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Charsadda

چارسده

Charsadda is 30 km (17 Miles) North East of Peshawar. It is potentially one of the most important ancient sites of Asia; representing a group of imposing mounds in the area. It is situated in a productive and well-watered Peshawar plain, with its enormous working buffalo and the unique sight of tropical sugar cane & cold climate sugar beet growing side by side. It is officialy divided into three Tehsils (Charsadda, Tangi, and Shabqadar) and these are further divided into small villages. Geographically, it is divided into two regions; Hashtnagar & Do Aba.

Of these, Hashtnagar mans eight villages; Prhang, Charsadda, Rajar (Razarh), Turangzai, Utmanzai, Umarzai, Sherpao, and Tangi. Do Aba is the local word for a land which lies in the middle of rivers and is covered by all sides with it. The main villages in Do Aba are Hajizai, Kangrha, Batagram, & Shab Qadar.

The site has long been identified with Pushkalavati (The Lotus City); the pre-Kushan capital of Gandhara from about the 6th Century BC to the 2nd Century AD.. This city was captured in 324 BC after a siege of 30 days, by the troops of Alexander the Great and its formal surrender was received by Alexander himself. It has been established beyond doubt that this city was the metropolitan center of Asiatic trade and meeting place of oriental and occidental cultures even as long ago as 500-1,000 BC.

Pushkalavati ensured the survival of the city as a center for pilgrims until the 7th century AD though the capital was moved to Peshawar.

Today District Charsadda Total Population is more than 10, 22,000, most of them are Agriculture based. Total area of District Charsadda is about 996 square Km. There are 826 Primary Schools, 91 Middle Schools, 63 High Schools, 7 Higher Secondary Schools, 3 Degree colleges, One commerce College and one Technical & Vocational College, while two Degree colleges are in Private Sectors. There are 12 Computer Institutes and 8 Internet Clubs, providing state of the art facilities and education. There two special education centers for Disable persons. There is a total land of about 98646 Hectors, out of which 43433 is under cultivation. The popular crops are Sugar Can, Sugar Beet, Potatoes, Edible Oils, Onion, Maize, and wheat.

There are 49 Union Councils, 5 Hospitals, out of which One is DHQ Hospital Charsadda, and Two are Tehsil Headquarters Hospital - at Tangi and Shabqadar, Five Dispensaries, three Rural Health Centres, 38 Basic Health Units and Two TB and Diabetic Clinics, and Two Mother and Child Health Care centres. There are 102 NGOs, working in District charsadda and taking active part in the social and welfare development of the people of District Charsdda.

There are many places of interest to visit near Charsadda. These are:

View from the top of Takht-i-BahiBala Hisar

Excavated twice by Sir John Marshall in 1902 and by Sir Mortimer Wheeler in 1958. Wheeler's vertical trench cuts down through the many layers of mud stone and pottery to the bottom of one of the mounds Pushkalavati is first mentioned in the Hindu epic story the Ramayana. When Bharata the brother of Ramchandra conquered Gandharvadesa (Gandhara) and found two cities. Taksha (Taxila) and Pushkala (Pushkalavati) named after his two sons.

In about 516 B.C Gandhara became part of the seventh satrapy or province of the Achaemenid Empire and paid tribute to Darius the Great of Persia, until its overthrow by Alexander the Great in the 4th century B.C

The Indian Emperor Chandragupta Maurya rose to power and brought Gandhara under his sway According to a popular tradition. Emperor Asoka built one of his stupas as described by Hieun Tsang, the Chinese Buddhist pilgrim in 630 AD

Hieun Tsang visited it and he refers to it as Po-Lu-Sha. According to him it was 2 1/2 miles in circumference. A Brahminical temple to the east and a monastery to the north which according to Buddhist legends was the place where Buddha preached the Law. After Mahmud of Ghazni conquered the area and converted it to Islam in 1026 AD. The name Gandhara disappeared

The Bactrian Greeks the scluptures Gandhara founded a new capital city of Pushkalavati at what is now Shaikhan Dheri to the north east of Bala Hisar on the other side of the river. One can see it from the top of the mound. Only a small portion of Shaikhan Dheri has been excavated and no effort has been made to label or preserve the excavations.

Prang:

At the crossroads in the center of Charsadda turn night towards "Prang" through the hundreds of acres of graves all decorated with black and white stones in geometric patterns. There are several mounds in Prang - The debris of thousands of years of occupation - all un-excavated. South of village the River Swat joins River Kabul. In India near Allahabad at the confluence of the Ganges and Jumna rivers is the sacred town of Prayag. Prang is probably a corruption of Prayag, which indicates that perhaps this also was a sacred city. The people of the area too feel likewise, which may be the reason they bring their dead there for burial.

Shabqadr

Shabqadr is a small town in Charsadda tehsil 17 miles north west of Peshawar. Here is a fort built by the Sikhs called Sharkargarh. The town was burnt by Mohmands in 1897 It has since been rebuilt

Bibi Syeda Dheri

It is a site half a mile to the north of Umarzai village in Charsadda tehsil here is a mound 60-ft high. Believed to be the site of the stupa erected to commemorate the conversion by Lord Buddha of goddess Hariti who used to devour children of the locality. There is also a shrine of a lady saint Bibi Syeda. It is believed that a pinch of earth from the site is an effective antidote in the case of small Pox.

Shar-i- Napursan:

Shar-i-Napursan is an archaeological site in Charsadda tehsil near the village Rajan Excavations have unearthed two distinct settlements of the Buddhist period and two of Muslim period. Coins of Manander, Hermaeous and Kanishka have been unearthed.

Palatu Dheri

It is another archaeological site near Charsadda tehsil. A mile from Shar-i-Napursan A mound which contains the remains of a stupa, which according to Hieun Tsiang, was built by one Deven and some coins which connect them both to the first century AD have been unearthed Other finds include the image of the goddess Kalika-devi. Three inscribed jars, which were presented by some laymen to "the Community of the Four Quarters", are now in the Peshawar Museum.

Kund

Situated on the Right Bank of the Indus. 15 miles above Attock and four miles to the Southwest of Lahore village in the Swabi Tehsil lies the ancient and famous city Kund. The present village of Kund lies within the ruined walls of the old fortifications which once accommodated the victorious army of Alexander and through which successive invaders of India from the Northwest have passed. A deathblow to the prosperity and importance of the old city came with the diversion of the highway by the Mughals.

Within a radius of two miles around the village are remains of infinitely greater archaeological importance and excavations would certainly prove and unveil valuable discoveries worthy of the fame and past glory of the great city. Which is thought to have been built by Alexander. Its grandeur was depicted in the treasures of the Kushans, Muslims and the Brahman Princes of Kabul. The two inscriptions recovered from the site also, confirm these facts

Takt-i-Bahi

Takht Bahi

Takht Bahi was developed as a Buddhist monastery between 1st and 7th centuries AD.

References:

http://www.charsadda.ipfox.com/

 

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