Friday, May 8, 2015

Peshawar of the Kushans

It was under the Kushans that Peshawarattained the dignity of an imperial capital .The great Kushan King Kanishka chose Gandhara, with its capital Peshawar , as the nodal point of his empire , the state which he ruled has came to be known as the kingdom of Gandhara.. Under his leadership Gandhara became the centre of an important civilization specially as regards art , the name has came to be used in designation of significant art forms which which spread outward from Peshawar to many other parts of the Asia. It was because under Kansikha that the Chinese pilgrims , Fa-Hein and Haien-Tsang, later made it one of the bournes of their pilgrimage. Outside of the Ganj gate of the modern Peshawar city , remarkable relic casket of Kanishka was discovered in 1909, now deposited in Peshawar museum. [1].

In King’s Kanishka later days, when he had become a fervent Buddhist, he created a great relic tower – probably just outside the Ganj gate of Peshawar at Shahji ki Dheri.- with super structure of carved wood rising in thirteen storeys to a height of 400 feet , and surmounted by an iron pinnacle. Vincent Smith tell us how it was visited by Sung-Yan, a Chinese pilgrim, at the beginning of sixth century, by which time it had thrice been destroyed by fire and as often rebuilt by pious kings. A monastery of exceptional magnificence was still flourishing here as a place of Buddhist education  when it was visited by Vera Deva , an eminent Buddhist scholar. [2]

1899 engraving showing the remnants of the Kanishka Stupa in Shah-Ji-Ki-Dheri.

The inscribed Kanishka Casket found at the site of the Kanishka Stupa and containing relics of the Buddha, now in Peshawar Museum, Pakistan, while the relics are in Mandalay, Burma.
This picture is of the ruby and gold relic casket holding a crystal reliquary with three fragments of bone, believed to be relics of Gautama Buddha, buried by the Kushan Emperor Kanishka in the 2nd century A.D. at his stupa in Peshawar (now in Pakistan) from where they were sent by the British for safekeeping to Mandalay, Burma in 1910. To the left of the ruby and gold casket is a miniature golden stupa in which the relics were transported to Mandalay

1-The Pathans, p-74

2- The Pathans, p-75