Takht-i-Bahi is a Buddhist monastery located in the Mardan district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Pakistan. It is one of the most well-preserved Buddhist monasteries in the world and has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The name Takht-i-Bahi translates to “Spring Throne”, which refers to the natural spring located at the site.
The monastery was built between the 1st century BCE and the 7th century CE, during the Gandhara civilization. It was a center of Buddhist learning and attracted scholars from all over the world. The monastery complex consists of several buildings, including a main prayer hall, a stupa, a courtyard, and several smaller prayer halls.
The main prayer hall is the largest building in the complex and is located at the highest point of the monastery. It was used for group meditation and religious ceremonies. The stupa is a large hemispherical structure that was used to house relics of the Buddha. The courtyard was used for communal gatherings and was surrounded by smaller prayer halls.
The buildings in the monastery complex are made of stone and were constructed using a technique known as rubble masonry. The walls are decorated with intricate carvings and sculptures that depict scenes from the life of the Buddha and other Buddhist deities. The carvings are a testament to the skill and artistry of the Gandhara civilization.
Takht-i-Bahi was abandoned in the 7th century CE, after the decline of Buddhism in the region. It was rediscovered in the 19th century by a British archaeologist and has since undergone several restoration projects. Today, it is a popular tourist destination and attracts visitors from all over the world who come to marvel at the beauty and grandeur of this ancient Buddhist monastery.
In conclusion, Takht-i-Bahi is an important archaeological site that provides a glimpse into the rich history and culture of the Gandhara civilization. Its well-preserved buildings, intricate carvings, and religious significance make it a must-visit destination for anyone interested in Buddhist history and architecture.