Shahbazgarhi Rock Edicts

Date of Submission: 30/01/2004
Criteria: (i)(ii)(vi)
Category: Cultural
Submitted by:
Department of Archaeology and Museums
Coordinates: 34°12’ E 72°9’ N District Mardan, North West Frontier Province
Ref.: 1880


The Shahbazgarhi rock edicts are cut into the surface of two large boulders on the side of a small rocky outcrop in the Vale of Peshawar. The record fourteen edicts of the Mauryan emperor, Asoka (r. c. 272-235 BC) and represent the earliest irrefutable evidence of writing in South Asia. Dating to middle of the third century BC, they are written from right to left in the Kharosthi script. The presence of Kharosti suggests that the influence of Achaemenid rule in this region, the province of Gandhara, outlived the short Alexandrian interlude of the fourth century BC. The fourteen major edicts recorded at the site present aspects of Asoka’s dharma or righteous law. The edicts are located beside one of the ancient trade routes connecting the Vale of Peshawar with the valley of Swat, Dir and Chitral to the North and the great city of Taxila to the South East.