There are rock carvings, inscriptions and engravings in excess of 50000 pieces in Gilgit-Baltistan area of Pakistan. These carvings mainly depict Buddha, which means that the existence of Buddhists in this area is provable. These carvings date back to the late stone age. A lot of such carvings and engravings have unfortunately been lost due to the ignorance of the people.
The rock carving in the image is called the “Kargah Buddha”. It is located some 10kms outside the town of Gilgit near the Kargah stream.
This artwork dates back to the 7th century A.D. In the 1930s a Buddhist monastery, three stupas and the Gilgit manuscripts were found in the vicinity. The said manuscripts are one of the oldest known Buddhist scriptures. According to common belief the carving signifies the devotion of the people to Lord Buddha.
There also exists a local legend, according to which this is not Buddha at all. According to this legend, once the villagers asked a passing through saint to help them against the evil of an ogress called Yakhshini. This ogress lived near the Kargah stream.
The saint successfully pinned the ogress to the rock and told the villagers that she won’t bother them until he was alive. The saint also told them that if he would be buried at the foot of the rock then the village could get rid of the ogress forever. The legend goes that the people killed the saint and buried him at the foot of the rock.