The Ancient Shrines of Pakistan

A 2000-year-old Buddhist center among the ruins of Taxila

Jaulian is an ancient Buddhist monastery from 2 CE. Its location helped spread Buddhism from the ancient state of Gandhara, now known as Pakistan, to beyond the Indian subcontinent.  

The Jaulian Buddhist monastery is part of the Taxila archeological site in present day Punjab. It was a thriving center for learning along the trade routes of the Taxila Valley. The number of people traveling through the city made it easy for Buddhism to spread beyond Gandhara.

The Jaulian Buddhist complex is made up of many places of meditation, better known as stupas. There is one main shrine, 27 minor shrines, and two nearby courts.  

It also has 59 chapels that surround the courts with scenes from the life of Buddha. Besides the shrines for mediation and chapels, the monastery has some of the basic necessities for monastic life – bedrooms for the monks, an assembly hall, a kitchen, and a storage room.  

A stupa can be recognized from the outside by its mound shape. It is a shrine dedicated to particular religious relics of the Buddha or Buddhist saint and is dedicated to a holy event or a sacred location. 

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