Pakistan Kicks Off Three-Day Gandhara Symposium In Islamabad

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ISLAMABAD: Senior Buddhist monks and delegates from various countries arrived in
Pakistan’s capital city to take part in a three-day symposium which begins on Tuesday,
aiming to shed light on the Gandhara civilization’s importance and to spotlight the South
Asian country’s rich Buddhist heritage.
Gandhara, which means the “land of fragrance” in Sanskrit, was an ancient civilization
that existed on the west of River Indus, in the middle of the 1st millennium BCE to the
beginning of the second millennium CE. These areas now comprise the northern
bounds of Pakistan, namely Peshawar, Swat, Dir, Bajaur, Buner, Mardan and Swabi
cities.
Titled ‘Cultural Diplomacy: Reviving Gandhara Civilization and Buddhist Heritage in
Pakistan,’ the symposium will be held in Pakistan’s capital city, Islamabad, from July 11-
13.The symposium includes four sessions focused on the ancient Gandhara civilization
and the Buddhist heritage in Pakistan. It will also feature a round table discussion and
visits to Taxila and Peshawar museums, known for housing centuries-old Buddhist
artefacts. The inaugural session would be addressed by Pakistan’s President Dr. Arif
Alvi.
“Speakers at the Gandhara Symposium will be from Malaysia, Thailand, South Korea,
Nepal, Sri Lanka, China, and Pakistan,” a report by the state-run Associated Press of
Pakistan (APP) said. “Faith leaders, archaeologists, curators, experts, religious
scholars, and academicians will reflect on the richness of Gandhara civilization and the
Buddhist Heritage. Prominent stakeholders from Pakistan’s tourism industry will also
participate in the Symposium.”
The various relics of the Gandhara civilization which include sacred sites, sculptures,
and artefacts are a source of inspiration for Buddhists and tourists from various
countries around the world.
“One of the key objectives of the Gandhara Symposium will be to create awareness
about Gandhara and foster a sense of appreciation for Pakistan’s rich and diverse
cultural heritage, both domestically and abroad,” the APP said, adding that the
symposium would also focus on promoting faith tourism in Pakistan.

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