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Pushkalavati (in and near modern-day Charsadda) is an ancient site situated in Peshawar valley in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province (formerly NWFP) of Pakistan. It is located on the banks of Swat River, near its junction with Kabul River. Pushkalavati meaning Lotus City was the capital of ancient kingdom Gandhara from the 6th century BC, when it became an Achaemenid local capital, to 2nd century AD.

The ruins of Pushkalavati consist of many stupas and sites of two old cities.

Bala Hisar[edit]

Bala Hisar site in this area was first occupied in the 2nd millennium BC.[1][2]

In later 6th century BC, Pushkalavati became the capital of the Achaemenid Gandhara satrapy.[3] The location was first excavated in 1902 by Marshall. Sir Mortimer Wheeler conducted some excavations there in 1962, and identified various Achaemenid remains.

Later, King Ashoka built a stupa there which was described by Xuan Zang when he visited in 630 AD, which is still not found.

Peucela and Shaikhan Dheri[edit]

The Bactrian Greeks built a new city (Peucela or Peucelaitis) at this site which lies one kilometre from Bala Hissar on the other side of the branch of River Jinde. This city was occupied by Parthian, Sakas and Kushans and subsequently[when?] became known as Shaikhan Dheri (AKA Shaikhn Dher, etc.). In 2nd AD, river changed its course and city was flooded. The town moved to the site of the modern village of Rajjar.

The former city's ruins were partly excavated by Ahmad Hasan Dani in 1960s. There are still many mounds at Mir Ziarat, at Rajar and Shahr-i-Napursan which are still unexcavated.

Pushkalavati and Prang[edit]

The city of Pushkalavati was situated at the confluence of Swat and Kabul rivers. Three different branches of Kabul river meet there. That specific place is still called Prang and considered sacred. A grand graveyard is situated to the north of Prang where the local people bring their dead for burial. This graveyard is considered to be among the largest graveyards in the world.

Pushkalavati in the Ramayana[edit]

In the concluding portion of the (Ramayana) Uttara or Supplemental Book, the descendants of Rama and his brothers are described as the founders of the great cities and kingdoms which flourished in Western India.[citation needed]

Bharata the brother of Rama had two sons, Taksha and Pushkala. The former founded Taksha-sila or Taxila, to the east of the Indus, and known to Alexander and the Greeks as Taxila. The latter founded Pushkala-vati or Pushkalavati, to the west of the Indus, and known to Alexander and the Greeks as Peukelaotis. Thus the sons of Bharat are said to have founded kingdoms which flourished on either side of the Indus river .[citation needed]

See also[edit]

History of Peshawar


  1. ^ Investigating ancient Pushkalavati Pushkalavati Archaeological Research Project
  2. ^ Ali et al. 1998: 6–14; Young 2003: 37–40; Coningham 2004: 9.
  3. ^ Rafi U. Samad, The Grandeur of Gandhara: The Ancient Buddhist Civilization of the Swat, Peshawar, Kabul and Indus Valleys. Algora Publishing, 2011, p. 32 ISBN 0875868592

External links[edit]

  • Charsadda(this link seems to link to the Department of Archaeology of the University of Bradford, UK, doesn't seem to give anything about Charsadda/Pushkalavati)

External links[edit]