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Huvishka Pura – Ancient City in Kashmir Built By Kushanas

Huvishka Pura, was a city near Baramulla in Kashmir, built by the great Kushana king, Huvisha in the 2nd century BCE as recorded by Kalhana in his Rajatarangini. Kalhana also records the construction of a temple of Vishnu Bhagavan named Muktaswamin and a large vihara with a stupa by Lalitaditya Muktapida, the Karkota ruler of Kashmir.

Hiuen-tsang, the famous Chinese traveler who entered Kashmir Valley by the Baramulla Pass, stayed at one of the monasteries at Huvishka Pura.

Huvishka Pura is identified with the present Ushkur village near Baramulla, to the west of which is the stupa based and its enclosure wall. It is quite evident that the structure o the stupa belongs to the 8th century CE. It is definitely built over an older structure, perhaps belonging to the time of Kushanas, stone blocks of which were seen after the removal of the silt. One of these stones bears letters in Kushana Brahmi and one has been deciphered as he-sh-ka-ra in Sharada characters, which perhaps refers to the name of the city.

Eleven terracotta heads were found outside the northeast corner of the enclosure wall along with a number of fragments of images which all display the influence of Gandhara art of the late Kushna period. Among these, the terracotta heads representing Bodhisattva, a Brahmin ascetic, female devotee and a young monk are artistically remarkable. Two colossal Shivlings at the two ends of the village are also noteworthy, as no other ancient structure is located at the site, though future excavations can throw more light on the layout and settlement of this Kushana city.