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Gandhara was one of sixteen Mahajanapada of ancient India.The primary cities of Gandhara were Puruṣapura (Peshawar), Takṣaśilā (Taxila), and Pushkalavati (Charsadda).

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Similar geographical characteristics are found at site of Prang in Kashmir and at the confluence of the Ganges and Yamuna, where the sacred city of Prayag is situated, west of Benares.

There are some legends in which the two rivers are said to be joined here by the underground Sarasvati River, forming a triveṇī, a confluence of three rivers.

In the book Histories by Herodotus, Gandhara is named as a source of tax collections for King Darius.

The Gandhāris, along with the Balhika (Bactrians), Mūjavants, Angas, and the Magadhas, are also mentioned in the Atharvaveda (AV 5.22.14), as distant people.

Gandhara was an ancient kingdom of the Peshawar Valley, extending between the Swat valley and Potohar plateau regions of Pakistan as well as the Jalalabad district of northeastern Afghanistan.

In an archaeological context, the Vedic period in Gandhara corresponds to the Gandhara grave culture.

Pushkalavati, in the Peshawar Valley, is situated at the confluence of the Swat and Kabul rivers, where three different branches of the River Kabul meet.

That specific place is still called Prang (from Prayāga) and considered sacred; local people still bring their dead there for burial.

The boundaries of Gandhara varied throughout history.

Sometimes the Peshawar Valley and Taxila were collectively referred to as Gandhara; sometimes the Swat Valley (Sanskrit: Suvāstu) was also included.

The latter remained the capital of Gandhara down to the 2nd century AD, when the capital was moved to Peshawar.

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