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The northwestern regions of Pakistan and southeastern regions of Afghanistan were once the heart of a highly developed civilization whose cultural impact was felt from China to Persia. A major center of Buddhism, its cultural attainments were highlights of ancient civilization.
The author's research, accompanied by some 60 illustrations, offers Americans an entirely new understanding of the desolate region shown on the nightly news.
The Persian, Greek and Central Asian invasions of Gandhara, rather than causing wide scale destruction in the region, promoted the development of a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic society. After a gestation period of about half a millennium, this region blossomed into a unique civilization in the opening years of the Common Era.
Detailed archaeological excavations were started at sites in northern Pakistan and Afghanistan in the late-19th century. Through these excavations, eminent archaeologists such as Aurel Stein, Alexander Cunningham, John Marshall, J. Barthoux and Professor A.H. Dani recovered hundreds of thousands of beautiful stone sculptures belonging to the Gandhara Civilization.
In the last century or so, much has been written about the artistic quality of these beautiful stone sculptures. But hardly anything has been written about the Civilization itself that gave birth to these extraordinary pieces of art. In this book an effort has been made to present Gandhara in its wider perspective, highlighting the different features of a unique civilization in which many different races contributed and many cultures merged to bring about a major sociological change and establish a distinct cultural identity in this region of the South Asian sub-continent.
This book is based on the author's analysis of archaeologists' reports, information gathered through extended visits to numerous archaeological sites associated with the lost Gandhara Civilization including those in the Taxila, Peshawar, Charsadda, Mardan and Swat regions in Pakistan, and study in museums.