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About 172 kms west of Rawalpindi/Islamabad by road about half an hour by air lies the last major town of Pakistan, the ancient and legendary Peshawar, city of proud Pathans. Peshawar the capital city of North-West Frontier Province, is a frontier town, the meeting place of the sub-continent and Central Asia. It is also a place where ancient traditions jostle with those of today, where the bazaar in the old city has changed little in the past hundred years except to become the neighbor of a modern university, some modern hotels, several international banks and one of the best museums in Pakistan.

No other city is quite like old Peshawar. The bazaar within the walls is like an American Wild movie costumed as a Bible epic. Pathan tribesmen stroll down the street with their hands hidden within their shawls, their faces half obscured by the loose ends of their turbans. (With his piercing eyes and finely chiseled nose, the Pathan must be the handsomest man on earth).

The fortunes of Peshawar at inextricable linked to the Khyber Pass, the eastern end of which it guards. The pass seems to have been little used in prehistoric times, and even in early historic times it was generally shunned as too narrow and thus too prone to ambush. Not until the powerful Kushans invaded Gandhara and pacified the area in the first century AD did the Khyber become a popular trade route.

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About Peshawar:

Images of Peshawar

Archaeological Sites:

Peshawar Museum
P A F Museum

Nearby Destinations:
Khyber Pass

Peshawar owes its founding 2,000 years ago to those same Kushans. In the second century AD, Kanishka, the greatest of the Kushan kings, moved his winter capital here from Pushkalavati, 30 kilometers (20 miles) to the north. His summer capital was north of Kabul at Kapisa, and the Kushans moved freely back and forth through the Khyber Pass between the two cities, from which they ruled their enormous and prosperous empire for the next 400 years. After the Kushan era, Peshawar declined into an obscurity not broken until the 16th century, following the Mughal emperor Babar's decision to rebuild the fort here in 1530. Sher Shah Suri, has successor (or, rather, the usurper of his son's throne), turned Peshawar's renaissance into a boom when he ran his Delhi-to-Kabul Shahi Road through the Khyber Pass. The Mughals turned Peshawar into a 'city of flowers' (one of the meanings of its name) by planting trees and laying our gardens.

In 1818, Ranjit Singh captured Peshawar for his Sikh Empire. He burned a large part of the city and felled the trees shading its many gardens for firewood. The following 30 years of Sikh rule saw the destruction of Peshawar's own Shalimar Gardens and of Baba's magnificent fort, not to mention the dwindling of the city's population by almost half. The British caused the Sikhs and occupied Peshawar in 1849 but, as much as Sikh rule had been hated, its British replacement aroused little enthusiasm. More or less continuous warfare between the British and the Pathans necessitated a huge British garrison. When the British built a paved road through the Khyber Pass, they needed to build numerous forts and pickets to guard it.

Afghan traders, many of them in Peshawar to sell drugs and buy arms, stride proudly past in their huge black and white turbans. Smuggling, drug trading and arms dealing are all in a day's work - as they have been in these narrow and crowded streets for centuries. Overlooking all is the massive Bala Hisar Fort - still a military installation - and the elegant Mahabat Khan Mosque - still a place of prayer.

On the other side of the railway line is the cantonment, its tree-lined streets wide and straight as they pass gracious gardens. Clubs, churches, schools, The Mall, Sadder Bazaar and the airport round out the British contribution to the modernization of Peshawar. Further west is University Town, Peshawar's newest section and the site of Peshawar University.

Photo Gallery
Islamia College
Peshawar Fort
Location It is 29 km North East of Peshawar.
Civilization This site has long been identified as the capital of Gandhara civilization.


The city was once known as Push-kalavati. "The city of Lotus flower". It was the capital of ancient kingdom of Gandhara from about the 6th century BC to the 2nd century AD The city was captured in 324 B.C. after the siege of 30 days, by the troops of Alexander the Great and its formal surrender was received by Alexander himself. It has been established beyond doubt that this city was the metropolitan center of Asiatic trade and meeting place of oriental and occidental cultures even as long ago as 500 to 1000 BC This city was the center of pilgrims until the seventh century AD though the capital was moved to Peshawar.

Pushkalavati is first mentioned in the Hindu epic story, The Ramayana, when Bharata the brother of Ramchandra conquered Gandharvadesa (Gandhara) and found two cities, Taksha (Taxila), and Pushkala (Pushkalavati) named after his two sons.
Bhanbore is also associated with the famous romance of Sasi and Punnu described by a local folklore. Sassi belonged to Bhanbore. The museum at the site houses a rich collection of painted pottery, coins and beads etc
Hieun Tsang visited it and he refers to it as Po-Lu-Sha, according to him, it was 2.5 miles in circumference. A Brahminical temple to the east and a monastery to the north which according to Buddhist legends was the place where Buddha preached the Law. After Mahmud Ghaznavi conquered the area in 1026 AD the name Gandhara disappeared.
The Bactrian Greeks, the next rulers of Gandhara, founded a new capital city of Pushkalavati at what is now Shaikhan Dheri, to the north east of Bala Hisar on the other side of river. One can see on the top of the mound one part of Shaikhan Dehri has been excavated and no effort has been made to label or preserve the excavations.
At the crossroads in the center of Charsadda, turn right towards the "Prang" through the hundreds of acres of graves all decorated with black and white stones in geometric patterns. There are several mounds in Prang. Prang is probably a corruption of Prayag, which indicates that it was a sacred city. The people of the area may feel likewise which may be the reason they bring their dead there for burial.
There was a fort built by the Sikh called Sharkargarh 17 miles near Charsadda a small town called Shabqadr. Mohmand's burned this town in 1897. It has since beed rebuilt.
Bibi Syeda Dheri is north of Uzmail village in Charsadda tehsil. Here is a mound 60-ft high, believed to be the site of the stupa erected to commemorate the conversion by Lord Buddha of goddess Hariti who used to devour children of the locality. There is a shrine of Bibi Syeda. It is believed that pinch of soil from the site is effective against smallpox.
There are also two archeological sites near Charsadda i.e. " Shar-i-Napursan" and "Palatu Dheri". These two sites also belongs to the era of Buddhism.

Peshawar Museum
Location Peshawar
Display Archaeological

The Peshawar Museum is a wonderful places full of a vertiable treasures of art, sculpture and historic relics. It was founded in 1907. Its red bricks building consist of spacious hall, for side galleries two on the ground and two on upper story. The main hall and three galleries are reserved for exhibition of Ghundjara Sculptures, terracotta figurines, lithic inscriptions, toilet, trays, household objects etc. we can see the colossal standing Buddha and a large number of Buddha heads in various sizes both in stone and stucco are on display here.

Mediating Bodhisttawa, Peshawar museum  Building of Peshawar museum

The other sections of museum covered the era of Muslims and Tribal. The prize possession of the museum is however, the Kanishka casket recovered from Shah-ji-Dheri on the outskirts of Peshawar during the archeological excavations conducted in 1908-9. The inscribed casket in Kharosti contained three fragments of bone of the Buddha, which were given by the British Government to the Buddhist Society of Burma, which re-shrined them at Madalay. This famous casket is on display in this museum.

There are some engraved gems, pottery, ivory shells and metal objects. Electrotypes of the early coins of the northwest frontier and lithic inscriptions in Kharoshti, sardar garhi.

P A F Museum
Location Peshawar
Display Air Force History

It is situated on the north circular road, near the civil airport controlled by Education wing of Pakistan Air Force. Its collection consists of aircraft models, ornaments, uniforms, souvenirs and photographs. The aircraft models are displayed in the categories such as fighters and transporters and the trainers. The most important object in this Museum is the Quaid-e-Azam's Viking. It was used by Quaid as the first Governor General of Pakistan.

Khyber Pass
Location It is at the North of Pakistan with Afghanistan Border.
Elevation 1066 meters.
Weather The weather of Khyber Pass is very pleasant round the year.
Tourist Season Around the year.
Activities/Interest History, Education, Childern Tour, Senior Tour, Education

The Khyber Pass can be accessed by train. The track was built in end of 19th century. It started from Peshawar Railway station and ends at the last station of Landi kotal.

Other Facts Khyber Pass is 35 km long.

The historic Khyber Pass being at a distance of 16 kms west of Peshawar and extends up to the Pak-Afghanistan border at Torkkam, 55 kms away. Starting from the foothills of the Slueman Range it gradually rises to an elevation of 1,066 meters above sea level. Khyber Pass has been a silent witness to countless events in the history of mankind. As one drives though the Pass at a leisurely pace, imagination Unfolds pages of history, the Aryans descending upon the fertile northern plains in 1,500 BC subjugating the indigenous Dravidian population and settling down to open a glorious chapter in the history of civilization, the Persian hordes under Darius (6th century BC) crossing into the Punjab to annex yet another province to the Achaemenian Empire; the armies of Alexander the Great (326 BC) marching through the rugged Pass to fulfil the wishes of a young, ambitious conqueror; the terror of Ghanghis Khan Unwrapping the majestic hills and turning back towards the trophies of ancient Persia; the white Huns bringing fire and destruction in their wake; the Scythians and the Parthians, the Mughals and the Afghans, Conquerors all, crossing over to leave there impact and add more chapters to the diverse history of this sub-continent.
The Khyber Pass, the route from Peshawar to Kabul in Afghanistan, is the feature of the province most widely known (and infused with romance) in the world beyond. To visit the pass you need a special permit from the Political Agent because of the tribal dangers and official sensitivity over drugs and guns.

Khyber Pass
Khyber Pass
The Khyber Train :
For trail enthusiasts, the Khyber Railway from Peshawar to Landi Kotal is a three-star attraction. The British built it in the 1920s at the then enormous cost of more than two million pounds. It passes through 34 tunnels totaling five kms (three miles) and over 92 bridges and culverts. The two or three coach's are pulled and pushed by two SG 060 oil-fired engines. At one point, the track climbs 130 meters in little more than a kilometer (425 feet in 0.7 miles) by means of the heart-stopping Changai Spur. This is a W-shaped section of track with two cliff-hanging reversing stations, at which the train wheezes desperately before shuddering to a stop and backing away from the brink. The Khyber train currently runs only by appointment. Groups of 20 to 45 passengers can book one bogey for an all day outing to Landi Kotal and back, a ride lasting ten to eleven hours. But you can easily see the train at rest at Peshawar Station.

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