The beauty, attraction and grace of the valley of Swat is well known throughout the world. This area is witness to the generosity of nature. Its fragrance, enchanting sights, moderate climate, pleasant environment, snow covered peaks, tumultuous Swat river, singing water falls, crystal clear rills and springs and the beautiful valley of Lilies attract everyone to itself.
Mingora seems to be like forehead jewelry on the forehead of this beautiful and enticing valley. This clean city has unique and individualistic qualities due to its modern buildings, beautiful hotels, grand bazaars, the hustle bustle of travelers and visitors and the scattered beauties of its surroundings.
Spread on an area of 25 km Mingora is situated at a distance of 170 Km from Peshawar and 254 Km from Rawalpindi. One road leading to it from Nowshera passes through the zig zag hills of Malakand. The second way from Swabi joins with Barikot after passing through the stony mountains of Ambela and Karakar while the third way from Abbottabad passes through the Shahrahi Risham reaches Bisham and then from Bisham passes through the beautiful area of Shangla Par and joins Swat at Khwazakhela. Mingora is situated at a height of 3,200 feet from the sea level.
Mingora occupies a position of big and central trade centre of Swat on which all the small and big areas depend for their necessities. Mingora is a centre of the relics of the old civilization and culture and it is also a centre of the national, local and international products. Its main bazar is the heart of Swat. Mingora is the first central stay for visitors from where they can go easily to every part of the valley of Swat.
The old name of Mingora is Ming Chilli which has various meanings. It is supposed that this name Mingora was put after the name of a lady. The venerated Chinese travelers of Buddhism, Heon Sang, Fahian and Sang Yun have described Ming Chilli. The famous Historian, Major Rawarti (Raverty) has made a mention of the place in his writings as Mingora, and Mangrawra which later on culminated into Mingora.
Mingora has been a spiritual and historical city of Buddhism in ancient times. Its proof can be seen in the relics of Buddhism during excavation so many remains of Buddha have been discovered at But Kara in Mingora and its excavation was first of all made by Dr. Tochi (Tucci), a famous archeologist from Italy in 1956 in which old relics and gold coins were discovered. In these remains the worship places (monasteries) are particularly worth mentioning. This area is spread over an area of 1,800 square metres which was the biggest worship place in this part of the land. In some of the remains royal articles and places have also been discovered. The remains of a grand and big stupa have also been discovered over here round which about 250 small stupas were erected. About 7,000 status made of green stone have been excavated from here which were all fixed around this stupa. A few gold cases have also been discovered in which the ashes of Budda used to be preserved. The remains of this area are spread ove a period from 2 BC to 11 A.D. The traces of three periods have been discovered from these remains in which the craftsmanship of Greeks, Romans and some Buddhists is observable.
TO BE CONTINUED…
Note: This article was published in Daily ‘The News’ on 30th August 1995.