Taxila: the modern town of Taxila is 35km from Islamabad. Most of the archaeological sites of Taxila (600 BC – 500 AD) are located around Taxila Museum. For over one thousand years, Taxila remained famous as a centre of learning for the Gandhara art of sculpture, architecture, education and Buddhism in the day 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: Darmarajika stupa and Monastery (300 BC – 200 AD) Bhir Mound (600 BC – 200 AD) Sirkap (200 BC – 600 AD), Jandial Temple (250 BC) and Julian Monastery (200 – 600 AD0. a museum comprising various sections with rich archaeological finds of Taxila, arranged in chronological order and properly labeled, has been established close to the site. It is one of the best and well-maintained site museums of Pakistan.
Taxila, located in the Rawalpindi district of Pakistan’s Punjab province, is a vast serial site that includes a Mesolithic cave and the archaeological remains of four early settlement sites, Buddhist monasteries, and a Muslim mosque and madrassa. Situated strategically on a branch of the Silk Road that linked China to the West, Taxila reached its apogee between the 1st and 5th centuries. It is now one of the most important archaeological sites in Asia. The ruins of the four settlement sites at Taxila reveal the pattern of urban evolution on the Indian subcontinent through more than five centuries. One of these sites, the Bhir mound, is associated with the historic event of the triumphant entry of Alexander the Great into Taxila. The archaeological sites of Saraikala, Bhir, Sirkap, and Sirsukh are collectively of unique importance in illustrating the evolution of urban settlement on the Indian subcontinent. The prehistoric mound of Saraikala represents the earliest settlement of Taxila, with evidence of Neolithic, Bronze Age, and Iron Age occupation. The Bhir mound is the earliest historic city of Taxila, and was probably founded in the 6th century BC by the Achaemenians. Its stone walls, house foundations, and winding streets represent the earliest forms of urbanization on the subcontinent. Bihr is also associated with Alexander the Great’s triumphant entry into Taxila in 326 BC. Sirkap was a fortified city founded during the mid-2nd century BC. The many private houses, stupas, and temples were laid out on the Hellenistic grid system and show the strong Western classical influence on local architecture. The city was destroyed in the 1st century by the Kushans, a Central Asian tribe. To the north, excavations of the ruins of the Kushan city of Sirsukh have brought to light an irregular rectangle of walls in ashlar masonry, with rounded bastions. These walls attest to the early influence of Central Asian architectural forms on those of the subcontinent.
The Taxila serial site also includes Khanpur cave, which has produced stratified microlithic tools of the Mesolithic period, and a number of Buddhist monasteries and stupas of various periods. Buddhist monuments erected throughout the Taxila valley transformed it into a religious heartland and a destination for pilgrims from as far afield as Central Asia and China. The Buddhist archaeological sites at Taxila include the Dharmarajika complex and stupa, the Khader Mohra grouping, the Kalawan grouping, the Giri monasteries, the Kunala stupa and monastery, the Jandial complex, the Lalchack and the Badalpur stupa remains and monasteries, the Mohra Moradu monastic remains, the Pipplian and the Jaulian remains, and the Bahalar stupa and remains. The Giri complex also includes the remains of a three-domed Muslim mosque, ziarat (tomb), and madrassa (school) of the medieval period.
The ruins of four universally meaningful settlement sites at Taxila (Saraidala, Bhir, Sirkap, and Sirsukh) reveal the pattern of urban evolution on the Indian subcontinent through more than five centuries. Taxilia is the only site of this unique importance on the subcontinent.
The Bihr mound is associated with the historic event of the triumphant entry of Alexander the Great into Taxila.
Within the boundaries of the property are located all the elements necessary to express the Outstanding Universal Value of Taxila. Exposure of the archaeological remains to the extremes of a tropical climate, uncontrolled growth of vegetation, and earthquakes represents a risk to the overall integrity of the property, as do expansions of the industrial estates located within the Taxila valley (despite their location outside the buffer zone), limestone blasting and quarrying activities in the valley, and illegal excavations by looters in the Buddhist monastery sites.
The archaeological complex of Taxila is authentic in terms of its forms and design, materials and substance, and locations and settings. The property is being maintained to protect and preserve it from any changes to its authenticity. Specific attention to authenticity is being paid in conservation plans in order to maintain original designs, traditions, techniques, locations, and settings, according to international principles.
Margalla Pass: This small pass is located 26 km west of Islamabad on G.T Road. There is an obelisk right on the top of the pass, build in 1890, in memory of Brig. Gen. John Nicholson (died on 23 Sept. 1857) of the British army, by his colleagues. A small part of ancient Shahi (Royal) Road can be seen just across the pass, left of G.T. Road. This road was first build by the Persian in 516 BC and is believed to have been further developed by the Afghan King Sher Shah Suri in 1540.
Wah Gardens: Once a major site of Mughul Rulers, Wah Garden is located 12 km west of Taxila on G.T Road. The gardens were developed with magnificent tree and water channels by successive Mughul Emperors. Tapering cypress trees, loved by the Mughuls, line the canals through which cool waters once flowed between elegant Romanic pavilions and cascaded into large reflecting basins.
Hassan Abdal: Hassan Abdal is located 48 km from Rawalpindi. This Town remained a holy place for various religious groups through the ages. It has Sikh Gurdwara (temple) known as Panja Sahib, having a sacred rock with the hand print of Sikh religious leader, Guru Nanak. Just opposite the eastern gate of Gurdwara Panja Sahib, there s small mosque and chilla Gha (Meditation cell) of Baba Wali Qandhari, a 15th century Muslim saint. Behind the mosque is fresh water pond with big Mahasheer fish. Adjacent the pond is a building called maqbara hakeeman. Two royal hakeem (doctor) brothers. Abdul Fateh Gilani (died 1589 AD) and Harman Gilani (died 1595 AD) are buried here on the order of the Mughul emperor Akbar, Khuwaja Shamsuddin Khawafi, Akbar’s minister, 1881 – 1583 AD build both, the fish pond and tomb. A paved path leads from fishpond to a small, walled garden. The garden has two graves. The central grave is attributed to a so-called Mughul Princess, Lala Rukh.
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