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Pakistan’s Taxila museum, the custodian of ancient Gandhanra civilization

Islamabad, Taxila Museum is one of the oldest museums in Pakistan which holds most significant and comprehensive collections of ancient Gandhara civilization.

Gandhara was an ancient kingdom situated along the Kabul and Swat rivers of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Gandhara is known to be the cradle of Buddhist Civilization.

The archeological site of Taxila is just 40 kilometers away from Islamabad. It is the most important site of Gandhara civilization housing about 50 archeological remains from the second century BC to 6th century AD. Taxila was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1980.

Origin of Taxila as a city goes back to c. 1000 BC. Some ruins at Taxila date to the time of the Achaemenid Empire in the 6th century BCE, followed successively by Mauryan Empire, Indo-Greek, Indo-Scythian, and Kushan Empire periods.

Taxila was discovered in 1911 - 1922 by Sir Joh Marshal who has been regarded as the discoverer of many other archeological. The main ruins of Taxila are divided into three major cities, each belonging to a distinct time period.

Construction of Taxila museum started in 1918 and its foundation stone was laid by Lord Chelmsford, Viceroy of India, to display the important relics discovered from Texila archeological sites.

There are some 4000 objects displayed, including stone, stucco, terracotta, silver, gold, iron and semiprecious stones. Mainly the display consists of objects from the period 600 BC to 500 AD.

In the six galleries of the museum the material has been presented subject wise. Original objects have been exhibited in the wall showcases and in the middle of the halls are table showcases.

Buddhist, Hindu and Jain religion are well represented through these objects discovered from three ancient cities and more than two dozen Buddhist stupas and monasteries and Greek temples in the region.

Taxila museum has one of the most significant and comprehensive collections of stone Buddhist sculpture from the first to the seventh centuries in Pakistan known as Gandharan art.

The core of the collection comes from excavated sites in the Taxila valley, particularly the excavations of Sir John Marshall. Other objects come from excavated sites elsewhere in Gandhanra.

There are around 24 stories about Buddha carved in stones which are on display in the museum. The life stories of Buddha were written in Gandhara and in their light the sculptors carved them in stones.

Many people are impressed by the Dancing Lady of Gandhara civilization displayed in the museum. There are two dozen Buddhist Stupas can be found by people in the museum.

These Stupas are in the same condition as they were discovered during the digging process; just some are repaired to give the touch of reality.

The museum contains a large collection of coins from the period of the Indo-Greeks to the late Kushans.

The Taxila museum is a well display of Gandhara civilization. It is the best place to know the riveting history of the civilization of that time.

Source: Islamic Republic News Agency - IRNA

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