A Journey Through Time: The First Safari Train to Takht Bhai Relics

Story from Takht Bhai: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Culture and Tourism Authority (KPCTA) has embarked on a thrilling initiative to promote the province's rich heritage. The Safari Train whisks visitors away on a captivating journey from Rawalpindi to the breathtaking UNESCO World Heritage Site, Takht Bahi. This unique experience blends scenic landscapes with a traditional welcome, historical insights into the region's Buddhist past, and an opportunity to boost KP's tourism potential. If you're seeking historical adventure and cultural immersion, the Safari Train to Takht Bahi awaits!


Story from Takht Bhai:

The echoes of the past resonate through the air as the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Culture and Tourism Authority (KPCTA) inaugurates an extraordinary voyage back in time. History enthusiasts and curious travelers gathered on a crisp Sunday morning at Saddar Railway Station, embarking on the first-ever #safaritrain trip to the ancient Takht Bahi relics. This UNESCO-recognized world heritage site stands as a testament to the rich Buddha-era heritage, and the KPCTA’s initiative opens a new window to the past for the people of Pakistan.

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The Safari Train Experience to Takht Bhai

As the sun broke through the dawn, 140 passengers assembled, anticipation buzzing among the crowd. The air was filled with the melodious tunes of a traditional Pipe band, offering a warm welcome that was nothing short of a grand celebration of KP’s vibrant culture. The nostalgic whistle of the train and the chug of the engine promised an adventure not just through space but also time.

Historical Insights of Takht Bhai

The Takht Bahi relics, perched on the high vistas of the Mardan district, are more than mere remnants of structures; they are the silent narrators of an era where Buddhism thrived in the Indian subcontinent. The passengers, now voyagers on a historical quest, were briefed on the significance of these sites. Guides and historians shared tales of KP’s illustrious past, its customs, and the folklore woven into the fabric of time.

Takht Bhai at Night - Archeological site in Pakistan
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The Route and Sightseeing

Departing from Saddar Cantt Railway Station at 9:00 AM, the train chugged along, halting at notable stations – each a chapter in the region’s story. From the City Railway Station to the pastoral views at Nasirpur, Pabbi, and finally Takht Bhai, the journey was an unfolding canvas of KP’s diverse landscapes. The vibrant fields, the hustle of city life, and the serene mountains in the backdrop created a mosaic of visual delight, enriching the experience further.

Impact on Tourism in Takht Bhai

This innovative endeavor is a cornerstone of KPCTA’s strategy to foster a holistic tourism industry by bringing tourists directly to Takht Bhai. By highlighting religious tourism through the Buddhist heritage and intertwining it with eco and agritourism, the safari train does more than transport people; it carries forward the vision of sustainable tourism development. Initiatives like this also catapult the local tourism industry into the spotlight, promising economic and cultural revival.

Budhist Religious Site in Pakistan
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As the journey concluded, the passengers left with a newfound appreciation for their heritage. The Takht Bahi safari train is not just a mode of transportation; it’s a cultural chariot that promises to preserve and share KP’s legacy. This voyage marks the beginning of a series of endeavors by KPCTA to showcase the historical riches of Pakistan.

Call to Action

The KPCTA’s innovative approach beckons the young and old to rediscover the treasures of their homeland. If you, too, yearn to be part of this cultural renaissance, keep your eyes on the horizon for the next #safaritrain journey to Takht Bhai.

Management welcomes visitors and travellers with a traditional pipe band on March 3, 2024. — Facebook/Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Culture and Tourism Authority
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Management welcomes visitors and travelers with a traditional pipe band on March 3, 2024. — Facebook/Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Culture and Tourism Authority

Image Credits: The News

Share your stories, photos, and experiences; let’s embark on this journey together to unearth the stories waiting in Pakistan’s heart.

Research on Thakht Bhai Relics

Thakht Bhai, also known as Takht-i-Bahi, is an ancient Buddhist monastery located in Mardan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. This archaeological site is considered one of the most imposing relics of Buddhism in the Gandhara region. Here are some key points about Thakht Bhai based on the provided search results:

  • Historical Significance: Thakht Bhai dates back to the early 1st century AD and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its well-preserved structure and unique design.
  • Architecture: The site showcases architectural complexity typical of Buddhist monastic complexes and serves as an excellent example of Gandharan Buddhist architecture.
  • Components: Thakht Bhai consists of a main stupa court, votive stupa court, meditation cells, conference hall, covered stepped passageways and other secular buildings. It also includes the Neighbouring City Remains at Sahr-i-Bahlol, a small ancient fortified town from the Kushan period located nearby.
  • Ownership and Management: The ruins are owned by the federal Department of Archaeology, with proposals to strengthen antiquities acts and enhance preservation efforts. The site has undergone major restoration work in the past.
  • Tourism: Thakht Bhai attracts tourists, historians, archaeologists, and Buddhists from around the world due to its grandeur and historical significance. It is a popular destination for those interested in history, antiquity, and archaeology.
  • Local Impact: The influx of tourists contributes significantly to the local economy by providing income to transporters, shopkeepers, and restaurant owners during peak seasons.

Thakht Bhai stands as a testament to the rich history and architectural prowess of ancient Buddhist civilizations in the region. Its preservation and continued study contribute to our understanding of this significant cultural heritage site.

Buddhist Monks visit historical sites at Takht Bhai in Mardan

In July 2023, a delegation of 31 Buddhist monks visited the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Takht Bhai in the Mardan district. This group, which included international diplomats, ambassadors, and followers of Buddhism from countries such as South Korea, Japan, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Cambodia, and Nepal, explored the ancient Buddhist monastery and admired its artifacts, antiquities, and Gandhara art. They were briefed on the historical significance of the site and took a special interest in the monastery’s conservation work and the neighboring city remains at Sahr-i-Bahlol, highlighting the area’s rich Buddhist heritage.

Buddhist monks visit Takht Bhai
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Buddhist monks visit Takht Bhai

People Also Asked

Takht Bhai, located in the Mardan district of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, is renowned for its archaeological significance, particularly the Buddhist monastic complex dating back to the 1st century BCE. This site provides a fascinating glimpse into the past, offering insights into the religious, cultural, and architectural advancements of the time.

What is Takht Bhai famous for?

Takht Bhai is most famous for its well-preserved Buddhist monastic complex, which is considered one of the most important Buddhist sites in the region. The complex includes stupas, monastic quarters, meditation halls, and other structures. It is notable for its architectural design, which is adapted to the rugged terrain, and for the historical insight it provides into Buddhist monastic life. This site has been recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, highlighting its importance in the global cultural heritage.

Which civilization’s archaeological site is Takht Bhai?

The archaeological site of Takht Bhai belongs to the Gandhara civilization, which was a unique blend of Greco-Roman, Persian, and Indian influences. This civilization is known for its distinctive art style, particularly in the depiction of Buddhist subjects, and for its significant contributions to the spread of Buddhism throughout Central Asia.

What is the Takht-I-Bahi inscription of Gondophares?

The Takht-i-Bahi inscription of Gondophares refers to an inscription found at the Takht Bhai site that mentions Gondophares, an Indo-Parthian king. Gondophares is historically significant as he is associated with the expansion of the Indo-Parthian Kingdom and the spread of Buddhism in the region. The inscription provides valuable historical context for the site and its era.

What are Takht Bhai ruins in Urdu?

In Urdu, Takht Bhai ruins are referred to as “تخت بھائی کے کھنڈرات”. These ruins are a testament to the rich Buddhist heritage of the region and are a source of great interest for historians, archaeologists, and tourists alike. The site offers a unique window into the ancient Buddhist monastic life and Gandhara civilization’s artistic and architectural achievements.

What is the history of Takht e Bahi?

Takht e Bahi’s history begins in the 1st century BCE, with its establishment as a Buddhist monastery. Over the centuries, it became a major center of Buddhist learning and spirituality, attracting monks and scholars from various regions. The complex was continuously expanded and adorned with sculptures and frescoes that reflected the Gandhara art style. It was abandoned by the 7th century CE, likely due to changing religious dynamics and invasions. Archaeological excavations in the 19th and 20th centuries have since unearthed its ruins, providing valuable insights into its past.

What is the meaning of Takht Bhai?

The name “Takht Bhai” can be translated to “Throne of Origins” in English. “Takht” means “throne” or “seat,” and “Bhai” is believed to be a corruption of “Bhaiṇ,” which means “spring” or “origin” in several local languages. The name could refer to the site’s elevated position and its significance as a religious and cultural origin or springboard.

Takht Bhai’s ruins not only offer a glimpse into the life of ancient Buddhist communities but also highlight the rich cultural tapestry of Pakistan and the broader South Asian region. They stand as a significant testament to the region’s historical depth and the interweaving of various cultural and religious traditions.

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