Gandharian preservation to serve magnet for tourists: Korean Monk

APP, June 16, 2008

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- Steps including preservation and promotion of ancient cultural heritage of Gandhara through maintaining its identity, will definitely lure a large number of tourists from across the globe.

Chief Monk of Korea, Jeon Woon Deok, expressed his views here during the presentation of a proposal titled “Gandhara Renaissance” for the restoration ofGandhara sites including Takht-Bahi and its surroundings.

The Chief Monk said the monastery of Takht-Bahi physically belongs to Pakistan but spiritually it is attached to Buddhists and its renaissance would create inter-civilization harmony in the region.

The presentation was organized by the Gandhara Art and Culture Association, (GACA) while Senior Planning Officer from UNESCO, Farhat Gul, demonstrated a slide show with the images of various Buddhist sites.

The objective of the event was to focus on the efforts of GACA to promote religio-cultural tourism in Pakistan through conserving the spiritual inheritance and revive the past glory of ancient sites through foreign financial prop up.

“GACA was also planning to revise the 3,000 years old university of Taxila with same old features and modern facilities,” said Zulfiqar Rahim, Director and Chief Coordinator of GACA while talking to APP.

The association would provide an institution of studying art, history, culture and heritage to attract the youth from various countries while the university would also reflect the architecture and traditions of the oldest monuments of Taxila in the 21st century.

The government has also assured them full cooperation by keeping in view the requirements of minorities to foster peace and harmony in the region, he added.

Buddhism, which so vitally influenced the life and imagination in Gandhara, was originally a philosophy of life rather than mere religion whereas the sculptural art, which gradually developed here, was primarily of religious art and mirrors its moral and spiritual life.

The legacy at the time of independence, travelled to Pakistan as a treasure, which may be characterized as part of Pakistan’s national heritage.