On Thursday, 5th October, 2023, the faculty and students of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto University Peshawar visited the archaeological sites in Taxila. The visit was organised by the Elaan Research Centre. Mr. Zaildar Ahsan Shah, Managing Director Elaan Research Centre and Mr. Khalid Taimur Akram Executive Director, Elaan Research Centre welcomed the faculty and students of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto University, Peshawar.
Taxila is an archaeological treasure trove, encompassing a Mesolithic cave and the archaeological remains of four ancient settlements, Buddhist monastic complexes, along with a Muslim Mosque and madrassa. Positioned strategically along a branch of the Silk Road that connected China with the Western world, Taxila experienced its zenith between the 1st and 5th centuries CE, solidifying its status as one of Asia’s most paramount archaeological sites.
The combined archaeological sites of Saraikala, Bhir, Sirkap, and Sirsukh hold profound significance in tracing the development of urban centers in the Indian subcontinent. Saraikala, an ancient mound, represents Taxila’s earliest settlement, bearing evidence of human habitation during the Neolithic, Bronze Age, and Iron Age eras.
To begin their visit, the faculty and students of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto University Peshawar initially toured the Taxila museum. During this visit, Mr. Zaildar Ahsan Shah offered a brief but informative presentation on the significance of the Taxila museum.
He highlighted that this museum is a source of pride as it houses a remarkable collection of artifacts and exhibits, providing a captivating glimpse into the historical period of Taxila and its pivotal role as a center for education and culture. The museum stands as a lasting tribute to Taxila’s rich heritage and its profound impact on the history and culture of the region.
The faculty and students of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto University Peshawar then visited the Gandhara Art Village. The Gandhara Art Village is a diverse establishment, encompassing workshops where these artistic masterpieces are brought to life. It also houses a modest medical clinic, addressing the healthcare needs of the local community. Additionally, there are accommodations in the form of hostels catering to travellers, and a dedicated gallery where these unique creations are prominently displayed for the delight of tourists.
Within its premises, visitors can admire finely crafted jewellery and pottery made from marble and stone. The Gandhara Art Village also includes a dedicated gallery for displaying these unique creations to tourists. Mr. Zaildar Ahsan Shah articulated the gallery’s purpose as “celebrating and advocating for the city’s skilled artisans and their craft”.
Addressing to the faculty and staff at the Gandhara Art Village, Mr. Zaildar Ahsan Shah expressed their commitment to showcasing these archaeological wonders to both local and international tourists. He underscored the historical significance of Taxila, which boasts nearly 30 distinct archaeological sites, and he urged the government to make a concerted endeavor to attain World Heritage City status for Taxila.
In his speech to the faculty and students of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto University Peshawar, Mr. Khalid Taimur Akram, Executive Director of the Elaan Research Centre, highlighted the tourism potential of Taxila’s historical sites for both local and international visitors. He stressed the importance of incorporating a dedicated educational chapter that enlightens students about the historical city’s religious and cultural significance. He emphasized on working on different projects for promoting Taxila’s rich culture and heritage.
The event concluded with Mr. Zaildar Ahsan Shah and Mr. Khalid Taimur Akram presenting certificates to the teachers and students from Shaheed Benazir Bhutto University Peshawar.