The relief depicting the great departure of Gautama Buddha exhibited in Swat Museum. — Dawn
The relief depicting the great departure of Gautama Buddha exhibited in Swat Museum. — Dawn

MINGORA: The precious antiquity, among hundreds of other items in Swat Museum, depicting Buddha’s departure from his palace in Kapilavastu in search of a remedy to end human suffering has become the focus of attention of tourists and historians.

Swat Museum is considered one of the biggest museums, housing artefacts from Gandhara and Uddiayana periods. Apart from hundreds of other important artefacts, the museum also has hundreds of relics depicting the life story of Buddha.

“It is one of the most interesting and best-preserved panels from the original decoration of a late Kushana domestic shrine in Bazira, Barikot. Carved in high relief in greenschist, it represents the great departure of Buddha, who leaves the palace mounted on his horse Kanthaka,” said Dr Luca Maria Olivieri, the head of Italian Archaeological Mission in Pakistan.

He said that the relief was reused in a shrine dated mid-third century CE, meaning that it was produced earlier.

Tourists and historians from around the world, who visit the museum, take keen interest in the relief showing the departure scene of Buddha.

“It is great to see some of the most important panels revealing the life story of Buddha in Swat Museum, especially the one showing the great departure,” said Ibrahim Khan, a student of history, who was visiting the museum with his friends.

The visitors said that Swat Museum was unique as it housed not only precious artefacts of Gandhara civilisation but also had items for early era of Muslim and Pakhtun.

“One can spend days in this museum because its every section has so many things to learn about the past. There are thousands of stories connected to this land. The scene showing Buddha’s departure is of great importance,” Bushra Ali, a visitor from Lahore, told Dawn.

The visitors said that the museum must be visited by students frequently so that they could learn about their history and the events occurred in the ancient Uddiyana.

CEREMONY: Peshawar Corps Commander Lt Gen Shaheen Mazhar Mehmood has said that after prevailing peace in Swat, environmental protection is the hardest challenge that must be taken seriously.

He was addressing in gathering at Malam Jabba after inaugurating Samson Ski School, magic mountain adventure and a hospital on Monday.

GOC Malakand Maj Gen Mohammad Ijaz Mirza, MNA Dr Haider Khan, local elders and civil and military officials were present on the occasion. The students of Swat University, former Fata and Azad Jammu and Kashmir also attended the ceremony. The corps commander said that opening of the ski school would promote the spot in the region. “It will not only promote ski in Swat but also will provide employment opportunities to the locals,” he said. He said that protection of environment was one of biggest challenges in Swat. “We have to work collectively for protection of environment,” he added.

Published in Dawn, November 19th, 2019