Stone palette and other artifacts found in the...

Stone palette and other artifacts found in the Indo-Greek level at Sirkap (Stratum 5) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Taxila, Pakistan

Taxila, Pakistan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1) Who You’ll Meet in Taxila: This ancient capital of the Eastern Punjab, about 30 kilometers northwest of modern Islamabad, was legendary and known in several languages.[1] It has been mentioned in ancient Sanskrit, Greek, Roman, Eastern Iranian and Chinese texts, among others. Legend has it, that it was founded by the son of the brother of Rama and was the capital of Gandara Province. It was known as Bhir before it was controlled under Achaemenid Rule of King Darius I.[2] Persian control was brief, however; after 110 BCE, the Sacae steppe people took control of the Indus valley region. The Yuezhi people or Kushans took over the region in 80 CE and refounded the city as Sirsukh. The Parthians became interested in the region in 125 CE.[3] In 184 CE, the Greeks under King Demetrius, who had maintained control of Bactria, invaded the city, and from then, Taxila was refounded with the name Sirkap. Parthian leader Gondophares and greek philosopher, Apollonius of Tyana, can be found here.[4] Taxila under the Greeks consisted of a multi-ethnic city, where Bactrians, Greeks, Indians, and Western-Iranians lived together. It was occupied by Alexander in 326 CE and was sacked by Huns in the 5th century and has never recovered. [5]

Interesting fact: Taxila is a UNESCO world heritage site.


2) How You’ll Get There Taxila was located in the Indus River Valley near the Indus River, an important trade route. It was positioned to oversee what was known as the Indian “royal road” and was a major connection to the Silk Road. It sat between Xinjiang in the East, and Babylonia to the West. [6] It comprises partially, what is known as the Karakorum highway.

3) Why You’d Come Here  Taxila was home to a world famous University, home to an eclectic student following, led by Vedic Masters. Taxila was popular for its philosophers during control of Alexander the Great. Taxila was a major economic center, nested between Kashmir and Xinjiang and was a major stopalong the Silk Road. [7] After the Yuezhi or Kushans  gained control of the city, the city was a pilgrimagedestination for Buddhists from as far as China. Taxila and the surrounding area of Punjab and Gandara are also religious centers and hosts a collection of different religions, including Christian and Jewish sects.

4) What Was It Like? Taxila was a University town which enjoyed the luxurious benefits of overseeing a lucrative trade route, including a culturally rich society. Students flocked from near and far to learn under the Vedic Masters. Subjects which were offered to students included, medicine, surgery, archery and allied military arts, astronomy, astrology, sooth-saying, accountancy, commerce, agriculture, conveyance, magic, snake charming, music, dance and painting. It had special schools of medicine, law and military science. The students were free to choose any subject of study without any caste restrictions.[8]

5) Sources

A silver drachm of king Antialkidas (c. 145–13...