(UDHAYAM, COLOMBO) – On the invitation of Government of Pakistan, a 34-member delegation, led by Most Venerable Kanumuldeniye Chandavimala Mahanayaka Thero, comprising senior Monks/Religious Scholars, Government Officials and pilgrims left for Pakistan today to attend the Vesak Festival at Taxila hosted by the Government of Pakistan for the second consecutive time from 21st May to 24th May 2017.
Acting High Commissioner of Pakistan Dr. Sarfraz Ahmed Khan Sipra and other officials of the High Commission of Pakistan were there to see-off the delegation at the Bandaranayake International Airport.
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 & 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.