shingardar stupa Barikot

Cripple Shingardar Stupa Barikot in Swat, Pakistan

The Shingardar stupa Barikot in Swat Valley was identified by Colonel Deane and S.A Stein with the famous stupa built by King Uttarasena on the spot where the white elephant that carried the Kings share of the relics of the Buddha halted. When he had arrived at this spot the elephant suddenly dropped down and, dying, changed himself into a rock . By the side of this rock the King at once erected this stupa. 

This myth of the shingardar stupa barikot is derived from a local tradition (Deane, 1886, Stein, 1930). The tradition is preserved by Hieum Stang who visited Swat in the 7th century A.D. It is said that when the elephant reached this spot with the relics of Buddha on its back, his body miraculously turned into stone after dying at this spot. 

It is further claimed that the hilly ridge opposite the great stupa on the north depicts a faint figure on it, visible only to the pious eye. G.Tucci, does not agree with the identification, and says that this stupa was not erected by the King Uttarasena. He places the stupa of the legend some where near the Naway kaliay about 500 meters to the north of Kota village. 

The controversy about the transportation of Uttarasena’s share of the relics of the Buddha to Swat on elephant back and transforming of the animal’s body into stone needs further investigation and research.

Shingardar Stupa Barikot Location

The stupa of Shingardar is situated about 3 km to the northeast of Barikot village, by the left side on the road from Mingora to Mardan. The stupa stands in the mouth of a small glen descending from a bare spur above the valley plain.

Shingardar is a small village located between Ghalegay and Barikot in the south of the Swat Valley in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province of Pakistan.

Structural Features of the Shingardar Stupa Barikot, Swat

Originally the plinth of the stupa was square in plan, but the inhabitants of the village removed the well-dressed facing stone and also the great portion of the interior masonry around the podium, for construction of their houses and road.

Shingardar stupa Barikot consist of lower drum decorated with two cornice, upper drum and a dome measuring 12m.The total height of the stupa from dome to the existing base is 27m.

The masonry comprise large dressed slabs of white stone separated by small columns of dark slatey pieces, and narrow horizontal packing between the courses.

Some traces of stucco plaster on the drum are still visible. The lower drum measuring 04.87m is garnished with slightly projected pilasters with an bearing rather flat brackets.

The cornice above the lower drum is 0.60m high and comprise a plain course of slabs and above this a projected part built in thin slabs which are set vertically on their shorter edge.

The upper cornice of Shingardar stupa barikot is marked by a shallow recess about 0.50m high producing a light and shade effect. Antiquities robbers cut the stupa dome on the northwestern side, common practice in this area. On the eastern and southern sides of the stupa about 15 meters from the base, traces of Buddhist settlement can be seen, now occupied by the modern houses.

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