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|Dir or Deer
(former Princely state)
Rice fields in Lower Dir
The map of Pakhtunkhwa, Dir region is highlighted in Red color.
|• Total||5,282 km2 (2,039 sq mi)|
|• Density||260/km2 (670/sq mi)|
|• Major languages||Pashto|
|Largest city or town||Timergara and Dir town|
Dir is a region in the north-west Pakistan , it is composed of beautiful valleys and many scenery. Before Pakistan Dir was a princely state. And later the Dir District was created in 1970 after the princely state of Dir was abolished the year before. Dir District was 5,280 square kilometres in area and lay along the disputed border controlled by the Afghan nationalists. It is situated between Chitral and Peshawar.In 1996 the district was split into Upper Dir and Lower Dir.
It is bordered to:
- Swat to the west
- Malakand and Bajaur Agency to the South.
- and Afghanistan to the east and Chital to the east and North.
Etymology and History
Dir derives its name from an Arabic word that means place of worship, monastery/convent where one can live in seclusion from others. The history of Dir goes back to at least the 2"d millennium BC, which is testified by the excavations of numerous burials of Aryans at Timargarha and other places, dating from 18th to 6th century BC. The Aryans were followed by the Achaemenians, who were ousted by the invasion of Alexander in 327 BC, though he faced great difficulties in subjugating the local population. Greek historians have paid great tributes to the population, the army and the queen of Massaga, an ancient site near the modern Ziarat village, located between Chakdara and Timargarha. After the Greeks, the area witnessed the Gandharan Civilization, which achieved great fame. This period is signified by the presence of the monumental remains of the Buddhist stupas and monasteries, a few of which has already filled the museum at Chakdara.
The Yousafzai Pathans, who established themselves here in the 5th century AD, are responsible for the tribal, social, political and economic life of the region. Akhund lIyas Painda Khel of the Malaizi tribe (1640) enjoyed popular support among locals and was recognized as a spiritual leader. His descendants built upon this support and ultimately increased their power over the people and laid the foundation of a distinct political state, then called the state of Nawabs. The British annexed Dir in 1897 and demarcated its boundaries. After independence of Pakistan, it still enjoyed the status of a separate state, but was amalgamated with Pakistan in 1960 as a tribal agency. It was finally merged as a district with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in 1969. Recently, due to administrative constraints, Dir District was divided into two districts-Lower and Upper Dir- with Timargarha and Dir as their respective headquarters.
Dir occupied an important position as a centre of Gandhara Art. Pilgrims and historians have defined Gandhara, (the land of fragrance and beauty), as "the area to the west of Indus and north of Kabul rivers which included the valleys of Peshawar, Swat, Dir and Bajaur, extending westwards to Hadda and Bamiyan in Afghanistan and Taxila Valley in Punjab in the east". The region of Dir is therefore littered with the remains of the Gandharan Civilization and Dir Museum, Chakdara, offers a fine and unique collection of Gandharan Art.