Glorious Gandhara – A Cradle of Buddhist Civilisation

By Prince Adnan Aurangzeb and Prof Dr Ashraf Khan

Saturday 13 July 2019 at 2.30pm at The Siam Society


The Embassy of Pakistan in Bangkok, together with The Siam Society Under Royal Patronage, will organise two special lectures on the topic of Buddhism in Pakistan. This is a rare opportunity to hear authoritative accounts of lesser-known aspects of the history of Buddhism.

The event is free of charge.

“Buddhist Heritage of Pakistan” by Prince Adnan Aurangzeb

A grandson of the late former president of Pakistan, Muhammad Ayub Khan (1958-1968), Prince Adnan Aurangzeb was born in 1960 to the former ruling family of Swat. Under the British Raj, Swat had been an autonomous princely state of approximately 8,000 square kilometres. Today Swat is an administrative district of Pakistan. Prince Adnan retains the traditional ruling title as the “Wali of Swat” for ceremonial purposes.

After studying and working in the USA for a number of years, Prince Adnan returned to his native Swat and joined national politics. In 1997, he was elected to the National Assembly (Lower House of Parliament) on a seat that his family had held since 1954. During his tenure as a member of parliament, Prince Adnan travelled extensively as member of official delegations internationally and was entrusted with major responsibilities at the national level.

Prince Adnan retired from electoral politics in 2013 to concentrate on business, philanthropy, and academic and cultural activities. Prince Adnan travels extensively to countries with a Buddhist population, including Thailand, where he has lectured at Thammasat University and the Queen Sirikit Convention Center.

Prince Adnan will present a lecture on how Buddhism became dominant in North West Indian subcontinent, now Pakistan, and Eastern Afghanistan, leading to the Gandhara Civilisation from the 2nd century BCE to the 6th century CE. The lecture will explain how the Tantric School of Buddhism travelled from modern-day Swat, then the ancient Kingdom of Udyana, over the Himalayas to lay the foundation of what is now known as Tibetan Buddhism.

“Buddhist Heritage of Gandhara and Its Influence on Buddhist Art of Near-Eastern and Far-Eastern Countries” by Prof Dr Muhammad Ashraf Khan

“Gandhara,” which means the fragrant land, was the ancient name of the territory on the west bank of the Indus River which now comprises the Peshawar valley and the Swat, Buner and Bajaur districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. It was a country of rich, well-watered valleys with a pleasant climate. Situated on the borderland between Indo-Pak subcontinent and Western Asia, Gandhara belonged as much and as little to the one as to the other. The area is known to the world for its magnificent sculptures recovered from Buddhist monasteries and stupa sites during archaeological excavations.

Prof Dr Muhammad Ashraf Khan is a former Director of the Taxila Institute of Asian Civilisations, Quaid Azam University, Islamabad. He holds a PhD in the Buddhist art of Gandhara from Sorbonne University, Paris, and was formerly the curator of the Swat and Taxila Museum. He has excavated and preserved several Buddhist monastery sites, as well as authoring numerous research papers and books on the art and architecture of Gandhara.

In this talk, Prof Dr Ashraf Khan will explore the beginnings of Buddhism in Gandhara, and how the Buddhist Art of Gandhara influenced not only the rest of the Indian Subcontinent, but every part of the Buddhist world at that time, especially Tibet, Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand, Indonesia as well as Central Asia, China, Korea, and Japan.



2.30pm Reception
3pm Welcome by Ms Pikulkeaw Krairiksh, President of the Siam Society
  Remarks by HE Mr Asim Ifthikar Ahmad, Ambassador of Pakistan to Thailand
- “Buddhist Heritage of Pakistan” by Prince Adnan Aurangzeb
- “Buddhist Heritage of Gandhara and Its Influence on Buddhist Art of Near-Eastern and Far-Eastern Countries” by Prof Dr Muhammad Ashraf Khan


For more information regarding the event, please contact:
Khun Nichakorn – nichakorn@siam-society.org or tel. 02-661-6470 through 3 ext 305

For more information, please contact Khun Arunsri or

Office Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 9:00am. – 5:00pm.

The Siam Society is deeply grateful to the James H.W. Thompson Foundation for its generous support of the 2017-2018 Lecture Series.