Taxila Pakistan is one of the seven tehsils of Rawalpindi district. Taxila’s historical name is Takshashila, and it is one of the World Heritage Sites in Pakistan. Taxila is a city of Gandharan civilization and was also one of its capitals. It was the most prosperous city of ancient times due to its position at the junction of three main trade routes. The first one was from Eastern India, the second from western Asia, and the third from Kashmir and Central Asia. When the city’s importance declined, the Huns destroyed it in the 5th century CE.
Taxila is situated about 30 km west of Islamabad. Its ruins are approximately 35 km northwest of Rawalpindi/Islamabad. Moreover, Hasanabdal, Khanpur, and Wah are its neighboring cities. Also, Taxila and Wah Cantt are twin cities too. UNESCO declared modern Taxila and its ruins as a whole a World Heritage Site in 1980.
History of Taxila
The origin of Taxila traces back to almost the 5th century BC in the Khanpur caves. The recorded history of Taxila started from the 6th Century BC when this Gandharan civilization became part of Persia’s Achaemenid Empire. Taxila was well known for being the hub of Buddhism in the country. It was also a renowned center of learning and a meeting point of various cultures.
Taxila had three main cities:
1- Bhir Mound
Firstly, Bhir Mound was the earliest city that dates back to the 6th century. The streets and houses had irregular patterns.
The second city was Sirkap, and it dates from the Indo-Greek period. It was built in the second century and was a well-planned city.
The third city was much more modern as compared to the first two. Kushan Kings built it in the 4th century and was a well laid out city.
Several powers of antiquity ruled Taxila and the region of Gandhara as listed below:
- Achaemenids (~600-400 BCE)
- Greeks (~326-324 BCE),
- Mauryans (~324-185 BCE),
- Indo-Greeks (~250-190 BCE),
- Scythians (~2nd century to 1st century BCE),
- Parthians (~1st century BC to 1st century CE),
- Kushans (~1st to 5th century CE),
- White Huns (~5th century CE)
- Hindu Shahi (~9th to 10th century CE).
Afterward, Muslim achieved many victories by which time we come to the medieval period of Indian history.
Architectural Highlights of Taxila Pakistan
Taxila is one of the oldest archeological sites in the world. Statues of leading people such as the great ruler Asoka and Alexander the Great are discovered in the city. Moreover, many Buddha statues portray various stages of his life that have been excavated and moved to the Taxila museum and at other stupas in the city. There are endless images of a great Saint Gautama Buddha in stone and stucco. However, some of the significant statues have been taken overseas and placed in museums in different countries.
Many stupas represent the peak of Buddhist architectural achievement in the region. Some of the most prominent stupas are:
- Dharmarajika Stupa
- Kunala Stupa
- Jaulian Stupa
Present-day Taxila is a city in Rawalpindi District, about 30 km northwest of twin cities, Islamabad and Rawalpindi. Also, It is near the historic Grand Trunk Road and the famous Sikh pilgrimage center of Hasan Abdal, and the Mughal-era Wah Gardens.
Many educational institutes are present in modern Taxila. These include HITEC University and CIIT Wah Campus. The University of Engineering and Technology, Taxila, established in 1975, a sub-campus of UET Lahore is also present there.
Culture of Modern Taxila
Their life in modern Taxila follows pure Punjabi culture. However, the people understand both Urdu and English languages but mostly speak Punjabi with a dialect specific to that area.
Taxila is the most significant tourist attraction in Pakistan. It attracts tourists from all over the world, especially from China and Greece. Also, Buddhists from all over the globe visit Taxila because it was the center of Buddhism.
Taxila Pakistan Museum
There is a Taxila museum, which has many things that belong to that period, including the statues. It has a significant collection of stone and stucco sculptures. Museum also has a considerable collection of Gandharan artifacts dating from the 1st to 7th centuries.
Lastly, Taxila Pakistan is an important archaeological site in the modern city of the same name in Punjab, Pakistan. However, to conserve heritage sites in Pakistan, the government need to take strong measures for the maintenance