Today probably the best-known monument in the Peshawar district Khyber Paktunkha is the Buddhist site monastery of Takht bhai, on a rocky ridge about 10 miles north-east of Mardan. These Buddhist site stand 500 feet above the plain and is approached by a steep and winding path, but the visitor is repaid for his climb by the architectural diversity of the ruins and by their romantic mountain-setting.
The group of buildings includes a main Stupa within a courtyard from which a flight of steps leads down into a cross-court filled with votive Stupas, whence in turn an upward stair admits to the monastic quadrangle surrounded by the cells of the monks. Alongside the quadrangle, towards the West to this Buddhist site, is a large square hall of assembly; whilst, to the south, the main Stupa court is flanked by other courtyards with votive Stupas, remains of a line of colossal Buddhas formerly 16-20 feet high, and a miscellany of other buildings.
The irregularity of the terrain constantly exercised the ingenuity of the builders. A part of the building-platform is extended and revetted with masonry, and an exit towards the south-west is stepped and zigzagged down the hillside beneath a pointed barrel-vault constructed on the corbel-system normal to pre-Islamic builders. The site has produced fragmentary sculptures in stone and stucco to an extent that indicates considerable wealth and elaboration, but the most remarkable feature is the design and arrangement of the range of small shrines which surrounds the main Stupa court of this Buddhist site.
These shrines in this Buddhist site, containing images and votive Stupas, stood upon a continuous sculptured podium and were crowned alternately with Stupa-like finials and with gabled Chaityas, forming an ensemble without known parallel. Curiously enough, the Buddhist site is not mentioned by any of the Chinese pilgrims who travelled in the vicinity.