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What were the Bamiyan Buddhas, and why did the Taliban destroy them?

Published: 31st Mar, 2022


The Taliban regime in Afghanistan has recently said it would protect the ancient Buddha statues in Mes Aynak.


About Bamiyan Buddhas:

  • The Bamiyan Buddhas were great examples of a confluence of Gupta, Sassanian and Hellenistic artistic styles.
  • They are said to date back to the 5th century AD.
  • They were once the tallest standing Buddhas in the world.
  • They were called by the locals Salsal and Shamama.
  • Salsal means “light shines through the universe”; Shamama is “Queen Mother”.
  • UNESCO included the remains in its list of world heritage sites in 2003
  • Efforts have been made to restore and reconstruct the Buddhas in their niches with the pieces available.

About Bamiyan:

  • It is situated in the high mountains of the Hindu Kush in the central highlands of Afghanistan.
  • The valley is set along the line of the Bamiyan River.
  • It was once integral to the early days of the Silk Roads, providing passage for merchants, culture, religion and language.

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