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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

For the genus of metalmark butterflies, see Taxila (butterfly).

Coordinates: 33°44′45″N 72°47′15″E / 33.74583°N 72.7875°E / 33.74583; 72.7875

UNESCO World Heritage Site

Panorama at Jaulian - Ancient Buddhist Monastery, Taxila
State Party  Pakistan
Type Cultural
Criteria iii, vi
Reference 139
Region** Asia-Pacific
Inscription history
Inscription 1980  (4th Session)
* Name as inscribed on World Heritage List.
** Region as classified by UNESCO.

Taxila (Urdu, Punjabi: ٹیکسلا, Sanskrit: तक्षशिला Takṣaśilā, Pali:Takkasilā) is an important archaeological site in the Punjab province of Pakistan.

It dates back to Gandhara period and contains the ruins of the Gandhāran city of Takshashila (also Takkasila or Taxila) an important Buddhist society. Takshashila, the place where this university existed is located in Pakistan and gets its name from Taksha, who was the son of Bharata (the brother of Rama). [1] In 1980, Taxila was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site with multiple locations.[2] Recently it has been ranked as the top Tourist Destination in Pakistan by The Guardian.[3]

Historically, Taxila lay at the crossroads of three major trade routes: the royal highway from aliputra; the north-western route through Bactria, Kāpiśa, and Pukalāvatī (Peshawar); and the route from Kashmir and Central Asia, via Śrinigar, Mansehra, and the Haripur valley[4] across the Khunjerab pass to the Silk Road.

Taxila is situated about 32 km (20 mi) to the north-west of Islamabad Capital Territory—and Rawalpindi in Punjab—just off the Grand Trunk Road. Its elevation above the sea-level is 549 metres (1,800 ft).


The Ruins

The ruins of Taxila consist of many different parts of the city buildings and buddhist stupas which are located in a large area. The main ruins of Taxila are divided into three major cities, each belonging to a distinct time period.

The oldest of these is Bhir Mound, which dates from the sixth century B.C.E. The second city of Taxila is located at Sirkap and was built by Greco-Bactrian kings in the second century B.C.E. The third and last city of Taxila is at Sirsukh and relates to the Kushan kings.

In addition to the ruins of the city, a number of buddhist monasteries and stupas also belong to the Taxila area. Some of the important ruins of this category include the ruins of the stupa at Dharmarajika, the monastery at Jaulian, the monastery at Mohra Muradu in addition to a number of stupas.

History of Taxila

Taxila is in western Punjab, and was an important city during Alexander's campaign in ancient India.
A coin from 2nd century BCE Taxila.
The Indo-Greek king Antialcidas ruled in Taxila around 100 BCE, according to the Heliodorus pillar inscription.
Jaulian, a World Heritage Site at Taxila.
Jaulian silver Buddhist reliquary, with content. British Museum.

Legend has it that Taksha, an ancient king who ruled in a kingdom called Taksha Khanda (Tashkent) founded the city of Takshashila. The word Takshashila, in Sanskrit means "belonging to the King Taksha". Taksha was the son of Bharata and Mandavi, from Indian epic Ramayana.

In the epic Mahābhārata, the Kuru heir Parikit was enthroned at Taxila.[5]

According to tradition The Mahabharata was first recited at Taxila by Vaishampayana, a disciple of Veda Vyasa at the behest of the seer Vyasa himself, at Janamejaya's (Parikshit's son) 12 year-long Sarpa-Satra Yajna (Snake Sacrifice).

According to one theory propounded by Damodar Dharmanand Kosambi, "Taxila" is related to "Takaka," which means "carpenter" and is an alternative name for the Nāga.[6]

Before the fall of these invader-kings, Taxila had been variously a capital for many dynasties, and a centre of Vedic and Buddhist learning, with a population of Buddhists, Classical Hindus, and possibly Greeks that may have endured for centuries.[19]

The British archaeologist Sir John Marshall conducted excavations over a period of twenty years in Taxila.[20]

Taxila mentioned in history

The city of Taxila is mentioned by the Chinese monk Faxian (also called Fa-Hien), who visited ancient sites of Buddhism in India. He came to Taxila in 405 CE. In his book "A Record of Buddhistic Kingdoms, Being an Account by the Chinese Monk Fa-Hien of his Travels in India and Ceylon in Search of the Buddhist Books of Discipline" he mentions the kingdom of Takshasila (or Chu-cha-shi-lo) meaning "the severed Head" (Chapter 11). He says that this name was derived from an event in the life of Buddha because this is the place "where he gave his head to a man".

Xuanzang (also called Hieun Tsang), another Chinese monk, visited Taxila in 630 CE. He mentions the city as Ta-Cha-Shi-Lo. The city appears to have already been ruins by his time.

Ancient centre of learning

The Dharmarajika stupa, Taxila.
Stupa base at Sirkap, decorated with Hindu, Buddhist, and Greek temple fronts.

Takshashila was an early centre of learning dating back to at least the 5th century BCE.[21] There is some disagreement about whether Takshashila can be considered a university. While some consider Taxila to be an early university [22] [1] [23] [24] or centre of higher education,[25] others do not consider it a university in the modern sense, [26] [27] [28] in contrast to the later Nalanda University.[29][28][30] Takshashila is described in some detail in later Jātaka tales, written in Sri Lanka around the 5th century CE.[31]

Takshashila is considered a place of religious and historical sanctity by Hindus and Buddhists. The former do so not only because, in its time, Takshashila was the seat of Vedic learning, but also because the strategist, Chanakya, who later helped consolidate the empire of Emperor Chandragupta Maurya, was a senior teacher there. The institution is very significant in Buddhist tradition since it is believed that the Mahāyāna sect of Buddhism took shape there.

Some scholars date Takshashila's existence back to the 6th century BCE[32] or 7th century BCE.[33] It became a noted centre of learning at least several centuries before Christ, and continued to attract students from around the old world until the destruction of the city in the 5th century CE. Takshashila is perhaps best known because of its association with Chanakya. The famous treatise Arthashastra (Sanskrit for The knowledge of Economics) by Chanakya, is said to have been composed in Takshashila itself. Chanakya (or Kautilya),[34] the Maurya Emperor Chandragupta[35] and the Ayurvedic healer Charaka studied at Taxila.[36]

Generally, a student entered Takshashila at the age of sixteen. The Vedas and the Eighteen Arts, which included skills such as archery, hunting, and elephant lore, were taught, in addition to its law school, medical school, and school of military science.[36]

Taxila today

Archaeological artifacts from the Indo-Greek strata at Taxila (John Marshall "Taxila, Archeological excavations"). From top, left:
* Fluted cup (Bhir Mound, stratum 1) * Cup with rosace and decoratice scroll (Bhir Mound, stratum 1) * Stone palette with individual on a couch being crowned by standing woman, and served (Sirkap, stratum 5) * Handle with double depiction of a philosopher (Sirkap, stratum 5) * Woman with smile (Sirkap, stratum 5) * Man with moustache (Sirkap, stratum 5)
Stupa in Taxila

Present day Taxila is one of the seven Tehsils (sub-district) of Rawalpindi District. It is spread over an undulating land in the periphery of the Pothohar Plateau of the Punjab. Situated just outside the capital Islamabad's territory and communicating with it through Tarnol pass of Margalla Hills.

Taxila is a mix of posh urban and rustic rural environs. Urban residential areas are in the form of small neat and clean colonies populated by the workers of heavy industries, educational institutes and hospitals that are located in the area.

Nicholson's obelisk, a monument of British colonial era situated at the Grand Trunk road welcomes the travellers coming from Rawalpindi/Islamabad into Taxila. The monument was built by the British to pay tribute to Brigadier John Nicholson (1822-1857) an officer of the British Army who died in India during the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857, also known as the First War of Independance.

The industries include heavy machine factories and industrial complex, ordnance factories of Wah Cantt and cement factory. Heavy Industries Taxila is also based here. Small, cottage and household industries include stoneware, pottery and footwear. People try to relate the present day stoneware craft to the tradition of sculpture making that existed here before the advent of Islam.

In addition to the ruins of Gandhara civilisation and ancient Buddhist/Hindu culture, relics of Mughal gardens and vestiges of historical Grand Trunk Road, which was built by Emperor Sher Shah Suri in 15th-16th centuries, are also found in Taxila region.

Taxila Museum, dedicated mainly to the remains of Gandhara civilization, is also worth visiting. A hotel of the tourism department offers reasonably good services and hospitality to the tourists.

Taxila has many educational institutes including University of Engineering and Technology (UET).


A Taxila coin, 200-100 BCE. British Museum.
  1. ^ a b Joseph Needham (2004), Within the Four Seas: The Dialogue of East and West, Routledge, ISBN 0415361664:
    "When the men of Alexander the Great came to Taxila in India in the fourth century BC they found a university there the like of which had not been seen in Greece, a university which taught the three Vedas and the eighteen accomplishments and was still existing when the Chinese pilgrim Fa-Hsien went there about AD 400."
  2. ^ UNESCO World Heritage Site. 1980. Taxila: Multiple Locations. Retrieved 13 January 2007.
  3. ^
  4. ^ [[Romila Thapar |Thapar, Romila]] (1997) [1961]. Aśoka and the Decline of the Mauryas. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 237. ISBN 0-19-563932-4.  
  5. ^ [[Damodar Dharmanand Kosambi |Kosambi, Damodar Dharmanand]] (1975) [1956]. An Introduction to the Study of Indian History (Revised Second Edition ed.). Bombay: Popular Prakashan. pp. 126.  
  6. ^ Kosambi 1975:129
  7. ^ Marshall, John (1975) [1951]. Taxila: Volume I. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 83.  
  8. ^ a b c Marshall 1975:83
  9. ^ Named "Taxiles" by Greek sources after his capital city.
  10. ^ Peithon was named by Alexander satrap of Sindh, and was again confirmed to the Gandhara region by the Treaty of Triparadisus in 320 BCE: "The country of the Parapamisians was bestowed upon Oxyartes, the father of Roxane; and the skirts of India adjacent to Mount Parapamisus, on Peithon the son of Agenor. As to the countries beyond that, those on the river Indus, with the city Patala (the capital of that part of India) were assigned to Porus. Those upon the Hydaspes, to Taxiles the Indian." Arrian "Anabasis, the Events after Alexander". He ultimately left in 316 BCE, to become satrap of Babylon in 315 BCE, before dying at the Battle of Gaza in 312 BCE
  11. ^ Thapar 1997
  12. ^ Kulke, Hermann; Rothermund, Dietmar (1998) [1986]. A History of India (Third Edition ed.). London: Routledge. pp. 68. ISBN 0-415-15481-2.  
  13. ^ Kulke and Rothermund 1998:68
  14. ^ Kulke and Rothermund 1998:70
  15. ^ a b Marshall 1975:84
  16. ^ a b Marshall 1975:85
  17. ^ a b Kulke and Rothermund 1998:75
  18. ^ a b Marshall 1975:86
  19. ^ The Life of Apollonius Tyana demonstrates that the rulers of Taxila spoke Greek several centuries after Greek political dominance had faded.
  20. ^ Marshall, Sir John (1960). A Guide to Taxila. Karachi: Department of Archaeology in Pakistan, Sani Communications.  
  21. ^ Hartmut Scharfe (2002). ''Education in Ancient India. Brill Academic Publishers. ISBN 90-04-12556-6.
  22. ^ Radha Kumud Mookerji (2nd ed. 1951; reprint 1989), [[Ancient Indian Education: Brahmanical and Buddhist]] (p. 478), Motilal Banarsidass Publ., ISBN 8120804236:
    "Thus the various centres of learning in different parts of the country became affiliated, as it were, to the educational centre, or the central university, of Taxila which exercised a kind of intellectual suzerainty over the wide world of letters in India."
  23. ^ Hermann Kulke and Dietmar Rothermund (2004), A History of India, Routledge, ISBN 0415329191:
    "In the early centuries the centre of Buddhist scholarship was the University of Taxila".
  24. ^ Balakrishnan Muniapan, Junaid M. Shaikh (2007), "Lessons in corporate governance from Kautilya's Arthashastra in ancient India", World Review of Entrepreneurship, Management and Sustainable Development 3 (1):
    "Kautilya was also a Professor of Politics and Economics at Taxila University. Taxila University is one of the oldest known universities in the world and it was the chief learning centre in ancient India."
  25. ^ Radha Kumud Mookerji (2nd ed. 1951; reprint 1989), Ancient Indian Education: Brahmanical and Buddhist (p. 479), Motilal Banarsidass Publ., ISBN 8120804236:
    "This shows that Taxila was a seat not of elementary, but higher, education, of colleges or a university as distinguished from schools."
  26. ^ Anant Sadashiv Altekar (1934; reprint 1965), Education in Ancient India, Sixth Edition, Revised & Enlarged, Nand Kishore & Bros, Varanasi:
    "It may be observed at the outset that Taxila did not possess any colleges or university in the modern sense of the term."
  27. ^ F. W. Thomas (1944), in John Marshall (1951; 1975 reprint), Taxila, Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi:
    "We come across several Jātaka stories about the students and teachers of Takshaśilā, but not a single episode even remotely suggests that the different 'world renowned' teachers living in that city belonged to a particular college or university of the modern type."
  28. ^ a b Taxila (2007), Encyclopædia Britannica:
    "Taxila, besides being a provincial seat, was also a centre of learning. It was not a university town with lecture halls and residential quarters, such as have been found at Nalanda in the Indian state of Bihar."
  29. ^ "Nalanda" (2007). Encarta.
  30. ^ "Nalanda" (2001). Columbia Encyclopedia.
  31. ^ Marshall 1975:81
  32. ^ "History of Education", Encyclopædia Britannica, 2007.
  33. ^ "Taxila", Columbia Encyclopedia, 2001.
  34. ^ Kautilya. Encyclopaedia Britannica.
  35. ^ Radhakumud Mookerji (1941; 1960; reprint 1989). Chandragupta Maurya and His Times (p. 17). Motilal Banarsidass Publ. ISBN 8120804058.
  36. ^ a b Radha Kumud Mookerji (2nd ed. 1951; reprint 1989). Ancient Indian Education: Brahmanical and Buddhist (p. 478-489). Motilal Banarsidass Publ. ISBN 8120804236.

See also

External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Taxila is an ancient city in Pakistan, just 30kms north of Islamabad. It is one of the most important archaeological sites in the world. 18 of its sites are on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The city dates back to the Ancient Gandhāran city of Takshashila (also Takkasila or Taxila) an important Vedic/Hindu and Buddhist center of learning from the 6th century BC to the 5th century CE. This is the region from where Buddhism travelled to the far east - and Persians, Greeks and Hindus all subsequently left their mark. You can watch the sun set from the remains of a Buddhist monastery or wander through the streets of an excavated Persian city in the knowledge that there are two older ones buried below. Today, Taxila is the center of Pakistan's Engineering Industry.

Get in

By Air

From Islamabad International Airport

By Road

It is located 30kms north of Islamabad. You can hire a Taxi or a Car.

Get around

Via Taxi or Car

  • Ancient Ruins - consist of many different parts of the buildings and buddhistic stupas. The main ruins of taxila are divided into three major cities, each belonging to a distinct time period. The oldest of these is Bhir Mound which is as old as sixth century. The second city of Taxila is located at Sirkap and was built by Greco-Bactrian kings in the second century. The third and last city of Taxila is at Sirsukh and it relates to the Kushan kings.
  • Buddhistic monasteries and stupas include the ruins of the stupa at Dharmarajika, the monastery at Jaulian, the monastery at Mohra Muradu in addition to a number of stupas.
  • Taxila Museum dedicated mainly to the remains of Gandhara civilization.
  • Mughal Garden
  • Discover the place.


No separate accommodation is needed for Taxila, one can easily stay in Islamabad and visit Taxila. But If you still need accommodation in Taxila then there is PTDC motel which is located in front of Museum and certain other rest houses in Taxila.

  • PTDC Motel
    • Though the rooms are basic and can use some extra cleaning, it's an acceptable lodging.
    • Across from the museum.
    • 738 Rs + Tax for a double room with shower. (2007)
  • Gandhara Motel
    • This hotel offers much better value than the near by PTDC hotel.
    • On Khanpur Road a few hundred meters south of the museum.
    • Tel: +92 (0)51 432 9072
    • This place has 4 new rooms (as of October 2007.)
    • 700/800 Rs for single/double.
    • AC and TV will be added (at an extra cost of around 300 Rs)
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Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies


Main Page
Cladus: Eukaryota
Supergroup: Unikonta
Cladus: Opisthokonta
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Cladus: Protostomia
Cladus: Ecdysozoa
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Hexapoda
Classis: Insecta
Cladus: Dicondylia
Cladus: Pterygota
Cladus: Metapterygota
Cladus: Neoptera
Cladus: Eumetabola
Cladus: Endopterygota
Superordo: Panorpida
Cladus: Amphiesmenoptera
Ordo: Lepidoptera
Subordo: Glossata
Infraordo: Heteroneura
Divisio: Ditrysia
Sectio: Cossina
Subsection: Bombycina
Superfamilia: Papilionoidea
Series: Papilioniformes
Familia: Riodinidae
Subfamilia: Nemeobiinae
Genus: Taxila
Species: T. dora - T. haquinus


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