October 25, 2014

1315 PAKISTAN (Punjab) - Taxila (UNESCO WHS)

Now, Taxila (in Sanskrit Takshashila, literally meaning City of Cut Stone or Rock of Taksha) is a small town situated about 32km north-west of  Islamabad, but the ancient settlement was a noted centre of learning at least several centuries BC, and continued to attract students from around the old world until its destruction in the 5th century by the Huns. Generally, a student entered Takshashila at the age of sixteen. The Vedas, the ancient and the most revered Hindu scriptures, and the Eighteen Silpas or 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. Situated at the pivotal junction of India, western Asia and Central Asia, Taxila also illustrates the different stages in the development of a city on the Indus that was alternately influenced by Persia, Greece and Central Asia. It is a vast serial site, that includes a Mesolithic cave and the archaeological remains of four early settlement sites, Buddhist monasteries, and a Muslim mosque and madrassa.

The Bhir mound, probably founded in the 6th century BC, represent the earliest forms of urbanization on the subcontinent, and is also associated with Alexander the Great’s entry into Taxila in 326 BC. The archaeological sites of Saraikala, Bhir, Sirkap, and Sirsukh are collectively of unique importance in illustrating the evolution of urban settlement on the subcontinent. Sirkap was a fortified city founded during the mid-2nd century BC, and destroyed in the 1st century by the Kushans. The many private houses, stupas (in the postcard), and temples were laid out on the Hellenistic grid system and show the strong Western classical influence.

The ruins of the Kushan city of Sirsukh attest the early influence of Central Asian architectural forms. In Khanpur cave was found stratified microlithic tools of the Mesolithic period, and a number of Buddhist monasteries and stupas of various periods. The Buddhist archaeological sites include the Dharmarajika complex and stupa, the Khader Mohra grouping, the Kalawan grouping, the Giri monasteries, the Kunala stupa and monastery, the Jandial complex, the Lalchack and the Badalpur stupa remains and monasteries, the Mohra Moradu monastic remains, the Pipplian and the Jaulian remains, and the Bahalar stupa and remains. The Giri complex also includes the remains of a three-domed Muslim mosque, ziarat (tomb), and madrassa of the medieval period.

About the stamps

The first stamp is a Thailand and Pakistan joint issue, issued on December 13, 2011, to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of Diplomatic Relations Between Thailand and Pakistan. It illustrates two important monuments of both countries (the Victory Monument in Bangkok, and.Minar-e-Pakistan in Lahore), and was designed by Mayuree Narknisorn.

The second stamp, designed by Naveed Awan, was issued on August 4, 2014, to commemorate 100 Years of Sahiwal Breed Conservation, a breed of Zebu cattle originated from the Sahiwal district of Pakistan, primarily used in dairy production. 

The third stamp belongs to the Muhammad Ali Jinnah definitive stamps set, about which I wrote here.

The fourth stamp was issued on May 5, 2012, with the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of State visit of their Majesties King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Queen Sirikit of Thailand to Pakistan (1962-2012).

The last stamp is part of the series Pakistan India War Hero, and was issued on March 20, 2014, with the occasion of 1st Death Anniversary of Air Commodore M. M. Alam (1935-2013).

Taxila - UNESCO official website
Taxila - Wikipedia

Sender: Bill
Sent from Karachi (Sindh / Pakistan), on 23.08.2014
Photo: William Johnson / 1995

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