MARDAN: US Consul General Gregory Macris participated via video link in the closing ceremony of a $230,000 cultural preservation project at Takht Bhai Buddhist Monastery in Mardan.

“The US mission in Pakistan is committed to working with local partners to support conservation and preservation of sites of great cultural significance across Pakistan,” said Gregory Macris, according to a statement issued here on Saturday.

The Humanitarian and Facilitation Organisation (HAFO) received a US grant to execute the two-phase project at Takht Bhai.

Working in close collaboration with the Directorate of Archaeology and Museums, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, HAFO completed preservation of the Buddhist priests’ living quarters (Block-C) over the past year. During the phase one, the organisation received a $400,000 grant to preserve Block-B of the monastery from 2017 to 2019.

The preservation project provided training and employment to scores of skilled and unskilled labourers. It also encourages increased local and international religious tourism, with hundreds of visitors coming to the monastery each week.

HAFO provided guided tours to hundreds of students from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa over the course of the project, educating them about the history of the site and the importance of conservation efforts.

The US mission in Pakistan supports cultural preservation efforts across the country and has previously funded restoration work at Masjid Mohabat Khan and Gor Gathrie, Peshawar, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

“Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is home to numerous sites that reflect Pakistan’s rich cultural and religious diversity and the US mission to Pakistan is proud to partner with Pakistan to preserve them for future generations,” said US Consul General Gregory Macris in his video address.

Published in Dawn, November 29th, 2020

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