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Gilgit

Shina: گـلیت Urdu: گلگت
Gilgit City a View from Gilgit serena hotel.jpg
The Central Imaamia Mosque Gilgit City, GB.jpg
River Gilgit and the Gilgit City.jpg
Gilgit waters.jpg
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City of Gilgit, Central Imaamia Mosque,

Gilgit

Shina: گـلیت Urdu: گلگت

Gilgit (Shina: گلیت; Urdu: گلگت‎, IPA: [ˈgɪlgɪt]) is the capital city of Gilgit–Baltistan, a territory comprising the northern region of Pakistani–administered Kashmir. The city is located in a broad valley near the confluence of the Gilgit River and Hunza River. Gilgit is a major tourist destination in Pakistan, and serves as a hub for trekking and mountaineering expeditions in the Karakoram mountain range.

Gilgit was once a major centre for Buddhism; it was an important stop on the ancient Silk Road, and today serves as a major junction along the Karakoram Highway with road connections to China as well as the Pakistani cities of Skardu, Chitral, Peshawar, and Islamabad. Currently, it serves as a frontier station for the local tribal areas. The city's economic activity is mainly focused on agriculture, with wheat, maize, and barley as the main produced crops.[3]

Etymology

The city's ancient name was Sargin, later to be known as Gilit, and it is still referred to as Gilit or Sargin-Gilit by the local people. The native Khowar and Wakhi-speaking people refer to the city as Gilt, and in Burushaski, it is called Geelt.[4]

History

Early history

Brogpas trace their settlement from Gilgit into the fertile villages of Ladakh through a rich corpus of hymns, songs, and folklore that have been passed down through generations.[5] The Dards and Shinas appear in many of the old Pauranic lists of people who lived in the region, with the former also mentioned in Ptolemy's accounts[6] of the region.

Buddhist era

The Kargah Buddha outside of Gilgit dates from around 700 C.E.
The Hanzal stupa dates from the Buddhist era.
This statue is made to show the spirit of the Polo Sport. It is located at Jutial. Polo is played every year in the valley Shandoor.
I Love Gilgit sign made to show patriotism towards the region

Gilgit was an important city on the Silk Road, along which Buddhism was spread from South Asia to the rest of Asia. It is considered as a Buddhism corridor from which many Chinese monks came to Kashmir to learn and preach Buddhism.[7] Two famous Chinese Buddhist pilgrims, Faxian and Xuanzang, traversed Gilgit according to their accounts.

According to Chinese records, between the 600s and the 700s, the city was governed by a Buddhist dynasty referred to as Little Balur or Lesser Bolü (Chinese: 小勃律).[8] They are believed to be the Patola Sahi dynasty mentioned in a Brahmi inscription,[9] and are devout adherents of Vajrayana Buddhism.[10]

In mid-600s, Gilgit came under Chinese suzerainty after the fall of Western Turkic Khaganate due to Tang military campaigns in the region. In late 600s CE, the rising Tibetan Empire wrestled control of the region from the Chinese. However, faced with growing influence of the Umayyad Caliphate and then the Abbasid Caliphate to the west, the Tibetans were forced to ally themselves with the Islamic caliphates. The region was then contested by Chinese and Tibetan forces, and their respective vassal states, until the mid-700s. Chinese record of the region last until late 700s at which time the Tang's western military campaign was weakened due to the An Lushan Rebellion.[11]

The control of the region was left to the Tibetan Empire. They referred to the region as Bruzha, a toponym that is consistent with the ethnonym "Burusho" used today. Tibetan control of the region lasted until late-800s CE.[12]

Gilgit manuscripts

Gilgit was once a major centre for Buddhism; it was an important stop on the ancient Silk Road, and today serves as a major junction along the Karakoram Highway with road connections to China as well as the Pakistani cities of Skardu, Chitral, Peshawar, and Islamabad. Currently, it serves as a frontier station for the local tribal areas. The city's economic activity is mainly focused on agriculture, with wheat, maize, and barley as the main produced crops.[3]

The city's ancient name was Sargin, later to be known as Gilit, and it is still referred to as Gilit or Sargin-Gilit by the local people. The native Khowar and Wakhi-speaking people refer to the city as Gilt, and in Burushaski, it is called Geelt.[4]

History

Early history

Brogpas trace their settlement from Gilgit into the fertile villages of Ladakh through a rich corpus of hymns, songs, and folklore that have been passed down through generations.[5] The Dards and Shinas appear in many of the old Pauranic lists of people who lived in the region, with the former also mentioned in Ptolemy's accounts[6] of the region.

Buddhist era

The Kargah Buddha outside of Gilgit dates from around 700 C.E.
The Hanzal stupa dates from the Buddhist era.
This statue is made to show the spirit of the Polo Sport. It is located at Jutial. Polo is played every year in the valley Shandoor.Brogpas trace their settlement from Gilgit into the fertile villages of Ladakh through a rich corpus of hymns, songs, and folklore that have been passed down through generations.[5] The Dards and Shinas appear in many of the old Pauranic lists of people who lived in the region, with the former also mentioned in Ptolemy's accounts[6] of the region.

Buddhist era

Gilgit was an important city on the Silk Road, along which Buddhism was spread from South Asia to the rest of Asia. It is considered as a Buddhism corridor from which many Chinese monks came to Kashmir to learn and preach Buddhism.[7] Two famous Chinese Buddhist pilgrims, Faxian and Xuanzang, traversed Gilgit according to their accounts.

According to Chinese records, between the 600s and the 700s, the city was governed by a Buddhist dynasty referred to as Little Balur or Lesser Bolü (Chinese: 小勃律).[8] They are believed to be the Patola Sahi dynasty mentioned in a Brahmi inscription,[9] and are devout adherents of Vajrayana Buddhism.[10]

In mid-600s, Gilgit came under Chinese suzerainty after the fall of Western Turkic Khaganate due to Tang military campaigns in the region. In late 600s CE, the rising Tibetan Empire wrestled control of the region from the Chinese. However, faced with growing influence of the Umayyad Caliphate and then the Abbasid Caliphate to the west, the Tibetans were forced to ally themselves with the Islamic caliphates. The region was then contested by Chinese and Tibetan forces, and their respective vassal states, until the mid-700s. Chinese record of the region last until late 700s at which time the Tang's western military campaign was weakened due to the An Lushan Rebellion.[11]

The control of the region was left to the Tibetan Empire. They referred to the region as Bruzha, a toponym that is consistent with the ethnonym "Burusho" used today. Tibetan control of the region lasted until late-800s CE.[12]

Gilgit manuscripts

Chinese: 小勃律).[8] They are believed to be the Patola Sahi dynasty mentioned in a Brahmi inscription,[9] and are devout adherents of Vajrayana Buddhism.[10]

In mid-600s, Gilgit came under Chinese suzerainty after the fall of Western Turkic Khaganate due to Tang military campaigns in the region. In late 600s CE, the rising Tibetan Empire wrestled control of the region from the Chinese. However, faced with growing influence of the Umayyad Caliphate and then the Abbasid Caliphate to the west, the Tibetans were forced to ally themselves with the Islamic caliphates. The region was then contested by Chinese and Tibetan forces, and their respective vassal states, until the mid-700s. Chinese record of the region last until late 700s at which time the Tang's western military campaign was weakened due to the An Lushan Rebellion.[11]

The control of the region was left to the Tibetan Empire. They referred to the region as Bruzha, a toponym that is consistent with the ethnonym "Burusho" used today. Tibetan control of the region lasted until late-800s CE.[12]

This corpus of manuscripts was discovered in 1931 in Gilgit, containing many Buddhist texts such as four sutras from the Buddhist canon, including the famous Lotus Sutra. The manuscripts were written on birch bark in the Buddhist form of Sanskrit in the Sharada script. They cover a wide range of themes such as iconometry, folk tales, philosophy, medicine and several related areas of life and general knowledge.[13]

The Gilgit manuscripts[14] are included in the UNESCO Memory of the World register.[15] They are among the oldest manuscripts in the world, and the oldest manuscript collection surviving in Pakistan,[14] having major significance in the areas of Buddhist studies and the evolution of Asian and Sanskrit literature. The manuscripts are believed to have been written in the 5th to 6th centuries AD, though some more manuscripts were discovered in the succeeding centuries, which were also classified as Gilgit manuscripts.

As of 6 October 2014, one source claims that the part of the collection deposited at the Sri Pratap Singh Museum in Srinagar was irrecoverably destroyed during the 2014 India–Pakistan floods.[16]

Pre-Trakhàn