Category Archives: Pakistan

Early Buddhist monastery awaits govt attention

The 1,800-year-old Vihara is situated 25 kilometres from Mingora. PHOTO: SHEHZAD KHAN/ EXPRESS

The 1,800-year-old Vihara is situated 25 kilometres from Mingora. PHOTO: SHEHZAD KHAN/ EXPRESS

The Express Tribune, January 21st, 2017.

By Shehzad Khan /
SWAT: An ancient double-domed structure still stands tall near Mingora after having survived the cruel ravages of time, vandalism and official neglect.

The 1,800-year-old Vihara or early Buddhist monastery, was discovered by British archaeologist Sir Aurel Stein. It had been constructed in the second century as a place of worship by Buddhists, when Buddhism was the dominant religion of Swat.

The main building has two domes, one right above the other which led to it being called the double-dome-structure.

Archaeologists have called the structure one of the ‘finest and most unique ancient buildings’ across Asia.

Though the structure remained unscathed during the period of militancy in Swat, its surrounding areas faced a lot of damage.

The double-dome-structure did not lose its importance even during the Hindu-Shahi period, marking an end to Buddhism in Swat. The structure then became the centre for Hindus where they would offer their rituals.

The locals in Swat called the structure ‘Vihara’ — a term the Buddhists pioneered and used for their monastery. Continue reading

Buddhist Civilization remains in Pakistan of great value for Japanese Pilgrims: MD PTDC

By DND – December 19, 2016
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The Managing Director Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) Abdul Ghafoor Khan has said that Pakistan is the custodian of Gandhara Buddhist Civilizations and there are numerous holy places in Pakistan of great value for Japanese Buddhist people.

During a meeting with Second Secretary of Japanese Embassy Daijo TSUCHIKAWA in Islamabad, he said that due to the restoration of peace and betterment of law and order situation in the country, the Japanese tourist flow is once again showing a remarkable increase over the previous two years.

The MD PTDC said that the significance of Buddhist civilization remains in Pakistan for Japanese people can boost up tourist flow to Pakistan as a result of proper publicity.

Abdul Ghafoor said that it will be 65th Anniversary of Pakistan and Japan’s diplomatic relations next year and we have planned a number of activities in order to celebrate this long-lasting relationship.

“I am surprised to realize that above 20 million tourists visit Japan every year and we are ready to learn from their experience by adopting the strategies of Japan’s tourism industry,” he said.

The PTDC managing director said that the Hasegawa Memorial Public School in Hunza is an initiative of Japan Government for enhancement of skills of local people in fruit cultivation as well as education in the area.

The Japanese government also supported in restoration of Ata Abad Lake.

He told that PTDC’s has already published a few brochures in Japanese language, soft copy of which is also available with PTDC’s website on homepage.

“We will also provide links to Japanese Embassy in Pakistan and Embassy of Pakistan in Japan on our website,” he said.

Abdul Ghafoor further added that we are ready to host visit of Japanese travel writers to write a guide book on Pakistan in their language on the pattern of “Siarnwe Book”, which means a way to walk on earth, which we can see on lonely planet as well.

“We are also planning to prepare a fresh documentary film, which will also be translated in Japanese language for display on travel channels of Japan,” the MD PTDC said. Continue reading

Researchers discover 30000-year-old rock art and 110 historic sites in Pakistan

site-in-pakistan8 sites are of Buddhist importance. These sites display ancient rock art including images. During excavation, researchers found remnant of mosques, forts, gallows, tunnels and other buildings of Ameer Taimur period.

By Megha Singh -Dec 9, 2016

Archaeologists unearth 30000-year-old 110 historic sites in Pakistan

Archaeologists have unearthed 30000-year-old relics in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. Of newly discovered 110 sites, some are related to Buddism. According to reports, a team of archaeologists along with support from Political Administration and Pakistan Army have discovered the sites.

The pre-historic sites are of Buddhist, Islamic and British era. 8 sites are of Buddhist importance. These sites display ancient rock art including images. During excavation, researchers found remnant of mosques, forts, gallows, tunnels and other buildings of Ameer Taimur period.

The political administration has summoned another team of scientists to further study the art form. Apparently, the study will be extended to other tehsils of Tirrah and Barra with an aim of finding more such sites which will tell us more about the ancient times, their beliefs and mythology.

“These rock carvings were etched around 30,000 years ago,” Abdul Samad, Director K-P archaeology and Museums, who has conducted the survey, told media on Thursday. Continue reading

Khyber rediscovered as rich archaeological area

A Buddhist stupa in Jamrud tehsil near Torkham Highway is a testimony to the historical and archaeological significance of Khyber Agency. —Dawn

A Buddhist stupa in Jamrud tehsil near Torkham Highway is a testimony to the historical and archaeological significance of Khyber Agency. —Dawn

Dec 09, 2016 09:54am

PESHAWAR: For the first time Khyber Agency may be put on the world’s map for its archaeological richness as a survey team is thrilled to have found prehistoric rock carvings in this tribal region.

Khyber Agency was known more as a gateway to Central Asia and remained a favorite route for the invaders, pilgrims and traders for centuries and in recent years it was ravaged by militancy.

But more lies underneath this rugged terrain, archaeologists have just found out.

During the first-ever archaeological survey in Khyber Agency, a team of archaeologists from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has discovered around 110 archaeological sites, including prehistoric rock carvings and paintings, in Malagori area of Jamrud tehsil.

The survey conducted for about two months was a pilot project initiated by the Khyber Agency political agent Khalid Mehmood with the help of Dr Abdul Samad, who is heading the Directorate of Archaeology and Museums of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The survey that started as a friendly cooperation between the two young officers may be the tip of the iceberg as initial findings indicate that more archaeological wealth may be lying underneath waiting for centuries to be discovered. Continue reading


islamabad-600Associated Press of Pakistan
Saturday, 03 December 2016

ISLAMABAD: Archaeological experts have so far explored 15 ancient archaeological sites in Zone-IV of federal capital through its ongoing first-ever archeological survey.

The survey is being conducted by the Department of Archaeology and Museums (DOAM) to find potential sites for documentation, excavation and preservation, saving the precious heritage for future generations.

“The number of identified archaeological sites has reached upto 15 in Zone-IV of the capital and the survey is continuing in different areas to find more historical relics”, Director Archaeology, DOAM, Abdul Azeem Tuesday said.

He said due to wheat cultivation in most areas of Zone IV, it was difficult to conduct survey in the main areas so we have shifted our focus to the boundary areas.

He said the experts have discovered historical monuments, worship places of the Sikh community before partition, mosques of the Mughal period, remains of the Buddhist period and a memorial of the British period wars.

Abdul Azeem, who is head of the project, said Zone IV of Islamabad was the biggest zone among all and the archaeological survey in this area was likely to be completed soon.

He said the archaeological survey in the federal capital was initiated to find the potential sites for excavation, documentation and preservation so that the historical places could be protected.

The team which is conducting archaeological survey comprises archaeological experts, photographers, draftsmen and other necessary staff who are recording the details of the sites for documentation and finding potential sites for excavation.

He said Assistant Directors, DOAM, Mehmood Shah and Asadullah were also part of the team which is conducting the survey.

The students of Hazara University and Quaid-e-Azam University are also accompanying the team of experts during the survey work on sites.


Iconic Buddha in Swat valley restored after nine years when Taliban defaced it

Italian experts conducted the conservation and restoration process using 3-D technology.

Italian experts conducted the conservation and restoration process using 3-D technology.

The iconic seventh-century defaced Buddha at Jahan Abad, Swat, at last, got its face back after a nine-year-long wait following a scientific restoration process conducted by Italian archaeologists.

The 7th century Buddha seated in a meditative posture which is considered one of the largest rock sculptures in South Asia was attacked in September 2007 by the Taliban, who blew up half the statue’s face by drilling holes into the face and shoulders and inserting explosives.

The explosives in the face, when detonated, destroyed half its face, but the explosives in the statue’s shoulders failed to detonate.

The defacement of the Buddha sparked worldwide anger and concern among the Buddhist community, historians and archaeologists.

The Italian Archaeological Mission in Pakistan were able to restore the statue to its original form after six scientific missions.

“It was our professional and moral obligation toward the people and heritage of Swat and Pakistan which forced us to restore the Buddha. It took about five missions of about a month each from 2012-2016 in its complete conservation program,” said head of the Italian Archaeological Mission, Dr Luca Maria Olivieri, adding that international experts worked on the restoration process.

“Two restorers/trainers, two 3D scan experts/trainers, one chief restorer, five local restorers, 20 field workers, two carpenters, and three watch-keepers were involved in the restoration process, while the 3D equipment was provided all-inclusive by the University of Padua, Italy,” he said

“It was restored under the Archaeology Community Tourism (ACT) Field School project funded by Italian government, a joint project of the Directorate of Archaeology and Museums of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the Italian Archaeological Mission,” Olivieri added.

Fabio Colombo, a restorer and member of the Italian Archaeological Mission who has vast experience in the field of conservation and who worked on-site in Bamyan, Afghanistan, said that he enjoyed the work at Jahan Abad as it was a very important historical site where the locals also gave him love and respect. Continue reading

Jamal Garhi Buddhist complex, Mardan, Pakistan (2nd Century AD)