which is a Buddha with twelve subsidiary figures on his right and left. One of which is a central Asian style and dress. The original is now in Taxila Museum . The monastery inside is an open court with a verandah around, behind which are residential cells in two stories. The inches in the verandah have more stucco sculptures. A postern entrance leads to subsidiary halls and rooms meant for other purpose. In one corner of the courtyard there is a lustral bathroom.

TAXILA OF THE KUSHANAS
Peak of Buddhist and Gandhara Art

In Taxila the Parthians were succeed, in the 1 st century A.D. by the great Kushanas, who had succession of rulers Kujula Kadphises, his son Vima I Takto, his son Vima II, Kadphises, his son Kanishka, followed by Vasishka and his son Kanishka II, and Huvishka and Vasudeve I. Of them the greatest was Kanishka I, who started, from the beginning of his reign (about 78 A.D.), anew era which continued for 99 years. These king began a new series of gold and copper coins, with standing or sitting royal portrait, boring the title of Shao-nao-Shao (Shain Shah). Kanishka was a great patron of Buddhism, and the portrayed the figure of the Buddha on his coins. They were followed by the little Kushanas, Kanishka III and Vasudeva II, who lost their Indian possessions of Mathura . Towards the end of the 3 rd century A.D. they were pressed from the west by the Sassanian rulers of Iran who established their suzerainty and started a new series of Indo-Sassanian coins. It is an their time that new local dynasties, as subsidiary rulers rose up. One of them was Gadakhara or Gakkhara, as known from coins but tradition remembers them as Kiyanis. Their kings, peraya, Kirada and Samudra, issued coins of the type of the Kushanas and of the Sassanians. Finally came the Kider Kushanas, who gradually asserted their independence and continued to rule until the coming of the Huns in the middle of the 5 th century A.D.

It was in the time of the Great Kushanas that Gandhara art took its final form and new sect of Buddhism, popularly known as Mahayana, become common in Gandhara. Figures of Buddha, his life story, Bodhisattvas and of the goddess Hariti were beautiful produced in schist stone, stucco and terracotta and large number of monasteries were built. From the of the little Kushanas big size of Buddha statues began to be erected in stucco. Sassanians brought their own influence on Gandhara art but both the art and religion flourished. Buddhist monks and men of learning went on missionary activity along the Silk Road to central Asia, China, Korea, and Japan, thus carrying the Gandhara art to those countries.

Kushana City of Sirsuk And Mohra Moradu and Jaulian Monasteries

The Kushana founded another city at Sirsuk to the north of the Lundi-Nala fortified settlement, rectangular in plan. The wall, which had a roll plinth at the base, has unlike Sirkap, semi-circular bastions on the outside. Both the bastions and the wall have loop holes at the height of five feet. Among the antiquities were forty coins of copper, which included right upto the time of the Turki shahi ruler Spalapati Deva, suggesting that the settlement continued here munch later than the time of the Kushanas.

Mohra Moradu is a small village, approachable by foot from the university  at Mahal, or from the eastern gate of Sirkap. Today we drive from the main Khanpur road. On this site there was a Muslim Ziaratgah, sometime associated with the of Panch-Pir. The approach from the village is through a gap, which leads to a bowl like valley, drained by a rivulet. Here we have a stupa on the western side and the monastery on the eastern, both erected in the second century A.D. in the of the Great Kushanas. In the monastery coins of the Hun ruler Truman and of the Turki shahi Samanta Deva have been found. The monastery has been described by Hiuen Tsang in the early 7 th century A.D. the stupa stands on a double rectangular terrace with an off-set projection for the steps on the east. The plinth walls were decorated with stucco reliefs, which go right upto the top of the drum. In the bays between the pilasters were groups of Buddha's with attendant Bodhisattvas and Devas. The monastery consists of a square court with cells around and additional halls for assembly and other rooms for kitchen, refectory and guardroom. There are a number of niches added to the outer wall of the cell, which enshrined Buddhist figures. In addition, one cell had a complete stupa later installed inside, the like of which is now in Taxila Museum . Some stucco sculptures have also been removed to Taxila Museum . The open court is at a lower level with a place for the lustral bath.

Jaulian, probably derived from Jail walian(place of Muslim religious heads) Buddhist establishment is picturesquely perched on the top of Hathial Range further ahead a little way off from the Khanpur Road . By its side a new road now passes. From its top can have a marvelous view of Taxila valley. But the present roof around the main stupa does not give a god of view of the decorated votive stupa around. In actual planning the monastic establishment is an exact copy of the Buddhist monument at Mohra Moradu, though later additions give different perspective. As we climb up from the north, we enter the later court of niches through the postern entrance and come directly in front of the main stupa, to the north of which there is flight of steps. Just before this towards our right, in a small room, there is a stucco seated Buddha, with its head changed several times in the past. Around the main stupa a number of votive stupas can be seen, the square bases of which show a marvelous decoration of stucco Buddha's and Buddhisattvas. They are the best-preserved stucco art in Taxila. After seeing the main stupa, we pass through the complex of empty niches and reach the entrance of the monastery. On the left side of the entrance there is a cell, in the Centre of which is a Buddha with twelve subsidiary figures on his right and left. One of which is a central Asian style and dress. The original is now in Taxila Museum . The monastery inside is an open court with a verandah around, behind which are residential cells in two stories. The inches in the verandah have more stucco sculptures. A postern entrance leads to subsidiary halls and rooms meant for other purpose. In one corner of the courtyard there is a lustral bathroom.

Taxila of Huns and Turki Shahis

After the kushanas Taxila no longer remained seat of government of Gandhara. In this change of government prosperity of the city was much affected. Patronage to Buddhism was lost. As a result the monastery declined but did not finish off. Certainly the conquest of the Huns did not spell doom on the Buddhist establishment, as is opined by Sir john Marshall. The condition of Buddhism can be read in the accounts of the Chinese pilgrims:

Fa Hien writes: there is a country called Chu-ch-shi-lo, (which) in Chinese word is ‘cut-off-head’. Buddha, when he was a come the name. Again going eastwards for two day, we come to the place where he gives his body to feed the starving tiger. On these two stops again are built great stupas, both adorned with every kind of previous jewel. The kings, ministers, and the people of the neighboring countryside with one another in their offering, scattering flowers and lighting lamps without intermission, These and the two stupas before named the men of the district call ‘the four great stupas’"

Hiuen Tsang writes: the kingdom of Ta-ch-shi-lo (Taxila) is about 2000 lie in circuit, and the capital is about 10 lie in circuit. The royal family being extinct, the nobles contend for power by force. Formerly this country was in subjection to Kapisa, but latterly it has become tributary to Kia-shi-lo ( Kashmir ). The land is renowned for its fertility, and produced rich harvests. It is very full of streams and fountains. Flowers and fruits are abundant. The climate is agreeably temperate. The people are lively and courageous, and they honout the three gems. Although there are many Sangharamas, they have become ruinous and deserted, there are very few priests: those that there very study the great vehicle.

It is only Sung-Yu, who visited Gandhara in 520 A.D. talks of destruction in Gandhara: "This is the country which the Yetihas (Huns) destroyed, and afterwards set up Lac-lih to be king over the country, since which events two generations have passed. The disposition of the king was cruel and vindictive. And he practiced the most barbarous atrocities. He did not believe the of the Buddha, but the loved the worship demons. The people of the country belonged entirely to Brahman casts; they had a great respect for the law of the Buddha, and loved to read the sacred books, when the suddenly this king came into power, who was strongly opposed to anything of the sort. The name of the ruler is corrected as Thunjina( or Tigin). However, in the reign of the second ruler Toraman a donation was made to a Buddhist monastery in the Salt Range . The Huns continued to rule with there Centre in Kashmir until their last king Yudhisthira was overthrown by Chandragupta Muktapida of Kashmir in early 8 th century Ad. Taxila become a part of the kingdom of the Kashmir but other regions came under the rule of the Turki Shahis. When Huns Tsang came in the early in the 7 th century A.D., the Hun ruler was Khinkhila or Khingala, who had a great respect for him. Still later the Turki shah rule was replaced by a Rajput clan, called Hindu Shahis, generally identified with  jouan (modern janjuas), who built a new system of fortification on hill tops. It is in their time that Giri fort was built in Taxila.

Bhallar, Bhamala and Giri

Bhallar stupa is situated on a route from Mechanical complex to Haripur, having a commanding position on the top of the Sarada Hill, a little beyond the Haro River . This is the tallest stupa in Taxila. This was visited by the Chinese pilgrims, pa Hien and Hiuen Tsang, and they identify it with the spot where Buddha offered his head. This was built in the "medieval period" i.e. post-Hun period. It consists of a tall stupa, surrounded by votive stupas, other shrines and a monastery. Here the Buddhist monk Kumaralabha composed his treatise. The main stupa, which is broken on the northern face, stood on a lofty oblong base, approached by a fight of steps on the east. It consists of a plinth base, a drum, a dome and originally umbrellas. The drum is divided into six or seven tiers and divided into six or seven tiers and is decorated with Corinthian pilasters, freezes and dental cornices.

Bhamala is situated at the very head of the Haro Valley, made beautiful by the bends of the river in the background of surrounding hills having prehistoric caves. The monastic establishment came into existence of coins of Indo assarians and Huns. The nain stupa is unique if its kind, having a cruciform plan, consisting of a tall square base for the dome, above which off-set projections for the steps can be seen on all four sides. The Corinthian pilasters divide the plinth into bays. In one of them was found Buddha in sleeping pose, now in Taxila Museum . The monastery is of the Jaulian type. This is the most charming place for a visit from Khanpur.

Giri: when we follow the route from the Dharmarajika stupa south-south-east we first come to the monastic establishment at Kalawan, the biggest of its kind in Taxila, which had a longest span of life from the time of the Parthians to a late period.

Following the same route we pass through a rocky defile between the old village of Khurram Piracha and Khurram Gujar, enter a secluded valley and arrive in the glen of Giri, which lies on the old route that went across Margalla . Here we have two groups of Buddhist establishments, a fort, a Muslim Ziarat and mosques, all ranging from the early Kushana period to the time of Akbar(1556-1605). The Buddhist constructions fall into two groups- the eastern and the western. The eastern group, which stands just above the spring, consists of a stupa in the north and monastery in the south. The western group consists of a stupa of square shape in the north and a monastery on the east.

To the north of the monasteries lie mosques, Ziarats, and a rocky hill strengthened by a fort wall having semi-circular bastions. Inside there are remains of dwellings and other structures. The fortification belong to a time much later than that of the Huns.

Taxila of the Muslims

Before the identification of Taxila and the start of the excavation the place was known by the village of shah Dheri, another village inside Mughal Caravan Serai, and some villages associated with Muslim saints. Shah Dheri, which was situated on a hillock, obviously drew its name from the Turki shahi rulers, who must have built a hill fort here. The Mughal Caravan Serai has given rise to the modern village, called Saraikala on the main National Highway . On the Bhir mound there was a Muslim shrine, called Bhir(correctly Pir)-Ziarat. At Mohra Moradu there was another Ziarat associated with the name of Panch Pir(Five Saints). Similarly at Julia there must have been a Muslim shrine and hence the name. But the greatest concentration of Muslim monuments was at the hill spot of Giri (itself meaning a hill on route to the Muslim monuments on the other side of Margalla Hill, viz. Allahditta Cave , Golra Sharif, Saidpur and Barri Imam, all built in the Mughal or post-Mughal period on the spots earlier associated with the Buddhist establishment.

At Giri was built a hill fort by the Turki Shahis, which was used later by the Ghaznavid Sultans. It was occupied by Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni and his two sons Masud and Muhammad. But at this time Taxila was not the capital. Turki shahi capital was at Udhandapur (modern Hund on the Indus ). But Giri fort lay on the main route from Udhandpur to the Salt Range forts, e.g. one at Nandna in Jhelum district. After Mahmud’s occupation of this region Giri become very important from strategic angle. Here was decided the fate of his two sons, Amir Masud and Amir Muhammad and his two sons and avenged his father’s murder in Giri fort. Maudud establishment here a town and a Serai and named it Fathabad. People settled here and the place become very popular. Masud dispatched the corpse of the father and brethren from Giri to Ghazni. The Mughal historian further speaks of the construction of so many colleges and mosques by Masud.

Muslims Remains:
The Mughal Caravan Serai is situated in the village of Saraikala . There was also a tank that is now gone. Inside there is an old mosque. Giri Fort is situated in the valley and the fortification wall spread over the hilltop. This has many semi-circular based placed at intervals. The fort also included the water spring. Just near the spring towards west there is an old domed mosque, its fluted dome resting on pendentive system of arches. Next to the mosque is a mausoleum. East of the spring there is another old mosque of a smaller size. Further away from the mosque there are remains of madrassah, the dome of which spread in the mediaeval time. Some of the Ulamas bore the name of Margalli.

Professor Dr. Ahmed Hasan Dani

http://www.heritage.gov.pk

 

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