Kargah Buddha - 7th century large standing Buddha, Gilgit

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Kargah Buddha, Gilgit, Pakistan

The Kargah Buddha, an archaeological site situated approximately 9.7 km from Gilgit in Gilgit−BaltistanPakistan, comprises a sizable standing Buddha carved into the cliff-face in Kargah Nala, measuring around 50 ft (15 m) in height. The carving exhibits a distinctive style, akin to that observed in Baltistan, and is believed to have originated in the 7th century.

Surrounding the image are holes that would have supported a wooden structure to protect it from harsh weather conditions.

From the 3rd to the 11th century, Gilgit served as a significant center for early Buddhism. During this period, the region was contested by various powers, including the Tibetan Empire, the Kashmiri Karkota Dynasty, and the Umayyad and Abbasid caliphates.

In 1931, a nearby Buddhist monastery and three stupas containing Sanskrit manuscripts were excavated around 400 meters upstream. By the 11th century, Gilgit had become the autonomous kingdom of Dardistan before adopting  Islam.


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