Gandhara is a region in the north-west of the South Asian Sub-continent, comprised of the Peshawar valley including the present day districts of Peshawar, Mardan, Swat and Dir as well as Malakand and Bajur Agencies on the west bank of the Indus in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa of Pakistan and Taxila beyond the Indus on the east.
The Taxila valley once the abode of many splendid Buddhist establishments in 18km long and 8 km broad, protected by a natural defense of high ridges and irrigated by the Haro River, a substantial river with its several branches. The city boasted of scores of Buddhist stupas and monasteries embellished with specimens of Gandhara Art.
The city of Takshasila or Taxila, as Greeks had names it, is situated about 32 kilometers north-west of Islamabad. Taxila is one of the oldest living cities in the sub-continent. Its origin lies buried in the mysteries of Neolithic Period. Ever since then it appears to have continuous history of waxing and waning importance during various stages of its existence. Even today, Taxila is a flourishing town surrounded by numerous ancient abandoned settlements representing its earlier periods. It is perhaps the only ancient city which finds favorable mention both in the earliest oriental literature- Mahabharata and Ramayana.
The Taxila valley is on the UNESCO’s world Heritage List because of the numerous monuments that lies in the Margala-Taxila region dating from the Neolithic Period to the 7th century A.D. In the isolation, many of the individual sites are not particularly significant but it is the interrelationship between them all that makes Taxila such an important area.