Known as both Takht-i-Bahi (throne of the water spring) or Takht-i-Bhai (throne of origins), the Buddhist ruins of Takht-i-Bahi and the neighbouring city remains at Sahr-i-Bahlol are one of the six UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Pakistan. It is one of the most well-preserved Buddhist monasteries in the region. Located in Mardan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, this site is a tourist magnet that attracts people from all over the world. The centuries-old history of this monastic complex finds its roots in the first century, as it was once part of what is called Gandhara civilisation.
So, fellow adventurers and history buffs! Are you ready to embark on a journey back in time to explore one of Pakistan’s hidden gems? If you’re looking for an awe-inspiring combination of history, culture, and breathtaking scenery, then put on your explorer’s hat and get ready to uncover the secrets of Takht-i-Bahi!
Takht-i-Bahi: A Throne of Water Spring
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is an archaeological wonder that is a testament to the rich history and diverse cultural tapestry of the region. The local legend associates the name of this monastery with the spring located on the left side of the site. The great and amazingly-preserved monastery offers vital insights and evidence about ancient Buddhism. Historians and archaeologists believe that only 30% of the site, which has maintained its original state for 800 years, has been excavated and the rest 70% still needs to be unearthed. These ruins are spread out across various hilltops ranging from 36.6 metres to 152.4 metres in height – which is typical for Buddhist structures. It is said that the monastery was being used until the seventh century
Getting There is Half the Adventure
Getting to Takht-i-Bahi is an adventure in itself. Nestled atop a hill, it’s about 80 kilometres from Peshawar and 16 kilometres from the bustling city of Mardan. As you approach the site, the lush green fields and picturesque landscape will make you feel like you’re in a time machine, travelling back to ancient times.
The Historical Treasure Trove
So, what’s the big deal about this place? Well, Takht-i-Bahi is not just one temple or building; it’s an entire complex that once housed hundreds of monks and served as a centre of Buddhist learning. Here are some highlights that make this place so special:
The Main Stupa: As you enter the complex, you’ll be greeted by the main stupa. 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. You’ll be captivated by the intricate carvings, columns, and decorative motifs that adorn the site.
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
Besides its historical significance, Takht-i-Bahi offers stunning panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. As you stand at the highest point of the complex, you can see lush green fields, quaint villages, and the majestic mountains in the distance. It’s the perfect place to soak in the natural beauty of Pakistan.
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: Don’t forget your camera or smartphone to capture the incredible architecture and scenery.
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 0315-8142665 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 AM.
Happy exploring! Also, don’t forget to read more about the latest updates on exciting event and properties in Pakistan on Zameen Blog. You can leave a comment in the section below if you have any queries.