Hindu and Buddhist architectural heritage of Pakistan

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Temple and gateway in Kashmiri style at Malot, Jhelum District.

The Hindu and Buddhist architectural heritage of Pakistan is part of a long history of settlement and civilization in Pakistan. The Indus Valley civilization collapsed in the middle of the second millennium BCE and was followed by the Vedic Civilisation, which extended over much of northern India and Pakistan.

Vedic period[edit]

The time period in the history of India known as the Vedic period or Vedic age is the period of the composition of the sacred texts called Vedas and other such texts in Vedic Sanskrit. The associated culture sometimes referred to as Vedic civilization was centred on the Punjab (modern day Pakistan and India) and the Gangetic plain (modern India). Scholarship places the Vedic period into the 2nd and 1st millennia BCE, continuing up to the 6th century BCE when it began to be transformed into classical forms of Hinduism. Early medieval Hindu authors[1] suggest dates as early as the 4th millennium BCE.

Its early phase saw the formation of various kingdoms of ancient India. In its late phase (from c. 700 BCE), it saw the rise of the Mahajanapadas, and was succeeded by the golden age of Hinduism and classical Sanskrit literature, the Maurya Empire (from c. 320 BCE) and the Middle kingdoms of India.


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Gandhāra (Sanskrit गन्धार, Persian Gandara, Waihind) (Urdu: گندھارا) is the name of an ancient Mahajanapada, in northern Pakistan (the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and parts of northern Punjab and Kashmir) and eastern Afghanistan. Gandhara was located mainly in the vale of Peshawar, the Potohar plateau (see Taxila) and on the northern side of the Kabul River. Its main cities were Peshawar and Taxila.[2]

The Kingdom of Gandhara lasted from the 6th century BCE to the 11th century CE. It attained its height from the 1st century to the 5th century under the Buddhist Kushan Emperors. After it was conquered by Mahmud of Ghazni in 1021, the name Gandhara disappeared. During the Muslim period the area was administered from Lahore or from Kabul. During Mughal time the area was part of Kabul province.


The Punjabis were predominantly Hindu with large minorities of Buddhists like the rest of South Asia, when Umayyad Muslim Arab army led by Muhammad bin Qasim attacked Sindh and lower Punjab, in 713. This started the process of Islamic conversion among the population of Punjab, as well as India. This process continued for the next 10 centuries but there were significant non-Muslim populations including Hindus and later Sikhs:

The heritage of Saraikistan[edit]

Bhutta Wahan[edit]

Is situated at a distance of 16 kilometres to the North of Rahim Yar Khan, on the lost river Hakra. The village is said to be named after the name of Raja Bhutta who captured this locality after Raja Dahir. This village is also claimed to be the birthplace of Sassi, the renowned heroine of Sassi-Pannun and of Ab-ul-Fazal and Fiazi, sons of Mullah Mubarik.

Islamgarh Fort[edit]

Islamgarh, the old Bhinwar Fort, was built by Rawal Bhim Singh in Sambat in 1665, as the following inscription on its gate in Babri characters proves "Samabat 1665 Asuj Wadi 2, Maharaj Rawal Sri Bhim Singh Ji Maharaj". The fort is situated in the Cholistan area of Tehsil Khanpur. It is 46 kilometres south east of Baghla Fort. The fort is in a dilapidated state.

Mau Bubarik Fort[edit]

According to Tarikh-e-Murad, a fort was built by Raj Hans Karar in Mau Mubarik as a residence for his mother, hence the name Mau refers to mother in local language. The fort was taken by Shah Arghun in 1525. It was one of the six fortresses of Raj Sahasi 11. It had 20 bastions and Towers. The ramparts were about 549 meters in circumference and the walls very strongly and thickly built. Here, the shrine of a Saint Sheikh Hakim is of great importance.

Pattan Minara[edit]

The ruins of Pattan Minara are located at a distance of about 8 kilometers in east south of Rahim Yar Khan city. It has variously been described as the remains of Mauryan period, who built it in 250 BCE or a Buddhist monastery. Nearby the minar, remains of a fort, a mosque and some tunnels are also visible. About 110 years ago, Colonel Minchin a political agent of Ex-Bahawalpur state, started the excavation of these tunnels but discontinued digging for some reasons or other. According to Colonel Toy, it was the capital of the Hindu state in 10 CE. In the mid of the 18th century, Fazal Elahi Khan Halani, a Daupauta chief, destroyed it and used its materials in the construction of Bhagla and Dingarh Fort.


The ruins of Kafirkot, ruins at Mari, remains of Rokhri, architectural objects and remain-ruins of Sirkapp Fort.




See also[edit]


  1. ^ e.g. Aryabhata (5th century)[citation needed]
  2. ^ [1]

External links[edit]