SKARDU: (PR) On 14th June 2020, the first evidence of Skardu having Christian predecessors was found on the highest mountain of Kavardo village. A three member expedition team from the University of Baltistan, Skardu, discovered a surprise cultural heritage, a huge ‘holy cross shaped rock’ consciously carved on marble.
The Research & Expedition team under the leadership of Vice Chancellor, Prof. Dr. Muhammad Naeem Khan along with Director Academics, Dr. Zakir Hussain Zakir and Director External Linkages, Dr. Ishtiaq Hussain Maqpoon, visited the mountain site to study the strange ancient cross, in company of some local villagers and mountain guides.
The huge cross of marble rock weighing more than 3-4 tons (approximately 7×6 feet in size) has been found some 2 Km from the base camp, high in the mountains of Kavardo village, Baltistan, overlooking Indus River.
The university researchers’ team speculate that the cross is perhaps 900-1000 years ago, which marks the decline of Buddhism. The researchers claim that it might be the discovery of the missing link between the decline of Buddhism and Emergence of Islam in this historic region of Himalayan & Karakoram valleys.
The first ever discovery of a “holy” cross in Baltistan, marks the association of this land with Christian beliefs. Throughout centuries, the cross has acted as a pagan religious symbol of crucifixion of Jesus Christ throughout Europe and Western Asia.
While the village is 1500 years ago, the researchers further presume that the rock is also from the middle ages, its carving is like that of the Buddhist traditions which explains that the people designing this might be converts. A significant feature of this rock that makes it a matter of attention is that the cross shape is not of equal sides like that of a normal ‘plus’ rather the lower side is longer which confirms that it intends to depict the ‘Christian Cross’.
The director academic, Mr Zakir Hussain Zakir, is of an opinion that this discovery of the cross indicates the presence of European or Roman history in these valleys. Moreover, Mr Wajid Bhatti in his research on St Thomas confirms the presence of Christian Crosses in Baochistan and Northern Areas of Pakistan. He claims that Nestorian settlements have also been found in these areas where early Christians of Parthian dynasty use to worship this cross. He further calls the Kovardo cross as ‘a typical Thomanian Cross of India’ and is astonished by the size of it.
Vice Chancellor University of Baltistan, Dr Muhammad Naeem Khan while naming it as ‘Kavardo Cross’ said that the university will reach out to the European and North American universities and also develop academic linkages with local historians to find out the exact date of cross carving from a rock boulder and scientifically describe the details of this rock.
While the team is still on the search of more solid evidence to prove this hypothesis, we cannot ignore the fact that Skardu has always been a land of unfolding miracles and this discovery marks the beginning of another twist in the books of the History of this land.