Swāt (Pashto, Urdu: سوات pronounced [ˈswaːt̪]) is a
valley and an administrative district in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
province of Pakistan. Centred upon the upper portions of the Swat
River, Swat was a major centre of early
Buddhist thought as part of
Gandhara kingdom, and today is littered with ruins from that era.
Swat was home to the last isolated pockets of Gandharan Buddhism,
which lasted until the 11th century, well after most of the area had
converted to Islam. Until 1969, Swat was part of the Yusafzai State
of Swat - a self-governing princely state. The region was seized by
the Pakistani Taliban in late 2007, and its tourist industry
decimated until Pakistani control over Swat was re-established in mid
Swat's capital is Saidu Sharif, though the largest city, and main
commercial centre, is the nearby city of Mingora. With a population
of 2,309,570 according to the 2017 census, Swat is the third-largest
district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The region is inhabited largely by
Pashtun people, except in the valley's uppermost reaches, where the
Kohistani people dominate.
Swat is renowned for its outstanding natural beauty, and was described
by Her Majesty Queen
Elizabeth II as "the Switzerland of the East"
during a visit to the region in the 1960s. Swat's average elevation
is 980 m (3,220 ft), resulting in a considerably cooler
and wetter climate compared to most of Pakistan. With lush forests,
verdant alpine meadows, and snow-capped mountains, Swat is one of the
country's most popular tourist destinations.
2.2 Hindu Shahi
2.3 Advent of
Islam by Mahmud of Ghazni
2.4 Arrival of Yousafzais
2.5 Taliban destruction of
3.1 Mountainous Ranges
7 Administrative divisions
8 Tourist attractions
8.2 Fizagat Park
8.3 Malam Jabba
9 Notable people
10 See also
13 External links
Geography of the Rigveda; the extent of the Swat and Cemetery H
cultures are indicated.
A river named Suvastu is mentioned in the Rigveda. This may refer
to the river Swat.[better source needed]
Mingora is the largest city in Swat.
In 327 BC,
Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great fought his way to
Odigram and Barikot
and stormed their battlements. In Greek accounts these towns have been
identified as Ora and Bazira. Around the 2nd century BC, the area was
occupied by Buddhists, who were attracted by the peace and serenity of
the land. There are many remains that testify to their skills as
sculptors and architects. Later some
Dilazak entered the area along
with Sultans from Kunar and their tribe was styled as Swatis. The
originator of the present family of Swat was the Muslim saint Akhund
Abdul Gaffur, more commonly known as Saidu Baba. He was a pious man
and the people respected him so greatly that they called him Akhund
Sahib.[better source needed]
An 1869 photo of a
Buddha statue seated on a lotus throne in Swat
Historically known as Uddiyana,
Tantric Buddhism flourished under King
Indrabhuti, however, there is an old and well-known scholarly dispute
as to whether Uddiyana was in the Swat valley, Orissa or some other
Padmasambhava (flourished eighth century AD), also called Guru
Rimpoche, Tibetan Slob-dpon (teacher), or Padma 'byung-gnas (lotus
born), semi-legendary Indian
Buddhist mystic who introduced Tantric
Tibet was, according to tradition, native from
Uddiyana. He is revered as the second
Buddha in Tibet.
Padmasambhava is said to be the son of Indrabhuti, king of Swat in the
early eighth century AD and one of the original Siddhas. Indrabhuti's
sister, Lakshminkaradevi, is also said being an accomplished siddha of
the 9th century AD.
Ancient Gandhara, the valley of Pekhawar, with the adjacent hilly
regions of Swat and Buner, Dir and
Bajaur was one of the earliest
Buddhist religion and culture following the reign of the
Mauryan emperor Ashoka, in the third century BC. The name Gandhara
first occurs in the
Rigveda which is usually identified with the
Buddhism heritage site in Swat Valley
Gandhara school is credited with the first representations of the
Buddha in human form, rather symbolically as the wheel of the law, the
Swat was ruled by the Hindu
Shahi dynasty, who built an extensive
array of temples and other architectural buildings, now in ruins.
Sanskrit may have been the lingua franca of the locals.
Shahi rulers built fortresses to guard and tax the commerce
through this area. Their ruins can be seen in the hills of Swat: at
Malakand pass at Swat's southern entrance.
Islam by Mahmud of Ghazni
At the end of the
Mauryan period (324–185 BC) Buddhism spread in the
whole Swat valley, which became a very famous center of Buddhist
Buddhist phase the Hindu religion reasserted itself, so that
at the time of the Muslim conquest (1000 AD) the population was
Main Building of Saidu sharif Hospital
Mahmud of Ghazni
Mahmud of Ghazni attacked Swat and crushed the last Buddhist
King, Raja Gira in battle. The invasion of
Mahmud of Ghazni
Mahmud of Ghazni is of
special importance because of the introduction of
Islam as well as
changing the Chronology.
Arrival of Yousafzais
The first Muslim arrivals in Swat were Pakhtun
Dilazak tribes from
south-east Afghanistan. These were later ousted by Swati Pakhtuns, who
were succeeded in the sixteenth century by
Yusufzai Pakhtuns. Both
Pakhtuns came from the Kandahar and Kabul valley.
Taliban destruction of
Swat Valley, located in the
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, has many
Buddhist carvings, statues, and stupas. The town of Jehanabad contains
Buddha statue. Kushan era
Buddhist stupas and statues in
Swat valley were demolished by the Taliban, and after two attempts by
the Taliban, the Jehanabad Buddha's face was dynamited.
Only the Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan, which the Taliban also
demolished, were larger than the
Buddha statue in Swat. The
government did nothing to safeguard the statue after the initial
attempt at destroying the Buddha, which did not cause permanent harm;
when the second attack took place on the statue, the feet, shoulders,
and face were demolished. Islamists (particularly the Taliban) and
looters destroyed many of Pakistan's
Buddhist artifacts, which dated
Gandhara civilization. The Taliban deliberately
Buddhist relics for destruction. Gandhara
artifacts were thereafter plundered by thieves and smugglers. In
2009, the Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Diocsece of Lahore,
Lawrence John Saldanha, wrote a letter to Pakistan's government
denouncing the Taliban activities in Swat Valley, including their
Buddha statues, and their attacks on Christians, Sikhs,
and Hindus. A group of Italians helped repair the Buddha.
Swat is known for its mountainous scenery.
Swat is surrounded by Chitral,
Upper Dir and
Lower Dir in the West,
Gilgit-Baltistan in North Kohistan,
Shangla in the East and
south East. The southern tehsil of
Buner was granted the status of a
separate district in 1991. The valley of Swat is situated in the
north of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and is enclosed by sky-high mountains.
Physical Features: Swat can be divided into two physical regions:
As mentioned above, Swat lies in the lap of mountainous ranges, which
are the offshoots of Hindukush, so the larger part of Swat is covered
with high mountains and hills, the crests of which are hidden by
everlasting snow. Though these gigantic ranges run irregularly: some
to the west while the others to the east, but the general direction is
The length of the valley from Landakay to Gabral is 91 miles. Two
narrow strips of plains run along the banks of
Swat River from
Landakay to Madyan. Beyond Madyan in Kohistan-e-Swat, the plan is too
little to be mentioned. So for as the width concerns, it is not
similar, it varies from place to place. We can say that the average
width is 5 miles. The widest portion of the valley is between Barikot
and khwaza khela. The widest view point and the charming sight where a
major portion of the valley is seen is at
Gulibagh on main road, which
leads to Madyan.
Approximately 38% of economy of Swat depends on
Tourism and 31%
depends on Agriculture.
Gwalerai village located near
Mingora is one of those few villages
which produces 18 varieties of apples due to its temperate climate in
summer. The apple produced here is consumed in
Pakistan as well as
exported to other countries. It is known as ‘the apple of
Swat’. Swat is famous for peach production mostly grown in the
valley bottom plains and accounts for about 80% of peach production of
the country. Mostly marketed in the national markets with brand name
of "Swat Peaches". The supply starts from April and continue till
September because of a diverse range of varieties grown.
The population of
Swat District is 2,309,570 as per the 2017 census,
making it the third-largest district of
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa after
Peshawar District and Mardan District. Swat is populated mostly by
Gujjar and Kohistani communities. The language
spoken in the valley is Pashto, with a minority of Torwali and Kalami
Kohistani speakers in the Swat Kohistan region of Upper Swat.
According to 1981 census,
Pashto is main language and spoken by 90.28%
of population while Kohistani is spoken by 8.67%. Kalami, Torwali
Urdu are also spoken by a fraction of population.
First Languages of Swat district in 1981
Pashtuns of the Yusufzai,
Alongside the Gurjar
The District of Swat is subdivided into 7 Tehsils i.e.
Tehsil Khwaza Khela
Tehsil comprises certain numbers of Union councils. There are 65
Union councils in District Swat: 56 rural and 9 urban.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Local Government Act 2013. There
were new system introduced called as Local Governments which have
District Swat has 67 Wards, of which total amount of Village Councils
is 170, and Neighbourhood Councils is 44.
The region elects three male members of the National Assembly of
Pakistan (MNAs), one female MNA, seven male members of the Provincial
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (MPAs) and two female MPAs. In the
2002 National and Provincial elections, the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal,
an alliance of religious political parties, won all the seats.
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Sufid Mahal Marghazar Swat valley
Marghazar 16 km away from
Saidu Sharif is famous for its Sufed
Mahal the white marble palace built by the first Wali (ruler) of Swat.
It used to be the ruler's summer residence.
Elizabeth II (Queen of
Prince Philip (Duke of Edinburgh) were also hosted there
in 1961. The marble used to build White Palace was the same marble
which was used to build Taj Mahal. It was turned into a hotel.
Fizagat Park is a recreation arena for the tourists and the locals
situated at 1 kilometer from
Mingora city. Situated along the bank of
the River Swat, tourists enjoy bath and pleasant climate in
Malam Jabba (also Maalam Jabba, Urdu: مالم جبہ) is a Hill
Station in the lower Swat mountain ranges nearly 42 km from Saidu
Sharif in Swat Valley, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. It is 314 km
from Islamabad and 51 km from
Saidu Sharif Airport. Malam Jabba
is home to the largest ski resort in Pakistan. On the main
Madyan-Kalam road, the road turns to the right at Manglor town
(12 km from Saidu Sahrif), for the Malam-Jabba Dara which has a
series of small villages and settlements like Salanda, Jehanabad,
Talegraam, Badar, Ser, Malam, Kishora, Spine Oba, and finally Jabba.
Malam is a small village which comes prior to Kishora village on the
main Malam-Jabba road. Malam is nearly 17 km from Manglor while
Kishora is at 18 km distance. Jabba (12 km from Kishora) is
the upper most part of the whole Dara (gorge). The Malam Jabba Ski
Resort, owned by the Pakistani
Tourism Development Corporation, had a
ski slope of about 800m with the highest point of the slope
2804 m (9200 ft) above sea level. Malam Jabba Ski Resort was
the joint effort of the
Pakistan government with its Austrian
counterpart. The resort was equipped with modern facilities including
roller/ice-skating rinks, chair lifts, skiing platforms, telephones
and snow clearing equipment. Unfortunately the resort was destroyed by
the Taliban when they were in hold in swat valley. Now that writ of
the government has been reinstated and peace established, tourism has
picked up. The government of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa(KPK) has awarded the
tender for rebuilding the Malam Jabba skiing resort to a private
company. Work is going on in full swing and is slated for a 2017
completion date. Skiing has already been restored and a skiing
festival was held in Jan 2015.
Wāli of Swat
Justice Nasir ul mulk
Afzal Khan Lala
Malak Jamroz Khan
Shaheen Sardar Ali
Akhund of Swat
Lower Swat Valley
Swat (princely state)
Lower Dir District
Upper Dir District
1974 Hunza earthquake
Operation Black Thunderstorm
2009 refugee crisis in Pakistan
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Wikimedia Commons has media related to Swat District.
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Swat.
Uddiyana Until the Eighth Century: A Short Historical Overview -The
Dharma Fellowship of his holiness Gyalwa Karmapa
Pictures of Swat
Districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
Provincial capital: Peshawar
Dera Ismail Khan
Dera Ismail Khan
Administrative divisions of Swat District
Aka Maruf Bami Khel
Bahrain (union council)
Banr Ingaro Dherai
Kalam (union council)