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After exploring the Pakistani cities of Karachi and Peshawar, I made it to my next destination, Mardan! Come with me as I take you on a rare Mardan street food tour of and explore an ancient Buddhist monastery in Mardan, Pakistan!
My guide Rashid from Manaky and I woke up bright and early to begin our drive to Mardan. Our first stop of the day was in Taru Jabba, a small town 30 minutes outside of Peshawar, for some breakfast!
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Taru Jabba is roughly halfway between Peshawar and Mardan. Our first stop was Faysalabad Hotel, where we got parathas, hard-boiled eggs, channa, Haleem, halwa, and lassi.
The oily channa was full of flavor and paired well with the egg, while the pasty and minty Haleem was herbal and savory. The halwa added a nice sweetness to everything!
I finished up with some refreshing lassi and some hot, creamy chai with cardamom.
Then, we drove on toward Mardan and stopped at a livestock market where the merchants were selling tons of lamb, goats, and sheep!
After arriving in Mardan, we explored Mardan Bazaar, where we got some fresh sugarcane juice and tried some biryani at Pista House Haleem. We also got a unique Mardan-style falooda at Mardan Faluda!
Back on the street, Rashid and I negotiated for a white scarf for 150 rupees/$0.97 USD. We then passed more falooda shops, fabrics and bedding shops, the livestock section, and electronics market.
Then, I set my sights on Peshawari chappals at Imperial Collection. Chappals are traditional leather sandals worn by Pashtun men in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region of Pakistan.
A pair of size 12 blue chappals cost 2,000 rupees/$12.88 USD, but the shop owners gave me a discount. I only paid 1,800 rupees/$11.60 USD.
We saw more shoe shops, where they have different varieties of chappal. Some of them have more designs and fabric on them!
Next, we visited PK Hotel & Restaurant to have kabli pulao, chicken seekh kebabs, chicken karahi, raita, and naan. The kebabs were tender and juicy. I loved the minced chicken.
Next, I jumped on the chicken karahi, which was a flavorful tomato-based curry with cream. It was unbelievable!
The pulao was savory, sweet, and mild, and adding raita made it a creamy texture. It was so good!
From there, Rashid and I drove five minutes to Takht-i-Bahi, an ancient Buddhist monastery. It costs 500 rupees/$3.22 USD for foreigners to enter, but they add on another 300 rupees/$1.93 USD for cameras. You must bring your visa and passport.
Takht-i-Bahi is a well-preserved monastic complex that dates back over 3,000 years to the early 2nd century BCE. It was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1980.
It’s a bit of a hike up the stairs to get to the top, but it’s well worth it. It looks like a massive stone fort. Only 25% of the site has been excavated, and it’s already massive.
There, we could see several ruins as well as the surrounding hills. I could make out what looked like housing. We also visited a room full of small stupas and one large stupa in the middle that was missing its top.
We also saw a meditation cell before we made the steep climb to the very top. You need to be in shape to make it! From there, we could see the entire complex, including the 10-20-foot-high walls. The roof was wooden, so it’s no longer there.
Takht-i-Bahi was really a miniature city. I’d never visited an ancient site like this one, where you can see the structures and the surrounding hills. I could see monk quarters, servant quarters, classrooms, and more.
Finally, we stopped by the actual monastery, where are tons of small rooms and monk cells.
Where have you been?
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My name is David Hoffmann. For the last 13 years, I have been traveling around the world in search of unique culture, food, and history! Since starting David’s Been Here in 2008, I have traveled to over 1,200 destinations in 82 countries, which I welcome you to check out on my YouTube channel, travel blog, and social media sites.
I focus a great deal on food and historical sites, as you probably have seen! I love to experience the different flavors that each destination has to offer, from casual street food to gourmet restaurant dining. I’m also passionate about learning about the local history and culture.
P.S. Thank you for watching my videos and subscribing!