Guide to Historic Taxila

Dani_Professor_Dr..GIF (22364 bytes)



Peak of Buddhist and Gandhara Art

In Taxila the Parthians were succeed, in the 1st century A.D. by the great Kushanas, who had succession of rulers Kujula Kadphises, his son Vima I Takto, his son Vima II, Kadphises, his son Kanishka, followed by Vasishka and his son Kanishka II, and Huvishka and Vasudeve I. Of them the greatest was Kanishka I, who started, from the beginning of his reign (about 78 A.D.), anew era which continued for 99 years. These king began a new series of gold and copper coins, with standing or sitting royal portrait, boring the title of Shao-nao-Shao (Shain Shah). Kanishka was a great patron of Buddhism, and the portrayed the figure of the Buddha on his coins. They were followed by the little Kushanas, Kanishka III and Vasudeva II, who lost their Indian possessions of Mathura. Towards the end of the 3rd century A.D. they were pressed from the west by the Sassanian rulers of Iran who established their suzerainty and started a new series of Indo-Sassanian coins. It is an their time that new local dynasties, as subsidiary rulers rose up. One of them was Gadakhara or Gakkhara, as known from coins but tradition remembers them as Kiyanis. Their kings, peraya, Kirada and Samudra, issued coins of the type of the Kushanas and of the Sassanians. Finally came the Kider Kushanas, who gradually asserted their independence and continued to rule until the coming of the Huns in the middle of the 5th century A.D.

It was in the time of the Great Kushanas that Gandhara art took its final form and new sect of Buddhism, popularly known as Mahayana, become common in Gandhara. Figures of Buddha, his life story, Bodhisattvas and of the goddess Hariti were beautiful produced in schist stone, stucco and terracotta and large number of monasteries were built. From the of the little Kushanas big size of Buddha statues began to be erected in stucco. Sassanians brought their own influence on Gandhara art but both the art and religion flourished. Buddhist monks and men of learning went on missionary activity along the Silk Road to central Asia, China, Korea, and Japan, thus carrying the Gandhara art to those countries.

Kushana City of Sirsuk And Mohra Moradu and Jaulian Monasteries

The Kushana founded another city at Sirsuk to the north of the Lundi-Nala fortified settlement, rectangular in plan. The wall, which had a roll plinth at the base, has unlike Sirkap, semi-circular bastions on the outside. Both the bastions and the wall have loop holes at the height of five feet. Among the antiquities were forty coins of copper, which included right upto the time of the Turki shahi ruler Spalapati Deva, suggesting that the settlement continued here munch later than the time of the Kushanas.

Mohra Moradu is a small village, approachable by foot from the university  at Mahal, or from the eastern gate of Sirkap. Today we drive from the main Khanpur road. On this site there was a Muslim Ziaratgah, sometime associated with the of Panch-Pir. The approach from the village is through a gap, which leads to a bowl like valley, drained by a rivulet. Here we have a stupa on the western side and the monastery on the eastern, both erected in the second century A.D. in the of the Great Kushanas. In the monastery coins of the Hun ruler Truman and of the Turki shahi Samanta Deva have been found. The monastery has been described by Hiuen Tsang in the early 7th century A.D. the stupa stands on a double rectangular terrace with an off-set projection for the steps on the east. The plinth walls were decorated with stucco reliefs, which go right upto the top of the drum. In the bays between the pilasters were groups of Buddha's with attendant Bodhisattvas and Devas. The monastery consists of a square court with cells around and additional halls for assembly and other rooms for kitchen, refectory and guardroom. There are a number of niches added to the outer wall of the cell, which enshrined Buddhist figures. In addition, one cell had a complete stupa later installed inside, the like of which is now in Taxila Museum. Some stucco sculptures have also been removed to Taxila Museum. The open court is at a lower level with a place for the lustral bath.

Jaulian, probably derived from Jail walian(place of Muslim religious heads) Buddhist establishment is picturesquely perched on the top of Hathial Range further ahead a little way off from the Khanpur Road. By its side a new road now passes. From its top can have a marvelous view of Taxila valley. But the present roof around the main stupa does not give a god of view of the decorated votive stupa around. In actual planning the monastic establishment is an exact copy of the Buddhist monument at Mohra Moradu, though later additions give different perspective. As we climb up from the north, we enter the later court of niches through the postern entrance and come directly in front of the main stupa, to the north of which there is flight of steps. Just before this towards our right, in a small room, there is a stucco seated Buddha, with its head changed several times in the past. Around the main stupa a number of votive stupas can be seen, the square bases of which show a marvelous decoration of stucco Buddha's and Buddhisattvas. They are the best-preserved stucco art in Taxila. After seeing the main stupa, we pass through the complex of empty niches and reach the entrance of the monastery. On the left side of the entrance there is a cell, in the Centre of which is a Buddha with twelve subsidiary figures on his right and left. One of which is a central Asian style and dress. The original is now in Taxila Museum. The monastery inside is an open court with a verandah around, behind which are residential cells in two stories. The inches in the verandah have more stucco sculptures. A postern entrance leads to subsidiary halls and rooms meant for other purpose. In one corner of the courtyard there is a lustral bathroom.


Previous                     Home                            Next          

                      Page Prepared by: Suleman Shah                      


About us | Cultural Heritage | History | Indus Civilization | Gandhara Civilization | Islamic Period |

Sikh Period | British Period | Post Independence | Landscape | Gardens | Museums & Galleries

| Home |