Hindu and Buddhist Architectural Heritage of Pakistan – Part 1

A long history of civilization as well as settlement in Pakistan actually covers the topic of Hindu and Buddhist architectural heritage of Pakistan. The history noted collapsing incident of the Indus Valley civilization that happened in the middle of second millennium BCE. Later on this region went through a new phase of the Vedic Civilization, which spread its roots to most part of Pakistan and India (mainly northern areas).

Vedic Period

Vedic Period:

A period in the history of sub-continent is commonly described as the Vedic Age or Vedic Period. It was the time when the region was going through the composition phase of Vedas (also known as sacred texts) along with some other same-natured texts in Vedic Sanskrit. This time period (also claimed as the associated culture’s time period) is also named in the history as Vedic Civilization. The center of this civilization in Indo-Pak region was Punjab and the Gangetic Plain (consists on modern Indian land).

The Vedic Period is generally placed by the scholarship into the 2nd and 1st millennia BCE, which started continuing in this region for centuries up to 6th century BCE. It was the time when Vedic Civilization started getting transformed into currently known form of civilization i.e. Hinduism. Some of the Hindu medieval authors suggest that the Vedic Civilization had successfully transformed into Hinduism sometimes in the 4th millennium BCE.

The early phase of Hinduism formation is described as the phase of several kingdoms of ancient India in the history. This civilization phase also saw the Mahajanapadas rise from 700 BCE onward, which was then succeeded by the classical Sanskrit literature as well as the golden age of Hinduism, the Middle Kingdoms of India and the Maurya Empire.

One of the most famous ancient kingdoms (during the formation phase of Hinduism) is known as Gandhara, which consists on northern Pakistan (included Kashmir, northern Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa) and currently eastern Afghanistan. Mainly, the valley of Peshawar, Kabul River’s northern side and the Potohar plateau was the center of Gandhara. Therefore, the main cities of Gandhara were Taxila and Peshawar at that time.

The history tells that the Kingdom of Gandhara ruled this area for around seventeen centuries i.e. from 6th century BCE to 11th century CE, while 5th century CE was the peak time of this kingdom. This peak time of the Kingdom of Gandhara was ruled by the Buddhist Kushan Emperors. This kingdom reaches its end in 1021 CE when the region was conquered by Mahmud of Ghazni. It was the time when the name of the Kingdom of Gandhara got disappeared from the history. The Muslim reign tenure then administered this region either from Kabul or from Lahore, while the area was Kabul province’s part during Mughal Emperors tenure.

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