A group of 150 monks from Thailand on Thursday visited Julian Stupa in Khanpur, a globally renowned Buddhist heritage site.
The delegation led by the most celebrated Buddhist monk, Arayawangso, visited different parts of the Stupa and performed various religious rituals.
Sub Regional Officer of the Archeology Department of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Hazara Division, Nawazuddin, along with other key officials, welcomed the delegation upon its arrival at the site. Later, he briefed the monks about the sites.
While addressing the group of monks, he underlined that the provincial government has taken special safety measures to protect these treasured historical places.
It was the first time a dignified monk was visiting Buddhist sacred places in the company of such a large delegation, spreading message of peace and harmony, he highlighted. The monks visited different religious places of Buddhist origin in Hazara as well as other districts of KP to perform religious rituals.
“They mediated and carried out research work at seven world heritage sites, particularly Julian, Bhamala in Haripur, 11 sites in Taxila and others in Swat, TakhtBahi and Peshawar valley,” he told.
Buddhists Rain Retreat Program
The sub-regional officer further told media that Arayawangso has been in Pakistan for the last three months as part of Rain Retreat Programme. Other monks joined him later. Rain Retreat Program is known as the intense learning period, where the monks dwelt in one place during the rainy season for an extended period, generally three months.
KP govt promoting tourism
In his media talks, Nawazuddin said that Gandhara civilization was considered holy for many different religions and considering this fact the KP government had launched religious tourism.
The provincial government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is currently trying to provide all possible facilities to foreign tourists. This year, hundreds of followers of different religions related to Gandhara civilization have visited KP, which has endorsed a softer image of the country across the continent.
Sri Lankan Buddhist delegation
Earlier, a Sri Lankan delegation consisting of 14 senior Buddhist monks had visited Lahore to carry out one-week long religious pilgrimage during which they visited and offered prayers at various Buddhist heritage sites of the country.