Shingardar is a village between Galgay and Barikot in the southern part of Swat region in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province. Shingardar is the site of the Shingardar Stupa, the largest Buddhist stupa of the Indian subcontinent.
Shingardar Stupa in Barikot Swat
The Shingardar stupa is located about 3km northeast of the town of Barikot, on the left side of the road from Mingora to Mardan. The stupa stands at the mouth of a small glen that descends from an empty spot above the valley plain.
Shingardar Stupa in Barikot Swat is a remnant of the Buddhist era, and it is one of the thousands of ancient monuments in the Swat Valley. It was built by Uttarasena, the ancient king of Swat, to incorporate his portion of Buddha relics. The stupa structure is made up of large stones and layers of thin slate. On the way to Mingora there is a statue of Buddha carved on a rock to the right of G.T. the road. There are also the remains of a cave near this statue.
The Shingardar stupa in barikot swat was identified by Colonel Deane and S.A. Stein with a famous stupa built by King Uttarasena at the site where the white elephant holding the Kings section of Buddha relics stood. When he got to the place, the elephant suddenly fell down and died and turned into a stone. Next to the rock the King then erected the stupa.
This stupa myth is based on local customs (Deane, 1886, Stein, 1930). This tradition is preserved by Hieum Stang who visited Swat in the 7th century A.D. It is said that when the elephant arrived at the site with Buddha’s remains on his back, his body miraculously turned to stone after his death.
It is said that the mountain peak, facing the main stupa to the north, depicts a small statue in it, which is visible only to the religious eye. G.Tucci, however, does not agree with the identification, and states that the stamp was not made by King Uttarasena. He places a mythical stupa somewhere near the Naway kaliay about 500 feet north of the town of Kota.
The controversy over the transfer of Uttarasena’s portion of the Buddha’s remains to Swat on an elephant’s back and the transformation of an animal into a stone requires further investigation and research.
Stupa structure features
Initially the stupa fence was square by plan, but the villagers removed the well-worn stone from the top and most of the interior stone around the stage, to build their houses and road.
Shingardar stupa in Barikot Swat consists of a bottom drum decorated with two cones, a top drum and a dome about 12m long.
The stones consist of large coated slabs of white stone separated by small columns of black pieces, as well as direct packing between subjects.
Some traces of stucco plaster drum are still visible. The bottom drum 04.87m is adorned with slimmer pilasters with flat brackets.
The cornice above the bottom drum is 0.60m high and forms a hollow course of slabs and on top of that the imaginary part is composed of small slabs laid straight at its short edges. shingardar stupa in barikot swat
The upper cornice is marked with a shallow interval of about 0.50m high producing a light and shade effect. Archaeologists have erected a stupa dome on the northwest side, a common practice in the area. On the east and south sides of the stupa about 15 feet [15 m] from the base, traces of Buddhist habitat can be seen, now occupied by modern houses.
The construction of these last buildings is very bad and probably belongs to the monastery building. Due to the importance of stupa placement, excavations on this site as mentioned earlier, are required to protect and preserve the monument. shingardar stupa in barikot swat
Who was Uttarasena
Bhim Singh Dahiya writes, as we come to the accounts of the Buddhists, we have already noticed that according to these versions, the Mauryas is a branch of the Sakyas, who were forced to emigrate from Magadha under the pressure of their ruler again.
The first Maurya married a Naga daughter and took the throne of Udyana. His son, whose name was Utalosina (Uttarasena), became king after him and when he went out hunting, the Buddha came to his house and told his mother that his son belonged to the Buddha’s family and that he should take part of the ashes of the Buddha in Kusinagar. shingardar stupa in barikot swat
Uttaraasena, applied for the ashes of the Buddha by claiming that he was a Kshatriya of the same family as the Buddha himself. The foreign kings treated him badly but the Buddha intervened and informed the hostile kings of his wishes and thus allowed Uttarasena to obtain ashes.
Ghalegay is a village in Swat Valley, 14 miles [14 km] south of Mingora, on the left bank of the Swat River. It is one of the largest cities between the two cities, Mingora and Barikot. shingardar stupa in barikot swat
As you walk along the Swat River from Barikot to Odigram, you will see several Buddhist monuments. Most notable of these is the stupa at Shingardar (also spelled Shankardâr), linked to a local myth, and a king named Uttarasena. The man is said to have collected, in the order of his own master, the remains of the Buddha, and to have kept them in this huge building.
Unfortunately, King Uttarasena’s stupa was not built in the late fifth century BCE after the rise of the Buddha to Nirvana, but by the sixth century CE Many elements in this building, such as “Greek” plaster, betray Greek influences, forcing us to renounce this late memorial.
It is a very large monument. In front of the second image, you can clearly see the road cut at the base of the stupa. Of course, this was an act of unnecessary vandalism, but on the other hand, we can now get a better idea of the size of the monument. (The actual monument measures 18 feet, and the foundations are eight feet deep.) shingardar stupa in barikot swat
On the floor below King Uttarasena’s stupa, there is a cave, used by treasure hunters trying to find the remains of the Buddha.
Shingardar stupa in Barikot Swat is bigger, better maintained, and smaller than in Zurmala. shingardar stupa in barikot swat