Peshawar Museum aka Buddha Museum is located in Peshawar District, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. Established in 1907 as “Victoria Hall” in memory of the Queen of Great Britain. It has the largest collection of historical artefacts about the life of Buddha in the world.
The original building dates back to the British era, which was once a club of British princes. In 1907 it was turned into a museum. Later transformed into a two-story building, a combination of Mughal, Buddhist, Hindu and British architecture.
The antiquities in the museum are on display in the four main galleries:
Gandhara Art Gallery
The museum houses the largest and most important collection of Gandhara art in the world. Antiquities include Buddha statues, their state of meditation, court scenes, stupas, sacred small lid boxes, ornaments, wooden boxes and other items. There are stories before and after the birth of the Buddha, his miracles, meditation states, ways of worship that are engraved on various stones.
There is a statue of Gautama Buddha here which is said to be the largest discovered statue in the world. These artefacts brought here from excavations in different parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. These include Seri Bahlol, Takht Bhai, Jamal Garhi, Shah Ji Ki Dheri, Akon, Ghaz Dheri, Bala Hissar, Atmanzai, Charsadda and Haripur.
There are ancient Arabic and Persian manuscripts, wooden doors, Multani tiles and utensils. The clothes and utensils of Syed Ahmed Shaheed, who martyred in Balakot against the Sikhs. Also includes engraved verses on metal, calligraphy and pictures of Mughal period.
The most important of these is the Holy Qur’an, written in 1244, which is preserved in three parts. A new gallery created in 2001 to preserve rare manuscripts of the Holy Qur’an. Where 29 handwritten copies of Holy Quran and 56 manuscripts are on display. The most amazing is the eleventh century Shahnameh Ferdowsi which contains many important manuscripts.
Here you will find ancient coins of Indo-Greek, Kushan, Hun and Hindu dynasties. Coins from Ghaznavi, Ghauri, Tughlaq, Lodhi, Mughal, Sikh and British eras are also on display. There are a total of 8625 coins. These round, square and oval coins are made of gold, silver, copper and bronze.
Cultural and local Gallery
Here you will have a closer look at the culture of the entire Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Kalash tribes. Kalash or Kailash is a tribe in Chitral near the Afghan border. Here are beautiful clothes, coffins, jewelry, utensils and other utensils of this tribe. Also items covering the customs and traditions of other Pakhtun tribes. Like clothing, weapons, armor, leather and bronze items, and wooden stools.