Dharmarajika, a large Buddhist stupa in Taxila, Pakistan.

Taxila is an important archaeological site in the Punjab province of Pakistan, and presents to us the stages in the development of a city on the Indus that was alternately influenced by Persia, Greece and Central Asia. From the 5th century BC to the 2nd century AD it was also a Buddhist centre of learning.

Dharmarajika is both the largest and earliest of the Buddhist religious complexes at Taxia. It was built to enshrine the holy relics of Buddha by Asoka the Great, who was also known as "Dharmaraja", (thus name the name of the site being "Dharmarajka").

This circular stupa is 45 metres high, and constructed in solid stone masonry. It was unfortunately significantly damaged during an earthquake in 40 AD, and was rebuilt twice under Kushana rulers. Stone sculptures depicting Buddha and his life adorned the stupa. 

During the end of the 5th century, the empire of the Kidara Kushanas was lost to the White Huns. Trade was disrupted, and the economic prosperity diminished, leaving places like Dharmarajika without royal patronage. Dharmarajika was ultimately abandoned like many of the other Buddhist Sangharamas at Taxia.

Photos taken by Anduze traveller.