Vesak Day festival was celebrated at the Taxila Museum and Mohra Murado Stupa to mark the birth, enlightenment and passing of Buddha.
The day is observed by Buddhists around the world and also known as Buddha Purnima and Buddha Day. It is traditionally celebrated on different days in various Buddhist countries and other parts of the world.
According to Buddhists, 2022 marks the 2,566th year of Lord Buddha’s attainment of enlightenment. The event was jointly organized by Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC), C2D, The Serenity Resort, Gandhara Resource Center, Punjab Tourism (TDCP), Punjab Dept. of Archaeology and I-SAPS. A large number of people from different walks of life participated in this event.
Mohan Wijewickrama, Sri Lankan High Commissioner on the occasion spoke on the spiritual and cultural significance of Mahabodi Tree. Chakkrid Kraichaiwong, Ambassador of Embassy of Thailand highlighted the spiritual and cultural significance of Peace Bell installed at Taxila Museum, while Tapas Andhikari of Nepal shared the message of Buddha.
Speaking on the occasion, Aftab Rana, MD, PTDC said, “Pakistan is a country which is rich in cultural heritage sites of different religions. It is our moral responsibility to work individually and collectively for the preservation and promotion of cultural heritage and sites of religious significance to maintain their identity”. He said, Taxila and the areas Peshawar, Swabi, Mardan and Lower Swat in KP could become a hub for Buddhist tourism with right policy and plan. Millions of Buddhist tourists interested in exploring the rich Gandhara heritage will be invited to visit these areas.
The participants lauded the initiative of organizing Vesak celebration and urged Buddhists to visit Pakistan and help the government preserve their heritage as well as give proposals regarding religious tourism and religious festivals.
Dr. Nadeem Omer, Executive Director, Gandhara Resource Center briefed the participants about the value of Pakistani Heritage sites and took them for a visit to Mohra Muradu and the sacred sites of Buddhists.
He said that Pakistanis are custodian of Buddhist heritage, we welcome Buddhists living in Pakistan and from other countries as well to promote interfaith harmony in the region. Such kind of events will invite hundreds of thousands of religious tourists to Pakistan in future.” We are grateful to government, PTDC and Archaeology Department for making this event successful and facilitating us,” he added.
Ambassador of Thailand to Pakistan said, “Pakistan is our second home and the land of Gandhara is very important to us. This event will promote Gandhara and tourism in Pakistan.”