Pushkalavati (modern Charsadda), and the first capital of Gandhara from 6th to 1st century BC, is situated 30 km to the northeast of Peshawar. The term Pushkalavati is a combination of two Prakrit words 'Pushkara/Pushkala' and 'wati/vati', which mean 'lotus' and 'city' respectively.
The area is still very fertile and had ponds full of lotus flowers around the city, remnants of which can be seen around the site of Balahisar. The city goddess was also called Pushkalwati. The lotus flower, which also symbolized Buddha in archaic sect, is still grown in Charsadda. The legendary Hariti Devi and Panchika were born here and converted to Buddhism by Lord Buddha. The Syama Jatakat also took place. The he stupa of the "Eye Gift" was built here, to commemorate the generous gift of eyes by Buddha to the people of the land, which was recorded by Chinese pilgrims, who had visited the site. This region is also known as "Hashtnagar" which is a Persian word meaning 'eight villages'. According to Prof. Dani this name is the informal form of "Astes Nagar", (city or village of Astes) called after its ruler Astes who ruled Gandhara before the onslaught of Alexander the Great in 327 BC.
The remains of two cities have been exposed at Bala Hisar (by S.M. Wheeler in 1958) and Sheikhan Dheri (by Dr. Dani in 1962-63), opposite to each other and located on the banks of river Jinde, a tributary of river Swat. Bala Hisar has yilded material dated from 12th century BC through the Achaemenian, Greeks Scytho-Parthians and Kushans etc. This mound is contemporary with Bhir Mound of Taxila and Akra, Bannu. Menander, the Indo-Greek pricnce. Pushkalavati on the Greek pattern at the site, now known as Sheikhan Dheri.
Ghani Dheri, Charsadda
As we know, Ghani Khan, the son of the legendary freedom fighter and politician, Abdul Ghafar Khan (in the language of common man, Bacha Khan) is the famous poet, artist, and philosopher. Ghani Dheri is named in the name of this legend of Pathan culture. It is located on the main Charsadda Raja Takht-i-Bhai highway, about 4 km northeast of Charsadda Town. Government of KPK, to honour the legend fighter, built a complex/hall in 2001, consisting of a Library and a Mushaira Hall at the site in the memory of Khan Abdul Ghani Khan. The Library consists of two sections i.e. specialized book on Ghani Khan and general books. The Mushaira Hall is adorned with paintings and poetry of Ghani Khan. The“ Pushkalavati Museums of Archaeology and Ethnology”, has been built in 2006.