View shows the famous Ishpola stupa as seen from the Khyber Steam Rail that runs up the legendary Khyber Pass on the outskirts of Peshawar, on the border with Afghanistan.
“According to some accounts, Peshawar is more than 2,000 years old and is arguably Pakistan’s oldest city. The Kushan kings of the Buddhist Gandhara civilization reportedly founded the city. Peshawar derives its name from a Sanskrit language word, Pushpapura, meaning the city of flowers. The Mughal Emperor Babur in his memoirs (1508), Baburnama, mentioned old Peshawar in these words: “There were flowers all of the sides…as far as the eye reached, flowers were in bloom.” Babur’s grandson Akbar the Great referred to the city as the “The Place at the Frontier.” “Peshawar flourished as an important destination on the fabled Silk Route. Its location at the crossroads of civilizations and near the famous Khyber Pass made it an entry point of invaders, adventurers and traders coming from Central Asia and travelling toward ancient India. The Grand Trunk Road built by the Pashtun King, Sher Shah Suri, to link Delhi with his native Peshawar and Kabul made our great city the centre of trade and commerce.
“Since Pakistan’s creation in 1947, Peshawar has been the capital of the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) bordering Afghanistan. The Afghan border is only 50 kilometres to the west of Peshawar. The city’s population was 2.242 million according to the 1998 census. It excludes the Afghan refugees, whose registered population is around 0.4 million. In addition, there are half a million unregistered Afghan refugees living in Peshawar city and its surroundings. Peshawar city is spread over an area of 1,257 square kilometers.