Archaeological sites around Taxila being restored for religious tourism

Published July 16, 2021
This file photo shows excavation work being carried out at stupa at Badalpur near Taxila. — Dawn
This file photo shows excavation work being carried out at stupa at Badalpur near Taxila. — Dawn

LAHORE: The Punjab Tourism and Archaeology Department is developing and restoring many archaeological sites around Taxila with special focus on religious tourism under a project worth Rs150m.

Tourism and Archaeology Secretary Mushtaq Ahmad told Dawn that besides focusing the World Heritage Sites such as Taxila, the department was also paying attention to religious tourism.

Mr Ahmad said the Salt Range or the Buddha Trail were of great magnificence because of stupas.

“The tourism department wants to facilitate the tourists so that they can visit these sites with ease”.

He said the preservation and restoration of sites such as Nanadna Fort and Rohtas Fort were also underway besides that all religious sites.

The secretary added that the department was promoting all the important sites through documentaries and as the Covid-19 situation got better, the department would hold galas at different tourist sites. He said tourism and archeology would also be promoted through performing arts such as theatre and music and visual arts.

To the question about the number of sites developed and restored, Ahmad said the sites were being developed and some would complete in the current year while others in 2022.

This project of restoration and development started in 2012-13 and the year 2021 and it would be completed next year, Mr Ahmed said and added that expenditure on the project was Rs 147m so far whereas the allocation for the year 2020-21 was Rs7.3m. He explained that the main objective of the scheme was to conserve and develop the cultural heritage through scientific and traditional techniques.

The Taxila valley has important world heritage archaeological sites, having unique stupas and other allied structures. Through this restoration and development project, the sites and monuments that would be conserved are Sirkap Site, Taxila, Mohra Muradu Site, Taxila, Dharmarajika Site, Taxila, Bhir Mound Site, Taxila, Kalawan Site, Taxila, Giri Site, Taxila, Kunala Stupa, Taxila, Bhallar Stupa, Taxila, Mankiyala Stupa in Attock, Rawat Fort, Lala Rukh Tomb, Hasanabdal and Taxila Museum Campus.

Published in Dawn, July 16th, 2021

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