Gandhara Civilization Ancient Tour

Activity Info

  • 00

  • 12 Days ISB/ ISB

  • Extremely Technical

  • 2 – 14

  • 12 – 65

  • All Season

  • ISB- ISB

  • $00 / per


Gandhara Civilization Tour

Gandhara was the name given to the land and its associated civilization that existed in what is now northern Pakistan and Afghanistan from the mid 1st millenium BCE to the beginning of the 2nd millenium CE and consisted of multiple dynasties which ruled over the same area but which were linked by their adoption of Buddhism as a religion for the most part and also of the Indo-Greek artistic tradition as its cultural identity.

Charsadda, the site of Pushkalavati, is 28 kilometers northeast of Peshawar. Pushkalavati was the capital of the ancient kingdom of Gandhara from about the 6th century B.C to the 2nd century of A.D.

Today, there is nothing to see except a huge mound about 800 meters to the left of the Charssadda called Bala Hisar. This mound has been excavated thrice, and according to Sir Mortimer Wheeler, here lay the great fort which was invaded by Alexander’s generals in the 4th century B.C.

The one at Pushkalavati, a great archaeological site, Shaikhan Dheri, a kilometer northeast of the Bala Hisar. From the top of Bala Hisar mound it is visible across the river; only dedicated archaelogists gain much by going to take a closer look. It is a place to which the habitation had shifted in the lst century B.C. Remains of a Greek town have been excavated here.Charsadda is surrounded by hundreds of hectares of graves, all decorated with black and white stones in geometric pattern.

Although Gandhara has been historically known since the Achaemenian Empire and more specifically during the reign of Cyrus the Great (558-28 BCE), it wasn’t until the pilgrimage of XuanXang in the 7th century CE, at the tail end of the Gandhara civilization, that we first see a descriptive account of the region down to the extent of the area itself as well as the various places and sites which can be identified today.

It has been speculated that Ganhara was a triangular tract of land about 100 kilometers east to west and 70 km north to south, lying mainly to the west of the Indus River and bounded on the north by the Hindukush Mountains. (1 li = 500 meters or 1640 feet)

The extent of Gandhara proper actually included the Peshawar valley, the hills of Swat, Dir, Buner and Bajaur, all of which lie within the northern bounds of the modern day nation of Pakistan. However the bounds of Greater Gandhara (or regions where the cultural and political hegemony of Gandhara held sway) extended towards the Kabul Valley in Afghanistan and the Potwar plateau in the province of Punjab in Pakistan, in close proximity to the capital city of Islamabad, and bounded off by the location of the grand Mankiyala Stupa on the outskirts of the capital.

Activity Video

Gandhara Civilization

Day Program Day Program
1 Arrive Islamabad 7 Chilas / Hunza
2 Taxilla / Peshawar 8 Full day at Hunza
3 Full day Peshawar 9 Hunza / Gilgit
4 Peshawar/ Swat 10 Gilgit /Besham
5 Full day at Swat 11 Besham / Islamabad
6 Drive to Chilas 12 Departure
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