gandhara tourism northern territories of pakistan in gandhara 2023, al sadat marketing

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Gandhara Tourism | Northern Territories of Pakistan

The Buddhist-dominated ancient Gandhara civilization, which lasted from the first to the seventh centuries, once included the northern regions of Pakistan. There are numerous historical sites and sacred locations throughout the nation, including those in Taxila, Takht-e-Bahi, Swat, and Gilgit-Baltistan (GB).

At least 19 ancient sites are located in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), five in Sindh, one in Balochistan, ten in Punjab, and four in Great Britain, according to historians. The enigmatic Shah Allah Ditta caverns in Islamabad provide evidence that the former seat of Pakistan’s federal government previously belonged to the ancient Gandhara culture.

Read More: Gandhara History | Library of Congress Reveals Ancient Scroll

When Gautama Buddha passed away, his ashes were stored in eight different stupas, the most notable of which being the Dharmarajika Stupa of Taxila. Gautama Buddha spent his whole life promoting the message of peace and harmony. Buddhism was made the official religion during Ashoka the Great’s rule, and thousands more stupas were erected throughout the enormous kingdom.

Read More: Reviving the Past | Gandhara Journey from Antiquity to Modernity

According to historians, Taxila is where the first Buddha statue was produced. In a similar vein, the world’s oldest university in recorded human history was also founded in Taxila, the city where the renowned philosopher Chanakya taught students. His two most well-known books, “ArthaShastra” and “Chanakya Niti,” continue to be the most widely read today.

Although the rise of Buddhism is typically credited with the Gandhara era, it is obvious that adherents of Jainism, Zoroastrianism, and Hinduism were also permitted to live happily throughout this time. Around the different Buddha stupas, there are a number of temples dedicated to Dharmic religions, such as Jainism, Parsi, and Hinduism, which are evidence of complete religious freedom.

Read More: Gandhara Legacy | Pakistan’s Symposium Begins in Islamabad

In recent years, numerous news stories about pilgrimages to Pakistan’s Gandhara sites by Buddhists from a number of friendly nations, including Thailand, Korea, and Sri Lanka, have surfaced in the media. Most recently, a powerful Buddhist leader from Thailand travelled to Taxila with his followers for the first time in Pakistani history, which I think is a huge move in the right direction for promoting Gandhara tourism.

Buddhists are thought to make up over 7% of the world’s population today—or over 520 million individuals. There are sizable Buddhist communities in a number of Asian nations, including Japan, the two Koreas, China, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Bhutan, Laos, and Mongolia. Around 244 million individuals, or 18% of the population, are Buddhists in China.

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Syed Sadat Hussain Shah

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