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A short ride west of Bamyan bazar, it opens up as yet another canyon-like valley with strange rock formations.

Think of all the different faces these rocks presented through history: the bare stone before the first Buddhist monks started piercing it with a maze of caves around the 2nd century BC; the gaudy colours of the huge statues as vividly described by the Chinese pilgrim Hsuan Tsang in the 7th century AD; the damaged and faded, but still colossal statues who stood in place for centuries; and today’s empty niches, with the Buddhas’ ghosts still lingering.(2) It is not clear who damaged the statues before 2001.The young princess would later meet death in form of a lethal shower of stones hurled at her by the unappreciative Mongols.


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