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Sri Lankan Delegation Praises | Steps For Preservation Of Buddhist Sites In KP

PESHAWAR: Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Tourism (SAPM) Zulfi Bukhari on Friday said that appropriate steps had been taken to complete the mega Gandhara Trail by 2022 as per vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan to explore Pakistan’s hidden religious tourism treasures.

“The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government and the Tourism and Archeology Department have taken tangible steps for the preservation of heritage sites and promotion of religious tourism. Today, the monks and members of high-level delegation from Sri Lanka are visiting Gandhara archaeological sites owing to matchless sacrifices for restoration of peace in the region and government untiring efforts for boosting tourism in Pakistan,” the SAPM said during his visit to Takhtbhai Archaeological Complex in Mardan along with Sri Lankan team.

A 12-member delegation comprising special assistants to Sri Lankan president and prime minister, monks and PhD scholars, KP Secretary Tourism and Archeology Department Abid Majeed, Director Archeology Dr Abdul Samad and others visited the Buddhist ruins in Takhtbhai.

The delegation had earlier visited Buddhist sites in Taxila, Khanpur, Bhamala and other relics and had praised the KP government’s steps for the conservation and preservation of archaeological places during a meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan.

The delegation was briefed on the history of Buddhist places and heritage sites in the province.

The monks and religious scholars also performed their worships at various sacred Buddhist places on this occasion.

The members of delegation said they were performing the religious rituals in Pakistan to promote bilateral cultural ties between the two countries.

They said people-to-people contacts and religious scholars’ visits were important for the promotion of cultural relations between Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Earlier, Dr Abdul Samad briefed the delegation about the historical and archaeological importance of Takhtbhai Monastery.

The delegation was informed that Buddhists’ ruins of Takhtbhai had been included in UNESCO world heritage sites’ list in 1980 and were attracting foreign tourists including Sikhs, Buddhists, Monks and archeologists from across the world especially from Sri Lanka, Nepal, Thailand, Japan and other countries to explore around 2,000 heritage sites and 30,000 relics of the Gandhara Civilization.

The ruins monastic complexes are spectacularly positioned on various hilltops ranging from 36.6 metres to 152.4 metres height with a covered area of about 33 hectares.

The delegation was told that Takhtbhai monastery was in continuous use till the 7th century (CE) composed of an assemblage of buildings constructed of stone on Gandhara patterns in diaper style using local dressed and semi-dressed stone blocks set in a lime and mud mortar.

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