Wednesday, March 10, 2010

History Of Pakistan and Its Culture

The Pala’s were a Buddhist dynasty of Bengal, which lasted for four centuries (750-1120 AD). The empire reached its peak under Dharmapala and Devapala to cover much of South Asia and beyond up to Kamboja (modern day Afghanistan), shattering the pride of many a ruler, including the Huna. Followers of the Mahayana and Tantric schools of Buddhism, they were responsible for the introduction of Mahayana Buddhism in Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet, Myanmar and the Malay Archipelago, creation of temples and works of art and patronage of great universities formerly patronized by the Buddhist king Harsha Vardhana. The Palas had extensive trade as well as influence in south-east Asia. The Pala Empire eventually disintegrated in the 12th century under the attack of the Sena dynasty.

According to Arab chroniclers, the Rai Dynasty of Sindh (c.489-632), established a great kingdom with Ror (modern Sukkur) as its capital and, at its zenith, under Rai Diwaji (Devaditya), ruled over the Sindh region and beyond. After the collapse of the Gupta Empire, India was ruled by numerous regional kingdoms until the first half of the seventh century, when the Vardhana king Harsha, a Bais Rajput, established a vast empire.

The city of Taxila, in northern Pakistan, became important to Hinduism (and later in Buddhism). Vedic Sanskrit was canonised in the 4th century BCE by the grammarian Panini, who hailed from the ancient city of Pushkalavati in Pakistan's then Gandhara region. The Indo-Greek Menander I (reigned 155-130 BCE) drove the Greco-Bactrians out of Gandhara and beyond the Hindu Kush, becoming a king shortly after his victory. The capital Sagala (modern Sialkot) prospered greatly under Menander's rule and Menander is one of the few Bactrian kings mentioned by Greek authors. Around 125 BCE, the Greco-Bactrian king Heliocles, son of Eucratides, fled from the Yuezhi invasion of Bactria and relocated to Gandhara, pushing the Indo-Greeks east of the Jhelum River. Following the decline of the central Parthian authority after clashes with the Roman Empire, a local Parthian leader, Gondophares established the Indo-Parthian Kingdom in the 1st century CE. The kingdom was ruled from Taxila and covered much of modern southeast Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Over running the northern region of Pakistan, they continued deep into the Indo Gangetic Plain and were responsible for the downfall of the Gupta dynasty in the 6th century, ending what historians consider a golden age of Hinduism in northern India.

The kingdom linked the Indian Ocean maritime trade with the commerce of the Silk Road through the Indus valley. Kanishka convened a great Buddhist council in Kashmir, marking the start of the pantheistic Mahayana Buddhism and its scission with Nikaya Buddhism. The mingling of Indian and Persian cultures in the region gave rise to the Indo-Sassanid culture, which flourished in Balochistan and western Punjab.

The Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) also helps promote tourism in the country. The recent militancy in Pakistan's scenic sites, including Swat in NWFP province, has dealt a massive blow to the tourism industry. Pakistan receives 500,000 tourists annually, and almost half of them head to northern Pakistan.

It is named after the Soan Valley in the Sivalik Hills, near modern-day Islamabad/Rawalpindi, Pakistan. The Indus Valley Civilization developed between 3300-1700 BCE on the banks of the Indus River. In the early part of the second millennium BCE, tribes from Central Asia and the southern Russian steppes migrated into the region, and settled in the Sapta Sindhu area between the Kabul River and the Upper Ganges-Yamuna rivers. The resulting Vedic culture lasted until the middle of the first millennium BCE when there were marked linguistic, cultural and political changes.

The variety of Pakistani music ranges from diverse provincial folk music and traditional styles such as Qawwali and Ghazal Gayaki to modern forms fusing traditional and western music, such as the synchronisation of Qawwali and western music by the world renowned Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. In Balochistan there are many caves for cavers and tourists to visit especially the Juniper Shaft Cave, the Murghagull Gharra cave, Mughall saa cave, and naturally decorated cave.