Taxila Off The Beaten Path Tips by besal
Taxila Off The Beaten Path: 7 reviews and 26 photos
View of Main Stupa
Mohra Moradu is a Buddhist complex, consisting of two parts: in the west, a stupa (venerated tomb), and in the east, a monastery. The latter is situated between two hill spurs. The drive towards this site goes through various orchids, farms, and over several dried springs.
The monastery was built in the second century and extensively renovated in the fifth century. Monasteries in Gandara and the Punjab usually had 27 cells, which surrounded a rectangular central court with a bathroom an assembly hall, a well, a store-room, a kitchen,a refectory, and a latrine. The monastery looks a lot like the one at Jaulian.
The stupa in the museum is the replica of the original which can be viewed at this site. The original is kept behind closed a glass wall, and may be opened by the guard.
The Jandial temple, set up on an artificial mound, resembles closely with temples of Greece. Its Ionic columns and pilasters are composed of massive blocks of sandstone. It comprised a square sanctuary, a meeting hall, and a courtyard.
Built in the Scythio-Parthian period, it is probably the temple described by Philostratus in his Life of Apollonius of Tyana. Jandial temple is not considered Buddhist, and may have been used by Zoroastrian worship.
The temple is surrounded on 3 sides with farms, and is easily accessible from the road.
A monastery built on top of a hill, gives a scenic view of Taxila. A steep climb up several steps takes you to this place, where several statues are in place to view. The monastery houses a small university of that time where monks lived and learned their trade, and have perhaps the most impressive, decorative and evocative remains visible today. Most of the important relics from this site have been shifted to the museum.
There is an enclosure that houses several reliefs some well preserved, but majority scavengered/plundered.
There are also several sellers at the small shop below of fake statues and reliefs (will write about them in shopping tip).
City of Sirkap
Situated about 2km north of the Museum, it was one of the largest city of ancient Taxila. Remains of Sirkap shows a well developed city, with lanes and houses along with various stupas strategically built every few blocks. Two prominent stupas remaining are the Double Headed Eagle and Jain temple dating back to 1st century AD. The double headed eagle represents 3 civilization that must have adorned this area: Greek, Hindu, and Buddhism. All represented in the motif.
You need a lot of imagination to see what the city was probably like, with double story houses and shops all around. A lot of Greek influence is observable here.
The main Stupa
The earliest and largest Buddhist complex, stands on the banks of Dharma rivulet, it was built to enshrine the redistributed holy relics of the Buddha by King Asoka. The site was excavated in 1912-16 by Sir John Marshall.
Situated about 2 km east of the museum (on your left), a path over two streams, now a proper staircase, takes you up towards this monastery. The Stupa and monastery dates from Asoka’s time in the mid-third century BC. There were series of small Stupas build around by wealthy devotees, and a series of chapels.
The ruins shows that this was a great religious site, with various tall human and animal stuccos (only feet and other small remains are now visible) at various spots around. The site is situated in a very serene surrounding overlooking the Taxila hills.
Bhir Mound (picture from net)
Located south of the museum, and also visible from the main road, this is the oldest and first site excavated by Sir John Marshall. The site dates back from 6th – 2nd century BC. There is little to see as the excavation has pointed out that the settlement was a clutter of unplanned alleys and streets.
On my recent trip, sadly the area around was becoming a cricket ground.
Picture taken from net
When the Kushan invaders decided to abandon the city of Sirkap (the second city of Taxila) and built a new one in its place, they selected a new site known as Sirsukh. The Great Kushans, after succeeding the Parthians, laid the foundation of the third city site in a lush green valley in 80 A.D. about 1.5km north east of Sirkap.
What reasons the Kushans had for abandoning the existing city can only be surmised, and it is believed that Sirkap had been hit by a deadly plague which wiped out half of the city's population.
The new city, Sirsukh, is slightly rectangular, measuring nearly 1,500 yards along its northern and southern sides and 1,100 along its eastern and western. Besides, the few mounds, which stand out among the cultivated fields and which are expected to be covering some more remains, are now occupied by the graves of locals and, hence, cannot be excavated.
(from DAWN article August 2004)
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