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Taxila Punjab Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Pakistan or Takṣaśilā, meaning “City of Cut Stone” or “Takṣa Rock”) is a town and an important archaeological site in the Rawalpindi District of the Punjab, Pakistan, situated about 32 km (20 mi) north-west of Islamabad and Rawalpindi, just off the famous Grand Trunk Road. The town lies 549 metres (1,801 ft) above sea level.
Ancient Taxila was situated at the pivotal junction of South Asia and Central Asia. The origin of Taxila as a city goes back to c. 1000 BCE. Some ruins at Taxila date to the time of the Achaemenid Empire in the 6th century BCE, followed successively by Mauryan Empire, Indo-Greek, Indo-Scythian, and Kushan Empire periods.
Owing to its strategic location, Taxila has changed hands many times over the centuries, with many empires vying for its control. When the great ancient trade routes connecting these regions ceased to be important, the city sank into insignificance and was finally destroyed by the nomadic Hunas in the 5th century. The renowned archaeologist Sir Alexander Cunningham rediscovered the ruins of Taxila in the mid-19th century. In 1980, Taxila was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In 2006 it was ranked as the top tourist destination in Pakistan.
By some accounts, Taxila was considered to be one of the earliest (or the earliest) universities in the world. Others do not consider it a university in the modern sense, in that the teachers living there may not have had official membership of particular colleges, and there did not seem to have existed purpose-built lecture halls and residential quarters in Taxila, in contrast to the later Nalanda university in eastern India.
Historically, Taxila lay at the crossroads of three major ancient trade routes. Owing to this strategic location, Taxila has changed hands many times over the centuries.
Takshaka was one of the Nagas mentioned in the Hindu epic Mahābhārata. He lived in a city named Takshasila, which was the new territory of Takshaka after his race was banished by Pandavas led by Arjuna from the Khandava Forest and Kurukshetra, where they built their new kingdom
In the great Hindu epic, the Mahābhārata, the Kuru Kingdom’s heir, Parikṣit (grandson of the Arjuna) was enthroned at Taxila. Traditionally, it is believed that the Mahabharata was first recited at Taxila by Vaisampayana, student of Vyasa at the behest of the seer Vyasa himself, at the Snake Sacrifice.
Scattered references in historical works indicated that Taxila may have dated back to at least the 8th century BCE.
Archaeological excavations later showed that the city may have grown significantly during the Achaemenid Empire of the 6th century BCE. In 516 BC, Darius I embarked on a campaign to Central Asia, Ariana and Bactria and then marched into Afghanistan to Hindush in modern Pakistan. Darius spent the winter of 516-515 BCE in Gandhara, preparing to conquer the Indus Valley. Darius conquered the Indus in 515 BCE. He controlled the Indus Valley from Gandhara to modern Karachi and appointed the Greek Scylax of Caryanda to explore the Indian Ocean from the mouth of the Indus to the Suez. Darius then marched through the Bolan Pass and returned through Arachosia and Drangiana back to Persia.
Taxila is also described in some detail in the Buddhist Jataka tales, which date from about the 4th century BCE. The Jataka literature mentions it as the capital of the kingdom of Gandhara and as a great center of learning.
Greek invaders arrived during the 4th century BCE. According to Joseph Needham: “When the men of Alexander the Great came to Taxila … they found a university there the like of which had not been seen in Greece, a university which taught the three Vedas and the eighteen accomplishments and was still existing when the Chinese pilgrim Fa-Hsien (Faxian) went there about AD 400.”
In about the 1st century BCE or 1st century CE, an Indo-Scythian king named Azilises had three mints, one of which was at Taxila, and struck coins with obverse legends in Greek and Kharoṣṭhī.
The Chinese monk Faxian, writing of his visit to Taxila in 405 CE, mentions the kingdom of Takshasila, meaning “the Severed Head”. He says that this name was derived from an event in the life of the Buddha Gautama because this is the place “where he gave his head to a man”.
Xuanzang, another Chinese monk, visited Taxila in 630 and in 643. It appears to have already been overrun by the Hunas and been in ruins by his time. Taxila is called Taxiala in Ptolemy’s Geography. In the Historia Trium Regum (History of the Three Kings) composed by John of Hildesheim around 1375, the city is called Egrisilla.
Political history of Taxila Punjab Pakistan
- The northern road — the later Grand Trunk or GT Road — the royal road which connected Gandhara in the west to the kingdom of Magadha and its capital Pāṭaliputra in the Ganges valley in eastern India. This trade route was described by the Greek writer Megasthenes as the “Royal Highway”.
- The north-western route through Bactria, Kāpiśa, and Puṣkalāvatī. This route connected Taxila with the western Asia.
- The Indus route from Kashmir and Central Asia, via Śri nagara, Mansehra, and the Haripur valley across the Khunjerab Pass to the Silk Road in the north to the Indian Ocean in the south. The Khunjerab passes between Kashmir and Xinjiang—the current Karakoram highway—and was traversed in antiquity.
- There are carbon dates c. 2550-2288 BCE for the earliest settlement at Taxila (in the Hathial area), with ties to the nearby Sarai Khola, an earlier site. Also, some early Indus period culture and relics.
- Pottery shards were found in this area. Pottery dated c. 900 BCE shows ties between Taxila and Charsadda (ancient Pushkalavati), also in the kingdom of Gandhara.
- c. 518 BCE, or perhaps earlier – Darius the Great already part Taxila to the Achaemenid Empire. Taxila, as the capital of Gandhara satrapy, was evidently under Achaemenian rule for more than a century.
- 486 – 465 BC Xerxes I or in Hebrew Ahasuerus ruled this part of Taxila and was part of the easternmost regions of the Achaemenid Empire.
- Buddhist literature, especially the Jatakas, mentions Taxila as the capital of the kingdom of Gandhara.
- 326 BCE – Alexander the Great receives submission of ruler of Taxila, Omphis (Āmbhi). Greek historians accompanying Alexander described Taxila as “wealthy, prosperous, and well governed.”
- Shapur I of the Sassanid Empire during the 3rd century CE, which is later recorded in the 6th century CE in the form of “Avagānā” by the Indian astronomer Varāha Mihira in his Brihat-samhita. It was used to refer to a common legendary ancestor known as Afghana, propagated to be grandson of King Saul of Israel.
- 321–317 BCE – Chandragupta Maurya, founder of the Mauryan empire, makes himself master of northern and north-western India, including Panjab. Chandragupta Maurya’s advisor Kautilya (also known as Chanakya) was a teacher at Taxila. Under Chandragupta, Taxila became a provincial capital.
- During the reign of Chandragupta’s grandson Aśoka, Taxila became a great Buddhist centre of learning. Nonetheless, Taxila was briefly the centre of a minor local rebellion, subdued only a few years after its onset. Ashoka encouraged trade by building roads, most notably a highway of more than 1,600 kilometers (1,000 miles) linking his capital Pataliputra with Taxila.
- 185 BCE – The last Maurya emperor, Bṛhadratha, is assassinated by his general, Pushyamitra Shunga, during a parade of his troops.
- 2nd century BCE – After three generations of Maurya rule, Taxila was annexed by the Indo-Greek kingdom of Bactria. Indo-Greeks build new capital, Sirkap, on the opposite bank of the river from Taxila. During this new period of Bactrian Greek rule, several dynasties (like Antialcidas) likely ruled from the city as their capital. During lulls in Greek rule, the city managed profitably on its own, to independently control several local trade guilds, who also minted most of the city’s autonomous coinage.
- c. 90 BCE – The Indo-Scythian (Sakas) chief Maues overthrows the last Greek king of Taxila.
- c. 20 BCE – Gondophares, founder of the Indo-Parthian Kingdom, conquers Taxila and makes it his capital.
- c. 46 AD – According to early Christian legend, Thomas the Apostle visits king Gondophares IV.
- Neo-Pythagorean sage Apollonius of Tyana visits Taxila. His biographer described Taxila as a fortified city that was laid out on a symmetrical plan and compared it in size to Nineveh.
- 76 – The date of and inscription found at Taxila of “Great King, King of Kings, Son of God, the Kushana. Taxila was taken from the Parthians by the Kushans under Kujula Kadphises. The great Kushan ruler Kanishka later founded “Sirsukh”, the third city on the site.
- 4th century CE: the Sasanian king Shapur II seems to have conquered Taxila, as evidenced by the numerous Sasanian copper coins found there.
- c. 460–470 CE – The Hephthalites (the Hunas) sweep over Gandhāra and Punjab; and cause wholesale destruction of the Buddhist monasteries and stupas at Taxila, which never again recovers.
- 1863–64 and 1872–73 – Excavations begun by Alexander Cunningham identified a local site known as Saraikhala (or Sarai Khola) with ancient Taxila. Prior to that, the location of the ancient city of Taxila, known from literary texts, was uncertain.
Ancient centre of learning
Taxila became a noted centre of learning (including the religious teachings of Buddhism) at least several centuries BCE, and continued to attract students from around the old world until the destruction of the city in the 5th century. At its height, it has been suggested that Taxila exerted a sort of “intellectual suzerainty” over other centres of learning in India., and its primary concern was not with elementary, but higher education. Generally, a student entered Taxila at the age of sixteen. The ancient and the most revered scriptures, and the Eighteen Silpas or Arts, which included skills such as archery, hunting, and elephant lore, were taught, in addition to its law school, medical school, and school of military science. Students came to Taxila from far-off places such as Kashi, Kosala and Magadha, in spite of the long and arduous journey they had to undergo, on account of the excellence of the learned teachers there, all recognized as authorities on their respective subjects.
Notable students and teachers
Taxila had great influence on the Hindu culture and the Sanskrit language. It is perhaps best known because of its association with Chanakya, also known as Kautilya, the strategist who guided Chandragupta Maurya and assisted in the founding of the Mauryan empire. The Arthashastra (Sanskrit for The knowledge of Economics) of Chanakya, is said to have been composed in Taxila itself. The Ayurvedic healer Charaka also studied at Taxila. He also started teaching at Taxila in the later period. The ancient grammarian Pāṇini, who codified the rules that would define Classical Sanskrit, has also been part of the community at Taxila.
The institution is significant in Buddhist tradition since it is believed that the Mahāyāna branch of Buddhism took shape there. Jivaka, the court physician of the Magadha emperor Bimbisara who once cured the Buddha, and the Buddhism-supporting ruler of Kosala, Prasenajit, are some important personalities mentioned in Pali texts who studied at Taxila.
Nature of education
By some accounts, Taxilla was considered to be amongst the earliest universities in the world. Others do not consider it a university in the modern sense, in that the teachers living there may not have had official membership of particular colleges, and there did not seem to have existed purpose-built lecture halls and residential quarters in Taxila, in contrast to the later Nalanda University.
No external authorities like kings or local leaders subjected the scholastic activities at Taxila to their control. Each teacher formed his own institution, enjoying complete autonomy in work, teaching as many students as he liked and teaching subjects he liked without conforming to any centralized syllabus. Study terminated when the teacher was satisfied with the student’s level of achievement. In general, specialisation in a subject took around eight years, though this could be lengthened or shortened in accordance with the intellectual abilities and dedication of the student in question. In most cases the “schools” were located within the teachers’ private houses, and at times students were advised to quit their studies if they were unable to fit into the social, intellectual and moral atmosphere there.
Knowledge was considered too sacred to be bartered for money, and hence any stipulation that fees ought to be paid was vigorously condemned.
Financial support came from the society at large, as well as from rich merchants and wealthy parents.
Though the number of students studying under a single Guru sometimes numbered in the hundreds, teachers did not deny education even if the student was poor; free boarding and lodging was provided, and students had to do manual work in the household. Paying students, such as princes, were taught during the day, while non-paying ones were taught at night. Gurudakshina was usually expected at the completion of a student’s studies, but it was essentially a mere token of respect and gratitude – many times being nothing more than a turban, a pair of sandals, or an umbrella. In cases of poor students being unable to afford even that, they could approach the king, who would then step in and provide something. Not providing a poor student a means to supply his Guru’s Dakshina was considered the greatest slur on a King’s reputation.
Examinations were treated as superfluous, and not considered part of the requirements to complete one’s studies. The process of teaching was critical and thorough- unless one unit was mastered completely, the student was not allowed to proceed to the next. No convocations were held upon completion, and no written “degrees” were awarded, since it was believed that knowledge was its own reward. Using knowledge for earning a living or for any selfish end was considered sacrilegious.
Students arriving at Taxila usually had completed their primary education at home (until the age of eight), and their secondary education in the Ashrams (between the ages of eight and twelve), and therefore came to Taxila chiefly to reach the ends of knowledge in specific disciplines..
The British archaeologist Sir John Marshall (1876-1958) conducted excavations over a period of twenty years in Taxila.
Ruins of Taxila Pakistan
This is an archaeological site 3 km southwest of Taxila that has the earliest occupation, and preserves Neolithic remains going back to 3360 BC. It also has Early Harappan remains of 2900-2600 BC. A later settlement in this area has parallels with Hathial in the Taxila area
The ruins of Taxila contain buildings and Buddhist stupas located over a large area. The main ruins of Taxila are divided into three major cities, each belonging to a distinct time period.
- The oldest of these is the Hathial area, which yielded surface shards similar to Red Burnished Ware (or soapy red ware) recovered from early phases at Charsadda—these may date from as early as the late 2nd millennium BCE to the 6th century BCE. Bhir Mound dates from the 6th century BCE and has Northern Black Polished Ware.
- The second city of Taxila is located at Sirkap and was built by Greco-Bactrian kings in the 2nd century BCE.
- The third and last city of Taxila is at Sirsukh and relates to the Kushan rulers.
The monument is found in one of the rooms of the monastery. It was probably dedicated to the memory of one of the teachers who used to live in the room where it is located. The umbrellas were once colored. The monument is about 4 meters high.
Culture of Taxila Punjab Pakistan
In addition to the ruins of ancient Taxila, relics of Mughal gardens and vestiges of historical Grand Trunk Road, which was built by the Mauryan Empire, are also found in Taxila region. Nicholson’s Obelisk, a monument of British colonial era situated at the Grand Trunk road welcomes the travellers coming from Rawalpindi/Islamabad into Taxila. The monument was built by the British to pay tribute to Brigadier John Nicholson (1822–1857) an officer of the British army who died in India during the Indian Rebellion of 1857.
Important Attractions of Taxila Punjab Pakistan
Taxila Museum is situated in Taxila.This is a site museum and its collection mainly focuses on Gandharan art. These sites at Taxila date back to 600 or 700 BC.
Construction of Taxila museum started in 1918, its foundation stone laid by Lord Chelmsford, Viceroy of India in 1918. Construction was concluded in 1928 and the museum was opened for public by Sir Habibullah then the Minister for Education. Sir John Marshall who was going to be retired from the post of Director General of the Archaeological Survey of India in 1928, could not complete its original plan. The government of Pakistan constructed the northern gallery in 1998.
Collection and displays
There are some 4000 objects displayed, including stone, stucco, terracotta, silver, gold, iron and semiprecious stones. Mainly the display consists of objects from the period 600 B.C to 500 AD. Buddhist, Hindu and Jain religions are well represented through these objects discovered from three ancient cities and more than two dozen Buddhist stupas and monasteries and Greek temples in the region.
Taxila Museum has one of the most significant and comprehensive collections of stone Buddhist sculpture from the first to the seventh centuries in Pakistan (known as Gandharan art. The core of the collection comes from excavated sites in the Taxila Valley, particularly the excavations of Sir John Marshall. Other objects come from excavated sites elsewhere in Gandhanra, from donations such as the Ram Das Collection, or from material confiscated by the police and custom authorities. The whole collection contains more than 1400 objects, and 409 have been published
The Taxila Museum is a site museum and is the repository for the majority of the numismatic material found during archaeological work in Taxila. Digging began in 1917 under John Marshall, then director of the Archaeological Survey of India, and continued until 1934. Since those excavations, work has continued to the present day. The museum contains a large collection of coins from the period of the Indo-Greeks to the late Kushans. Some of these are published in Marshall’s original excavation reports, and an ongoing project exists to publish the full collection
Bhir Mound Taxila Punjab Pakistan
The Bhir Mound is an archaeological site that is part of the ancient city of Taxila. It contains the oldest ruins in the area along with the nearby Hathial mound.
The ruins of the town form an irregular shape measuring around 1 km from north to south and about 600 meters from east to west. The oldest part or layer of these ruins is from the sixth and fifth centuries BC; these are believed to be the remains of Persian/Achaemenid Taxila. The second layer is from the fourth century BC and existed at the time of the invasion of Alexander the Great. The third layer is from the time of the Maurya kings of India (third century BC). The fourth and topmost stratum contains the constructions from time after the Mauryan period.
The streets of the city show that they were narrow and the house plans were very irregular. There is little evidence of planning – most of the streets are very haphazard. The houses had no windows to the outside. They opened towards inner courtyards. The courtyard was open and 15 to 20 rooms were arranged around it.
Darius I conquered the area in 518 BCE. At that time, Bhir was still a small town. The archaeological excavations carried out here by John Marshall from 1913 to 1934 revealed heavy masonry of the Achaemenid buildings that formed the earliest stratum of the site. Various other relevant artefacts were found as well.
In 326 BCE, Alexander the Great came and conquered the area. Raja Ambhi, it is recorded, entertained the Greek king here. He surrendered to Alexander and offered him a body of soldiers mounted on elephants. In 316 BCE, Chandragupta of Magadha, the founder of the Mauryan dynasty, conquered Panjab. Taxila lost its independence and became a mere provincial capital. Still, the city remained extremely important as centre of administration, education and trade. During the reign of Chandragupta’s grandson Ashoka, Buddhism became important and the first monks settled in Taxila. Ashoka is said to have resided here as the vice-king of his father. In 184 BCE, the Greeks, who had maintained a kingdom in Bactria, invaded Gandhara and Panjab again. From now on, a Greek king resided in Taxila, Demetrius.
Sirkap Taxila Punjab Pakistan
Sirkap is another archaeological site of Taxila.The city of Sirkap was built by the Greco-Bactrian king Demetrius after he invaded ancient India around 180 BC. Demetrius founded in the northern and northwestern modern Pakistan an Indo-Greek kingdom that was to last until around 10 BC. Sirkap is also said to have been rebuilt by king Menander I.
The excavation of the old city was carried out under the supervision of Sir John Marshall by Hergrew from 1912-1930. In 1944 and 1945 further parts were excavated by Mortimer Wheeler and his colleagues.
The site of Sirkap was built according to the “Hippodamian” grid-plan characteristic of Greek cities. It is organized around one main avenue and fifteen perpendicular streets, covering a surface of around 1200×400 meters, with a surrounding wall 5–7 meters wide and 4.8 kilometers long. The ruins are Greek in character, similar to those of Olynthus in Macedonia.
Numerous Hellenistic artifacts have been found, in particular coins of Greco-Bactrian kings and stone palettes representing Greek mythological scenes. Some of them are purely Hellenistic, others indicate an evolution of the Greco-Bactrian styles found at Ai-Khanoum towards more indianized styles. For example, accessories such as Indian ankle bracelets can be found on some representations of Greek mythological figures such as Artemis.
Following its construction by the Greeks, the city was further rebuilt during the incursions of the Indo-Scythians, and later by the Indo-Parthians after an earthquake in 30 AD. Gondophares, the first king of the Indo-Parthian Kingdom, built parts of the city including the double headed eagle stupa and the temple of the sun god. The city was overtaken by the Kushan kings who abandoned it and built a new city at Sirsukh, about 1.5 km to the north-east.
Buddhist stupas with strong Hellenistic decorative elements can be found throughout the Sirkap site (Stupa of the two eagles, a Jain temple, as well as a Hindu temple, indicating a close interaction of religious cultures. A Greek religious temple of the Ionic order is also visible at the nearby site of Jandial (650 meters from Sirkap), but there is a possibility that it may have been dedicated to a Zoroastrian cult.
The site of Sirkap bears witness to the city-building activity of the Indo-Greeks during their occupation of the Indian territory for close to two centuries, as well as their integration of other faiths, especially Buddhism.
One round Stupa is present at Sirkap. It is one of the oldest Stupas in the Indian-Subcontinent. It is assumed that this Stupa was uprooted and thrown to its present location by a strong earthquake in the 1st century AD. When the new city was built later, the Stupa was kept by building a protecting wall around it.
The building that is known as the Apsidal Temple is the largest sanctuary of Sirkap, measuring about 70 by 40 meters (by contrast: the Parthenon in Athens is 70 by 31 meters). The Apsidal Temple consists of a square nave with several rooms, used by the Buddhist monks, and a circular room, which gives the building its apsidal shape. After the earthquake that destroyed the city in c. 30 AD, the Buddhist shrine was built in a spacious courtyard. The round part was probably in use for a small stupa, but no traces of it remain. Some carvings were probably done by an artist from Greece.
Double-Headed Eagle Stupa
A special Stupa at Sirkap is the so-called ‘Double-Headed Eagle Stupa’. The pilasters here are of a Greek design, “Corinthian columns”. In the middle arch, a Greek temple is shown; in the outer, a shrine of a Hindu design can be seen. On top of these sanctuaries, a Double-headed eagle is seated from which the name of the Stupa has been derived. This motive is rather odd, to say the least, as it is originally Babylonian. It seems to have spread to Scythia, and introduced in the Punjab by the Saka rulers.
Visit by Apollonius of Tyana
The Greek philosopher Apollonius of Tyana is related to have visited ancient India, and specifically the city of Taxila in the 1st century AD. He describes constructions of the Greek type, probably referring to Sirkap:
“Taxila, they tell us, is about as big as Nineveh, and was fortified fairly well after the manner of Greek cities”.
“I have already described the way in which the city is walled, but they say that it was divided up into narrow streets in the same irregular manner as in Athens, and that the houses were built in such a way that if you look at them from outside they had only one story, while if you went into one of them, you at once found subterranean chambers extending as far below the level of the earth as did the chambers above.
Sirsukh Taxila Punjab Pakistan
The city of Sirsukh was founded by the Kushan king Kanishka after 80 CE, and is the last of the great ancient cities of Taxila. The invaders decided to abandon the older city of Sirkap and build a newer city on the other side of the Lundi-nala. The wall of the city is about 5 kilometers long and about 5.4 meters thick. The city wall covers an area of around 2300 x 1000 meters seen along the east-west direction, and is laid out in a typical Central Asian style, complete with suburbs. Sirsukh was left uninhabited when the White Huns invaded the Punjab at the end of the fifth century CE. To the north-east of the city flows the Harro river whereas to the south the Lundi-ravine is present.
The ancient city was excavated only on a very small scale in 1915-16 CE, and further excavation work has been impeded by a high water table which threatens the integrity of ancient structures. It was included in the World Heritage List of the UNO in 1980 as part of Taxila.
The wall of the city is made of large stone bricks with smaller stone bricks in-between the larger ones. It is remarkably smooth on the outer side. Circular bastions are present in the wall at small distances for defence. These bastions contain holes for archers who could shoot arrows at the enemy outside.
Dharmarajika Taxila Punjab Pakistan
is a large Buddhist stupa in the area of Taxila, Pakistan. It is thought that it was established by the Mauryan emperor Asoka in the 3rd century BCE around relics of the Buddha. The stupa is also popularly called as ‘Chir Tope’. The site is divided into two parts: the stupa area in the south and the monastic area in the north.
The stupa of Dharmarajika is about 3 kilometers from the Taxila museum on a metalled road. Its importance lies in the fact that one of Buddha’s body-relics was buried there. The name Dharmarajika comes from Dharmaraja, a name given to Buddha who was the true Dharma Raja (Lord of Law), according to Marshall. It is also believed that ‘Dharmarajika’ is derived from the word ‘Dharmaraja’, a title used by Mauryan emperor Ashoka.
The stupa (15 meters high and 50 meters in diameter) is a circular structure with a raised terrace around its base. Around it is a passage for pradakshina, and a circle of small chapels surround the great stupa. Three distinctive types of masonry in the buildings around the main stupa suggest the contributions of different periods to the building activity. A silver scroll inscription in Kharoshti and a small gold casket containing some minute bone relics, probably of Buddha, were found here during excavation during British rule.
These structures were reinforced in the following centuries, by building rings of smaller stupas and constructions around the original ones. Several coins of the Indo-Greek king Zoilos II were found under the foundation of such a 1st-century BCE stupa.
Julian Taxila Pakistan
Jaulian is part of old Taxila’s ancient Buddhist monastery located close to Taxila Punjab Pakistan in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Pakistan.
The ruins at Jaulian date from the fifth century CE and consist of two main parts. These are 1) the main stupa and 2) the monastery and university of Jaulian. The ruins are situated on a mountain top. The form and building of the university at Jaulian is similar to that of Mohra Muradu, about 1 kilometre away.
The main stupa at Jaulian is badly damaged. It is surrounded by 21 votive stupas. Some experts think that a few of the votive stupas are actually tombs of revered monks. The statues at the stupas are mostly preserved. A number of these have been removed for exhibitions at museums. The original structure of the building of the Stupa along with the plaster is preserved at some places.
A statue of buddha with a hole in the navel is an odd artifact. It is called the “healing buddha”. Pilgrims would put their fings in the navel hole and pray for the ailment of the patients. The inscription preserved under the statue shows that it was given by a friar “Budhamitra Dharmanandin”.This inscription and a couple of others at this site show that the script was still used at Taxila in the fifth century CE.
Monastery and university
The monastery , apart from its monks and acolytes, also contained a number of rooms for the students in addition to a large pool for washing. There are 28 students’ rooms. The monastery consisted of a second floor with another 28 rooms. Stairs of stone to the upper floor are still preserved. Statues of Buddha are present in front of some of the rooms. Th Buddhist university at Jualian, attached to the monastery, is accounted to be one of the oldest in the world. Students came to study here and consult texts from as far as South and Eastern India, from Afghanistan and China and other parts too.
Each room had a window for supply of fresh air and as a source of some light and a niche to hold the lamp of the student. The windows are small at the outer end of the wall and become enlarged at the inner end to keep wild animals out. The rooms were plastered and decorated with painting. The outer wall of the monastery is well preserved, which is very smooth and straight.
The monastery included a kitchen. A stone for grinding spices for the food is well preserved as well as two stone mills that were used to grind different types of grains. A hole in one of the brickstones of the kitchen wall was used for placing large spoons.
The monastery was burnt in 455 CE by the White Huns and thus destroyed.
Mohra Muradu Taxila Punjab Pakistan
is the place of an ancient Buddhist stupa and monastery near the ruins of Taxila, The ancient monastery is located in a valley and offers a beautiful view of the surrounding mountains. The monks could meditate in all stillness at this place but were near enough to the city of Sirsukh to go for begging as it is only around 1.5 km away.
The city was built in the 2nd century CE and renovated in the 5th century. Thus it belongs to the Kushan age.
The ruins consist of three distinct parts, which include the main stupa, a votive stupa and the monastery and have been included in the world heritage list of the UNESCO since 1980 under Taxila.
The ruins of Mohra Muradu were excavated under the supervision of Sir John Marshall by Abdul Qadir in 1914-1915. They consist of a buddhistic monastery and two stupas. The main stupa is built on a foundation more than 4.75 meters high. The smaller, votive, stupa lies behind the bigger one.
The monastery of Mohra Muradu Taxila Punjab Pakistan
The monastery consists of 27 rooms for the students and the teachers built around a courtyard with a pool. The large, square shaped pool contained water for ritual washings and was about half a metre deep. Stairs to the pool were present on all sides. The monastery also contained a kitchen and a well for water that still functions today. The rain water was collected into the pool from the roof of the monastery over wooden extensions. Statues of Buddha are found abundantly in the courtyard and the rooms for the students. An assembly hall is also present in one corner of the monastery.
The monastery was a double story building. Stairs to the upper story went through one of the rooms. There was additional connection through wooden constructions from the courtyard. The strength of the walls has, however, led to the idea that there might have existed even a third story.
There are a number of limited accommodation facilities ranging from basic to three star.
Very few restaurants offering locally sourced food.