Islamabad and Rawalpindi 

 Taxila and Murree

 

Islamabad is the Capital of Pakistan and is a mere 15km from the City of Rawalpindi. (Combined population 1.2 million)

Islamabad is quite a green and clean city, and has a nice outlook to the Margalla Hills. It is a pleasant drive up to a viewpoint with commanding views over the city.

The funding for this magnificant Mosque came from King Faisal of Saudi Arabia.

Pic: King Faisal Mosque - Margella Hills, Islamabad

King Faisal Mosque - Margella Hills, Islamabad

 

It was only a short walk from our hotel to St. Andrews Church, set in a rural scene.

Pic: St. Andrews Church, Islamabad

St. Andrews Church, Islamabad

 

The cannabis plant grows as a roadside weed and we were to see it growing everywhere for the next two weeks. 

Grazing animals didn't eat it, and the locals ignored it!

Pic: Wild Hemp

Wild Hemp

 

Gandhara is the historical name for the Peshawar Plain and the surrounding districts. Taxila was one of its most important cities.

Taxila is one of Asia's most important historical and archaelogical sites. 

Alexander the Great allied himself with Taxiles - the Raja of Taxila, in 326 B.C. Alexander and his army spent a few weeks at Bhir Mound.

Pic: View from the top of the Dharmarajika Stupa

View from the top of the Dharmarajika Stupa

 

After the great Emperor Asoka converted to Buddhism in 266 B.C., Taxila became the centre of world Buddhism and studies for the next 700 years.

The concept of the Buddha image was developed here, as well as the principle schools of Buddhism, including Hinayana, Mahayana and Vajrayana.

Pic: Buddhist Monastery (1 - 7th c. A.D.)

Buddhist Monastery (1 - 7th c. A.D.)

 

The Bactrian Greeks established a city at Sirkap Taxila in the 2nd c. B.C. 

It was characterized by wide and straight streets, and a sense of Greek classicism in design.

Pic: Sirkap

Sirkap

 

Still remaining are foundations of houses, stupas, and a buddhist temple.

Most of the finds now exist in Museums in Pakistan and India.

Relics of the Buddha (found in an inscribed silver casket) were sent to Sri Lanka in the early 1920's and are now enshrined in the 'Temple of the Tooth' in Kandy.

Pic: Greek-style ornamentation

Greek-style ornamentation

 

Taxila was excavated by Sir John Marshall, who's personal residence is near the present day museum. 

Sir John was one of the most dedicated and learned of the Colonial archaelogists. 

Pic: Taxila Museum

Taxila Museum

 

Murree is a hill station a few hours drive from Islamabad, and close to Kashmir.

It is very popular amongst the well heeled Pakistanis.

Pic: View from Murree

View from Murree

 

The air is cooler in summer, than the plains. During winter Murree experiences snow.

Pic: Our hotel in Murree

Our hotel in Murree

 

 

Lahore

Islamabad - Rawalpindi - Taxila - Murree

Swat and Indus Kohistan

Chitral - Kafiristan - Nuristan

Khyber Pass

Takht i Bahi - Charsadda

 

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