One of Laila’s most treasured memories is the day trip she takes with Tariq and Babi to the Bamiyan Valley, where they look up at the magnificent Buddha statues carved into the cliffs, and climb up atop one of the statues to look over the valley at the Afghan landscape before them. Babi had wanted Laila and Tariq to understand their country’s living, breathing heritage—a heritage quite apart from the violence and turmoil of the national wars. The Buddhas, testimony to an ancient community of monks that lived in caves within the cliffs, symbolize the cultural richness of this national heritage. The Taliban’s destruction of these statues serves as only another testament to their disregard for the true Afghanistan. In addition, in remembering the day trip to the statues, Laila recalls a time when she was truly happy, surrounded by people she loved, and felt safe under the watchful eye of the statues. The Buddhas also come to stand for a sense of contentment and security for Laila, one that she will yearn for in the tumultuous years to come.
Bamiyan Buddhas Symbol Timeline in A Thousand Splendid Suns
The timeline below shows where the symbol Bamiyan Buddhas appears in A Thousand Splendid Suns. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part II: Chapter 21
Part II: Chapter 25
Part III: Chapter 42
...fight. Laila had learned that a month earlier, the Taliban had blown apart the giant Buddhas in Bamiyan, despite a worldwide outcry. Laila remembers standing atop one of them in 1987... (full context)