Taxila (Urdu: ٹيڪسيلا, Sanskrit: तक्षशिला Takṣaśilā) is a town and an important archaeological site in Rawalpindi district of the Punjab province in Pakistan. Taxila is situated about 32 km (20 mi) north-west of Islamabad and Rawalpindi; just off the famous Grand Trunk Road. The town lies 549 metres (1,801 ft) above sea level. It is the headquarters of the Taxila Tehsil in Rawalpindi district.
Ancient Taxila (Sanskrit: तक्षशिला Takṣaśilā, literally meaning “City of Cut Stone” or “Rock of Taksha”) was situated at the pivotal junction of India, western Asia and Central Asia. Some of the earliest ruins in this area date to the time of the Achaemenid or Persian empire in 6th century BC.
Owing to its strategic location, Taxila has changed hands many times over the centuries, with many empires vying for its control. When the great ancient trade routes connecting these regions ceased to be important, the city sank into insignificance and was finally destroyed by the nomadic Huns in the 5th century CE. Renowned archaeologist Sir Alexander Cunningham rediscovered the ruins of Takṣaśilā in mid-19th century. In 1980, Taxila was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In 2006 it was ranked as the top tourist destination in Pakistan by The Guardian newspaper.
By some accounts, Taxila was considered to be amongst the earliest universities in the world. Others do not consider it a university in the modern sense, in that the teachers living there may not have had official membership of particular colleges, and there did not seem to have existed purpose-built lecture halls and residential quarters in Takshashila, in contrast to the later Nalanda university in eastern India.
In a 2010 report, Global Heritage Fund identified Taxila as one of 12 worldwide sites most “On the Verge” of irreparable loss and damage, citing insufficient management, development pressure, looting, and war and conflict as primary threats.
- Taxila (Urdu: ٹيڪسيلا, Sanskrit: तक्षशिला Takṣaśilā) is a town and an important archaeological site in Rawalpindi district of the Punjab province in Pakistan.