Islamabad: An ancient site that Chinese traveller Hiuen Tsang 1,400 years ago described as the 'tallest architectural building' in this part of Asia has been found again in Pakistan after it receded into oblivion following its excavation over a century back. A joint team of the Directorate of Museum and Archaeology and Tourism Corporation Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has re-ascertained the exact location of the Shahji Ki Dheri, a historical Buddhist site.

The site had gone into oblivion after it was rediscovered and excavated by archaeologists more than a century ago.

Located close to the walled City of Peshawar, an imposing stupa had once stood there.

It was built during the reign of Kushan Emperor Kanishka in the first century AD. Hiuen Tsang visited it during his travels in 629AD-645AD and described it as the 'tallest architectural building' in this part of Asia.

It is estimated that the stupa was equivalent to a present day 13-storeyed building.

In 1908, archaeologist D. Brainerd Spooner undertook excavation work at the site and found the ruins of a stupa and monastery.

A year later, Spooner discovered a relic casket in gilt-bronze that contained Buddha's bone fragments and ashes.

The casket was inscribed with Emperor Kanishka's name and figure.

The Buddha's relics were gifted to Myanmar while the bronze casket is on display in Peshawar Museum.


(Agencies)