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   Dir District

 


 

Dir is an area in the North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan. Dir is administratively subdivided into Upper Dir and Lower Dir districts. Dir district is 5,280 square kilometres in area and part of the Malakand Division, lying along the Afghanistan border between Chitral and Peshawar. Almost all of it lies in the valley of the Panjkora which rises high in the Hindu Kush at Lat. 35.45 and joins the Swat River near Chakdara, where the district is usually entered, at Lat. 34.40. Apart from the tehsils of Adenzai round Chakdara and Munda in the south-west, Dir is rugged and mountainous with peaks rising to 16,000 feet in the north-east and to 10,000 ft. along the watersheds with Swat to the east and Afghanistan to the west. The only motor road to Chitral reaches 10,234 ft at the Lowarai Pass. Timergara, however, the district headquarters, lies at only 2,700 ft. twice the altitude of Peshawar but much lower than the traditional and eponymous capital of Dir at the foot of the Lowarai. Except for them and a number of rapidly growing bazaar towns along the main roads the population is rural, scattered in more than 1200 villages over the plains of Adenzai and Munda and the deep narrow valleys of the Panjkora and its tributaries. Of these the largest are Barawal, Usherai, Nihag, Karo and Toormang.Dir district was officially split into Upper Dir and Lower Dir in 1996. Until 2000 as funds were not available to provide the accommodation needed at Dir town by government depart­ments at a district headquarters, both districts continued to he administered by a single deputy Commissioner stationed at Timergara.

 

Panjkora River

 

The Panjkora River rises rises high in the Hindu Kush at lat. 35.45 and joins the Swat River near Chakdara, Malakand, NWFP, Pakistan.

 


  Chakdara

Chakdara town is located in Malakand, NWFP, Pakistan. Chakdara is an important town of Lower Dir, located on the bank of the Swat river. It is about 130 km from Peshawar and 48 km away from Saidu Sharif. The Mughals built a fort here in 1586, which was later occupied by the British in 1895, who built the present fort in 1896. The University of Malakand is located in Chakdara.

Chakdara, situated in Lower Swat Valley, has been an important center for last 3500 years and littered with remains of Aryan settlements, which represent Gandhara grave culture,Buddhists sites, and Hindu Shahi forts.

View of Malakand University
View of Malakand University

 

[edit] Archaeological Sites Around Chakdara

The ancient route from Afghanistan via Nawa Pass and Katgala Pass cross Swat River here at Chakdara. The area around Chakdara has been occupied for thousands of years. Many earlier Aryans settlement are identified in the area. Surrounding area is littered with Buddhist and Hindu Shahi sites. 1st to 7th century Buddhist sculpture from nearby sites and Hindu Shahi artefacts are now displayed at Chakdara Museum.

[edit] Damkot Hill

The most important place in Chakdara is Damkot Hill. Top of Damkot Hill has been excavated and houses of earlier Aryans with pottery and jewellery had been discovered. These items are now displayed in the Saidu Sharif Museum.

At the foot of Damkot Hill at Salami an Aryan garveyard is located. Aryans buried partially cremated bodies surrounded by the necessary utensils of daily life. Graves were sealed by large stone slabs.

Buddhist stupa and monastery of first century AD was excavated by Ahmad Hassan Dani in 1962-65. There are some Buddhist carving at the foot of the hill. During Hindu Shahi period a fort was built here which was destroyed in 11th century. In 19th century British occupied this hill. Behind Damkot Hill at Chat Pat is the site of a monastery of late 4th century. The sculpture from this monastery are displayed in Chakdara Museum.

[edit] Andan Dheri

Andan Dheri an important Buddhist site is located 7 km north of Chakdara Bridge near village Uchh. According to Buddhist pilgrim Xuan Zang this site was attached to a famous lagend about Buddha. According to this legend, in order to save people from famine Buddha changed himself into a great serpent laying dead in the valley. The starved people cut pieces from the body and fed themselves.

According to another tradition, Gandhāra is also thought to be the location of the mystical Lake Dhanakosha, birthplace of Padmasambhava, founder of Tibetan Buddhism. The bKa' brgyud (Kagyu) sect of Tibetan Buddhism identifies the lake with Andan Dheri stupa. A spring was said to flow from the base of the stupa to form the lake. Archaeologists have found the stupa but no spring or lake can be identified. Andan Dehri Stupa excavated by Dani. Over 500 pieces of Gandhara sculpture were recovered.

[edit] Other Sites

Three kilometer from Andan Dheri Stupa a Hindu Shahi fort of Kamal Khan China is located. It is now in ruins. From this fort a track leads to Nimogram Buddhist Monastery and Stupa. It has three main stupas, which identify three principles of Buddhism; Buddha the teacher, Dharma and Sangha (the Buddhist order). Near Chakdara Bridge in Lower Swat Valley, there are ruins of Hindu Shahi Period and stupas at Haibatgram, Top Dara and Landakai.

[edit] For sites locations see map of Ghandhara

For more information go to chakdara



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