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History of Ghazni Province

In the 7th century AD, Ghazni was the center of Buddhism which was flourishing in the region. Archeologists dug out both Hindu & Buddhist religious artefacts in the region.

Fondukistan & Tepe-e-Sardar (Ghazni) were the two great Buddhist centres of that time but later on the Buddhism evolved with the influence coming from India from the 7th to 8th century. This evolution is depicted in themes from Mahayana iconography as there are some sites which still also show the Tantric aspects which was established in Indian monasteries.

Tepe-e-Sardar also known as Tepe-yi-Nagara is also another important site near Ghazni. Buddhists occupied this in the 8th century AD. There is a statue of unbaked clay representing the Parinirvana Buddha. A similar statue has also been found in the North of Afghanistan at Adzhina Tepe in Tajikistan.

The region was introduced by Islam in 683 AD when the armies from the Umayyad Caliphate charged and tried to conquer the Ghanzi capital, but they remained unsuccessful and had to face vicious resistance by local tribes. After that in 869 AD Yaqub Saffari from Zarani made an example of Ghazni when his forces reached the region for conquering it in the name of Islam. He completely destroyed the city. Then Mahmud of Ghazni converted the small population of local Hindus and Buddhists to Islam.

There are no proper evidences on if Ghazna was a part of the Samanid Kingdom. Although it was overrun by Zabulistan while Kabul was being ruled by Safaris in 873 AD. In ancient recordings the Ghazna ruler has been described as Padshah who allied with the Hindushahis of Kabul.

Yaqub’s brothers rebuild the city after which it became the capital of Ghaznavids from 994 to 1160 whose regime was encompassing Persia, North India and central Asia. Ghaznavid’s also spread Islam to India and brought riches from both Prince and God temples.

In 1151, Ghazni’s capital was destroyed by the Ghorid Alauddin. It was rebuilt but again in 1221 the Mongal armies marched in the region under the leadership of Genghis Khan and destroyed it.

Ghazni is quite famous for towers that are built on an astrophysical plan. As per archeologist, these towers were erected in the mid-12th century. The sides of the towers have been ornamented with geometrical patterns.  The tomb of Sultan Mahmud’s is also in Ghazni. The area holds the tomb of some other poets and scientists e.g. Al-Biruni and Sanai too.

Ibn Battuta in his noting described it as a great city, he added that the majority of the town is in ruins but a small part of it is still standing. Babur recorded it that the city was part of Zublistan. Before the invasion of Nadir Shah in 1738, it was being ruled by Mughals. Then in 1747 Ahmed Shah Durrani conquered it and made it a part of the Durrani Empire. The capital of Ghazni province got a major hit during the 1st Anglo-Afghan war where it got destroyed by the British-led Indian forces.

The archeologists in 1960 discovered a 15 meter female Buddha lying on its back. It was surrounded by empty pillars; it is assumed that they were held with smaller male Buddhas.

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