Guide to Historic Taxila

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(7th Century B.C. to 8th Century A.D.)

Taxila university , which is the oldest in the world, has been in existence even before the time of the Buddha and before the occupation of the Taxila valley by the Achaemanid rulers in 6th- 5th century B.C. Probably in the period of the  (7th century B.C.) philosophers gathered here to have their own schools of thought and imparted instructions. By the time of the Buddha it rose to be a strong educational Centre, where instructions were given in military science, medicine, political science, philosophy, religion, language and literature, and grammar. Among the famous products are jotipala, later to become the commander-in-chief of the Banaras King, Jivaa, later a physician of  the Magadhan ruler Bimbisara and physician of the Buddha himself, and the famous king Prasentajita of Kosala around modern Ayodhya, and still later prince Chandragupta, founder of the Mauryan Empire. Among the teachers we have Panini, the great grammarian of 6th  century B.C. Kotelia, the famous writer of the Arthsastra, a book on political science, and the great physician Charaka. One famous Centre of the later period was Uttararama,where lived the Kasyapiyas, who probably gave rise to the name Sirkap ( correctly Sri Kasyapas) site. The earliest date of the university can be inferred from an Assyrian seal on steatite "With an engraving of a worshipper in Assyrian costume in front of an Assyrian god" and the latest can be gathered from the coin finds of Hermaes, Maues, Azes, Rajuvala, Condophares,Kadphises, Huvishka, Spalapatideva, a Turki shahi ruler of 8th century A.D. it is probably the philosopher from this university whom Alexander the Great met during his stay in Taxila.

University in Mahal Site

From Hathial site we can walk to the east to a beautiful retreat, surrounded by the Hathial spurs on three sides, each of which is topped by stupas and monastic establishment, one of them could be Uttararama, while the enclosed lower plain are excavated remains called Mahal site by Sir John Marshall. It is wrong called Magal site by Sir John Marshall. It is wrongly called "Magal"(i.e. palace) because the structural remains do not those of a palace. The incomplete excavation shows part of five sets, each having a courtyard in the middle and rooms on the sides. The presence of courts with surrounding corridor and room speak of more than an ordinary residential house. Their internal means of communication points to a madrassah style of architectural planning, and hence it appears to be a university site, where the name Uttararama was recorded in a ladle inscription.other finds include two-handled baking pan, an offering stand, an amphora –all of pottery; a small bowl , a casket and a small lamp- all of steatite ; eight five beads, forty-three coins; the copper objects include significantly nineteen circular mirrors, a handled jug, a hoard if sixteen vessels, fourteen standard beakers, seven open bowls and among others ten ladles. They are all objects of ordinary use, as ban be seen in Taxila Museum, and probably they be-long to groups of men, such as students living together.


1. General view of the site. 2. Ladles. 3. Mirrors.


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