Taxila


Taxila

:"For the genus of metalmark butterflies, see "Taxila (butterfly).Infobox World Heritage Site
WHS = Taxila


State Party = PAK
Type = Cultural
Criteria = iii, vi
ID = 139
Region = Asia-Pacific
Year = 1980
Session = 4th
Link = http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/139

Taxila ( _sa. तक्षशिला IAST2|Takṣaśilā, , Pali:"Takkasilā") is an important archaeological site of Ancient India, now within Pakistan. It contains the ruins of the Gandhāran city of Takshashila (also Takkasila or Taxila) an important Vedic/Hindu [cite book | last = Majumdar, Raychauduri and Datta | authorlink | title = An Advanced History of India | origyear = 1946 | publisher = Macmillan| location = London | pages = 64] and Buddhist [UNESCO World Heritage List. 1980. [http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/139 Taxila: Brief Description] . Retrieved 13 January 2007] centre of learning from the 6th century BCE"History of Education", "Encyclopædia Britannica", 2007.] to the 5th century CE."Nalanda" (2007). "Encarta".] Joseph Needham (2004), "Within the Four Seas: The Dialogue of East and West", Routledge, ISBN 0415361664:
quote|"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."] In 1980, Taxila was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site with multiple locations. [UNESCO World Heritage Site. 1980. [http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/139/multiple=1&unique_number=153 Taxila: Multiple Locations] . Retrieved 13 January 2007.]

Historically, Taxila lay at the crossroads of three major trade routes: the royal highway from Unicode|ṭaliputra; the north-western route through Bactria, Kāpiśa, and PuUnicode|ṣkalāvatī (Peshawar); and the route from Kashmir and Central Asia, via Śrinigar, Mansehra, and the Haripur valley [cite book | last = Thapar | first = Romila | authorlink = Romila Thapar | title = Aśoka and the Decline of the Mauryas | origyear = 1961 | year = 1997 | publisher = Oxford University Press | location = Oxford | id = ISBN 0-19-563932-4 | pages = 237] across the Khunjerab pass to the Silk Road.

Taxila is situated 35 km to the west of Islamabad Capital Territory—and to the northwest of Rawalpindi in Punjab—just off the Grand Trunk Road.

History

Legend has it that Taksha, an ancient Indian king who ruled in a kingdom called Taksha Khanda (Tashkent) founded the city of Takshashila.Fact|date=June 2007 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 ParikUnicode|ṣit was enthroned at Taxila. [cite book | last = Kosambi | first = Damodar Dharmanand | authorlink = Damodar Dharmanand Kosambi | title = An Introduction to the Study of Indian History | origyear = 1956 | edition = Revised Second Edition | year = 1975 | publisher = Popular Prakashan | location = Bombay | pages = 126]

According to tradition The Mahabharata was first recited at Takshashila 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 Damodar Dharmanand Kosambi, "Taxila" is related to "TakUnicode|ṣaka," which means "carpenter" and is an alternative name for the Nāga. [Kosambi 1975:129]
* "c". 518 BCE [cite book | last = Marshall | first = John | authorlink = John Marshall (archaeologist) | title = Taxila: Volume I | origyear = 1951 | year = 1975 | publisher = Motilal Banarsidass | location = Delhi | pages = 83] – Darius the Great annexes modern day Pakistan, including Taxila, to the Persian Achaemenid Empire. [Marshall 1975:83]
* 326 BCE [Marshall 1975:83] – Alexander the Great receives submission of Āmbhi, [Named "Taxiles" by Greek sources after his capital city.] king of Taxila, and afterwards surrender to Porus at the Jhelum River. [Marshall 1975:83]
* "c". 317 BCE – In quick succession, Alexander's general Eudemus and then the satrap Peithon withdraw from the Indus. [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]
*321 BCE-317 BCE Chandragupta Maurya, founder of the Mauryan empire in eastern India, makes himself master of the northern and northwestern India, including Punjab. Chandragupta Maurya's advisor Kautilya (also known as Chanakya) was a teacher at Taxila.
*During the reign of Chandragupta's grandson Aśoka, Taxila became a great Buddhist centre of learning. Nonetheless, Taxila was briefly the center of a minor local rebellion, subdued only a few years after its onset. [Thapar 1997]
* 185 BCE [cite book | last = Kulke | first = Hermann | coauthors = Rothermund, Dietmar | title = A History of India | origyear = 1986 | edition = Third Edition | year = 1998 | publisher = Routledge | location = London | id = ISBN 0-415-15481-2 | pages = 68] – The last Maurya emperor, BUnicode|ṛhadratha, is assassinated by his general, PuUnicode|ṣyamitra Śunga, during a parade of his troops. [Kulke and Rothermund 1998:68]
* 183 BCE [Kulke and Rothermund 1998:70] – Demetrios conquers Gandhāra, the Punjab and the Indus valley. [Marshall 1975:83] He builds his new capital, Sirkap, on the opposite bank of the river from Taxila. [Kulke and Rothermund 1998:70] During this new period of Bactrian Greek rule, several dynasties (like Antialcidas) likely ruled from the city as their capital. During lulls in Greek rule, the city managed profitably on its own, managed independently and controlled by several local trade guilds, who also minted most of the city's autonomous coinage.
* "c". 90 BCE [Marshall 1975:84] – The Indo-Scythian chief Maues overthrows the last Greek king of Taxila. [Marshall 1975:84]
* "c". 25 CE [Marshall 1975:85] – Gondophares, founder of the Indo-Parthian Kingdom, conquers Taxila and makes it his capital. [Marshall 1975:85] .
* 76 [Kulke and Rothermund 1998:75] – The date of and inscription found at Taxila of 'Great King, King of Kings, Son of God, the Kushana' ("maharaja rajatiraja devaputra Kushana"). [Kulke and Rothermund 1998:75]
* "c". 460–470 [Marshall 1975:86] – The Ephthalites sweep over Gandhāra and the Punjab; wholesale destruction of Buddhist monasteries and stupas at Taxila, which never again recovers. [Marshall 1975:86] 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. [The "Life of Apollonius Tyana" demonstrates that the rulers of Taxila spoke Greek several centuries after Greek political dominance had faded.]

The British archaeologist Sir John Marshall conducted excavations over a period of twenty years in Taxila. [cite book | last = Marshall | first = Sir John | authorlink = John Marshall (archaeologist) | title = A Guide to Taxila | year = 1960 | publisher = Department of Archaeology in Pakistan, Sani Communications | location = Karachi]

Ancient centre of learning

Takshashila was an early center of learning dating back to at least the 5th century BCE.Hartmut Scharfe (2002). ''Education in Ancient India". Brill Academic Publishers. ISBN 90-04-12556-6.] There is some disagreement about whether Takshashila can be considered a university. While some consider Taxila to be an early university [Radha Kumud Mookerji (2nd ed. 1951; reprint 1989), " (p. 478), Motilal Banarsidass Publ., ISBN 8120804236:
quote|"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."
] [Hermann Kulke and Dietmar Rothermund (2004), "A History of India", Routledge, ISBN 0415329191:
quote|"In the early centuries the centre of Buddhist scholarship was the University of Taxila".
] [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):
quote|"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."
] or centre of higher education, [Radha Kumud Mookerji (2nd ed. 1951; reprint 1989), "Ancient Indian Education: Brahmanical and Buddhist" (p. 479), Motilal Banarsidass Publ., ISBN 8120804236:
quote|"This shows that Taxila was a seat not of elementary, but higher, education, of colleges or a university as distinguished from schools."
] others do not consider it a university in the modern sense, [Anant Sadashiv Altekar (1934; reprint 1965), "Education in Ancient India", Sixth Edition, Revised & Enlarged, Nand Kishore & Bros, Varanasi:
quote|"It may be observed at the outset that Taxila did not possess any colleges or university in the modern sense of the term."
] [F. W. Thomas (1944), in John Marshall (1951; 1975 reprint), "Taxila", Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi:
quote|"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."
] [http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-7133 Taxila] (2007), Encyclopædia Britannica:
quote|"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."] in contrast to the later Nalanda University. ["Nalanda" (2001). "Columbia Encyclopedia".] Takshashila is described in some detail in later Jātaka tales, written in Sri Lanka around the 5th century CE. [Marshall 1975:81]

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 believedFact|date=February 2007 that the Mahāyāna sect of Buddhism took shape there.

Some scholars date Takshashila's existence back to the 6th century BCE or 7th century BCE. ["Taxila", "Columbia Encyclopedia", 2001.] 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), [ [http://britannica.com/eb/article-9044882 Kautilya] . Encyclopaedia Britannica.] the Maurya Emperor Chandragupta [Radhakumud Mookerji (1941; 1960; reprint 1989). "Chandragupta Maurya and His Times" (p. 17). Motilal Banarsidass Publ. ISBN 8120804058.] and the Ayurvedic healer Charaka studied at Taxila.Radha Kumud Mookerji (2nd ed. 1951; reprint 1989). "Ancient Indian Education: Brahmanical and Buddhist" (p. 478-489). Motilal Banarsidass Publ. ISBN 8120804236.] 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.

Taxila today

"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)]

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.

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 civilization 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).

References

ee also

* Heavy Industries Taxila
* Sirkap
* Ancient Universities of Pakistan
* Taxila under the Achaemenids
* Taxila Tehsil

External links

*
* [http://www.heritage.gov.pk/html_Pages/guide_to_historic_taxila.htm "Guide to Historic Taxila" by Professor Dr. Ahmad Hasan Dani in 10 chapters]
* [http://www.livius.org/ta-td/taxila/taxila.htm "Taxila", by Jona Lendering]
* [http://bruning.xs4all.nl/~umayr/taxila/ Some photos by Umayr Sahlan Masud]
* [http://www.punjab-info.fsnet.co.uk/taxila.html Taxila page] from [http://www.punjab-info.fsnet.co.uk/index.htm punjab-info]
* [http://mcduddl.com.ne.kr/PKST/PK-IM-TXL.htm Travel With Young - Taxila 한글]
* [http://kaladarshan.arts.ohio-state.edu/maps/gandh.html Map of Gandhara archeological sites, from the Huntington Collection, Ohio State University (large file)]
* [http://taimur.sarangi.info/2006/11/24/taxila-museum-and-jaulian-monastery "Taxila Museum and Jaulian Monastery", by Saadullah Bashir]


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