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Gorkhatri

Gorkhatri

The literal meaning of Gorkhatri is “Grave of Warrior”. In the neighbor of Peshawar city of province Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa, Pakistan, Gorkhatri is located. Peshawar itself is an ancient city. Gorkhatri with the Kanishka Vihara that is a great stupa of King Kanishka was identified by the Sir Alexander Cunningham. By Professor Dr. Ahmad Hassan Dani this place was identified where once famous tower of Buddha bowl stood. According to Professor S.M Jaffar this was the place where Hindus used to visit to perform the Sardukhar ritual. Performing this ritual means shaving the heads off. In the early 7th Century CE, the celebrated Chinese pilgrim, Hiuen Tsang, to pay the tribute to the city and the great Stupa of Kanishka visited the Gandhara.  Mughal Emperor Baber also visited this place.

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During the Mughal rule, a daughter of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, Jahan Ara Begum ordered to convert Gorkhatri into a carvanserai. This serai was then named as Serai Jahanabad. For the convenience of travelers, she built two wells, one sauna bath and a Jamia Masjid (mosque) inside the Serai jahanabad. During 1838 to 1842, this site was converted into the residence and the official headquarters of mercenary general of Paolo Avitabile, a governor general of Peshawar, by the Sikhs. A Hindu Temple for Shiva was also constructed there.

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The typical Mughal-era serai, Gorkhatri is located on one of the highest points in Peshawar city. It covers the area of 160*160 square meters and is a fortified compound. The site has got two prominent gateways. One gate in on the east side and other one is on the west side. In the center, the Gorakshanath temple is located. Gorakshanath was a Hindu Nath yogi and he travelled Indian Subcontinent and many other places. In the year 1917, a fire brigade building and in the southern and western sides of the complex a network of cells and buildings were built.

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In 1992 to 1993, the first vertical excavation was started by Dr. Farzand Ali Durani. Due to lack of the funds, the excavation work could not be completed at Gorkhatri. However, he confirmed that the foundation of this city can be traced back to at least the 3rd century BC. After 2007, the city Peshawar was made an official oldest living city in South Asia by pushing it two centuries when second excavation round was carried out in the northeastern aspect of Gorkhatri.

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