Pakistan has a varied history of almost 9000 years. Isn’t it strange that even though Pakistan is one of the young nation-states but still possesses a rich culture of heritage sites? The north part of the country is a hub of historical sites. Many have been discovered and many are yet to be discovered. Recently, another archaeological heritage site, a Buddhist stupa was discovered in Swabi, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Pakistan’s Archaeological Heritage
Pakistan constitutes ancient sites of different religions, empires, and civilizations. These sites date back thousands of years. Some of the most famous ones are Harappa in Punjab which dates back to 3000 BC, Mehrgarh in Balochistan dating back to 7000 BC, Rehman Dheri in Pakhtunkhwa of 4000BC, and Sharda University in AJK, etc. It would take days to mention all the archaeological sites in Pakistan. Along with these sites, Pakistan has about 10,000 inscriptions and about 50,000 rock carvings.
Khyber Pakhtun Khuwa’s northern areas especially Mardan, Kohistan, Swat, Buner, Shangla, Dir, and Swabi are home to different cultures and religions. Great leaders and historical events took place in these areas. The northern region was ruled by many dynasties like Alexander the Great, Ghaznavids, Mauryan, Achaemenids, Ashoka, Sikh, and Mughals.
Last year in December, a Buddhist Apsidal Temple was discovered in Barikot Tehsil in Swat. This was a collaborative excavation carried out by the provincial department of archaeology and museums along with the Italian Archaeological Mission and Ca’ Foscari University. The discovery proved the presence of Buddhism in Swat since the third century. This Apsidal Buddhist temple dates back to 2300 years.
Recently, a Buddhist Stupa was discovered in the Swabi area of KPK. This Buddhist Stupa is known to be 1800 years old. Along with this stupa many ancient artifacts, sculptures, stamps, and coins were discovered from the times of Indo-Greek kings. The site showed the presence of a multicultural city. Dr. Abdul Samad Khan, Department Archaeology and Museums Director, shared the findings of the excavations and said “It is a significant discovery in many ways, especially in connection with religious harmony, tolerance, and multiculturalism in the Gandhara period.” Dr. Abdul Samad also ensured that necessary measures are being taken for the preservation of the site and artifacts. He also shared that soon the site would be open for tourists as well.
These excavations add significance to the archaeological heritage of Pakistan. More and more discoveries show the geographical importance of Pakistan. Moreover, opening the sites for tourists will boost tourism in Pakistan.