TAXILA: Vesak Day, a Buddhist religious festival was celebrated at the Taxila Museum and Mohramurado Stupa to mark the birth, enlightenment, and passing of Buddha.
The day is observed by Buddhists around the world and is also known as Buddha Purnima and Buddha Day. It is traditionally celebrated on different days in various Buddhist countries and other parts of the world.
According to Buddhists, 2022 marks the 2,566th year of Lord Buddha’s attainment of enlightenment. The event was jointly organized by Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC), C2D, The Serenity Resort, Gandhara Resource Center, Punjab Tourism (TDCP), Punjab Dept. of Archaeology, and I-SAPS. A large number of people from different walks of life participated in this event
Mr. Mohan Wijewickrama, Sri Lankan High Commissioner on the occasion spoke on the spiritual and cultural significance of the Mahabodhi Tree. While Mr. Chakkrid Kraichaiwong, Ambassador of the Embassy of Thailand highlighted the spiritual and cultural significance of the Peace Bell installed at Taxila Museum, while Mr. Tapas Andhikari of Nepal also shared the message of Budha.
Speaking on the occasion, Aftab Rana, MD of PTDC said, “Pakistan is a country which is rich in cultural heritage sites of different religions. It is our moral responsibility to work individually and collectively for the preservation and promotion of cultural heritage and sites of religious significance to maintain their identity”. He said Taxila and the areas of Peshawar, Swabi, Mardan, and Lower Swat in KP could have become a hub for Buddhist tourism with the right policy and plan. Millions of Buddhist tourists interested in exploring the rich Gandhara heritage will be interested to visit these areas.
Buddha spread the message of peace, tolerance, love, and harmony and this is the time when we need to spread this message more pro-actively. Such events are instrumental in spreading the messages of peace to promote religious heritage tourism and project a soft image of the country. This event also focuses on the Gandhara renaissance and restoring its past glory, he said.
The participants lauded the initiative of organizing the Vesak celebration and urged Buddhists to visit Pakistan and help the government preserve their heritage as well as give proposals regarding religious tourism and religious festivals.
Dr. Nadeem Omer, Executive Director, Gandhara Resource Center briefed the participants about the value of Pakistani Heritage sites and took them on a visit to Mohra Muradu and the sacred sites of Buddhists.
He said that Pakistanis are custodians of Buddhist heritage, we welcome budhists living in Pakistan and from other countries as well to promote interfaith harmony in the region. Such kind of events will invite hundreds of thousands of religious tourists to Pakistan in the future.” We are grateful to government, PTDC and Archaeology Department for making this event successful and facilitating us,” he added
Ambassador of Thailand to Pakistan said, “Pakistan is our second home and the land of Gandhaya is very important to us. This event will promote Gandhara and tourism in Pakistan.”