Hund (Pakistan): capital of Hindu Shahi dynasty
In a bid to understand the civilisation of the time, archaeologists in Pakistan have called for more excavations in Khyber Pakthunkhwa's Hund village, the capital of the Hindu Shahi dynasty where Alexander the Great stayed before moving to conquer Taxila.
Hund is the most rich archaeological site in the entire Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, archaeologists told students visiting the Hund Museum, Hund fortress and other ancient sites linked to the era when Alexander had crossed the mighty Indus River.
During previous excavations in Hund, various utensils, security instruments and other belongings have been recovered.
Alexander and his army stayed at Hund and later moved onward to realise his 'mission' in Taxila and other areas of present day Pakistan, the archaeologists said.
In Pakhtun terrains, Alexander faced enough resistance that resulted in his frustration when locals fought his army gallantly, especially in Bajaur and Mosaga (Kalash).
"In Mosaga, Alexander was seriously injured and forced to give the army command to one of his faithful general," said Muhammad Usman Mardanvi, a leading archaeologist.
The actual name of Hund is Udabhandapura. Alexander came here in 327 BC. He crossed the River Indus in Hund when one of his generals prepared a boat bridge, according to experts.
Director Archaeology of Khyber Pakthunkhwa, Abdus Samad, said that Hund was capital of Hindu Shahi dynasty in 10th Century AD. Hund was called 'Odabandapur' at that time.
In 2nd century AD Peshawar was the second capital of Kushan dynasty of king Kanishka.
Famous Chinese pilgrim Hiuen Tsang passed through this area in 644 AD. After Peshawar and Charsadda, it was the third capital of the Hindu Shahi dynasty, they say.
Usman said that from Durand Line to Khairabad there were about 12,000 archaeological sites of which around 100 have been protected and excavated by the provincial directorate of archaeology and museums.
"The archaeologist sites need more excavation and work to know about the old civilisation while securing different things of the ancient civilisation that tell about how people lived, how they protected themselves and how earned their livelihood," he said.
If the archaeological sites are excavated and museums like Hund established by the provincial directorate of archaeology, it would attract foreigners and boost the province's tourism, Usman said.
The world should be educated about Pakistan's rich heritage and history, he said.
"Highlighting historical importance would be an indirect deep message to the entire world about the soft image of Pakistan," he said.
"It is not only the responsibility of the government to protect our heritage but the people should also come forward to play their role. This is our moral responsibility," he said.
The officials said it is true that militancy in the region has posed a serious threat to the archaeological sites, and carrying out excavation has become difficult but efforts should be made to preserve the sites.