Glimpse into past with this UNESCO World Heritage Site in Mardan
The Buddhist ruins at Takht-i-Bahi and the nearby city remains at Sahr-i-Bahlol, also known as Takht-i-Bahi (throne of the water spring) and Takht-i-Bhai (throne of origins), are two of Pakistan’s six UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
It is among the region’s best-preserved Buddhist monasteries. This tourist destination, which can be found in Mardan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, draws visitors worldwide. This monastic complex’s long history dates back to the first century because it was formerly a component of the Gandhara culture.
So, fellow explorers and history enthusiasts! Are you prepared to go through time to discover one of Pakistan’s undiscovered gems? Put on your explorer’s hat and get ready to discover the secrets of Takht-i-Bahi if you’re seeking a fantastic combination of history, culture, and stunning scenery!
A THRONE OF WATER SPRING: TAKHT-I-BAHI
This ancient wonder, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a testimony to the region’s rich history and diverse cultural tapestry. The spring on the site’s left side is said to have given the monastery its name.
The massive and well-preserved monastery offers crucial details and evidence of early Buddhism. According to historians and archaeologists, only 30% of the site, which has been unaltered for 800 years, has been unearthed; the other 70% still needs to be found. These Buddhist-style remains are scattered across many hilltops, with heights varying from 36.6 meters to 152.4 meters. The monastery reportedly continued to function until the seventh century.
A HALF OF THE FUN IS GETTING THERE.
In and of itself, the journey to Takht-i-Bahi is an experience. It’s perched atop a hill, 80 kilometres from Peshawar and 16 from the thriving metropolis of Mardan. The stunning environment and verdant fields that greet you as you approach the site will make you feel like you’ve entered a time machine and are travelling back in history.
THE HISTORIC TREE FOREST
What makes this site so unique, then? Takht-i-Bahi is a whole complex that previously housed hundreds of monks and served as a centre for Buddhist education; it is not simply one temple or building. Here are some features that make this location unique:
- The Main Stupa: The main stupa will greet you as you enter the complex
This towering structure served as the spiritual heart of the monastic complex. It’s believed that relics of Buddha were once enshrined here.
- Courtyards and Cells
Wander around the courtyards, and you’ll find dozens of small cells where monks once lived and meditated. You can almost hear the whispers of ancient chants in the air.
- Ornate Architecture
The architectural style of Takht-i-Bahi is a mesmerizing blend of Hellenistic and Indian influences. The intricate carvings, columns, and decorative motifs that adorn the site will captivate you.
- The Water Management System
The monastic complex was well-planned, with a sophisticated water management system that included channels and cisterns. It’s a testament to the ingenuity of its builders.
THE SCENIC VIEWS
Takht-i-Bahi is notable for its historical significance and breathtaking panorama views of the surroundings. As you stand at the complex’s highest point, you may see verdant green fields, charming villages, and breathtaking mountains in the distance. It’s the ideal location to take in Pakistan’s natural splendour.
TIPS FOR EXPLORING TAKHT-I-BAHI
- Guided Tours: To truly appreciate the historical and cultural significance of Takht-i-Bahi, consider hiring a local guide who can share fascinating stories and insights.
- Respect the Site: Remember that this is a sacred and historical site. Dress modestly and be respectful of the monks and other visitors.
- Pack Essentials: Wear comfortable shoes, carry water, and protect yourself from the sun. It can get hot in the summer, so sunscreen and a hat are essential.
- Camera Ready: Remember your camera or smartphone to capture the incredible architecture and scenery.
The Bottom Line
Takht-i-Bahi is a place where history comes alive, and the whispers of the past echo through the centuries. It’s a remarkable destination for anyone who loves adventure, culture, and exploration. So, why wait? Plan your trip, embrace the mystique of this ancient marvel, and let the stones of Takht-i-Bahi tell you their story.
If you are in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), the KP Culture and Tourism Authority is offering a tour of the site for PKR 1,000 for families and females (with transport and lunch included). Interested parties can contact 0315-814-2665 for registration and details. The tour will be held on October 15, 2023, and the tourists are asked to gather at Peshawar Sports Complex at 9 a.m.