Buddhist Stupas in Pakistan – Wonders of the Kashmira-Gandhara region
Table of Contents
- 1 - Origin of Buddhist Stupas in Pakistan
- 2 - List of Buddhist Stupas in Pakistan
- 2.1 - Sikri stupa
- 2.2 - Amluk-Dara stupa
- 2.3 - Mohra Muradu
- 2.4 - Thul Hairo Khan
- 2.5 - Sudheran-Jo-Thul
- 2.6 - Sphola Stupa
- 2.7 - Shaji-ki-Dheri
- 2.8 - Nemogram Stupa
- 2.9 - Mankiala stupa
- 2.10 - Barikot
- 2.11 - Mankiala
- 2.12 - Kunala Stupa
- 2.13 - Kanishka Stupa
- 2.14 - Kalawan
- 2.15 - Gumbat Stupa
- 2.16 - Dharmarajika Stupa
- 2.17 - Butkara Stupa
- 2.18 - Thul Mir Rukan
Origin of Buddhist Stupas in Pakistan
Buddhism in Pakistan took root some 2,300 years ago under the Mauryan king Ashoka who sent missionaries to the Kashmira-Gandhara region of North West Pakistan extending into Afghanistan, following the Third Buddhist council in Pataliputra (modern India).
Majjhantika, a monk from Varanasi was the first Buddhist to preach in Kashmir and Gandhara.
Buddhist sites in Sindh are numerous but ill preserved in various stages of deterioration.
Sites at Brahmanabad (Mansura Sanghar district) include a Buddhist stupa at Mohenjo-daro; Sirah-ji-takri near Rohri, Sukkur, Kahu-Jo-Daro at Mirpur Khas, Nawabshah, Sudheran-Jo-Thul near Hyderabad, Thul Mir Rukan stupa, Thul Hairo Khan Stupa, Bhaleel-Shah-Thul square stupas (5th-7th century A.D) at Dadu, and Kot-Bambhan-Thul buddhist tower near Tando Muhammad Khan.
List of Buddhist Stupas in Pakistan
This is a list of historical Buddhist Stupas in Pakistan.
The Sikri stupa is a work of Buddhist art dated to 3rd-4th century from the Kushan period in Gandahara, consisting of 13 narrative panels that tell the story of Buddha. Modern restoration accounts for their order in the Lahore Museum. The restoration began while Harold Arthur Deane was still assigned to the North-West Frontier Province in what was then British India. Three photos taken around 1890 show the order of the panels in the earliest restoration.
Amluk-Dara stupa is located in Swat valley of Pakistan. It is a part of Gandhara civilization at Amluk-Dara. The stupa is believed to have been built in the third century. The stupa was first discovered by a Hungarian-British archaeologist Sir Aurel Stein in 1926. It was later studied by Domenico Faccena in the 60s and 70s.
Mohra Muradu is the place of an ancient Buddhist stupa and monastery near the ruins of Taxila built by the Kushans. The ancient monastery is located in a valley and has views of the surrounding mountains. The monks could meditate in all stillness at this place but were near enough to the city of Sirsukh to go for begging as it is only around 1.5 km away.
Thul Hairo Khan
The Thul Hairo Khan is a Buddhist Stupa, built possibly between the 5th to 7th century CE near the modern-day town of Johi, in Sindh, Pakistan. It is constructed with baked and unbaked bricks fixed with a material made from mud mixed water. The stupa is 50 feet high and 30 feet wide in size. The stair from the north side of stupa leads to its top. The stupa has an arched tunnel at ground level which crosses from north to south. It is believed that stupas like Hairo Khan were built in Sindh between 5th to 7th centuries CE. Thul of Hairo Khan appears to be series of discovered in other regions of Sindh.
Sudheran-Jo-Thul is a Buddhist stupa which is situated near Tando Muhammad Khan city of Tando Muhammad Khan District, Sindh, Pakistan. The stupa is close to Badin city as well. This Buddhist monument in Sindh is located at the mound which shows the remains of an ancient big city. It is located towards South of Hyderabad city. Locally it is famous as Tower of Sudheran. According to some accounts this stupa is believed to be cinerary.
Sphola Stupa is a Buddhist monument located in the Khyber Pass, Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan. The monument located about 25 kilometers from Jamrūd is on a high rocky ledge and consists of a stone mound supported by a tiered base. Large sections of the stone have fallen away, particularly to the right of the mound. A man is standing on the top of the mound, and another man is standing on a pile of rubble to the right. There is a valley beyond with steep mountains rising behind it.
Nemogram stupa is located 45 km west of Saidu Sharif and 22 km from Birkot, on the right bank of Swat river in Pakistan.This site was discovered in 1966 and excavated in 1967–68.Swat is rich in historical landmarks as well as natural beauty. In every direction, these are tangled in the wide valley. Aurel Stein, a British archaeologist, and Tucci, who was followed by other Italians, worked tirelessly to document and preserve these monuments.
The Mankiala Stupa is a 2nd-century Buddhist stupa near the village of Tope Mankiala, in Pakistan’s Punjab province. The stupa was built by the Kushans and is said to commemorate the spot, where according to the Jataka tales, an incarnation of the Buddha called Prince Sattva sacrificed himself to feed seven hungry tiger cubs.
Barikot is a town located in the middle course of the Swat River in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. It is located about 20 km (12 mi) away from Mingora and the Butkara Stupa. It is the entrance town to the central Swat Valley with a population of approximately 25,000 people. Barikot is the location of an ancient citadel captured by Alexander the Great, with Chalcolithic remains dating back to c. 1700 BCE, and an early-historic period town dating back to c. 500 BCE. The Italian Archaeological Mission founded by Giuseppe Tucci has been excavating ruins of the ancient town of Bazira under Barikot since 1984.
Mankiala is a village in the Potohar plateau, Punjab near Rawalpindi, Pakistan, known for the nearby Mankiala stupa – a Buddhist stupa located at the site where, according to legend, Buddha sacrificed some of his body parts to feed seven hungry tiger cubs.
Kunala Stupa is a Kushan-era Buddhist stupa and monastery complex to the south-east of Taxila, on a hill about 200 meters just south of Sirkap, Punjab, Pakistan, thought to date to the 2nd century CE. It is located on a hill overlooking the ancient Indo-Greek city of Sirkap.
The Kanishka Stupa was a monumental stupa established by the Kushan king Kanishka during the 2nd century CE in today’s Shaji-ki-Dheri on the outskirts of Peshawar, Pakistan.
Gumbat Stupa is a 2nd-century Buddhist stupa located in Swat valley in Pakistan. It is situated about 9 kilometres south of Birkot in the Kandag Valley of Gandhara.
The Dharmarajika Stupa, also referred to as the Great Stupa of Taxila, is a Buddhist stupa near Taxila, Pakistan. It dates from the 2nd century CE, and was built by the Kushans to house small bone fragments of the Buddha. The stupa, along with the large monastic complex that later developed around it, forms part of the Ruins of Taxila – which were inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1980.
The Butkara Stupa is an important Buddhist stupa near Mingora, in the area of Swat, Pakistan. It may have been built by the Mauryan emperor Ashoka, but it is generally dated slightly later to the 2nd century BCE.
Thul Mir Rukan
The Thul Mir Rukan is a Buddhist stupa, built possibly between the 6th to 11th century CE, near the modern cities of Kazi Ahmed and Daulatpur in the Sindh province of Pakistan. This monument has domed ceiling and it is 60 feet high, constructed with baked bricks. Details indicate the site being a religious Buddhist center since antiquity. Many evidences were explored from this site are related to Gautama Buddha.