I hope you have seen my previous posts about some of the most famous sites of the Gandhara Civilization like DHarmarajika, Mohra Moradu, Pipplan % Jaulian. Remember all these sites are on UNESCO's list of world heritage sites and are worth visiting. In this article, I shall take you on a tour of another archaeological and heritage sites of Taxila. Its name is as interesting as the place itself is. It is called Jinnan Wali Dheri i.e. the mound of the jinns/demons. It is a well-preserved site like most of other Buddhist sites around Taxila.
Jinnan Wali Dheri is located at 33°47'14.7"N, 72°51'48.1"E. It has the same pattern as other Buddhist sites and this too consists of two distinct parts, a big stupa in the west and a monastery in the east. Another similarity is that like other sites it too covers an area of about one acre. It must have been a standard size of religious complexes in those days. However, I noted one difference, unlike Mohra Moradu and Jaulian or most of the other similar sites; it is not located on a hill or elevated surface. It is located on a lower surface as compared to the surrounding ground.
The excavation was carried out from 2004 – 2006. A huge stupa was found with dimensions of 10 x 10 meters. The base of the stupa was decorated with plaster images of Buddha. In addition, two smaller votive stupas also have been found. Votive stupas were built by people to show their devotion and gratitude. These are found at all Buddhist sites. In Dharmarajika and Jaulian you can see dozens of such small stupas.
The monastery is square in plan and consists of 17 cells. A water tank was discovered in the middle of the monastery. All the constructions were estimated to be done from the 3rd to 5th century AD, the golden period of the Gandhara civilization during the Kushans era.
On your way to Jinnan Wali Dheri, about 700 meters before reaching there, on the same road you will find another archaeological site, known as Badalpur. This site too is a Buddhist stupa and a monastery. But so far it has not been excavated. So there is not much to see. But hopefully when it is excavated and restored. it too would be a big attraction for the tourists. The coordinates of this site are 33°46'54.7"N 72°52'03.8"E.
Jinnan Wali Dheri is a well maintained site surrounded by beautiful orange orchards, about ten kilometers from the Taxila Museum. The artifacts excavated from this site, like statues, coins, etc. are on display in the same museum. So whenever you make a plan to explore the wonders of the Gandhara Civilizations, do not miss it. A visit to this place along with nearby sites like Jaulian, Mohra Muradu, etc. would make a wonderful day trip.
December 17, 2021.
Note: The map shows the locations of Jinnan Wali Dheri and Badalpur in yellow. The other sites are marked in red.