The Buddha of Kabul by Taran N. Khan - Guernica / A Magazine of Art & Politics:
Tepe Naranj is a hill in the middle of this busy plain, its slopes home to the remnants of a small but important monastery from Afghanistan’s rich Buddhist past. The word naranj, or orange, perhaps refers to the color the slopes appear at sunrise, tinged with the ochre soil, or maybe to the hundreds of monks in orange robes who once called the monastery home. On Thursdays, the valley buzzes with devotees who come to pay their respects at the shrines that dot its arid ground. While the objects of their reverence are now Muslim saints, these pilgrimages date back centuries. Before Islam came to the region, the valley was revered by Kabuli Buddhists and Hindus. Shuhada has been hallowed land for nearly 2,000 years.