Mardan is a city situated in Mardan District in the North West Frontier Province of Pakistan. It was the part of ancient Gandhara Civilization. Most of its land is agricultural. It has one of the world’s best irrigation systems, which was laid down by the British government during British Rule on subcontinent (1857-1947). There are still remains of the Gandhara Civilization, scattered in different areas of Mardan. It is also a tourist spot due to its rich culture and hospitality.
The area constituting Mardan district is a part of the Peshawar valley, which first appears in history as part of the Gandhara kingdom. The armies of Alexander the Great reached the Indus Valley by two separate routes, one through the Khyber Pass and the other led by Alexander himself through Kunar, Bajaur, Swat, and Buner in 326 BCE. After Alexander’s departure, the valley came under the rule of Chandragupta, who ruled the valley from 297 to 321 BCE. During the reign of the Buddhist emperor Asoka, the grandson of Chandragupta, Buddhism was the religion of the Peshawar Valley. The valley saw the revival of Brahmanism after the Greeks took over in the time of King Mehanda. The Scythians and Indians followed and retained control of the valley till the 7th century CE.
Before the close of the 7th century, the Afghans appeared in the valley. At that time Peshawar valley was under the control of the rulers at Lahore. The Afghans joined the Gakkhars who held the country between the Indus and the Jhelum rivers and compelled the Lahore rulers to cede to them the hill country west of the Indus and south of the Kabul river. In the 10th century the area came under the control of Sultan Sabuktgin who defeated Raja Jaipal, the hindu ruler of Lahore. Sabuktgin’s son Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni made this area as the rallying point for his numerous raids into the interior of India. In the 15th century the Pathans of Ghor overthrew the Ghaznavis and the era of Ghaznavis came to an end. In 1505 the Mughal emperor Babar invaded the area through Khyber Pass. It remained under the rule of the Mughal emperors up to the time of Aurangzeb. During his regime the Pathan tribes revolted and Aurangzeb himself led his army to re-establish his authority but after a hard struggle which lasted for two years(1673-75) he was compelled to agree to the terms which left the Pathans practically independent. In 1738 came the surrender of Peshawar to Nadir Shah by which all the territory west of the Indus, which included present Mardan district was ceded by the Mughals to Nadir Shah.
Ranjit Singh took Attock in 1814 and Peshawar in 1818. He left Hari Singh in command and withdrew himself to Lahore. This valley remained under the control of the Sikhs up to 1849. They were defeated by the British in the Second Sikh War. Major Lawrence was appointed as the first Deputy Commissioner of Peshawar. From hat date Peshawar became an administrative district under the Punjab Government. At that time the present Mardan district was a part of Peshawar district. In 1909 Frontier Province was constituted and in 1937, Peshawar district was bifurcated into Peshawar and Mardan districts.
\(Abbas ul haq uk Burnley )Mardan Toru
Ethnicity and tribes
Mardan district is mainly inhabited by the Yusafzai Pathans but the Lundkhwar valley has sizeable Khattak population. The origin of the Pathans is traced back to two brothers Khakai and Ghori who gave their names to the two divisions of the tribes settled near Qandhar. The Khakal were subsequently expelled by the Ghoris and they settled near Kabul about the middle of the 13th century. When they increased in number and acquired wealth they split into three clans,the Yusafzais, Gigyanis and Turklays. At the close of the 15th century, the Yusafzais and the Gigyanis moved to the plains of Peshawar and eventually ousted the Dalazaks and spread into Buner district. They eventually moved into Mardan district and the area came to be known as “Yusafzai Plain”.
Besides these main tribes, some Sayyeds and Gujars are also found in the district. The Gujars are more in number and some historian told that they are the original inhabitants of the area.
In the beginning, the name Mardan was given to a small area after the name of Pir Mardan Shah, a prominent religious figure. Gradually, a large surrounding area came to be known as Mardan. The area constituting Mardan district is part of Peshawar valley, which first appears in history as part of Gandhara Kingdom. Until 1937, Mardan district was a part of Peshawar district. In 1937, Mardan was set up as an independent district after the name of its headquarters town.
The district lies from 34° 05′ to 34° 32′ north latitudes and 71″ 48′ to 72° 25′ east longitudes. It is bounded on the north by Buner district and Malakand protected area, on the east by Swabi and Buner districts, on the south by Nowshera district and on the west by Charsadda district and Malakand protected area. The total area of the district is 1632 square kilometers.
Mardan district may broadly be divided into two parts, north eastern hilly area and south western plain. The entire northern side of the district is bounded by the hills. In the district, the highest points in these hills are Pajja or Sakra, 2056 meters high and Garo or Pato, 1816 meters high. The south western half of the district is mostly composed of fertile plain with low hills strewn across it. It is generally accepted that this plain once formed the bed of a lake which was gradually filled up by the load of the river flowing into from the surrounding hills. From the foot hills the plain runs down at first with a steep slope which carried the rain water to the lower levels and ultimately to the Kabul river.
Rivers and streams
Generally stream flows from north to the south. Most of the streams drain into Kabul river. Kalpani, an important stream of the district rises in the Baizai and flowing southwards join Kabul river. Other important streams which join Kalpani are Baghiari Khawar on the west and Muqam Khawar, coming from Sudham valley and Naranji Khawar from the Narangi hills on the left.
The summer season is extremely hot. A steep rise of temperature observed from May to June. Even July, August and September record quite high temperatures. During May and June dust storms are frequent at night. The temperature reaches to its maximum in the month of June i.e. 41.50″C. Due to intensive cultivation and artificial irrigation the tract is humid and heat is oppressive. However, a rapid fall of temperature has been recorded from October onwards. The coldest months are December and January. The mean minimum temperature recorded for the month of January the coldest month is 2.09° C.
Most of the rainfall occurs in the month of July, August, December and January. Maximum rainfall recorded for the month of August the rainiest month is 125.85mm. Towards the end of cold weather there are occasional thunder storms and hail storms. The relative humidity is quite high throughout the year while maximum humidity has been recorded in December i.e. 73.33 percent.