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Conservation work of Shah Allah Ditta Caves to begin next week

March 04, 2019

Islamabad : Department of Archaeology and Museums (DoAM) has planned to start conservation work of Shah Allah Ditta caves to protect the ancient heritage carrying the history of 2500 years located at the foothills of Margalla Hills in federal capital.

Shah Allah Ditta Caves due to its rich historical importance are source of attraction for hundreds of visitors who visit the place to enjoy natural ambiance, greenery and picturesque beauty of the location especially during at weekend.

Talking to this agency, Director Archaeology, DoAM, Abdul Azeem informed that the conservation work of Shah Allah Ditta Caves would be started within a week to protect these caves from further damage while encroachments from this place had already been removed by the concerned authorities.

The Executive Committee of the Archaeology and Literary Heritage Endowment Fund has approved funds for the task and also discussed the progress of this project in a recent meeting, stressing to complete it within a given time frame, he said.

Abdul Azeem informed the tender process for the conservation work of Shah Allah Ditta Caves has been completed under which masonry and other necessary requirements would be provided.

The team of archaeology experts from the department would start conservation work under the supervision of Archaeology Expert, Abdul Ghafoor Lone and site supervisor, Arshad Khan, he said.

The historical Buddhist caves are situated at the centuries old Shah Allah Ditta village which is the custodian of historical and cultural legacy but the road leading to this village is in dilapidated condition and creates difficulties for the tourists who visit this place for entertainment or research purposes.

Similarly the old crumbling caves with omitting Buddhist carvings carrying a long history although sustained the extreme weather conditions but in dilapidated condition and needed conservation and maintenance.

It is believed by the researchers that the map of this place is just like the palace of ''Alexander the Great'' and if this place would have been developed by the authorities, it could earn huge revenues from tourism.

According to the researchers, Shah Allah Ditta Village was used as a route from Kabul to Gandharan city of Taxila by Alexander the Great and Sher Shah Suri while Mughal rulers and other emperors often passed through while traveling between Afghanistan and India.

The Buddhist-era murals dating back 2,400 years are still seen on the walls of the Shah Allah Ditta caves.