PAKISTAN

TOP DESTINATION FOR VACATIONS OF 2020

PAKISTAN

TOP DESTINATION FOR VACATIONS OF 2020

PAKISTAN

TOP DESTINATION FOR VACATIONS OF 2020

PAKISTAN

TOP DESTINATION FOR VACATIONS OF 2020

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Buddhism in Pakistan took root some 2,300 years ago under the Mauryan king Ashoka.   Buddhism has played a major role in the history of Pakistan — the land of which over time has been part of predominantly Buddhist empires such as the Indo-Greek Kingdom, the Kushan Empire, the Maurya Empire of Ashoka, the Pala Empire.  Pakistan’s Gandhara region comprising Mardan, Taxila and Swat holds a special place for people who practice this religion.

Takht-i-Bhai

Once known as the heart of the Gandhara civilization, Takhtbai or Takht-i-Bhai ( throne of origins) — a small scenic town located some 160 kilometers (99 miles) from capital Islamabad — is the most visited site by the Buddhists, who flock to see the ancient monastery that dated back to the 1st century. Korean Buddhists in particular trace their religious origin to the area that is now Pakistan, where Korean monk Hyecho travelled 1,300 years ago.  Takht-I-Bahi was unearthed in early 20th century and in 1980 it was included in the UNESCO World Heritage list as the largest Buddhist remains in Gandhara, along with the Sahr-i-Bahlol urban remains that date back to the same period, located about a kilometer south.

Taxila

The town of Taxila is located some 27 kilometres (17 miles) from Islamabad, is another holy site, which includes a Mesolithic cave and the archaeological remains of several Buddhist monasteries.  Most of the archaeological sites of Taxila (600 BC to 500 AD) are located around Taxila Museum.   For over one thousand years, Taxila remained famous as a centre of learning Gandhara art of sculpture, architecture, education and Buddhism in the days of Buddhist glory.  There are over 50 archaeological sites scattered in a radius of 30 km around Taxila. Some of the  most important sites are: Dhamarajika Stupa and Monastery (300 BC – 200 AD), Bhir Mound (600-200 BC), Sirkap (200 BC – 600 AD), Jandial Temple (c.250 BC) and Jaulian Monastery (200 – 600 AD).   A museum comprising various sections with rich archaeological finds of Taxila, arranged in chronological order and properly labelled, has been established close to the site.

Swat

Swat was described as the “The Valley of the Hanging Chains” by the famous Chinese pilgrim-chroniclers, Faxian and Xuanzang in the fifth and seventh centuries. Swat was once a cradle for major strands of Buddhism, where 1,400 monasteries flourished like Little Vehicle, Great Vehicle and the Esoteric sects. This valley  was the home of the famous Gandhara School of Sculpture which was an expression of Graeco-Roman form in the local Buddhist tradition. The ruins of great Buddhist stupas, monasteries and statues are found all over Swat.  Mingora, 3 km away from Saidu Sharif, has yielded magnificent pieces of Buddhist sculpture and the ruins of a great stupa. Shingardar Stupa is one of the famous located near Bariko Other stupas like Amaan Kot and Jehan-a-Abad are too a great asset.

Ruins of a Buddhist Monastery close to Texila

Some of the  Notable Buddhist Scholars who hailed from present day regions of Pakistan are :-

  • Asanga from Peshawar, 4th century C.E.
  • Vasubandhu from Peshawar, 4th to 5th century CE
  • Lokaksema from Gandhara,147 CE
  • Dharmarakṣa (265–313)
  • Prajñā (c. 810)
  • Maranatha c. 384 (introduced Buddhism in Korea)
  • Tridev Roy, Pakistani Buddhist politician and leader