A UNESCO archealogical site where every stone speaks captivates tourists through Khyber Train Safari

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Takht Bhai
PESHAWAR
Takht Bhai Bhai-a UNESCO world archealogical site where every stone and stupa speak of its glorious past, has attracted tourists in droves and brought them back to the pre- Greek, Lord Bhuddha era besides Ghandhara Civilization.
Takht Bhai in Mardan district is among 2,000 religeo-heritage sites and 30,000 relics of Gandhara Civilization found in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa that draw tourists, monks, historians and followers of Bhuddism from different countries including Sri Lanka, Thailand, Turkye, Nepal and Singapore throughout the year.
Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Culture and Tourism Authority (KPCTA) has recently organized a captivating safari train excursion to the Takht Bahi archaeological site aimed at acquainting people with the profound history of Buddha-era heritage sites recognized by UNESCO as world heritage.
A total of 140 passengers embarked on the train safari, immersing themselves in the cultural and historical narratives of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, alongside insights into the ancient relics of Takht Bahi.
The tourists also took keen interests in nearby ancient Sahr-I-Bahlol and Jamal Ghari in Mardan district.
They also went around Takht-i-Bahi’s Buddhist monestry which is well preserved by the government and intact.
The train safari commenced its journey from Saddar Cantt Railway Station making sightseeing stops at City Railway Station, Nasirpur, Pabbi, and Mardan before reaching its destination at Takht Bahi Railway Station.
Hassina Shaukat, Manager Events KP Culture and Tourism Authority and curator briefed the tourists.
Emphasizing KPCTA’s strong commitment to promoting rail tourism, Hassina Shaukat expressed the authority’s intent to organize similar tours in the future, offering tourists more opportunities to explore and experience the rich cultural heritage of the region.
She said that these tours offer valuable insights into the rich history of KP, serving to attract foreigners to indulge in the diverse culture and traditions of the province.
Upon arrival at Takht Bahi, participants were escorted to the Takht Bahi relic’s monastery, where they received enlightening briefings from the Curator of the Takht Bahi Directorate of Archaeology.
The curator depicted the grandeur of the Buddha era and underscored the historical significance of these sites, acknowledged as UNESCO world heritage sites
Bakhtzada Khan, senior research officer of the Archealogy Department told APP that
Bhuddist Ruins of Takht Bahi (Throne of Origins) and Neigbouring City Remains at Sahr-i-Bahlol and Jamal Ghari was included in UNESCO world heritage list in 1980.
He said Takht Bhai monastery was in continuous use till 7th century (CE) composed of an assemblage of buildings constructed of stone on Gandhara patterns in diaper-style using local dressed and semi-dressed stone blocks set in a lime and mud mortar.
He said neighbouring city remains at Sahr-i-Bahlol located in a five kilometers distance from Takht Bhai’s monastery, is a small ancient fortified town of Kushan period.
It was constructed on an elongated mound of nine meters height on 9.7 hectares surrounded by portions of a defensive wall in diaper-style characteristic dates back to the first two or three centuries (BC).
The monastic complexes of the ruins are spectacularly positioned on various hilltops ranging from 36.6 meters to 152.4 meters height with a covered area of about 33 hectares.
The boundaries of Sahr-i-Bahlol are well defined with a part of fortification walls still intact.
He said the entire mountain area of 445 hectares of Takht Bhai has been declared as “Archaeological Reserve” to control urbanization at Sahr-I-Bahlol and Takht Bhai.
The delegation was informed that both these historical sites were declared as protected monuments under an Ancient Preservation Act (1904) of the colonial era and Antiquity Act (1975) of the Government of Pakistan.
The delegation expressed its admiration for what they had witnessed and appreciated the efforts of Directorate of Archaeology & Museums KP for preservation of the world heritage site.
The tourists said that Pakistan can earn substantial revenue by showcasing the Takhtbhai site on digital and social media before world.
Short videos and pictorial coverage of these sites on social media platforms could turnaround Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’ economy, they concluded.