Buddah niches Bamiyan Reviews
Feb 18, 2007
Carved into the sandstone cliffs overlooking the Bamiyan Valley are the remains of the largest Buddha statues to have ever been created in the world. These monuments dated from the 3rd to the 6th centuries, and stood proudly looking over the beautifully cultivated countryside. They survived the invasion of the Islamic armies in the 8th century. Genghis Khan and his destructive army leveled the nearby city and wiped out the local population, but spared the Buddhas. Through the centuries, even as the local population turned to Shia Islam, the Buddhas remained a proud part of the scenery. But in the summer of 2001, the Taliban set out to destroy this world heritage site. It took a month to destroy the 180 meter high statues, but eventually they prevailed.
A visit to the site of the former buddhas is still an amazing experience. The mountain is covered with a large complex of caves that served as one of the world's largest monasteries in ancient times, and later as homes for the local inhabitants, as recently as 2006. In the caves you will find the remnants of beautiful fresco paintings. A staircase carved inside the mountain cliff leads the adventurous explorer to the upper reaches of the Buddha niches, permitting comanding views of the valley below. Snow-capped mountains rim the valley, and five rivers stream through the valley and into the canyon leading out.
Bamiyan continues to be one of the top destinations for serious world travelers, and rivals some of the other great world heritage sites even after the Talibanic scourge.
Security in Bamiyan is excellent, and there have been no security incidents in the area since 2001. However independent travel in Afghanistan is still risky. Several Kabul-based tour companies offer tours to Bamiyan. You can find more information about travel to Bamiyan at www.greatgametravel.com
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