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Monks, researchers visit Peshawar Museum, Gandhara sites

By Our Correspondent
August 27, 2019

PESHAWAR: South Korean Ambassador to Pakistan, Kwak Sung-Kyu, on Monday said that Gandhara civilization was the main attraction for the followers of Buddhism and tourists and stressed the need for promoting cultural ties between Islamabad and Seoul.

During his visit to Peshawar Museum along with monks, researchers, businesspersons and professors from the renowned Dongguk University, Ambassador Kwak said that working together to promote cultural and tourism ties would benefit both the friendly counties.

He also reiterated that owing to its unique world heritage, especially the most shining Gandhara civilization as a main source of attraction, Pakistan will be a preferred destination for Korean Buddhist pilgrimage and tourism.

A team of Korean Buddhist pilgrims and researchers arrived in Pakistan on August 25 to take a 4-day tour to Gandhara historical sites in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Taxila region. The delegation comprising Korean envoy monks, researchers, businesspersons and professors from the renowned Dongguk University visited Peshawar Museum, and sites of Gandhara civilization.

The visit is aimed at providing a fresh impetus to the existing cultural ties between Korea and Pakistan, which are deep-rooted in history through the common heritage of Buddhism. This initiative is responding to the government vision to make Pakistan a preferred destination for tourists around the world. This expedition will be followed by a Korean Joge Order's Buddhist delegation expected to come to Pakistan in November.

The delegation later also called on Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Minister for Tourism Atif Khan. During the meeting, Atif Khan said that Pakistan and South Korea bilateral ties would further be cemented through the promotion of tourism and culture and people-to-people contacts.

"We need to promote religious tourism as KP has 6000 archaeological and Buddhism sites," the minister said. He said the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province was a holy place for Koreans as Buddhism reached Korea from this part of the world through a monk named Maralanda [Maranatha] in 4th century CE. Korean Buddhism can be directly traced back to the Gandhara civilisation, he said. The minister said that many Buddhist holy sites, monasteries and archaeological sites were located in Pakistan, particularly in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.