Home South Asia Pakistan Buddhist Monks Expect Pakistan To Be Hub Of Religious Tourism

Buddhist Monks Expect Pakistan To Be Hub Of Religious Tourism

Pakistan, with its rich heritage, is the epicenter of three civilizations, which attracts people of three different faiths-Hinduism, Sikhism, and Buddhism. The recent visit of Thailand’s Chief Monk highlighted Pakistan’s significance in terms of world culture and heritage.

Buddhist

A group of Buddhist monks from Thailand reached Pakistan to pay homage to historical Buddhist monuments in the upper northern region of the country. The Chief Monk of Thailand, Arayawangso, traveled Pakistan with a nine-member delegation.

The delegation toured the Bhamalah Stupa, dating back to the 2nd Century, in Khanpur where they performed religious rituals and a special prayer for the peace and prosperity in the region.

Dr. Abdul Samad, Director Archaeology KPK, welcomed the delegation and arranged the visits of the delegation to renowned Buddhist sites across KPK. He also briefed them about the efforts taken by the Pakistani government to preserve and restore the historical Buddhist monuments across KPK.

Besides visiting Bhamala Stupa, the delegation comprising of chief monks, monks and, officials from Archaeology and Museums were taken on a visit to famous Takht Bhai, an ostentatious Buddhist monastery in Mardan. The delegation performed religious rituals at the archaic monastery.

Dr. Samad briefed the delegation about the construction and extension of the Peshawar Museum, which mainly hosts the relics and history of Gandhara civilization in Pakistan. He also informed them about other Buddhism heritage sites in KPK including the archaeological sites in Peshawar and gallery of Buddhist statues, antiques, and artifacts in the museum.

Dr. Samad informed the delegation that the region of KPK possesses nearly 6000 archaeological and heritage sites, where the research was being carried out to systematically revive these sites. The provincial government has also allocated billions of rupees under the comprehensive policy to restore these sites since as per the government’s objective of promoting inter-faith harmony.

Read more: Buddha Diplomacy: Pakistan uses its inter-religious past to build modern ties

The clear intention of the provincial government is further evident through the tight measures taken for the safety of these religious sites.

“The followers of Buddhism would find a treasure trove of Buddhist statues and heritage after thorough research and revival of these sites,” the official told the delegation.

Dr. Samad added that the visit of Buddhist monks to Pakistan is encouraging since it will help promote religious tourism.

Religious Tourism in Pakistan

The delegation was delighted to know about Pakistan’s dedication towards preserving Buddhism in the country. The Chief Monk asserted that the monks are elated with the hospitality received in Pakistan. Adding that, “The visiting monks have a great spiritual association with the holy sites, meditation touches their hearts and this tenderness and hospitality will surely force them to spread the good words about Pakistan across the globe.”

He, however, suggested that the provincial government must beef up the provision of public service at the site since it holds the potential to attract a large number of religious tourists from various countries.

Read more: Buddhist Trail: Exploring Ruins of Ancient Kingdom of Gandhara in Pakistan

Chief Monk Arayawangso added that he would talk to the representatives of 30 countries, having a Buddhist population, about their sacred sites in Pakistan and believed that it would help increase monk influx to the country.

The delegation acknowledging its religious and cultural heritage of Pakistan anticipates that Pakistan holds immense potential to become a hub for religious tourism.

Pakistan has suffered exponentially in the past partly due to the smuggling of antiques and the government’s negligence. But things have taken a positive turn ever since Imran Khan assumed the premiership. The promotion of tourism, particularly religious tourism, and cultural promotion is close to PM Khan’s heart. One such milestone will be achieved with the inauguration of Kartarpur Corridor on 9th November.

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