Finance Planning Department District Swat

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Home Home District Profile

District Profile

 

Swat - - -  The Switzerland of Pakistan Swat is a valley and an administrative district in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan located 160 kilometres from Islamabad. It is the upper valley of the Swat River, which rises in the Hindu Kush range. The District headquarter of Swat is Saidu Sharif, but the main town in the Swat valley is Mingora. It was a princely state in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa until it was dissolved in 1969. With high mountains, green meadows, and clear lakes, it is a place of great natural beauty that used to be popular with tourists as "the Switzerland of Pakistan".

 

History of District Swat The Swat River is mentioned in the Rig Veda 8.19.37 as the Suvastu River. Swat has been inhabited for over two thousand years and was known in ancient times as the Udyana. The First inhabitants were settled in well-planned towns. The independent monarchs of this region came under Achaemenid influence, before reverting back to local control in the 4th century BC. In 327 BC, Alexander the Great fought his way to Udigram to Barikot. In Greek accounts these towns have been identified as Ora and Bazira. By 305 BC, the region became a part of the Mauryan Empire. Around the 2nd century BC, the area was occupied by Buddhists, the Indo-Greeks, and the Kushans who were attracted by the peace and serenity of the land. Swat is thought to be the probable birthplace of Vajrayana Buddhism. There are many archaeological sites in the district, and Buddhist relics are common, testimony to their skills as sculptors and architects.

Buddhist Heritage of Swat The Swat museum has the footprints of Buddha, which were found in the Swat Valley and can now be seen in the Swat Museum. When the Buddha died, His relics (or aches) were distributed to seven kings, who built stupas over them for veneration.

The Harmarajika Stupa (Taxila) and Butkarha Stupa (Swat) at Jamal Garha were among the earliest stupas of Gandhara. These had been erected on the orders of King Ashoka and contained the real relics of the Buddha.

The Gandhara School is probably credited with the first representation of the Buddha in human form, the portrayal of Buddha in his human shape, rather than shown as a symbol.

As Buddhist art developed and spread outside India, the styles developed here were imitated. For example, in China the Gandhara style was imitated in images made of bronze, with a gradual change in the features of these images. Swat, the land of romance and beauty, is celebrated throughout the world as the holy land of Buddhist learning and piety. Swat acquired fame as a place of Buddhist pilgrimage. Buddhist tradition holds that the Buddha himself came to Swat during his last reincarnation as the Gautama Buddha and preached to the people here.

It is said that the Swat was filled with fourteen hundred imposing and beautiful stupas and monasteries, which housed as many as 6,000 gold images of the Buddhist pantheon for worship and education. There are now more than 400 important Buddhist excavation in Swat an important one is Butkarha-I, containing the original relics of the Buddha.

Advent of Islam In the beginning of the 11th Century, Mahmud of Ghaznia advanced through Dir and invaded Swat, defeating Gira, the local ruler, near Udigram. Later, when the king of Kabul Mirza Ulagh Beg attempted to assassinate the dominant chiefs of the Yousafzais they took refuge under the umbrella of the Swati Kings of Swat and Bajour. The whole area was being dominated by the Swati/Jahangiri Sultans of Swat for centuries. According to H.G. Raverty, the Jahangiri Kings of Swat had ruled from Jalabad to Jhelum. After more than two decades of guerrilla warfare, they were dispossessed by the Yousafzais. The majority of the aboriginal inhabitants of Swat migrated to the Hazara Region to the east, where Swatis predominate with their surname Swati, reflecting their link to the region.

 

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