Mardan is a district in the North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan. The city of Mardan is the headquarters of the district. The district also contains the famous archaeological site of Takht Bhai.
Mardan is located in a region rich in archaeological sites. In 1962, the Sanghao Caves were discovered outside of Mardan, which yielded artifacts from the Middle Paleolithic period, over 30,000 years ago. Other sites in the immediate area have yielded evidence of human activity from the Upper Paleolithic period. Further excavations from the area around Jamal Garhi near Mardan recovered artifacts from the Mesolithic period.
The area around Mardan then formed part of the homeland of the Gandhara grave culture around 1800 BCE. The Gandharan grave culture appears to have been a Central Asian group that may represent part of the Indo-Aryan invasion into the subcontinent. Mardan then formed part of the ancient Buddhist kingdom of Gandhara. Rock edicts of Ashoka in nearby Shahbaz Garhi date from the Mauryanperiod in the mid-200s BCE, and are written in the ancient Kharosthi script.
The nearby UNECO World Heritage Site of Takht-i-Bahi was established as a monastery around 46 CE. The Bakhshali Manuscript, which contains the earliest record of the use of the number 0 in the Indian Subcontinent, was found near Mardan in 1891, and dates from the 3rd or 4th century CE. The nearby Kashmir Smast caves served Buddhist hermit monks, and dates from the 4th to 9th century CE.
During the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857, Mardan was not a scene of heavy fighting as many of the native troops had been disarmed by British forces. Mardan’s famous Guides’ Memorial was established in 1892 to honour fallen soldiers who fought during the 1879 Siege of the British Residency in Kabul. The city’s Women’s Hospital was established in 1906. In 1920, Mardan was visited by Sir Charles Monro, head of British armed forces in British India. Until 1937, Mardan district was a part of Peshawar district, when it was elevated to the status of its own independent district. During the Viceroy’s visit in 1946, large numbers of Mardan residents travelled to Peshawar to participate in a Muslim League rally in favour of Pakistan’s establishment. The Mardan Museumwas established in 1991 to showcase the region’s rich ancient history.
The villages are divided into Kandis have congested house. Each Kandi is further occupied by sub-section. The division of Kandis are on the pattern of agricultural lands. Their houses are generally consists of two or three rooms and a court-yard turned as ghollai and verandah. The tattles and poultry are also accommodated beside the shelter for family.
Each Kandi of the village has its own mosque and its own Maulvi and a place of meeting or for public assembly called Hujra. In most cases it is the property of elders of the Kandi who is expected to feed and give shelter to the visitors and travellers. These Hujras are commonly used for the settlement of public disputes/business beside public meetings. Residents of Kandi assemble there to smoke, hear news of the day and discuss their problems and politics. Now a days the people in service abroad have accumulated sufficient wealth which brought a distinct change in the life of the villagers who construct pacca houses of cement, bricks and timber.
A Tandoor (Oven) is also found for baking bread in many houses and some time women of three or four houses assembled on one Tandoor (Oven) for baking bread on their turn. The houses have huge compound walls around with gates. Chairs and tables are used in the houses of well-to-do persons whereas others use the ordinary cot (Charpoy).
Mardan district may broadly be divided into two parts, north eastern hilly area and south western plain. The entire northern side of the district is bounded by the hills. In the district, the highest points in these hills are Pajja or Sakra, 2056 meters high and Garo or Pato, 1816 meters high. The south western half of the district is mostly composed of fertile plain with low hills strewn across it. It is generally accepted that this plain once formed the bed of a lake which was gradually filled up by the load of the river flowing into from the surrounding hills. From the foot hills the plain runs down at first with a steep slope which carried the rain water to the lower levels and ultimately to the Kabul river.
Rivers and streams:
Generally stream flows from north to the south. Most of the streams drain into Kabul river. Kalpani, an important stream of the district rises in the Baizai and flowing southwards join Kabul river. Other important streams which join Kalpani are Baghiari Khawar on the west and Muqam Khawar, coming from Sudham valley and Naranji Khawar from the Narangi hills on the left.
The summer season is extremely hot. A steep rise of temperature observed from May to June. Even July, August and September record quite high temperatures. During May and June dust storms are frequent at night. The temperature reaches to its` maximum in the month of June i.e. 43.50″C. Due to intensive cultivation and artificial irrigation the tract is humid and heat is oppressive(Heat Index 69 on 7 July 2006). However, a rapid fat! of temperature has been recorded from October onwards. The coldest months are December and January. The mean minimum temperature recorded for the month of January the coldest month is 0.5″ C.
Most of the rainfall occurs in the month of July, August, December and January. Maximum rainfall recorded for the month of August the rainiest month is 12S.8Smm. Towards the end of cold weather there are occasional thunder storms and hail storms. The relative humidity is quite high throughout the year while maximum humidity has been recorded in December i.e. 73.33 percent.
The present flora of the irrigated areas is exotic. The common trees are mesquite, ber, different species of acacia and jand. The most common shrubs are tarmariax, articulata, spands, akk, small red poppy, spera, pueghambrigul, drab grass, spera, eamelthorl and pohli chaulai etc.
The district has a variety of fauna comprising the following:.
2. Black Bear.
3. Brown Monkey
5. Wild Goat.
Mardan is also home of the famous Guides Regiment, raised by Lumsdon. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip visited the old Guides Mess at Mardan in the early 1960s. Sir Winston Churchill as a young officer stayed at Mardan for a while before he proceeded to Peshawar via the Bajaur valley