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Peshawar Museum

  The present main hall was built in 1906-07 in the memory of Queen Victoria at the cost of Rs. 60000, out of which Rs. 45000 were donated by the public of Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa and Rs. 15000 by the Director General of Archaeology, India. After completion of the building, the museum was set up in November 1907 to house the Gandharan Sculptures excavated from the major Gandharan sites of Shah-Ji-Ki-Dheri Peshawar, Sahri Bahlol, Takht-i-Bahi in the Mardan District and later from Jamal Garhi and other Gandharan sites excavated by British scholars. The two storey building, an amalgamation of the British and Mughal architectures, originally consisted of a main hall and two side aisles on the ground and first floor, surmounted by four elegant cupolas and small pinnacles on all the corners. On Ihe eastern and western side of the building, two halls were added in similar fashion in 1969-70 (one on each side). In 1974-75, The second storey was added to these side halls .A new block under the project "Extension of Peshawar Museum ", was approved in the year 2002 at a cost of Rs. 33.11 million. 11 has two components, extension of the museum for constructing an Islamic Block with two galleries, a conservation laboratory, two halls for the reserve collection, offices of the Provincial Directorate and a Cafeteria and complete remodeling of the existing building by replacing the show cases, lighting, labelling, display 1I7 all the galleries of the existing main building, along with revall1pment of the floor and ceiling etc. This new Islamic Block, located behind the main building, is due to be completed in 2005, while the work on the remodelling in the existing building of the museum will commence soon, which will bring our display and exhibition in line with the developed world.

Museum organization

After its inception in 1907 the Peshawar Museum was run by the Peshawar Municipality. The superintendent of the Archaeological Survey of India, Frontier Circle was Curator of the Museum. In 1927, when the Frontier Circle office was shifted 10 Lahore, a full time Curator was appointed under the Provincial Govt. After independence the Museum remained under the direct control of the Director of Public Instructions, Government of Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa, Peshawar In 1971, an autonomous. body, Board of Governors, was constituted to run the affairs of the Museum, headedfirst by the Governor and later by the Chief Secretary, Government of Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa In 1992, the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa established its own Directorate of Archaeology and Museums to ensure the betler protection and preservation of the archaeological heritage of the Province and thus the Peshawar Museum became part of the Provincial Directorate

Main collection Of Museum

The main collecticn of Peshawar Museum, 14156 items in total lill date, includes Gandharan sculptures, Coins, Manuscripts and copies of the Ho~y Quran, Inscriptions, Weapons, Dresses, Jewellry, Kalash Effigies, Mughal era and later period Paintings, House hold objects, local and Persian handicrafts. 
The collection is divided in five main sections: 

1. Gandharan 

2. Coins 

3. Islamic 

4. Ethnological 

5. Iranian

Ghandara region 

For Hiuen Tsang. the celebrated Chinese pilgrim, who visited Gandhara in the early 7th century AD, "the Kingdom of Gandhara formed the tract of country on the west bank of the Indus which included the Peshawar Valley and the modern Swat. Buner and Bajaur" . Gandhara was the cradle of Buddhist Civilization and gave birth to the famous Gandhara Art. It is first mentioned in the Rigveda, remaining one of the provinces of the Achaemenian Empire as per Darius inscription of6'h century Be Pushkalavati (Balahisar-Charsadda), it'sfirst capitalfrom 6'h century BC to 1" century AD was invaded in 327 BC by Alexander the Greal. Later, Gandhara was ruled from Pushkalavati by Indo-Greeks, Scythians and Parthians. The Kushanas,established their capital at Pushapura, or Peshawar, in the r century AD and King Kanishka built a Stupa and monastery at Shah-Ji-Ki¬Dheri, near Gan) Gate, Peshawar. The relic casket 
discovered from this Stupa with Kharoshthi inscription, mentioning the name of the city as Kanishkapura, is now exhibited in the main hall of the Peshawar Museum. In the 7th century AD, the Shahi Dynasty of Kabul and Gandhara established their capital at Hund, which remained their capital until the invasions of the Gaznavids in 998 AD, thus ending the rule of Gandhara after about 1600 years.

Ghandara Art; The Cosmopolitan art of Gandhara, with influence from Indian, Greek, Roman and Persian artists appeared in this region in the 1st century AD flourished till 5th century and lingered on till 8th century. The purpose of this art was the propagation of Buddhism through the images carved and made in stone,stucco,terracotta and bronze, mostly enshrined the stupas and monasteries throughout Gandhara region. Thousands of such stupas were mentioned by the Chinese pilgrim. Hiuen Tsang, who visited gandhara in 7th century AD, only few of which have been excavated so far. The main focus of the art was Buddhas life stories and individual images, his previous birth stories (Jalakas) and future Buddhas. The most important among these are the historic Buddha, his miracles and all episodes from his birth to death, beautifully and liheml1y carved. The local devoted artists, stimulated by the personality of Buddha, took advantage of contacts, motifs and technology from 1 he Greeks, Romans and Persians to give Buddha an eternal life in their art.

Coins In Museum


The coins collection of Peshawar Museum, 8625 items in all (stores and display excluding the newly excavated), includes Punch marked coins, and coins from the Indus Greeks, Scytho-Parthians, Kushans, White Huns, and Hindu Shahis. Also included are Islamic coins of the Ghaznavids, Ghaurids, Slave Dynasties, Tughlaqs, Lodhis, Mughals, Durranis, Sikh and British periods. The coins are in Gold, Silver, Copper and Billon. These coins are found in round, square and rectangular shapes.

Specimens of all the major dynasties are displayed in the Coins Gallery on the firs floor Also displayed are 132 seals and their imitations, belonging mostly to the Kushan era.


The 1slamic collection of the Peshawar Museum is one of the richest in Pakistan and has been displayed in the Islamic and Quran & 1vfanuscripts Gallery on the first floor. The gallery exhibits wooden facades of mosques, Arabic and Persian inscriptions, Multani tiles and ceramics, and the dress and weapons of Sayed Ahmad Shaheed Brailvi, a freedom fighter, who fought against Sikh rule. There are paintings of the Mughal and later periods, Islamic metal work in bronze, silver and calligraphic specimens. The most important of the displayed objects. are ten scrolls, dated to 1224 AD, with Holy Quran calligraphed in Khatt-e-Ghubar. Each scroll contains three Paras of the Holy Quran. Another important scroll, 915 cm long and 45.75 cm wide, of Sultan al Arifin Khwaja Bayazid Bastami, contains the genealogy of one thousand Muslim saints.
In 2003, a new section, the Quranic and Manuscripts Gallery was established to house the extensive and priceless collection of Holy Qurans and manuscripts. This collection includes 29 hand-written copies of the Quran 65 manuscripts and books, The most splendid of the manuscripts is the 11th century illustrated Shah Nama of firdusi Tausi, containing 46 illustrations, depicting various episodes after rulers of Persia.

Ethnological Collection

The Ethnological collection exhibited in the Eastern Gallery of the museum on the first floor represents the culture and mode of life of the major tribes of the Northwest Frontier Province and the Kalashas of Chitral. The exhibits, 348 in all, include twelve commemorative effigies of world famous Kalasha male and female figures, The Kalashas, a pagan tribe of Chitral, immediately after a fellow tribesmen death, carved a wooden, commemorative effigy, to celebrate the departing person as perhaps a great warrior or hunter. The effigy is then placed in the cemetery near the exposed body of the dead. The other objects on display include jewelry, agricultural tools, and household objects of Bronze wood and leather. There are wooden stools, baskets, models dressed in traditional and tribal costumes of the frontier province. Weapons exhibited include swords, daggers, spears, bows, arrows, shields, muzzle loaded guns, revolvers, pistols and gun powder boxes. Each object in the gallery sheds light on the culture and traditions of the Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa, during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.


include modern calligraphic specimens, paintings, photographs, ornamental objects in silver bronze, ivory and glass The Iranian Consulate in Peshawar donated 97 pieces to Peshawar Museum in 2003. These, toiletry objects and pen holders. There are 24 models displayll1g the various tribal and regional dress1es of Iran. These objects are separately displayed in the eastern aisle on the first floor.

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