Guide to Historic Taxila


Taxila of the Muslims

Before the identification of Taxila and the start of the excavation the place was known by the village of shah Dheri, another village inside Mughal Caravan Serai, and some villages associated with Muslim saints. Shah Dheri, which was situated on a hillock, obviously drew its name from the Turki shahi rulers, who must have built a hill fort here. The Mughal Caravan Serai has given rise to the modern village, called Saraikala on the main National Highway. On the Bhir mound there was a Muslim shrine, called Bhir(correctly Pir)-Ziarat. At Mohra Moradu there was another Ziarat associated with the name of Panch Pir(Five Saints). Similarly at Julia there must have been a Muslim shrine and hence the name. But the greatest concentration of Muslim monuments was at the hill spot of Giri (itself meaning a hill on route to the Muslim monuments on the other side of Margalla Hill, viz. Allahditta Cave, Golra Sharif, Saidpur and Barri Imam, all built in the Mughal or post-Mughal period on the spots earlier associated with the Buddhist establishment.

At Giri was built a hill fort by the Turki Shahis, which was used later by the Ghaznavid Sultans. It was occupied by Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni and his two sons Masud and Muhammad. But at this time Taxila was not the capital. Turki shahi capital was at Udhandapur (modern Hund on the Indus). But Giri fort lay on the main route from Udhandpur to the Salt Range forts, e.g. one at Nandna in Jhelum district. After Mahmud’s occupation of this region Giri become very important from strategic angle. Here was decided the fate of his two sons, Amir Masud and Amir Muhammad and his two sons and avenged his father’s murder in Giri fort. Maudud establishment here a town and a Serai and named it Fathabad. People settled here and the place become very popular. Masud dispatched the corpse of the father and brethren from Giri to Ghazni. The Mughal historian further speaks of the construction of so many colleges and mosques by Masud.

Muslims Remains:
The Mughal Caravan Serai is situated in the village of Saraikala. There was also a tank that is now gone. Inside there is an old mosque. Giri Fort is situated in the valley and the fortification wall spread over the hilltop. This has many semi-circular based placed at intervals. The fort also included the water spring. Just near the spring towards west there is an old domed mosque, its fluted dome resting on pendentive system of arches. Next to the mosque is a mausoleum. East of the spring there is another old mosque of a smaller size. Further away from the mosque there are remains of madrassah, the dome of which spread in the mediaeval time. Some of the Ulamas bore the name of Margalli.


Mughal Caravan Serai.

Giri Fort.

Buddhist monasteries.


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