Peshawar, Apr 23 (PTI) A 12-member delegation of Buddhist monks from Sri Lanka on Friday visited various archaeological sites of Ghandhara Buddhist civilisation in Pakistan's northwest Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province and performed religious rituals.
The monks visited the archaeological sites in Taxila, Khanpur and Takht Bhai in Mardan and evinced keen interest in the preservation of the sites by the government.
The monks praised the restoration of the Buddhist religious sites at Bhimala in Khan Pur District Haripur.
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Tourism Zulfi Bukhari, Secretary Tourism Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province and scholars accompanied the delegation.
The monks were informed about the progress of work on the Buddhist sites in Taxila and Khan Pur for the promotion of religious tourism by the provincial government.
Bukhari while talking to reporters on the occasion said the Pakistan government has a vision to complete the world's biggest Ghandhara trail in Pakistan by 2022.
The ancient kingdom of Gandhara, particularly near Taxila, holds historical significance in spreading Buddhism in the region.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's old name is Ghandhara and the region is a highly revered place for the followers of Buddhism.
Takht Bhai was once part of the Budhist Gandhara kingdom that stretched across modern-day Pakistan and Afghanistan over 1,000 years ago. It is a tourist destination for people from Sri Lanka, Korea and Japan since it was a part of the Gandhara Civilisation - one of the earliest urban settlements documented in the history of the subcontinent. PTI AYZ PMS AKJ MRJ