top of page

A Journey into the Ancient Buddhist World

There is one of the most significant archaeological finds in recent history located in the heart of Swat Valley, Pakistan. This area is not just a picturesque landscape but a historical treasure trove, particularly for those fascinated by Buddhist heritage.

Swat, Pakistan: The Cradle of Buddhist Heritage

The Swat Valley, often referred to as the 'Switzerland of the East', is not just known for its breathtaking landscapes but also as the historical cradle of Uddiyana-Gandhara Buddhism.  This region was once a thriving center of Buddhist culture and learning, playing a pivotal role in the development and spread of Buddhism


The town of Barikot in Swat Valley, nestled in Pakistan's northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, is home to an ancient Buddhist temple, roughly 2,200 years old.  This remarkable temple, uncovered by an archaeology team led by Professor Luca Maria Olivieri of Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, has been featured as one of the 'Top 10 Discoveries of 2022' by Archaeology Magazine​​.


The temple, dating back to at least the end of the second century BC, stands as the oldest known Buddhist temple in the region.  Its discovery illuminates the historical significance of Barikot as a center of Buddhist teaching and a sacred pilgrimage site during the Indo-Greek kingdom, showcasing Swat Valley's ancient status as a sacred land for Buddhism

WAKSAW's Involvement and Commitment

The WAKSAW Archaeological Alliance takes immense pride in its longstanding support of the Italian archaeological team. For over 70 years, this team's unwavering dedication has been pivotal in revealing the deep-rooted legacy of Buddhism in the Swat region. Their efforts, marked by meticulous exploration and preservation, have been instrumental in bringing to light a myriad of artifacts and structures. Each discovery made by Dr. Olivieri and his team adds a crucial piece to the vast puzzle of Buddhist history, further enriched by WAKSAW's commitment to uncovering and preserving these invaluable cultural treasures.

A Monumental Discovery

The discovery of a Buddhist temple in this region has been a groundbreaking achievement, propelling it to be recognized among the 'Top 10 Discoveries of 2022'.


The 2021 excavation revealed not only the temple's ruins, which stand about ten feet tall, but also a range of significant artifacts. These include pottery, coins, jewelry, statues, and other ancient objects, painting a vivid picture of life during the time of the Indo-Greeks and reflecting the rich cultural exchanges of Gandhara, a nexus for multiple major imperial expansions​

Preserving History for Future Generations

At WAKSAW, our commitment goes beyond just excavation and discovery. We are dedicated to preserving these invaluable historical sites, ensuring that they continue to tell their stories for generations to come. The Uddiyana-Gandhara site in Swat, Pakistan, stands as a beacon of our collective human history, and we are honored to be a part of its journey of preservation and study.

Discover the Richness of Buddhist History

We invite you to explore this remarkable chapter of history with us. Through our ongoing efforts and collaborations, we continue to unveil the mysteries and richness of Uddiyana-Gandhara Buddhism. Join us in this fascinating journey as we delve deeper into the past, uncovering treasures that illuminate our present and future.

bottom of page