34-member Sri Lankan Buddhist delegation leaves for Pakistan to attend 2nd Vesak Festival

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ISLAMABAD, May 21 (APP): A 34-member delegation of senior
monks / religious scholars, government officials and pilgrims on Sunday
left Colombo for Pakistan to attend the Vesak Festival at Taxila.
The delegation is visiting Pakistan on the invitation of
the Government of Pakistan to attend the festival which is being held
for the second consecutive time from May 21 to 24, 2017, a message
received here from Sri Lanka said.
Acting High Commissioner of Pakistan Dr Sarfraz Ahmed Khan Sipra
and other officials of the High Commission saw off the delegation
at the Bandaranayake International Airport, Colombo.
Despite being a predominantly Muslim country, Pakistan is celebrating
the Vesak Festival and many countries are being invited for the Festival.
On the sidelines of the Vesak Festival, the delegation will be
visiting different sites of Buddhist spiritual and religious significance
in Taxila like Dharmarajika Stupa, Sirkap and Taxila Museum besides the visit of Takht-i-Bahi.
Pakistan has been cradle of Buddhist and Gandhara Civilization for
well over 22 centuries. Buddhism left a monumental and rich legacy of
art and architecture in Pakistan. Despite the vagaries of centuries,
the Gandhara region preserved a lot of the heritage in craft and art.
The Gandhara civilization flourished in the north-western region of
Pakistan from the 6th Century BC to the 5th Century AD.
The territory of Gandhara civilization and its heritage is a
triangular piece of land about 100 kilometers, east to west and 70 kilometers north to south, on the west side of the Indus river,
surrounded by mountains in the present day Pakistan.
The Gandhara School of Art is credited as being the first creators
of Lord Buddha in human form carved in stone, stucco, terracotta and
bronze. These were mostly enshrined in monasteries and stupas throughout
the Gandhara region. A major portion of this invaluable heritage has
been preserved in the museums and the sacred sites at their original locations.