Gilgit - Baltistan

Museums to house Buddha carvings found from Bhasha Dam site

Mehtab Haider
Wednesday, May 02, 2012

ISLAMABAD: The government has decided to construct two museums to preserve 33,000 rock carvings, sculptures and statures of Buddha discovered from the site of construction of Bhasha Dam, it is learnt.

These discovered rock carvings will probably be preserved in fiber glass material same on the lines of Aswan Dam in Egypt.In order to accomplish this task in more professional way, Wapda has hired services of an international consultant Dr Herald Hauptmann who belonged to Germany and working on preserving heritage in the area from last two decades.

“Yes, we have decided to construct two museums one in Gilgit and other one in Chilas to preserve thousands of rock carvings of centuries old heritage and culture,” Chairman Wapda, Shakeel Durrani confirmed to The News.

He further said that out of 33,000 discovered rock carvings, almost 10 percent were in good shape that could be preserved in these two upcoming museums going to be established in Chilas and Gilgit.

There is huge interest in Japan and some European countries regarding preservation of cultural heritage on proposed Bhasha Dam. Japan had indicated to provide multi million dollar assistance for Pakistan’s water sector reservoirs but Islamabad is pursuing Tokyo and Washington to participate into consortium led by Asian Development Bank to arrange financing of $12.7 billion for this crucial dam.

There was apprehension that Pakistan might loose precious rock carvings in the wake of construction of Bhasha Dam as the site of the dam possessed over 33,000 rock carvings that may vanish because of construction work.

Some of these carvings are more than 10,000 years old providing a window to discover ancient history, anthropology, culture, life style of the people settled in the Upper Indus area.However, the sources said that authorities have allocated Rs608 million for preparing culture heritage management plan for areas of Bhasha Dam.

The hired consultant, the sources said, has been assigned to prepare model for preserving these discovered rock carvings on the site of Bhasha Dam.There was controversy over the site of museum to preserve these rock carvings and in order to resolve this issue amicably it was decided in consultation with Archeology department of Northern Areas, KP and Wapda to build two museums and distribute found remains equally between them.

Courtesy: The NEWS

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