The most unusual underground pagoda in the world — the secret of Takht-e-Rustam pagoda in Afghanistan

The secret of Takht-e-Rustam pagoda

Many parts of the world are committed to one religion, but formed by another. Afghanistan is such a country that sincerely follows Islam, but before its emergence, it was one of the centers of Buddhist doctrine.

The most unusual underground pagoda in the world -- the secret of Takht-e-Rustam pagoda in Afghanistan

There are a large number of cultural relics confirming the early Buddhism in the country

Sadly, most of the remains were destroyed during the war, and due to the neglect of historical sites: museum collections were looted or irretrievably damaged. Therefore, serious research is needed to find the rich relics of Buddhist history. The Bamiyan Buddha statue destroyed by the Taliban in 2001 is one of the strongest evidence related to the history of Afghan Buddhism

The most unusual underground pagoda in the world -- the secret of Takht-e-Rustam pagoda in Afghanistan

Samangan Province is one of the most impressive former Islamic sites in Afghanistan. It has prominent relics of the Buddhist past – a very unusual underground pagoda called Takht-e-Rustam. The pagoda was named after the Persian ruler Rustam III of the Bawand dynasty. Unlike other pagodas, this pagoda is not built on the ground, but”carved” on the ground. Its style is reminiscent of the whole church in Ethiopia.

The most unusual underground pagoda in the world -- the secret of Takht-e-Rustam pagoda in Afghanistan

The pagoda, Tahe Trustama, is on the top of the pagoda

The stone structure of Hamika, once a relic of Buddha, stands. The passage around the pagoda is about eight meters deep. There are several caves and cells on the inner wall of the pagoda, where Buddhist monks hold ceremonies

There are small holes on the roof, which can let light penetrate the cave and create a perfect quiet atmosphere at dusk. The cave monastery has no decorative elements, but its engineering feats leave a deep impression.

The most unusual underground pagoda in the world -- the secret of Takht-e-Rustam pagoda in Afghanistan

Why is this pagoda carved in such an unusual way?

Historians have proposed two possible reasons: the first explanation is that this may be to camouflage – to protect the monastery from intruders; Another more common explanation is that this is to escape the extreme weather conditions in Afghanistan

The most unusual underground pagoda in the world -- the secret of Takht-e-Rustam pagoda in Afghanistan

The Afghan name Takht-e-Rustam (the throne of Rustam) refers to legendary figures in Persian culture. After the Islamization of Afghanistan, when the original purpose of the pagoda was lost, this structure was called the place where Rustam and his fiancee Tahmina married.

The most unusual underground pagoda in the world -- the secret of Takht-e-Rustam pagoda in Afghanistan

The pagoda is the symbolic religious”holy land” of the Buddhist world and the universe. According to ancient documents, some theorists of ancient astronauts believed that they might be related to the mysterious spacecraft or”vimanas” that visited the earth 6000 years ago. In India, there is a word ś Ikhara refers to the pagoda, which means”peak”. Ś Ikhara is very similar to the Egyptian language Saqqara (Saqqara) – the place of the ladder pyramid or the ladder to heaven.

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