History of Gandhara

The Star (Malaysia) May 7, 2006

A quick time line of Gandharan civilization


Cyrus (or Darius), legendary Persian Emperor, gradually conquers an area named Gandhara and absorbs it as part of the Persian Empire.

Alexander the Great (pic) invades Gandhara after having defeated the Persian Empire.

Jain king Chandragupta defeats Seleucus Nicator (Alexander’s Asian successor) and establishes the Mauryan Empire from his base in Gandhara.

Gandhara flourishes under the reign of Chandragupta’s grandson, Asoka the Great (pic), who establishes a mighty empire throughout the continent. Asoka’s conversion to Buddhism has an immense effect on Gandhara, which becomes the centre from which Buddhism is spread to what are now China, Korea, Taiwan and Japan.

Demetrius, Grecian King of Bactria, invades and conquers Gandhara. Subsequent rulers include Menander who rebuilt Sirkap, and converted to Buddhism.

Scythians (nomadic warriors from Central Asia, also known as Sakas) invade Gandhara bringing Greek rule to an end in most parts of the country.. 

Parthians (nomads from Siberia who occupied the vacuum left after the Greeks retreated from Persia) take control of Gandhara.

Kushans, a Turkish people based in south-western China, gain control of Gandhara under Kujula Kadphises.


Peak of the Kushan Gandhara civilisation under King Kanishka. Cities of Taxila and Peshawar are built and Buddhist art (pic) and learning flourish.

The Western part of Gandhara is absorbed into the third Persian Empire by Sassanians (the last native group to rule Persia).

The Huns capture Gandhara, eroding Buddhism.

Sassanians recapture Gandhara.

Following the defeat of the Sassanians by Arabs, Gandhara is ruled by Buddhist Turks (Turkshahi) based in Kabul (in what is now Afghanistan).843 The Hindushahi dynasty takes over in Kabul, also ruling Gandhara.

Trilocanpala, the Hindushahi dynasty’s last king, is assassinated by his own troops bringing to an end a Gandharan kingdom already weakened by a heavy defeat at the hands of Muslim general Mahmood of Ghazni.

1021-present day
Subsequently, Gandhara was swallowed by a variety of Pashtun, Mogul and even Sikh kingdoms, before eventually becoming a border outpost of the British Empire. Gandhara now lies largely within the North West Frontier Province in Pakistan, although its also “crosses” into eastern Afghanistan, Kashmir and Punjab. – Some information sourced from en.wikipedia.org