Butkara monastery, (near) Mingaora, NWF Province, PK

Raw data

"The Buddhist sacred precint of Buutkara identified as the monestry of Ta-Lo, mentioned by Sung Yun (520 AD) visited and described by the Chinese Buddhist pilgrims of the 5th, 6th and 7th centuries AD lies at the eastern end of the ancient capital of Udyana Meng-Chich-Li, present Mingawara. The main Stupa stand in the middle, around it are crowded monuments Stupas, Viharas and columns, on the Northern side stands a great building and further to the north and west the inhabited area. The Great Stupa under event five reconstruction, each new one incasing the oldery [sic] from 3rd century B.C down to 10th century A.D." [the site contains several images of the monastery's ruin - tmc]

Fa-Hien (traveled to India from China 399 - 414 CE) spent time in the Swat Valley, which he called Woo-Chang. He observed 500 monasteries in the region, all Hinayana. See Fa-Hien, A Record of Buddhistic Kingdoms (trans.) James Legge, reprinted edition (New York: Paragon Book Reprint Corp., 1965), p. 28 -29.

For Sung Yun see Aurel Stein, On Alexander's Tracks to the Indus (New York, B. Bloom), p. 14.

"Archaeologists now know of more than 400 Buddhist sites covering an area of 160 km in Swat valley alone. Among the important excavations of Buddhist sites in Swat an important one is Butkarha-I, containing original relics of the Buddha."
Input by: tmc, Apr 14, 2009

Final data (and their sources)

Last updated: 29 Dec 2012

Lat/Long coordinates' accuracy:
The monastery in question is assumed to be situated actually no farther than 2 km from the point defined by the coordinates below.

Location of Butkara monastery, Pakistan.

General location of the Butkara monastery, Pakistan.
lat=34.7833 long=72.3667
Mapping & images: Falling Rain Genomics (http://maps.fallingrain.com), 2009.

Google Map link:


Final data - explanatory notes

1. Monastery's name

2. Monastery's modern country & province

  • Pakistan:North-West Frontier Province

3. Monastery's alternative/historical names

4. Monastery's lat/long coordinates

5. Other known nearby Buddhist monasteries

6. Modern name of the known nearest city, town, or village

7. The settlement's alternative/historical names

8. The settlement's coordinates

9. Monastery's major Buddhist tradition

  • Theravada, in the time of Fa Hien.
  • Theravada - Litvinskii et al. (1996:168)

10. Monastery's Buddhist sub-tradition

  • [missing data]

11. Date-early

  • MBM chrono-tag <=0200 - tmciolek 29 Dec 2012
  • <=0200 0200-32c 0233-66c 0267-99c 0300-32c 0333-66c 0367-99c 0400-32c 0433-66c 0467-99c 0500-32c 0533-66c 0567-99c 0600-32c 0633-66c 0667-99c 0700-32c 0733-66c 0767-99c 0800-32c 0833-66c 0867-99c 0933-66p 0967-99p dated-el

12. Date-intermediate

13. Date-late

  • MBM chrono-tag 0900-32p 0933-66p 0967-99p - tmciolek 29 Dec 2012

14. Details of contacts with other monasteries

15. Type of evidence regarding the monastery

  • archaeological, pilgrimage accounts

16. Additional notes

  • With 500 monasteries in the surrounding area the population of monks must have been in the thousands in the early fifth century when Fa-hien stayed there. Many of these were deserted when Xuanzang arrived around 630 CE.

17. Corrections & addenda to this page were kindly provided by

  • [missing data]

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