Gandhara (gəndäˈrə) [key], historic region of India, now in NW Pakistan. Situated astride the middle Indus River, the region had Taxila and Peshawar as its chief cities. It was originally a province of the Persian Empire and was reached (327 B.C.) by Alexander the Great. The region passed to Chandragupta, founder of the Maurya empire, in the late 4th cent. B.C., and under Asoka was converted (mid-3d cent.) to Buddhism. It was part of Bactria from the late 3d cent. to the 1st cent. B.C. Under the Kushan dynasty (1st cent.–3d cent. A.D.), and especially under Kanishka, Gandhara developed a noted school of sculpture, consisting mainly of images of Buddha and reliefs representing scenes from Buddhist texts, but with marked Greco-Roman elements of style. The art form flourished in Gandhara until the 5th cent., when the region was conquered by the Huns.
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