PESHAWAR: A recent guided tour of the walled city of Peshawar left the youth overjoyed and they wished such cultural activities would continue in future as well.
The Peshawar News, Views & Reviews Facebook group had joined hands with the Tourism Corporation Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (TCKP) to take young men and women to the inner parts of the city and feel the fragrance of Peshawar’s rich cultural heritage spanning a history of 2,600 years.
Raza Khan, the scion of a highly respected business family of Peshawar who heads the Peshawar News, Views & Reviews Facebook group, had coordinated the trip by extending invitation to the prospective participants.
The guests gathered at the lawns of the Peshawar Museum at the appointed time in the morning. Zahoor Durrani, a familiar name in the tourism sector, briefed the participants about the rich history of Peshawar.
The young tourists were told of the architecture of the Peshawar Museum founded in 1907 in memory of Queen Victoria. The two-storey building features an amalgamation of British, Hindu, Buddhist and Islamic architectural styles.Those in the trip were informed that the current collection at the museum comprised 14,000 items showcasing Gandhara, Greco-Buddhist, Kushan, Parthian, and Indo-Scythian life.
The eager visitors evinced a keen interest in the pieces displayed at the museum. The items included sculptures, coins, manuscripts, statues, ancient books, early versions of the Holy Quran, weapons, dresses, jewellery, Kalash effigies, inscriptions, paintings of the Mughal and later periods, household materials, pottery and local and Persian handicrafts.
The team members later boarded a bus of the Peshawar Model School which had been artistically painted with the important sites of Peshawar, most prominent being the 116-year old Cunningham Clock Tower or Ghanta Ghar as it is commonly called. The bus took them to the Gor Khatri Archaeological Complex located in the heart of the city and rightly considered the cultural landmark of Peshawar.
A tour guide from the Archeology Department, Meer Muhammad, received the culture-lovers at the eastern gate of the Gor Khatri next to an excavated portion. They were apprised that excavations carried out in phases determined the historical profile of Peshawar, which is 26,00 years old and among the oldest living cities in South Asia.
The tourists were then led to the City Museum, set up nearby where artefacts discovered during excavations at Gor Khatri have been exhibited. One section of the museum displayed traditional wears.
The group members were served with Qehwa (green tea) and sweets from Razar in Charsadda district during a short break. The tourists were taken to the Artisan Village which has been established in the cells constructed during the Mughal era and restored in the recent past.
The youth were excited to meet the artisans who were busy in showing various skills and imparting training to some enthusiastic trainees. The visitors showed curiosity about the way the Karakuli caps, copper wares and silk products are made.
The Gor Khatri Archaeological Complex is a grand symbol of faith harmony as the premises houses a mosque and a Hindu temple side by side. The youth had a look at both the structures. They found the ancient trees in the compound of the Gorakh Nath Temple fascinating. An old well was also the focus of attention.
The next destination of the tourists was Mohallah Sethian, which is located at a walking distance from Gor Khatri. The neighbourhood is named after the Sethis, who were known as illustrious merchants of Peshawar. It has splendid houses which were built by the Sethis in the 1880s.
The provincial government acquired one house and opened it to tourists after proper conservation. The tourists were taken to this grand house which continues to attract attention of visitors for its wooden hand work that adorns the walls and ceilings. Mohammad Mahtab briefed the young visitors about the significance of the 134 years old house to end the interesting city tour.