Archaeologists have discovered a 2000-year-old Buddhist site in Pakistan’s northern area of Swat KP. The Buddhist complex dates back to the Kushan era. Researchers have even found a trove during excavation work.
The site is described as the biggest complex of its kind in the region, with its architecture resembling to Kushan-era architecture.
According to the reports, the excavation on the site was started in the 1930s by Italian experts. However, they stopped the work due to a lack of resources. It was again resumed in 1955 by another Italian mission that declared it a very important and large in size site.
The Buddhist site is located in Aabba Sahib Cheena Village in the Najigram area, 25 Kms away from Mingora city. A stupa with two minarets and some clay pots have been discovered from the site.
Archaeologists claimed that the discovery of the 1st century intact murals from a Buddhist site in Swat was a landmark achievement in the history of the Gandhara civilisation in Pakistan.https://t.co/Mb9H1YBSm6
— Dawn.com (@dawn_com) February 8, 2021
Archaeologist Dr. Ashraf working on the site asserted that they have also found a trove during the excavation. The trove is huge spreading over 4 to 9 kilometers.
This is the only Buddhist site discovered so far which has four stupas located in one area, a huge hall, dwelling units, and a monastery. Some chapels have Buddhist statues in it,” Dr. Ashraf said.
“The importance of the site has been recorded in scores of historical journals like East and West Journal published from Rome and in the writings of famous archeologists of Italy,” he said.
“It was first discovered in the 1930s and in December 2020 we started work on it again and we are astonished to see the outcome,” he said.
The team has appreciated the support provided by the government and the Archaeology Department in the laborious task. “The government and the Archeology Department have provided us with all the necessary resources for the purpose. The site will soon be opened for the general public,” said the team member.
Archeologists in Pakistan unearthed a nearly 2,000-year-old Buddhist site. The discovery was made on cattle-grazing land in the country’s Swat District.
— CTV News (@CTVNews) February 5, 2021
There are 150 Buddhist heritage sites in the Malakand Division that could potentially attract a large number of local and foreign tourists.
Also, more research and excavation work of heritage sites creates employment opportunities for the locals.
Back in May 2020, religious conservatives had destroyed the Buddha statue found in Takht Bahi Mardan, KP during the routine excavation and exploration.
The locals destroyed the Buddha statue on the call of a cleric in Takht Bahi area, Mardan, KP, on Saturday. A video circulating on social media showed the locals smashing the buddha statue. The incident spread like a wildfire on social media- triggered the tourism department KP to take action.
The cleric feared people that their marriages would be invalid and they would lose their faith if the statute is not disposed. Hence, people hammered and destroyed the life-size statue of Buddha into pieces within no time. Later, government took the task of restoring and renovating the Buddha statue.