Ancient Buddhist Temple in Pakistan
The Archaeologists have unearthed an ancient Buddhist temple in Swat valley. The valley is located in Northern Pakistan. The temple was a part of the Gandhara region. The temple has a mix of Greek art and Buddist art. This is because the region was once conquered by Alexander the great.
About the temple
The temple dates to second century BC. During this time, Gandhara was ruled by Indo – Greek kingdom. According to archaeologists, the kingdom was raised above the demolished temple. This means the temple was actually built during the age of Gautama Buddha. Buddha lived between 563 BC and 483 BC.
About the excavations
The temple excavated has a ceremonial platform. It is three metres tall. It has a cylindrical structure or dome shaped Buddhist monument called stupa. The excavations in the Swat valley were started by the Italians in 1984. They have been working in the site since 1955. Their aim was to preserve the excavations from urban sprawls. There were serious hunt for artefacts in the site that earned millions in international markets.
Challenges in the excavations
According to the archaeologists, the central parts of the city have much more precious history buried. So far they were able to excavate only the south western parts of Barikot. The land rental and excavation costs are much higher in the central parts of the city. During the excavation, the archaeologists found pits dug by looters. This indicates that there were much more precious artefacts.
Alexander in Barikot
Alexander conquered Gandhara in 327 BCE. Barikot is mentioned as Beira or Bazira. Barikot is mentioned in Mahabharata as “City of Vajra”. The events of Mahabharata probably occurred during 9th or 8th century BCE. Mahabharata war was fought between Pandavas and Gauravas. They were cousin brothers. Gandhara was the birth place of Queen Gandhari, the mother of Gauravas.
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