Peshawar, city, central Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, northern Pakistan. The city (capital of the province) lies just west of the Bara River, a tributary of the Kabul River, near the Khyber Pass. The Shahji-ki Dheri mounds, situated to the east, cover ruins of the largest Buddhist stupa in the subcontinent (2nd century ce), which attest the lengthy association of the city with the Buddha and Buddhism. Once the capital of the ancient Buddhist kingdom of Gandhara, the city was known variously as Parasawara and Purusapura (town, or abode, of Purusa); it was also called Begram. The present name, Peshawar (pesh awar, “frontier town”), is ascribed to Akbar, the Mughal emperor of India (1556–1605). A great historic centre of transit-caravan trade with Afghanistan and Central Asia, Peshawar is today connected by highway and rail with Lahore, Rawalpindi, Hyderabad, and Karachi and by air with Rawalpindi, Chitral, and Kabul, Afghanistan.
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