Peshāwar (Pashto: پښور; Urdu: پشاور;Hindi:पेशावर) is the capital of the North-West Frontier Province and the administrative centre for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan. "Peshawar" literally means High Fort in Persian and is known as Pekhawar in Pashto. The city that would become Peshawar, called Purushapura (City of Flowers), was actually founded by the Kushan Jats.
In ancient times a major settlement called Pushpapura was established in the general area of Peshawar by the Central Asian Kushans. It was during the Mughal period that the current city was established by Akbar in the 16th century and received its name Peshawar. During much of its history, the city was one of the main trading centres on the ancient Silk Road and was a major crossroads for various cultures between South Asia and Central Asia and the Middle East. Located on the edge of the Khyber Pass near the Afghanistan border, Peshawar is the commercial, economic, political and cultural capital of the Pashtuns in Pakistan.
Peshawar is located in an area that was dominated by various tribal groups of Indo-Iranian origin. The region was affiliated with the ancient kingdom of Gandhara and had links to the Harappan civilization of the Indus River Valley and to Bactria and other ancient kingdoms based in Afghanistan. According to the historian Tertius Chandler, Peshawar had a population of 120,000 in the year 100 BCE, making it the seventh most populous city in the world. Vedic mythology refers to an ancient settlement called Pushkalavati in the area, after Pushkal, the son of King Bharata in epic Ramayana , but this remains speculative and unverifiable. In recorded history, the city that would become Peshawar, called Purushapura (City of Flowers), was actually founded by the Kushan Jats, a Central Asian tribe of Tocharian origin, over 2,000 years ago. Prior to this period the region was affiliated with Gandhara, an ancient Indo-Iranian kingdom and was annexed first by the Persian Achaemenid empire and then by the Hellenic empire of Alexander the Great. The city passed into the rule of Alexander's successor, Seleucus I Nicator who ceded it to Chandragupta Maurya, the founder of the Maurya empire in 305 BCE. Buddhism was introduced into the region at this time and may have claimed the majority of Peshawar's inhabitants before the coming of Islam.
The area that Peshawar occupies was then seized by the Greco-Bactrian king, Eucratides (c. 170 - c. 159 BCE), and was controlled by a series of Greco-Bactrian kings who founded and ruled what is referred to as the Indo-Greek kingdom based in ancient Pakistan and North India. It was later held for some time by several Parthian and Indo-Parthian kings, another group of Iranian peoples invaders from Central Asia, the most famous of whom, Gondophares, ruled the city and its environs starting in circa 46 CE, and was briefly followed by two or three of his descendants before they were displaced by the first of the "Great Kushans", Kujula Kadphises, around the middle of the 1st century.
Peshawar formed the eastern capital of the empire of Gandhara under the Jat Kushan king Kanishka I, who reigned from at least 127 CE and, perhaps, for a few years prior to this. Peshawar also became a great centre of Buddhism learning. Kanishka built what may have been the tallest building in the world at the time, a giant stupa, to house the Buddha's relics, just outside the Ganj Gate of the old city of Peshawar.
Kanishka's stupa was said to be an imposing structure as one traveled down from the mountains of Afghanistan onto the Gandharan plains. The earliest account of the famous building is by the Chinese Buddhist pilgrim monk, Faxian, who visited it in 400 and described it as being over 40 chang in height (probably about 120 m. or 394 ft) and adorned "with all precious substances". "Of all the stûpas and temples seen by the travellers, none can compare with this for beauty of form and strength." It was destroyed by lightning and repaired several times. It was still in existence at the time of Xuanzang's visit in 634. From the ruined base of this giant stupa there existed a jeweled casket containing relics of the Buddha, and an inscription identifying Kanishka as the donor, and was excavated from a chamber under the very centre of the stupa's base, by a team under Dr. D.B. Spooner in 1909. The stupa was roughly cruciform in shape with a diameter of 286 ft (87 m.) and heavily decorated around the sides with stucco scenes.
Sometime in the 1st millennium BCE, the group that now dominates Peshawar began to arrive from the Suleiman Mountains of southern Afghanistan to the southwest, the Pashtuns. Whether or not the Pashtuns existed in the region even earlier is debatable, as evidence is difficult to attain. Some writers such as Sir Olaf Caroe write that a group that may have been the Pakhtuns existed in the area and were called the Pactycians by Herodotus and the Greeks, which would place the Pakhtuns in the area of Peshawar much earlier along with other Aryan tribes. Ancient Hindu scriptures such as the Rig-Veda, speak of an Aryan tribe called the Pakht, living in the region. Regardless, over the centuries the Pakhtuns would come to dominate the region and Peshawar has emerged as an important center of Pakhtun culture along with Kandahar and Kabul as well as Quetta in more recent times. Muslim Arab and Turkic arrived and annexed the region before the beginning of the 2nd millennium. The Pakhtuns began to convert to Islam following early annexation by Arab empire from Khurasan (in what is today western Afghanistan and northeastern Iran).
Sebük Tigin(Sebuktagin) dying in 997 was succeeded as governor of Khorasan by his son Mahmud of Ghazni, who throwing of all dependence on the Samani princes,assumed the title of Sultan in 999, and from this reign the Hindu religion in these parts may be said to have received a death blow . In the early reign of this celebrated invader of India the plains of Peshawar were again the scene of some great battles , the first of which was fought on the maira between Nowshera and the Indus , in the year 1001 . Mahumad was opposed by Jaipal , who had been constantly endevouring to recover the country wrested from him by Sebuktagin , still aided by some Pathans whose allegiance to the Muhammadan governor of Peshawar was not of long continuance . The battle took place on 27th November and the Hindus were one again routed , Jaipal himself being taken prisoner , who upon his subsequent release , resigned the crown to his son Anandpal . On this occasion Mahmud punished the Pathans who had sided with the enemy , and as they were now converted entirely to the Muhammadan faith , they were ever afterwards true to their new allegiance , and joined the Sultan in all his wars against the infidels . 
Peshawar was taken by Turkic Muslims in 988 and was incorporated into the larger Pakhtun domains by the 16th century. The founder of the Mughul dynasty that would conquer South Asia, Babur who hailed from what is today Uzbekistan, came to Peshawar and found a city called Begram and rebuilt the fort there, in 1530. His grandson, Akbar, formally named the city Peshawar which means "The Place at the Frontier" in Persian language and expanded the bazaars and fortifications. The Muslim technocrats, bureaucrats, soldiers, traders, scientists, architects, teachers, theologians and Sufis flocked from the rest of the Muslim world to Islamic Sultanate in South Asia and many settled in the Pashawar region.
The city has been known both as the "City of Flowers" and the "City of Grain". In the days of the Kushan King, it was called the "Lotus Land".
The Pakhtun conqueror Sher Shah Suri, turned Peshawar's renaissance into a boom when he ran his Delhi-to-Kabul Shahi Road through the Khyber Pass and Peshawar. Thus the Mughals turned Peshawar into a "City of Flowers" by planting trees and laying out gardens similar to those found to the west in Persia. Khushal Khan Khattak, the Pakhtun/Afghan warrior poet, was born near Peshawar and his life was intimately tied to the city. He was also an implacable foe of the Mughal rulers, especially Aurangzeb. Khattak was an early Pakhtun nationalist, who agitated for an independent Afghanistan including Peshawar. After the decline of the Mughal Empire, the city came under Persian control during the reign of Nadir Shah by the 18th century.
Peshawar would also join, following a loya jirga as a Pakhtun region, the Afghan/Pakhtun empire of Ahmad Shah Durrani by 1747. Pakhtuns from Peshawar took part in incursions of South Asia during the rule of Ahmad Shah Durrani and his successors. The Sikhs, who were oppressed under the Mughal rule then invaded and conquered Peshawar in 1834 after wresting it from Afghanistan. In the wars between to two nations, Peshawar's own Shalimar Gardens were destroyed, not to mention the dwindling of the city's population by almost half.
With the rapid collapse of the Sikh Empire caused by internal fighting after the Kings death and its defeat in the second Anglo-Sikh War, the British eventually occupied the city. They continued to rule from 1849 to 1947, when the city became part of the new nation of Pakistan.
Being among the most ancient cities of the region between Central, South, and West Asia, Peshawar has for centuries been a centre of trade between Afghanistan, South Asia, and Central Asia as well as the Middle East. Its famed markets such as the Qissa Khawani Bazaar (market of story tellers) are emblematic of this mixture of cultures.
Peshawar emerged as a centre of both Hindko and Pakhtun intellectuals. Its dominant culture for much of British rule was that of the hindko speakers, also referred to as "Khaarian" ('city dwellers' in Pashto).
Its unique culture, distinct from the surrounding Pashtun areas, led to the city being romanticized by Pashto singers, with songs like larsha Pekhwar tha (let us go to Peshawar) and more recently Pekhawar kho pekhawar dhay kana.
This culture has gradually disappeared with the massive influx of Afghan refugees and the increasing migration of Pashtuns into the city, its demographics have now changed and Pashto is now the dominant language of the city.
After the Soviet Uniont invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 Peshawar served as a political centre for anti-Soviet Union Mujahideen, and was surrounded by huge camps of Afghan refugees. Many of the refugees remained there through the civil war which broke out after the Soviets were defeated in 1989, antecedent to the rule of the Taliban, and the invasion by American and allied forces in late 2001. Peshawar would replace Kabul and Qandahar as the centre of Pakhtun cultural development during this tumultuous period. Additionally, Peshawar managed to assimilate many of the Pakhtun Afghan refugees with relative ease, while many other Afghan refugees remained in camps awaiting a possible return to Afghanistan.
Until the mid-fifties Peshawar was enclosed within a city wall and sixteen gates. Of the old city gates the most famous was the Kabuli Gate but only the name remains now. Peshawar has not grown as much in size or capacity as the population has. As a result it has become a polluted and overcrowded city. However, despite turmoil in Pakistan and intense turmoil in Afghanistan, Peshawar has remained a relatively quiet and peaceful city, compared to the violence in Karachi or Balochistan, and the civil war in Afghanistan.
Peshawar continues to be a city that links Pakistan to Afghanistan as well as Central Asia and has emerged as an important regional city in Pakistan and remains a focal point for Pakhtun culture. The Bakhshali Manuscript used in the Methods of computing square roots and Bakhshali approximation was found here, and the book Peshawar Nights uses the city as its setting.
Kushan Jats and Peshawar
The clan of Kanishka, Kushan, has been identified to be the present Kaswan clan of Jats.  Jat historian Thakur Deshraj writes that Kushans were the people from Krishnavanshi who moved with Pandavas in the great migration after Mahabharata. There is no doubt that Kushan word is derived from sanskrit word karshneya and karshnik. The word is not 'Kushan' but Kaswan clan found in Jats.  The Taxila Ladle Copper inscription bears this as 'Kaswin' word. In Mahabharata there is a word Khawakasha which becomes 'Kashwa' when 'Kh' is changed to 'x' and tellies with the word 'kasuwa' of "Panchtar inscription". The word 'Kaswan' is in fact 'XWN' word of Tokharian language which means 'King'. In Mahabharata also there is mention of a country named 'Kuswan' which was situated in the north of Mansarovar lake.  
Raja Kharwel in Orissa has mentioned in an article about the rule of Kaswan in 2nd century of Vikram samvat - ‘Hathi Gumpha and three other inscriptions’ (page 24) in Sanskrit as under: “Kusawanam Kshetriyanam cha Sahayyatavatan prapt masik nagaram”. This means that the city of 'Masik' was obtained with the help of 'Kuswa' Kshatriyas 
According to Sadananda Agrawal interpretation of the city as Masikanagara is not well-supported. Kanhavemṇā is commonly equated with the river Krishna coastal flowing in Andhra Pradesh. However, Krishna lies much to the south of Kalinga, and not west as averred in the epigraph (Devanagari: पछिमदिसं). But there is another stream flowing to the west of Kalinga in Vidarbha and known locally at present as Kanhan which flows about 17 km northwest of Nagpur and joins the river Vena (Wainganga), and it is the combined flow of these two streams that is spoken as Kanhavemṇā in our records. 
The recent find of a sealing belonging to the Asikajanapada in course of intensive archaeological excavations at Adam (Nagpur district) has solved also the problem of locating Asikanagara whose king or and people became frightful at the arrival of Kharavela's army at Kanhavemṇā. In view of the evidence of a highly prosperous city unearthed at Adam, Prof AM Shastri is of the opinion that Adam itself represents the Asikanagara of Hathigumpha inscription. It is worth noting in the present context that a terracotta sealing having a legend, has been discovered from Adam, situated on the right bank of the river Wainganga, which reads Asakajanapadasa (Devanagari: असकजनपदस). 
The township of Asikanagara to the west of Nagpur indicates the township of Asiagh or Siyak jats. This is also supported by Thakur Deshraj that Asiagh Jats moved from Asirgarh in Malwa to Rajasthan. This must have been migration to Rajasthan of these people when their rule came to an end. After this period their rule is recorded in Jangladesh by the Historians James Tod and Thakur Deshraj.
According to historian Bhim Singh Dahiya the correct name for Kushans in India is Kasuan, the present Kaswan clan of Jats of Rajasthan and Haryana. This title remains in use by Jat clan indicates their possibility of ancestral lineage from Kushans. 
James Legge mentions in chapter XII about the rule of Kanishka in foot note-4 that “Kanishka appeared, and began to reign, early in our first century, about A.D. 10. He was the last of three brothers, whose original seat was in Yueh-she, immediately mentioned, or Tukhara.” 
James Legge further mentions in footnote-6 (chapter XII) that
- “This king was perhaps Kanishka himself, Fa-hien mixing up, in an inartistic way, different legends about him. Eitel suggests that a relic of the old name of the country may still exist in that of the Jats or Juts of the present day. A more common name for it is Tukhara, and he observes that the people were the Indo-Scythians of the Greeks, and the Tartars of Chinese writers, who, driven on by the Huns (180B.C.), conquered Transoxiana, destroyed the Bactrian kingdom (126 B.C.), and finally conquered the Punjab, Cashmere, and great part of India, their greatest king being Kanishak (E. H., p. 152).”
According to Thakur Deshraj Yuezhi people lived in north-west China. in 165 BCE there was a war of these people with with Hignu people in which Yuezhi were defeated and they moved to west in search of new lands. One of the groups of Yuezhi people was Kushan. Kadphises united all the five branches of Yuezhi and hence forth they were called Kushan. Thakur Deshraj says that Kushans were the people from Krishnavanshi, who moved with Pandavas in the great migration to north. The word Kushan has been derived from the sanskrit word 'Karshney' or 'Karshnik'. Kushan is nothing but Kaswan gotra found in Jats.
Other Jat clans and Peshawar
Other Jat clans associated with Peshawar are mentioned below:
The Lichhavi Period is the first documented period in the history of Nepal. The Lichhavi, having lost their political fortune in India, came to Nepal and attacked and defeated the last Kirati king, Gasti. Lichhavi Dynasty (I to 340 AD) was a Jat dynasty according to historian Ram Swarup Joon. Dr. K. P. Jaiswal has mentioned, on the basis of some stone tablets unearthed earlier, and with reference to the Puranas that Patliputra and Magadha were the capitals of Lichhavi Bharshiva Jats. According to a rock edict of Raja Jai Dev, found in Nepal, his ancestors had ruled on Patliputra in the first century AD, for 100 years after having come from the Punjab. The Lichhavi Dynasty originated in Peshawar. They ascended and relinquished the throne of Magadha many a time.
Bhim Singh Dahiya has mentioned about the rule of Munda people in Magadha. The inscriptional evidences show that Jat rulers and tribes in north India from Kabul to Cuttack, in the period following the disintegration of Kushanas empire. Particularly Magadha area was under the rule of people who had the title, Murunda. They are admitted to be Sakas or Scythians. 
The Geographike of Ptolemy says that in 140 AD, the Murundas were established in the valley of the river Sarabos or Sarayu.  Half a century later, Oppien mentions the "Muruandien" as a Gangetic people.  S R Goyal quotes several other Jain authorities to show that Patliputra in particular, as well as Kanyakubja were ruled by Murundas/Sakas. The Jain ascetic, Padlipta Suri, cured the Murunda ruler of Patliputra of terrible headache and converted him to Jainism.  During the reign of Wu dynasty (220 - 227 AD) Fan Chen, the King of Kambodia, according to PC Bagchi sent his relative as ambassador to the Indian King of Patliputra. The ambassador was heartily welcomed and the gesture was returned by the Indian king who sent two men as ambassador as well as four horses of the Yue-chi i.e. the Jat country, as presents to the King of Kambodia. According to this account Buddhism was in prosperous state at that time in Magadha and the title of the king was Meouloun. This title has been identified with Murunda and this shows that in the middle of third century AD the Murundas were still ruling over Patliputra.  These Murunda rulers of Patliputra had special relations with Peshawar. It was but natural, for, after all Murundas and Kushanas both belonged to the same Scithian stock. 
Jats the original race of Sind valley
According to Dr. Raza, Jats appear to be the original race of Sind valley, stretching from the mouth of Indus to as far as the valley of Peshawar.Traditionally Jats of Sind consider their origin from the far northwest and claimed ancient Garh Gajni (modern Rawalpindi) as their original abode. Persian chronicler Firishta strengthened this view and informs us that Jats were originally living near the river of the Koh-i-Jud (Salt Range) in northwest Punjab. The Jats then occupied the Indus valley and settled themselves on both the banks of the Indus River. By the fourth century region of Multan was under their control.Then they rose to the sovereign power and their ruler Jit Salindra, who promoted the renown of his race, started the Jat colonisation in Punjab and fortified the town Salpur/Sorpur, near Multan.
Hari Singh Nalwa
Sardar Hari Singh Nalwa (1791-1837?), the great Utpal gotra Jat warrior, the Commander-in-chief of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, who was most famous of the great Sikh generals had the opportunity to conquest Peshawar in 1827. He held Kashmir and Peshawar as its governor in 1834. Nalwa was the only person whose name was minted on the currency of Punjab; today the Hari Singh rupee can be found in museums in India.
Maharaja Ranjit Singh (Punjab)
Maharaja Ranjit Singh (Punjab) took the title of Maharaja on April 12 1801 (to coincide with Baisakhi day). A descendant of Guru Nanak, the founder of the Sikh religion, conducted the coronation ceremony . Lahore served as his capital from 1799. In 1802 he took the holy city of Amritsar. He then spent the following years fighting the Afghans, driving them out of western Punjab. He also captured Pashtun territory including Peshawar. This was the first time that Pashtuns were ruled by non-Muslims. In a historical perspective, this event was very important. For more than a thousand years invaders had come down from the Khyber pass and ruled eastern lands. Ranjit Singh reversed this trend. When the Sikh empire finally fell to the English, they were able to retain this province. He captured the province of Multan which encompassed the southern parts of Punjab, Peshawar (1818), Jammu and Kashmir (1819) and the hill states north of Anandpur, the largest of which was Kangra.
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