Taxila: A glimpse into the past

With ruins dating back to the 3rd millennium BC, the UNESO World Heritage sites around Taxila a town in modern day Pakistan, is one of the finest examples of urban evolution in the Indian Subcontinent. Situated at the intersection of major ancient trade routes, Taxila reached its height between the 6th century BC and 6th century AD, before being destroyed by the invading White Huns.

The museum at Taxila has more than 4000 objects on display, and is perhaps the most comprehensive collection of Gandharan Art anywhere. These include Buddhist and Hindu relics made from stone, terracotta, gold,, silver and iron,. The museum also including a large collection of coins on display. A detailed tour of the museum can take up to half the day, led by very well versed guides.

There are several sites with easy driving distance of the museum, the main sites of interest being, Bhir, Sirkap and Sirsukh. Bhir is form the 6th century BC, Sirkap from the 2nd century BC and Sirsukh from the 1st century AD. There is a prehistoric mound ‘Saraikala’ with evidence of settlement from the Neolithic, Bronze and Iron eras.

To really explore the museum and surround area it takes around 2 to 3 days of sightseeing. At the archaeological sites one can find guides who are happy to take visitors on a detailed tour of the site. I have visited the area several times, every visit I learn something new. Anyone visiting Pakistan must definitely plan a visit to Taxila, the city of carved stone.

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