Pushkalavati (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 to 2nd century AD.
The ruins of Pushkalavati consist of many stupas and sites of two old cities.
This is the oldest settlement of the Pushkalavati occupied from 6th century BC. Ashoka built a stupa there which was described by Xuan Zang when he visited in 630 AD, which is still not found. This site was first excavated in 1902 by Marshal and then by Mortimer Wheeler in 1958.
Peucela and Shaikhan Dheri
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.
Pushkalavati and Prang
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
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.
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 .
- Map of Gandhara archaeological sites, from the Huntington Collection, Ohio State University (large file)
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