Sri Lankan Monks offer religious ritual at Buddist remains in Takht-e-Bahi

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MARDAN/SWABI, May 31 (APP): A 38-member delegation of Sri Lankan Monks Tuesday expressed gratitude to Pakistan government for allowing them to offer religious ritual for the first time during “Visak Festival” at Buddist remains in Takht-e-Bahi here.

The delegation comprising Minister Daya Gamage, Deputy Minister Anoma Gamage, Officer of Prime Minister House Nilmini Fernando and professors from different universities of Sri Lanka and 13 pilgrims visited the Buddhist’s worship places here and were happy to perform their religious festival.

Secretary National History and Literary Heritage Division Pakistan Mohsin S Haqqani was also present on the occasion.

On the arrival here, they were received by Amir Umer, Archeological Conservator who garlanded them with yellow flowers as a gesture of welcome.

Later Masihur Rehman field Officer of Archeological of Mardan Division guided them to the remains and also briefed them.
The delegation visited the old Buddhist scared places and offered worship there.

They prayed for their nation and also for stability of Pakistan.
Talking to APP on the occasion, Nilmini Fernando said that it was her first visit to Pakistan.

She said that they feel very proud and happy and could not express their gratitude to Pakistan in words for providing them the opportunity.

She said that they did not feel threatened to visit Pakistan, adding that the world should have to realize that Pakistan was a peaceful country.

“If luckily enough to get another chance, I will come here again.”

Professor C.M Madduma Badara said that they were very fortunate and feel privileged to visit their sacred places in Pakistan.

He said, he first visited Taxila, Pakistan ten years ago with Japanian UN delegation and was seeking opportunity since then to visit Pakistan again.

He said he had read Muslims writers and believed that Islam was a peace loving religion.

A Monk Veno Nahallie Wajura Thero who was a lecturer said that he felt very blessed to visit the religious places in Pakistan and demanded Islamabad to continue granting such practice in future for them.

Speaking on the occasion, Joint Secretary National Heritage Pakistan, Mashhood Ahmad Mirza said that it was a two-day Visak Festival here.

He said that the government of Pakistan had invited the delegation to give a strong message of peace to the world.
Responding a question, he said that in future, the Buddhists from all over the world would be invited to visit their sacred and worship places in Pakistan.

Later, the delegation visited Hund Museum in Swabi and witnessed their sacred statues of gods.

They also took keen interest to see the “Hujra” and different
traditional item of Pashtun’s culture.