So far in my previous posts, we have visited many monuments of great historical, religious and cultural value of Gandhra Civilization. But Jandial temple is very different from all those sites. It is also located in Taxila but it is unique in the sense that unlike other sites of Taxila, it is not a Buddhist Stupa or monastery. It was a temple dedicated to fire worship by the followers of Zoroastrianism. Its Greek architecture also set it apart from other buildings and monuments of Taxila. Only one of its kind has yet been discovered in Pakistan. Even in the whole of south Asia, there is no other example of a similar building, a Zoroastrian temple built in Greek style of architecture.
The temple is located at 33°45'52.1"N, 72°49'43.7"E, at a distance of about 650 meters north of Sirkap city, about 2.5 kilometers from the Taxila Museum. Like other monuments of Taxila it is also included in UNESCO's world heritage sites. It was probably built in the 2nd or 1st century BC. Famous Greek philosopher Apollonius of Tyana came and stayed here in 44 AD. He described it in detail and highly praised its design and architectural beauty.
The board at the site informs that the site was excavated by Ghulam Qadir in 1912 – 13, under the direction of Sir John Marshall. It measures 158 by 85 feets, thus occupying an area of about 1/3 acre. It was constructed on an artificial mound and has all the characteristics of a Greek Temple, like front columns, porch, entrance hall, sanctuary, and back chamber. All around the temple is a passage of uniform size, with windows and at regular intervals for air and light. The back chamber is entered through the backdoor. Limestone and kanjur (a porous sedimentary stone) were the main materials used to build the structure. The walls were once covered with plaster, but all had fallen apart a long time ago. The pillars and columns were made with sandstone.
I strongly suggest that if you ever plan to visit Taxila, to see its marvels, make sure that you do not miss it. It is very easy to reach and the beauty of the surroundings will make the visit more pleasant and memorable.
December 17, 2021.