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206. Tepe Skandar

Alternate Names: Tapa Iskander, Qal'a-i Rajput

Kabul Province. 31 kilometers north of Kabul, to the east of the road to Charikar, three kilometers south of Sarai Khuja.

Dates:  Late Sassanian-Turki Shahi, late 6th-early 9th century
           (numismatic, stylistic evidence)

A large mound measuring 440 x 280 meters in area. It consists of two sanctuaries, a fort and several small shrines, one of them containing a fire altar. One of the most important finds is a marble Hindu statue of Uma Maheshvara, which has a Sanskrit inscription on its base. Other finds include coins, sculpture and miscellaneous artifacts.

N. Dupree, An Historical Guide to Afghansitan, chapter 5 reports:

“[Just north of the village Qala Murad Beg] Beyond marker 30, remants of the Japanese excavations at Tapa Iskander (Higuchi, 1970 to date) may be seen on a mound in the middle of the plain to the right of the road. From the 7th–9th centuries A.D., this was an important Hindu Shahi complex with both secular and religious buildings. A superb marble statue of Umamaheśvara, the Hindu god Śiva and his consort, from Tapa Iskander exhibits stylistic similarities with the sculptured marble piece from Khair Khana. The Hindu Shahi period is one of the least documented periods in Afghan history. Beautiful sculpture has been found accidentally from time to time over the years, but the scientific excavation of Tapa Iskander promises to shed welcome light into the murky corners of this fascinating transitional period.

Those with a keen eye may also make out a Buddhist stupa in a draw high above the excavation mound. There are many Buddhist sites scattered throughout the Koh Daman dating from the 2nd to the 4th centuries AD when this valley was on the caravan highway known as the Silk Route along which Buddhism travelled from its homeland in India into Central Asia. Many local princes converted to Buddhism and thousands of pilgrims from Central Asia and China stayed at Buddhist monasteries strategically located along their route."

Source: Warwick Ball, Archaeological Gazetteer of Afghanistan, 1982, n. 1185


  34° 43' N
  34.716667° N
  69° 07' E

69.116667° E


Tepe Skandar is found at the
above coordinates on JOG map