Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Gandhara Civilization – History, Facts, Location, and Other Details

“Gandhara” is a generic term that refers to a relatively long period in Pakistan’s Swat, Punjab, and Peshawar regions. Taxila, the primary center of Gandhara, is nearly 3,000 years old and is located in the Haro river valley near Islamabad. The Achaemenid Dynasty of Iran and Alexander the Great governed the region.

Gandhara was formerly a major crossroads for international trade. In the sixth century B.C., Persia, led by Darius I, colonized the region. Alexander the Great, a Macedonian Greek, entered and exited with a vengeance. Greco-Bactrians, Scythians, and Parthians ruled the landscape over time.


Gandhara refers to an ancient Mahajan pada in northern Pakistan, including areas of northern Punjab and Kashmir and eastern Afghanistan. The Persian Empire’s easternmost area, Gandhara, was a vital trade hub between Persia, Central Asia, and India. Buddhism moved eastward from here, reaching as far as Japan and Korea.

Gandhara was a region in Afghanistan that stretched from the Kabul River to Jalalabad. It included the northwest Frontier Province’s (NWFP) agencies of Mardan, Swat, Dir, Malakand, Bajuaur, Punjab’s Taxila, and parts of modern-day Pakistan. From Gandhara, Buddhism spread as far east as Japan and Korea.

Gandhara civilization in Taxila

Gandhara civilization in Taxila

This Gandhara civilization is a synthesis of several faiths and cultures. It demonstrates that variety and coexistence are possible. This civilization’s residents lived in perfect peace. They used art, science, and literature to express their optimism.

In 1863, this city’s excavations began. This effort was established by Alexander Cunningham, the father of Indian archaeology. John Hubert carried on his legacy. It took him another 20 years to fully examine the city’s historical significance. They aided in the discovery of Taxila’s true worth.

Taxila as UNESCO World Heritage Site

An extensive ring of ruins runs across this ancient metropolis in Northern Pakistan. The lands have a long and illustrious history. The ruins are located 35 kilometers north of Rawalpindi on the northwest side. The city is known as a ‘Royal Highway’ since it serves as a vital commerce route.

When the city’s routes became irrelevant, the authorities demolished it further. By the 5th century, the Huns had completely devastated the area. However, because of its historical value, it has become a world-renowned destination once more. The United Nations designated this city as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1980. This accolade gave the Gandhara civilization’s capital a fresh viewpoint and appearance.

Cultures in Gandhara Civilization

There is a variety of cultures in Gandhara Civilization which are following:

  • Greek
  • Muslim
  • Kushan
  • Hindu
  • Indo- Greek
  • Mauryan
  • Parthian

Ancient places to visit in Gandhara Civilization

Many historical sites may be found in Taxila, the center of Gandhara culture.



Sirkap was a fortified city in Central Asia constructed in the 2nd century B.C. and destroyed by the Kushans in the 1st century A.D. Taxila was the capital of the Hindu (Indus country) monarchy, which included the western part of Punjab.

Many private dwellings, stupas, and temples are built out on a Hellenistic grid pattern, demonstrating the tremendous influence of Western classical design on local architecture. The city of Sirkap was founded by the Bactrian Greeks in approximately 180 BC and is laid out in a broad and open grid layout.

The city is encircled by a massive wall that stretches for almost 5 kilometers and is up to 6 meters thick. One of Pakistan’s largest and most stunning structures, the Great Stupa, is the city’s main attraction.

Khanpur Cave 

Khanpur Cave

Artifacts from four separate communities may be found in this cave: Buddhists, Muslims, Greeks, and Hindus.

Bhir Mound

Bhir Mound

This location displays the oldest Achaemenid ruins from the 6th century. It has stone walls, abandoned home foundations, and street bases. This section reflects the city’s urban aspect.

Taxila University

Taxila University

Taxila, founded in 500 B.C., was one of the world’s earliest colleges. It is most famous for its connection to Chanakya, also known as Kautilya, the strategist who guided Chandragupta Maurya and helped establish the Mauryan empire. Hundreds of students might be seen studying under a single guru. External powers like monarchs or local leaders had little authority over scholastic activity in Taxila. Each instructor established his school, educating as many pupils as he wanted without adhering to a centralized curriculum.

Archeological museum Taxila

Archeological museum Taxila

The Buddhist sculptures, stupas, coins, and decorations in the Taxila Museum are excellent. Taxila Museum is home to the majority of Taxila’s archaeological sites. Every first Monday of the month and Muslim religious holidays, the museum is closed.



This location illustrates the city’s primordial ties. It features artifacts from the Bronze and Iron Ages that tell stories.

In Taxila, several sites illustrate Buddhist history and Gandhara architecture. As a result, history buffs like visiting this location. The following locations in the city are historical sites:

  • Takht Bahi
  • Kalawan
  • Khader Mohra
  • Giri Monasteries
  • Jandial
  • Kunala
  • Badalpur
  • Jaulian
  • Pipplian
  • Bahalar

Gandhara art

The sculptures discovered at Taxila show a great deal about the Gandhara civilization. As a result, art enthusiasts like visiting this location.



To make their sculptures, the people of the period employed three ingredients:

Greyish Blue, Phyllite Greenish, Mica\sStucco

After the sculpture had been built and dried, it was painstakingly painted. The sculptures were durable and long-lasting. This is why great works of art have survived till this century.

College of Art and Design

Gandhara Civilization Art

In the first century, the people created the Gandhara School of Art under Emperor Kanishka. It taught individuals how to make representations using sculptures. As a result, this school encouraged and supported the development of Buddha statues. Later on, this became a powerful symbol of Gandhara culture and Buddhism.


This article contains the whole history of the Gandhara Civilization. The location of the Gandhara Civilization. Here we also mention the Gandhara Civilization in Taxila, the historical places you can visit. The archeological museum is also mentioned in this article. Gandhara art is also mentioned in this article.   

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