Four-day ‘Gandhara Festival’ to sensitize world about Buddhist heritage in Pakistan
PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will host a four-day ‘Gandhara Festival’ in April to sensitize the Buddhist countries about their centuries-old heritage scattered across the province.
At least 60 international delegates are expected to take part in the first-ever ‘Gandhara Festival’, organizing by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to celebrate the Buddhist heritage in the country.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, which keeps immense potential of religious and other types of tourism, has emerged as one of the provinces that took lead in boosting religious tourism through inclusive steps, arranging seminars, conferences and visits of monks from the Southeast Asian states.
“The preparations for the Gandhara festival-cum-conference are being finalized that will help explore the untapped potential of religious tourism in the province,” Director Archeology and Museums, Dr Abdul Samad told APP on Tuesday.
Some 40 Buddhist monks from Thailand were likely to attend the four-day festival, commencing from April 9, he said while pointing out that some 500 Pakistanis were likely to attend the event.
He said around 20 international culture and heritage experts from the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Switzerland, Germany, Austria and others were also invited to attend the festival.
Besides, arranging the visits of the international participants to some 20 Buddhist sites in KP, the Gandhara art would also be put on display to draw the visitors’ attention toward their heritage, owned by the province.
He said the festival would help the province in attracting foreign and local investment in tourism sector, adding that the Buddhist countries could play pivotal role in upgrading their sacred sites.
He said the government had already earmarked Rs 2 billion in the current budget to upgrade and preserve the religious sites scattered across the province.
Out of total allocation, the Director said some Rs 600 million had been spent on rehabilitating the sites of different religions like Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism. – APP