Jun 25

Taxila – The City of Cut Stone

EST. Reading time : 2 minutes

If history or cultural enthusiasts hear about Taxila, the first idea that comes to their minds is Budha. Not only Budha, but Alexander the Great of Macedonia, and Asoka, the famous Buddhist king, as well as Emperor Kanishka. Their imprints are everywhere. In fact, some of the most impressive tourist attractions in Taxila are the awe-inspiring monuments of Ashoka and Alexander, both of which date as far back as 327 BC. Besides these, Taxila is also home to some interesting monuments from the Mauryan era.

The moment you step into Taxila; you would feel like you have travelled back 2,500 years. The stone crafted city, Taxila, in the centre of Pakistan, has a history of stone carving, which is influenced by Buddhist culture. These stone carvings narrate stories of different development stages of Taxila, which were influenced by Persia, Greece and Central Asia. The stone carvings from the 5th century B.C to the 2nd century A.D narrate the story of the Buddhist centre of learning.

Taxila is known as one of the six world heritage sites of Pakistan, enlightening the unique symbol of diversity. Taxila is famous for its handicrafts and the small cottage industry of stone works. Its rich historical background has led to the preservation of Taxila’s history in museums. The museums help depict the ancient culture and history of the area through countless exhibitions of the ancient Gandhara civilization.

Taxila holds great industrial significance in Pakistan as well. It is home to ordnance factories, cement factories, the small cottage industry of stoneware, pottery and footwear industry. The city plays a vital role for not only the armed forces of Pakistan but also commercial entities of the country.

In February, Taxila organizes an “Orange Festival”. The orange season ends in February, therefore the festival is a great way to celebrate it. The festival starts with horse dancing alongside dhol beats. Another traditional form of entertainment is stone lifting, locally called “watee” or “gutti” lifting. The stones are made from solid granite. Competitors lift them with one fluid motion onto their shoulders and then throw them as far back as possible.

Buddhist culture has remained a significant part of Taxila’s culture. Therefore, celebrating Buddhist festivals is a common practice there. One such festival is the celebration of Vesak Day. Vasek Day marks the birth, enlightenment and passing of Buddha, and is celebrated at Dharmarajika Stupa near Taxila. The day is observed by Buddhists around the world and is also known as Buddha Purnima or simply, Buddha Day.

Exploring Taxila is a multi-dimensional experience, where the visitor may be attracted by the richness of the famed Gandhara sculptures. And if anyone has an interest in nature then Taxila is indeed a must-visit destination. Besides natural beauty, it offers to learn about rocks, stones and marbles. And why wouldn’t it? After all, Taxila literally means the “City of Cut Stones”!