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The city was once known as Push-kalavati, "The city of Lotus flower". It remained the capital of ancient Gandhara from the 6th century B.C to 2nd century A.D. The city was captured in 324 B.C. after the siege of 30 days, by the troops of Alexander the Great and its formal surrender was received by Alexander himself. It has been established beyond doubt that this city was the metropolitan center of asiatic trade and meeting place of oriental and occidental cultures even as long ago as 500 to 1000 B.C. This city also enjoyed in being the center of pilgrims until the seventh century A.D.
Pushkalavati is first mentioned in the Hindu epic story, The Ramayana, when Bharata the brother of Ramchandra conquered Gandharvadesa (Gandhara) and found two cities, Taksha (Taxila), and Pushkala (Pushkalavati) named after his two sons.
Hieun Tsang visited it and he refers to it as Po-Lu-Sha, according to him, it was 2.5 miles in circumference. A Brahminical temple to the east and a monastery to the north which according to Buddhist legends, was the place where Buddha preached law. After Mahmud Ghaznavi conquered the area in 1026 A.D the name Gandhara disappeared.
The Bactrian Greeks, the next rulers of Gandhara, founded a new capital city of Pushkalavati at what is now Shaikhan Dheri, to the north east of Bala Hisar on the other side of river one can see on the top of the mound one part of Shaikhan Dehri.
At the crossroads in the center of Charsadda, turn right towards the "Prang" through the hundreds of acres of graves all decorated with black and white stones in geometric patterns. There are several mounds in Prang. Prang is probably a corruption of Prayag, which indicates that it was a sacred city. The people of the area may feel likewise which may be the reason why they bring their dead there for burial.
There was a fort built by the Sikh called Sharkargarh 17 miles near Charsadda a small town called Shabqadr. Mohmand's burned this town in 1897. It has since been rebuilt!
Bibi Syeda Dheri is north of Uzmail village in Charsadda tehsil. Here is a mound 60-ft high, which is believed to be the site of the stupa, erected to commemorate the conversion by Lord Buddha of goddess Hariti who used to devour children of their locality. There exists a famous shrine, that of Bibi Syeda. It is believed that a pinch of soil from that site is effective against smallpox.
There are also two archeological sites near Charsadda i.e. " Shar-i-Napursan" and "Palatu Dheri". These two sites also belong to the era of Buddhism. With all its mystical magic, Charsadda remains an attractively wonderful journey for tourists, one that is filled with historical mystique and spiritualism.