The Kargah Buddha, known as Yaš eni in the local Shina language, is one of the most important symbols of the ancient Buddhist era. The third and fourth century Buddha statues at Kargah draw a lot of tourists, domestic and foreign, every year and contribute to the local economy. One important symbol of the ancient Budhist era is the Buddha statue carved on a mountain very close to Gilgit city, in the Kargah Valley. The sculpture of Budha is believed to have been sculpted in the 3rd or 4th century A.D. Many similar symbols are scattered in different valleys, including Skardu and Diamer. The local legend about the Buddha tells of a man devouring ogress called Yakhshini who lived at Kargha.
There are a number of famous short outings from the town and an excursion to Kargah Buddha is unique and a must visit trip. The Kargah Buddha, as it is famously known, needs attention of the authorities for preservation and safeguarding. The sculpture has remained intact so far, and should continue to remain for the future generations, as an important symbol of our shared human heritage. The Carving of Buddha was carried out in the seventh century in a monastery. The Buddha statue was stamped in seventh century a monastery and three stupas about 400 meters upriver from the Buddha, it was discover in 1938-39, fallowing the innovation of supposed Gilgit manuscripts in 1931.
The Kargah Buddha located near Kargah Nallah, about 10 Kilometer from Gilgit Town, Gilgit, Pakistan. Gilgit is the capital town and administrative center of Gilgit-Baltistan, a mountainous region rich in the cultural and historic background. Strategically located at the intersection of ancient Silk Route, Gilgit has remained a major stopover for caravans making it a key trade center for centuries. The route passing through Gilgit is one of the several courses of the grand Silk Route the extensive network of roads – connecting China in the east to Mediterranean in the west.
Besides trade of silk, spices and other goods, this network of routes has played a vital role in the transmission of cultures and religions as a result of interaction between the regions of China, Central Asia, Kashmir, Tibet, Afghanistan, Iran, and India.
The introduction of a rich cultural heritage and spread of Buddhism in Gilgit and surrounding regions is deeply linked to the movement along the Silk Route. Historical facts reveal that religious Buddhist caravans used to stay in a monastery here while passing through Gilgit.
There is yet another interesting myth about Kargah Buddha devised by and famous among-st the local residents. According to the legend, once upon a time there lived an ogress called Yakhshini whom local people wanted to get rid of as it used to eat human flesh. The villagers asked a passing saint for help and the saint was said to have succeeded in pinning her to the rock.