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Taxila: Jaulian


Map of Taxila. Design Jona Lendering
Map of Taxila
Taxila (Old Indian Takshaçila): the ancient capital of the eastern Punjab, the country between the rivers Indus and Hydaspes. The site consists of several parts, which belong to three periods:

Taxila (history)
Achaemenid age Greek age Kushan age
Bhir Sirkap 1, 2 Sirsukh

Jandial Jaulian


Mohra Moradu
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The monastery of Jaulian at Taxila. Photo Marco Prins. Far away from the noise of the city of Taxila-Sirsukh, the monastery and university of Jaulian was situated on a mountain top that rises some 100 meters above the surrounding country - on a cool and dustless site (satellite photo). This picture shows part of the central court. In front of the cells must have been a verandah.
Entrance of the monastery of Jaulian at Taxila. Photo Marco Prins. The entrance, leading to the central court. Like other monasteries in Gandara and the Punjab, the cells surrounded a rectangular central court with a bathroom (jantâghara), an assembly hall (upasthâna-sâlâ), a store-room (koshthaka), a kitchen (agni-sâlâ), a refectory (upâhâra-sâlâ), and a latrine (varchah-kutî). There was no well at Jaulian, but there were sources at the foot of the hill.

Jaulian does not really differ from the settlement at Mohra Moradu, which is just over a kilometer away.


One of the walls of the monastery of Jaulian at Taxila. Photo Marco Prins. The settlement had been restored shortly before it was abandoned, after the invasion of the White Huns at the end of the fifth century. Therefore, the decorations are better preserved than those at Mohra Moradu, but unfortunately, they are of a poorer quality. This picture shows the outer wall of the building - well preserved.
The head of a statue of Buddha at Jaulian. Photo Jona Lendering. Stupas at the monastery of Jaulian at Taxila. Photo Marco Prins. Detail of the decoration of a stupa at the monastery of Jaulian at Taxila. Photo Marco Prins. Stupa at the monastery of Jaulian at Taxila. Photo Marco Prins. Stupas at the monastery of Jaulian at Taxila. Photo Marco Prins.
Stupas at the monastery of Jaulian at Taxila. Photo Marco Prins. The main stupa (on the photo to the right) is badly damaged, but is surrounded by twenty-one beautifully decorated votive stupas. They betray Greek influence, although no longer as obviously as in Sirkap, which was founded by a Bactro-Greek king. The motifs that had been adapted by the Buddhist artists of the second and first centuries BCE, had by now become part of the Punjab culture, and artists made variations. Still, you need only a little bit of imagination to recognize that the decorated cube in the center of the third photo above is derived from a Greek, Corinthian column.
Detail of the decoration of a stupa at the monastery of Jaulian at Taxila. Photo Marco Prins. A teaching Buddha. "Their feet are naked for walking and they cut their garments to resemble the exomis," writes the Greek author Philostratus in his vie romancée of the Greek philosopher Apollonius of Tyana, who is reported to have visited Taxila (Life of Apollonius, §3.15). An exomis is a Greek mantle that leaves a shoulder and an arm uncovered.

The next two photos show a meditating Buddha and an atlant in a rather contorted posture.


Detail of the decoration of a stupa at the monastery of Jaulian at Taxila. Photo Marco Prins. Detail of the decoration of a stupa at the monastery of Jaulian at Taxila. Photo Marco Prins.
© Jona Lendering for
Livius.Org, 2004
Revision: 13 Feb. 2009
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