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Mardan, Pakhtoonkhwa


Total area of Mardan 1,632 km2
Population of Mardan 1,400,000
Calling Code of Mardan +92 937

Mardan, known as The city of hospitality, is a city and headquarters of Mardan District in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, Pakistan. It is the de facto headquarters of the Yousafzai tribe and the second most populous city in the province, located at 34°12'0N 72°1'60E and an altitude of 283 metres (928 ft) in the south west of the district. Mardan is a federation of a number of small towns coming together to form a large city.
Mardan valley was part of the ancient Gandhara civilization but at that time the name Mardan and Mardan City was not constructed, instead Gandhara civilization consisted of small sub-kingdoms at the hill tops of Jamal Garhi, Shahbaz Garhi and Thakhat Bahi. The ruins of these cities still exist. Mardan City foundation was laid down by Saint Ali Mardan Shah (nickname Madai-Baba) in about in 11th - 12th century A.D. His shrine is at Jalala. His son Zamin Shah Baba was also a saint, buried in Mardan Cantt. Most of its land is agricultural. It has one of the world's best irrigation systems, which was laid down in 1934 from the Swat River through Jabban Hydel Power Station, during the British Raj between 1857 and 1947. There are still remains of the Gandhara civilization, scattered in different areas of Mardan.

History of Mardan:

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 personally led by Alexander through Kunar, Bajaur, Swat, and Buner in 326 BC. After Alexander's departure, the valley came under the rule of Chandragupta, who ruled the valley from 321 to 297 BC. 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 followed and retained control of the valley till the 7th century AD.

Over the years, since independence, Mardan has had a gradual improvement in education and educational facilities, although the standards are fairly low in government funded schools, as compared with the rest of the country.

The literacy rate of the district among the population aged 10 years and above is 36.45 percent. It has increased by 20.5% since 1981 when it was only 15.95 percent. The male literacy ratio is much higher at 53.50% compared to 18.38% for women. There are separate educational institutes for girls and boys, although there are many co-educational institutes for school going children.

Some of the educational institutes in Mardan are:

* Abdul Wali Khan University Awkum
* Agriculture University Mardan Campus
* Ansi Degree College Mardan
* Aziz Bhatti Shaheed Army College
* Bacha Khan Medical College
* Beaconhouse School System (Pakistan)
* The City School (Pakistan)
* Dawn School System Garhi Daulat Zai
* Defence College for Girls, Mardan Cantt
* Engineering University (Mardan Campus)
* F.G. Public High School Mardan cantt.
* F.G. Inter College
* F.G. Girls High School
* Government Centennial Model School
* Government Post Graduate College Mardan
* Government Post Graduate College for Women
* GHSS Baghdada Mardan
* Mardan Model School
* Pak American School
* Pak London Kids School
* St John School Mardan
* The Fazle Haq College
* The Mardan Model School and College
* The Yousaf Zai Model School
* Women Institute of Legal Studies, Mardan Cantt
* Virtual University of Pakistan (Mardan Campus)


Mardan is largely an agricultural area. The major crops are wheat, sugarcane, tobacco, maize, rice, rapeseed, mustard and various vegetable crops. Important fruits are orange, plum, peach, apricot, pear, rare mango and apple.
The main sources of the irrigation are the canals. The upper Swat canal mostly irrigates the Mardan district, and the lower Swat canal irrigates the southwestern parts of the district. Irrigation is also done by tube-wells and lift irrigation. Even though the population is still largely poor and relatively uneducated, recent years have seen major improvements in education, health and infrastructure. Manufacturing has also grown over the years and so has the financial sector where the town centre has become home to many national and international banks. The town of Sheikh Maltoon has developed on the outskirts of Mardan city where the population is growing rapidly.

Industries include a well-established sugar mill, The Premier Sugar Mill, the Pakistan Railways Locomotive Factory, which is located near Mardan and small to large cigarette manufacturing industries, besides various other large and small industrial units such as flour and paper mills. Some small sector industries of gur (jaggery), tobacco leaf processing, tiles, soaps, marble, and bricks are also present. Marble mining is becoming a notable industry, presently with over 100 units, becoming a very good source of earning for local people.