Buddha stories first written in Gandhara, says Pakistani scholar

ANI, June 1, 2007

Peshawar, Pakistan -- A former chairman of the Department of Archaeology and Fine Arts of the Peshawar University has claimed that stories relating to Lord Buddha, carved in stones, were first written in Gandhara.

Interacting with a visiting 15-member delegation of Friends of the Arts and Museums of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Professor Fidaullah Sehrai said the Gandhara Stupa was the forerunner of Chinese pagodas.

He was quoted by the Dawn as saying that Buddhist art flourished in the times of Kanishka, a great Gandhara king.

Explaining the evolution of Buddhist architecture in South Asia, Sehrai said sculptural decoration was attached to the gateway of Sanchi and Bharhut in India. He added that in Gandhara, the main body of the stupa was decorated from top to bottom with sculptures.

'The writings of Chinese pilgrims Fahien, Sung Yun and Hiuen Tsang have added to our knowledge about the history, art and religion of Gandhara,' he said.

The delegation later visited Buddhist sites and museums in Taxila, Peshawar and Takht-i-Bahi.