The Land of Enchanting Beauty.
Swat was described as “Udyana” (the garden) in ancient Hindu epics. Alexander the Great crossed
Swat River with part of his army in 327BC. He fought and won some of his major battles at Barikot and Udegram and stormed their battlements,
before crossing over the plains of the five rivers. In Greek accounts these towns have been identified as Ora and Bazira.
After the death of Alexander the Great the Greeks
quickly lost effective control of their far flung
colonies and soon the northern part of the
sub-continent situated west of the Indus which
includes Swat was annexed by Chandra Gupta.From the second century BC to the ninth century AD, Swat was cradle of Buddhism where at one time
more than 1400 monasteries flourished. The ringing of the bells in these places of worship used to create a strange mysterious impression all
around the valley. During this time Swat became famous as the hub of Gandhara School of Sculpture which was an expression of Greco-Roman style
mixed with the local Buddhist traditional sculpture. Today, ruins of great Buddhist stupas, monasteries and statues are found all over Swat.
Swat is also the historical land where the Muslim conquerors, Mahmood of Ghazni, Mughal king Babar and Akbar fought their battles preparatory to the conquest of the sub-continent. Mahmood of Ghazni took the valley in the 11th century after a fierce battle at Udegram, where his commander Khushal Khan was killed and buried. A mosque dating from the 11th century has been excavated on the hill at Udegram. The history of modern Swat commences with the emergence of the Akhund Sahib of Swat as a charismatic religious leader and a reformer. With his help and support, Syed Akbar Shah established the rule of Shariat in Swat from 1849 to 1856. But after the sudden death of Syed Akbar Shah, Swat was again left unorganized. In 1915 the territory again started its progression to a more peaceful and stable life when Miangul Abdul Wadood, the grandson of the Akhund Sahib and a powerful political figure of Swat was unanimously declared by the tribes as their king. The Swat state was founded in 1917 by Miangul Abdul Wadood, known as Badshah Sahib. The state of Swat was accorded official recognition by the British Indian Government in 1926 and the title of “Wali” ruler was conferred on Miangul Abdul Wadood. Miangul Wadood abdicated in 1949 in favor of his son, Miangul Jehanzeb, who continued to develop the valley by building roads, schools and hospitals; and more importantly by institutionalizing land reform. The princely status of Swat, along with the adjoining states of Chitral and Dir, was brought to an end by the presidential order in 1969. And all of them merged in Pakistan. Now Swat is part of Malakand Division which is Provincially Administrated Tribal Area (PATA) of the Khyber Pukhtunkhawa province of Pakistan.
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