Mardān is town in KPK province of Pakistan, located 142 Kilometers from Islamabad and 65 Kilometers from Peshawar. It is the second largest city of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa after Peshawar.

Mardan is located in a region rich in archaeaological sites. In 1962, the Sanghao Caves were discovered outside of Mardan, which yielded artifacts from the Middle Paleolithic period, over 30,000 years ago. Other sites in the immediate area have yielded evidence of human activity from the Upper Paleolithic period. Further excavations from the area around Jamal Garhi near Mardan recovered artifacts from the Mesolithic period

The area around Mardan then formed part of the homeland of the Gandhara grave culture around 1800 BCE. The Gandharan grave culture appears to have been a Central Asian group that may represent part of the Indo-Aryan invasion into the subcontinent. Mardan then formed part of the ancient Buddhist kingdom of Gandhara. Rock edicts of Ashoka in nearby Shahbaz Garhi date from the Mauryan period in the mid-200s BCE, and are written in the ancient Kharosthi script.

The nearby UNECO World Heritage Site of Takht-i-Bahi was established as a monastery around 46 AD. The Bakhshali Manuscript, which contains the earliest record of the use of the number 0 in the Indian Subcontinent, was found near Mardan in 1891, and dates from the 3rd or 4th century CE. The nearby Kashmir Smast caves served Buddhist hermit monks, and dates from the 4th to 9th century CE.

Guides Memorial

During the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857, Mardan was not a scene of heavy fighting as many of the native troops had been disarmed by British forces. Mardan’s famous Guides’ Memorial was established in 1892 to honour fallen soldiers who fought during the 1879 Siege of the British Residency in Kabul. The city’s Women’s Hospital was established in 1906.

In 1920, Mardan was visited by Sir Charles Monro, head of British armed forces in British India. Until 1937, Mardan district was a part of Peshawar district, when it was elevated to the status of its own independent district. During the Viceroy’s visit in 1946, large numbers of Mardan residents travelled to Peshawar to participate in a Muslim League rally in favour of Pakistan’s establishment. The Mardan Museum was established in 1991 to showcase the region’s rich ancient history.

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