A joint team of Directorate of Museum and Archaeology and Tourism Corporation Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has successfully identified and re-ascertain the exact location of the famous Shahji Ki Dheri, a historical Buddhist site in Peshawar.
A press released issued by the corporation said that the site receded into oblivion after it was rediscovered and excavated by archaeologists more than a century ago.
Located a few furlongs outside the Gunj Gate of the old Walled City of Peshawar, it is a site of extraordinary archaeological importance where an imposing stupa had once stood.
It was built during the reign of Kushan Ruler Kanishka in the 1st century . It was described in detail by Chinese pilgrims in their memoirs. Hiuen Tsang (Xuan Zang) in particular visited it during his travels in 629AD-645AD and called it the “tallest architectural building” in this part of Asia.
It is estimated that the stupa was equivalent to a height of present day 13-storey building. The adjoining monastery was associated with Buddhist divines of Vasubandhu and Parva. With the decline of Buddhism in the region, the traces of the stupa and monastery faded away.
The press release said that a French archaeologist Alfred Foucher, who was a professor at University of Paris, visited Peshawar towards the end of 19th century, and noticed two mounds southeast of Peshawar outside the Walled City. He attempted to relate them to Hiuen Tsang’s description of the place.