Sirkap Site, Taxila, Pakistan

high-definition creative commons photographs from the Sirkap Site, Taxila, Pakistan together with further information.


Satellite View of the Site

Satellite View of the Site


use j/k or left/right arrow
to navigate through the photos below


The site of Sirkap was built according to the Hippodamian grid-plan characteristic of Greek cities. It is organized around one main avenue and fifteen perpendicular streets, covering a surface of around 1,200 by 400 meters (3,900 ft × 1,300 ft), with a surrounding wall 5–7 meters (16–23 ft) wide and 4.8 kilometers (3.0 mi) long. The ruins are Greek in character, similar to those of Olynthus in Macedonia.

Buddhist stūpas with strong Hellenistic decorative elements can be found throughout the Sirkap site, for instance the stūpa of the two eagles, there is a Jain temple and a Jain stūpa, as well as a Hindu temple, indicating a close interaction of religious cultures.

All notes are drawn from Wikipedia.

001 Main Thoroughfare

01 Main Thoroughfare

002 City Streets and Housing

02 City Streets and Housing

003 Tree on Side Street

03 Tree on Side Street

004 Main Street and Jaina Temple

04 Main Street and Jaina Temple

005 Residential Buildings

05 Residential Buildings

006 Shop Fronts

06 Shop Fronts

007 Foundations

07 Foundations

008 Guard’s Room

08 Guard’s Room

Small Stūpa

One round stūpa is present at Sirkap. It is one of the oldest stūpas in the Indian-Subcontinent. It is assumed that this stūpa was uprooted and thrown to its present location by a strong earthquake in the 1st century AD. When the new city was built later, the stūpa was kept by building a protecting wall around it.

009 Small Stūpa Site

09 Small Stūpa Site

010 Small Stūpa

10 Small Stūpa

011 Wall and Staircase

11 Wall and Staircase

012 Residential Quarters

12 Residential Quarters

013 Stūpa Site

13 Stūpa Site

Apsidal Temple

The building that is known as the Apsidal Temple is the largest sanctuary of Sirkap, measuring about 70 by 40 meters (230 by 130 ft) (by contrast: the Parthenon in Athens is 70 by 31 meters (230 by 102 ft)). The Apsidal Temple consists of a square nave with several rooms, used by the Buddhist monks, and a circular room, which gives the building its apsidal shape. After the earthquake that destroyed the city in c. 30 AD, the Buddhist shrine was built in a spacious courtyard. The round part was probably in use for a small stūpa, but no traces of it remain. Some carvings were probably done by an artist from Greece.

014 Apsidal Temple Site

14 Apsidal Temple Site

015 Steps to Apsidal Temple

15 Steps to Apsidal Temple

Double-Headed Eagle Stūpa

A special stūpa at Sirkap is the so-called Double-Headed Eagle Stūpa. The pilasters here are Corinthian columns of a Greek design. In the middle arch, a Greek temple is shown; in the outer, a shrine of a Hindu design can be seen. On top of these sanctuaries, a double-headed eagle is seated from which the name of the stūpa has been derived. This motif is rather odd, to say the least, as it is originally Babylonian. It seems to have spread to Scythia, and was then introduced by the Saka rulers.

016 Double-Headed Eagle Stūpa Site

16 Double-Headed Eagle Stūpa Site

017 Staircase to Double-Headed Eagle Stūpa

17 Staircase to Double-Headed Eagle Stūpa

018 Lower Wall of Double-Headed Eagle Stūpa

18 Lower Wall of Double-Headed Eagle Stūpa

019 Double-Headed Eagle Stūpa Base

19 Double-Headed Eagle Stūpa Base

020 Pillared Jaina Stūpa

20 Pillared Jaina Stūpa

021 Paved Pathway and Foundations

21 Paved Pathway and Foundations

022 Gnarled Tree over Ruins

22 Gnarled Tree over Ruins

023 Courtyard

23 Courtyard

024 Reconstructed Wall

24 Reconstructed Wall

025 Foundations

25 Foundations

026 Overgrown Foundations

26 Overgrown Foundations

027 Overgrown Foundations

27 Overgrown Foundations

028 Overgrown Foundations

28 Overgrown Foundations

029 Overgrown Foundations

29 Overgrown Foundations

030 Overgrown Foundations

30 Overgrown Foundations

031 Overgrown Foundations

31 Overgrown Foundations

032 Overgrown Foundations

32 Overgrown Foundations

033 Site of Sun Temple

33 Site of Sun Temple

034 Reconstructed Wall

34 Reconstructed Wall

035 Remains of Buildings

35 Remains of Buildings

036 Residential Quarters

36 Residential Quarters

037 Remains with Mountain Beyond

37 Remains with Mountain Beyond


Photographs by Leow Chai Yee
Edited and Described by Ānandajoti Bhikkhu

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