Mardan (Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa)
Mardan is situated at a distance of 61 km from Peshawar on Nowshera-Mardan Road. It is also linked the Swat Express Highway M-16, which can be used to bypass the Malakand Pass to access Swat, Dir, Chitral districts.
Mardan remained as a part of Gandhara dynasty in the past and is a part of the Peshawar valley. There are several archaeological sites of Takht Bhai, Sawal Dher and Jamal Garhi in the city.
Mardan is bounded by Buner, Malakand, Swabi, Nowshera, and Charsadda districts. It located on the fertile land on the foot of the Hindu Kush Range. Most of the people in Mardan are engaged with agriculture. For irrigation in Mardan, there are different streams, in which Kalpani, Baghiari Khawar and Muqam Khawar are important. All of these streams finally falls in the Kabul River. The Swat Canal from Malakand is used to transport water of the Swat River in Mardan for irrigation purposes.
Mardan can be divided into two parts, the north eastern hilly area and south western plain area. All of the northern area of Mardan is bounded by the hills, in which the highest hill is Pajja or Sakra at an elevation of 2,056 meters. The south western side is the fertile land that is suitable to produce various crops. Due to light slope in the plains, all of the streams in the Mardan district drain into the Kabul River. Kalpani is one of the important stream that runs from the Baizai and gets the water of many other streams.
Rustam Valley, located on the Rustam-Buner Road, is well known due to cultivation of high quality oranges. These are also transported to other cities in the country.
Takht-e-Bahi is a famous Indo-Parthian archaeological site related to ancient Buddhist monastry. The monastry was founded in the first century and remained into power until the 7th century. An inscription bearing the name of Gondophares, who was the founder of the Indo-Parthian Kingdom and ruled between 19 to 46 CE. Then it was controlled by Kujula Kadphises, the first Kushan king. In the middle of fifth century, Kushan rule was ended and complex was destroyed by the Huns. The site is also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name to site is given due to the springs on the hill, meaning as high spring. Some also suggested its meaning as Throne of Origin. The ruins are situated at a distance of 15 km from Mardan city. From the Takht-e-Bahi village, these are located on the top of small hill at the height of 500 feet and at a distance of 2 km from the village. The Takht-i-Bahi complex has four main areas, the Stupa Court, monastic chambers, Tantiric monastic complex, and temple complex. The ruins also have a structure of residences or meeting halls.
Sehri Bahlol is another archaeological site on the Malakand Road near Takht-e-Bahi. It was a small ancient town built during the Kushan period. It contains the remains of Buddha, coins, utensils, and jewellery. The site is also included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Jamal Garhi is situated at a distance of 13 km from Mardan on Katlang-Mardan road. It was a Buddhist monastery from the first to fifth century. The complex is composed of monastery and main stupa surrounded by chapels. Kharoshti inscription that was an ancient Indo-Iranian script used by Indo-European peoples in the Northern Pakistan and Eastern Afghanistan. That ancient script is also found from the monastery and now preserved in Peshawar Museum.
Sawal Dher is another historic village in the Mardan district that contains the ruins of an ancient city. It is located at a distance of 10 km in the southwest of Jamal Garhi and 19 km from the Mardan City.
Katlang is located at a distance of 19 km in south of Mardan. It is famous due to the availability of abundant quantity of precious stones such as pink topaz.
The weather of Mardan in the summer season is extreme hot, whereas in winter it becomes moderate. It also receives a considerable amount of rainfall in the monsoon period.