In the outskirts of Srinagar city, about 18.7 kilometers south, lies the Harwan village which is located on the hillside. This place is famous for some remarkable remains of ancient ornamented tile pavements of the Buddhist era. It is believed that the fourth Buddhist council was held here under the patronage of Kaniska. The proceedings of the council are said to have been scribbled on copper plates and buried somewhere in the premises of the Buddhist temple. The archeological remains include the ornamental tiles that depict the dresses of the people of that time, such as loose trousers, Turkoman caps or close fitting turbans and large ear-rings. The findings here have the central Asian influence.
There is a garden at Harwan as well. This beautiful and massive garden is located in the foothills of Zabarwan mountain and the snow- capped peaks beyond. It has become a popular picnic spot for the locals and for the tourists from the outside state, it is a must visit in Srinagar. Behind the Harwan garden just near the Dachigam National Park lies a beautiful but small lake which sends out a canal through the center of Harwan garden. The canal is bordered with blossoming flowerbeds and chinar trees. Harwan Garden lacks the usual terraces, artificial fountains etc, like the other gardens of Kashmir.
It has been deliberately kept devoid of these man-made things as the main attraction of the Harwan garden, is its natural beauty that is present in plenty. The huge verdant lawns attract locals and the tourists to this place who enjoy its serene environs. Harwan is an ideal place to take long walks in the lap of nature.
Harwan also serves as a starting point of many mountain treks including that of Dachigam- Pahalgam trek
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The relics of the Harwan Buddhist temple are age’s old and unique work of art and history, its origin goes as far as 300 AD. Its ruins are located in Harwan, a village situated in the north-western Kashmir. These ruins are situated towards the northwest of Kashmir and are accessible from the eastern side of Shalimar Mughal Garden.
The temple dates back to the Kushan era and civilization. It is believed that second Buddhist council was held here. It was discovered during an excavation as part of an archaeological expedition conducted by the Archaeological Department of India approximately between 1919 and 1929 AD. The architecture of this ancient structure depicts the lifestyle, attire and habitat of the people who belonged to that civilization. There are beautiful image carvings on the tiles within the temple. These are mostly the people who look similar to those from Kashgar or Yarkand. Harwan was earlier known as Shadara Hadwan, that means ‘woods of six saints’