Taxila Museum & Sites Tour

Taxila Museum & Sites Tour

 Mohra Moradu Monastery

The Mohra Moradu monastery, which was once the place of meditation for the Buddhists, is located in a small valley between Sirkap and Jaulian in Taxila. The monastery which was unearthed while excavating the place under the supervision of an eminent archaeologist, Sir John Marshall in the early 20th century, revealed that the shrine was probably damaged by the foreign invaders in search of wealth. However, the lower portion or the base of the stupa is still intact and venerated by the Buddhists.

 Dharmarajika Stupa

The Dharmarajika stupa, which was constructed by the Indian emperor Ashoka in the 3rd century BCE to keep a part of the Buddha’s relics, has the honor of being the earliest Buddhist monument in Pakistan. The large shrine, though in ruins today, was once coated with lime plaster and gilding along with a seven layered umbrella stone at its top.Raised on a platform, the stupa is 15 meters high and 50 meters in diameter. Today, the Dharmarajikha shrine and the remains of the monastery spread around it is a major tourist destination on the Indian sub-continent.

 Bhir Mound

The Bhir mound, remains of a fortified city in Taxila, dates back to the period between the 6th century BCE and 2nd century BC. The remains of the city suggest that the place was located on the trade route of central Asia and therefore, was a prey to all the foreigners on their way to south Asia. The narrow streets with houses made of stone and wood further suggests that the place was not well planned. However, the settlement at Bhir mound came to an end falling in the Bactrian traps, who established a new city, Sirkap.

 Sikrap City

The ruins of the Sikrap city are a major tourist destination in Taxila, Pakistan. The main city of Taxila from the 2nd century BCE to 3rd century CE, Sikrap developed and flourished under the reign of numerous dynasties such as Greeks, Scythians, Parthians, and finally the Kushanas. The remains of Sikrap – temples, stupas, houses, shrines and palaces, suggests that the town planning of the city was influenced by the Greek architecture and was well planned with defense point of view. The double headed eagle shrine, located amidst the main street in the ruins of Sikrap, comprises a bird bas relief holding an arch. The monument is a unique combination of the Bactrian Greek and Indian architecture with Helenic decorated sides and Indian gateway. Jain Stupa, The ruins of the Jain stupa, dating back to the 2nd century BC, is situated close to the double-headed eagle shrine.

 Julian Monastery and University

Far away from the noise of the city of Taxila-Sirsukh, the monastery and university of Jaulian was situated on a mountain top that rises some 100 meters above the surrounding country – on a cool and dustless site. This picture shows part of the central court. In front of the cells must have been a verandah. The entrance is leading to the central court. Like other monasteries in Gandara and the Punjab, the cells surrounded a rectangular central court with a bathroom (jantâghara), an assembly hall (upasthâna-sâlâ), a store-room (koshthaka), a kitchen (agni-sâlâ), a refectory (upâhâra-sâlâ), and a latrine (varchah-kutî). There was no well at Jaulian, but there were sources at the foot of the hill.  Jaulian does not really differ from the settlement at Mohra Moradu, which is just over a kilometer away. The settlement had been restored briefly before it was abandoned, after the invasion of the White Huns at the end of the fifth century. Therefore, the decorations are better preserved than those at Mohra Moradu, but unfortunately, they are of a poorer quality. This picture shows the outer wall of the building – well preserved.

 Jandial Temple

A Zorastrian structure, the Jandial temple, which is placed in Jandial(1 mile from Sirkap), is one of the well treasured structures of Central Asia. The temple, which comprises a central shrine with four ionic columns supporting a porch, basically represents the Helenic architectural style.

 Taxila Museum

Taxila Museum is located 35 km from Islamabad and about 2 km off the Grand Trunk Road to Peshawar. It is famous for remains of Gandhara art. Most of the sites at Taxila, dating back 600 BCE to 500 CE, are located around the Taxila Museum. All the sites at Taxila cannot be visited in a day. However, the museum, which is the first stop for any tourist, is an ideal place to visit and get an idea about the archaeological significance of the place. The museum houses one of the best collections of Gandhara art in Pakistan; a display of artifacts detailing the daily life of the inhabitants of ancient Taxila, and a useful model of the whole valley showing all the archaeological sites.

Taxila Museum is one of the best and most well-maintained museums of Pakistan. Timings of the museum are 8:30 am to 5:30 pm in summer, and 9:00 am to 4:00 pm in winter. There is a rest house near the museum, run by the Archaeological Department, a Tourist Information Centre and a PTDC motel as well. The museum registered over 154,000 admissions in 2005.