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Takht-i-Bahi, Ancient, Mystical & Authentic

Altamash Mir 03:18 PM | 1 Jun, 2017
Takht-i-Bahi, Ancient, Mystical & Authentic
In my recent travels, I have visited many ancient sites but none can compare with the one I’m going to tell you about today. The site called  “Takht-i-Bahi” is about 165km Northwest of Pakistan’s Capital city of Islamabad, in Mardan District. The 2 hour drive is mostly on three to four lane highways and is comparatively comfortable. The reason I liked this site so much is because of the accessibility to it as well as how amazingly it has been preserved.

Takht-i-Bahi (The Sping Throne) was discovered in 1836 & listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1980.

The locals believe that it was named after a spring which was located nearby the site. Due to its elevation atop the hill, it is believed that this throne has played great significance throughout the centuries.

This ancient monastery is believed to be one of the most well-structured and well preserved ancient Buddhist monasteries in the Gandhara district. The ruins are located more than five hundred feet up on top of a hill, and due to this elevation, these remnants have remained virtually untouched for many hundreds of years.

First Construction Period

It is believed the original monastery was built during the first century BC, as the design, build and materials of the monastery are authentic and in line with other buildings which are known of at the time. This fact is also proven by inscriptions which were found in the temple as these inscriptions included the name of Gondophares the first, who is recorded as living during that time. Gondophares I also known as Vindafarna, Gastaphar, Gundaparnah (from which the Pashtun surname of Gandapur originates from) and Gaspar[d], King of Persia (who’s history is recorded in Christian traditions as one of the Three Wise Men or the Three Kings who witnessed the birth of Christ). This era seemed to have retained Persian Zoroastrian religious beliefs as no evidence was found of any Greek or Buddhist symbols or writings on coins or otherwise.

Second & Third Construction Periods

The Third thru the Fifth centuries AD brought on the second & third construction periods of the monastery. This era saw the rise of the Kushan Empire. Kujula Kadphises was the first official ruler & uniter of the empire of Nomads originating from the Western provinces of modern China called Yuezhi. Buddhism flourished during their reign and the Takht-i-Bahi site expanded. In this time period the Great “Stupa Court” & the “Assembly Hall” were erected.

Final Construction Period

In this final construction period, between the 6th & the 7th Century AD, the “Tantric Complex” was constructed. This period was reportedly ruled by the Huns.

The Complex

Composing of a series of stone buildings in the Gandhara style, Takht-i-Bahi was constructed with local stone blocks which were set in a mortar made from lime and mud.

The grandiose group of structures can be divided into Four primary areas:

  • The Stupa Court: Located in the Central courtyard, is spread with many Stupas mostly of the same sizes.
  • The Monastery: This sanctuary has assembly halls, dining areas, a courtyard & amazing living quarters which were believed to have been two-floored (two storied).
  • The Temple Complex: This area was built at a later period of time and on a hill higher than the original Stupa Court. The Temple Complex has Stupas similar to the Stupa Court as well as a Courtyard and living cells.
  • The Tantric Complex: Build on the opposite hill to The Stupa court, The Tantric Complex features many meditation cells. The meditation cells have very low openings and are very dark from the inside.

Once atop the main Stupa Court, one feels the breeze of mysticism & self-awareness. These thoughts arise when you glance upon the entire valley from the throne & one disconnects from the world.

There are historical records proving that the monastery was in constant use until around the 7th century, after that the records become quite unclear. This is where the archaeologists become significant, as they can uncover what become of the site between its time of closing, and present day.

Takht-i-Bahi is constantly being worked on and studied by archaeology students who travel from around the globe to try and learn more about the monastery’s history. The architecture of the monastery has also been well studied and documented, and it is understood that the people who did the initial building were quite advanced in their engineering and civil works, as the structure far surpasses other recorded sites built at this particular time.

Located approximately two kilometers from the Takht-i-Bahi Bazaar, the ruins attract many tourists and historians as well as Buddhist travelers from around the world. The site is also popular with archaeologists, and due to its age and the level of preservation, it has become an established and important archaeological as well as historical site in the Mardan district.

The busiest time of year to visit the monastery is between September and April when the weather is not too harsh. The summer months are too much to bear for an extensive trip and excavation of the site, as there is very little shade in the area, and the infrastructure on the site is not suited to tourists visiting during the peak of summer, where temperatures can easily reach 100 F or more.

Takht-i-Bahi is an encounter with a very ancient time in South Asia and the ease at which you can reach the monastery makes a journey to witness these ruins entirely worthwhile.

Altamash Mir
Altamash Mir

Health Care Consultant & Blogger based out of Chicago, IL.

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KARACHI - Following are the foreign currency exchange rates for US Dollar, Saudi Riyal, UK Pound Sterling, U.A.E. Dirham, European Euro, and other foreign currencies in Pakistan open market on January 26, 2023 (Thursday).

Source: Forex Association of Pakistan. (last update 09:00 AM)

Currency Symbol Buying Selling
US Dollar ‎USD 237.55 240.15
Euro EUR 272.5 275
UK Pound Sterling GBP 308.5 311.5
U.A.E Dirham AED 68 68.6
Saudi Riyal SAR 66.4 67
Australian Dollar AUD 176 178
Bahrain Dinar BHD 615.68 620.18
Canadian Dollar CAD 186 188
China Yuan CNY 34.12 34.37
Danish Krone DKK 33.83 34.18
Hong Kong Dollar HKD 29.52 29.87
Indian Rupee INR 2.81 2.89
Japanese Yen JPY 2.5 2.54
Kuwaiti Dinar KWD 756.69 761.69
Malaysian Ringgit MYR 52.59 53.04
New Zealand Dollar NZD 148.33 149.53
Norwegians Krone NOK 22.43 22.73
Omani Riyal OMR 600.37 604.87
Qatari Riyal ‎QAR 63.5 64
Singapore Dollar SGD 178 179.3
Swedish Korona SEK 21.78 22.08
Swiss Franc CHF 250.23 251.98
Thai Bhat THB 6.98 7.08

KARACHI – The price of a single tola of 24-karat gold in Pakistan is Rs190,900 on Thursday. The price of 10 grams of 24k gold was recorded at Rs163,670.

Likewise, 10 grams of 22k gold were being traded for Rs150,300 while a single tola of 22-karat gold was being sold at Rs 173,200.

Note: The gold rate in Pakistan is fluctuating according to the international market so the price is never been fixed. The below rates are provided by local gold markets and Sarafa Markets of different cities.

City Gold Silver
Lahore PKR 190,900 PKR 2,100
Karachi PKR 190,900 PKR 2,100
Islamabad PKR 190,900 PKR 2,100
Peshawar PKR 190,900 PKR 2,100
Quetta PKR 190,900 PKR 2,100
Sialkot PKR 190,900 PKR 2,100
Attock PKR 190,900 PKR 2,100
Gujranwala PKR 190,900 PKR 2,100
Jehlum PKR 190,900 PKR 2,100
Multan PKR 190,900 PKR 2,100
Bahawalpur PKR 190,900 PKR 2,100
Gujrat PKR 190,900 PKR 2,100
Nawabshah PKR 190,900 PKR 2,100
Chakwal PKR 190,900 PKR 2,100
Hyderabad PKR 190,900 PKR 2,100
Nowshehra PKR 190,900 PKR 2,100
Sargodha PKR 190,900 PKR 2,100
Faisalabad PKR 190,900 PKR 2,100
Mirpur PKR 190,900 PKR 2,100

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