TAKHT-I-BAHI (MARDAN), NOVEMBER 28, 2020: Consul General Gregory Macris participated via video in the closing ceremony of a $230,000 cultural preservation project at the Takht-i-Bahi Buddhist Monastery in Mardan. “The U.S. Mission in Pakistan is committed to working with local partners to support conservation and preservation of sites of great cultural significance across Pakistan,” said Macris.
The Humanitarian and Facilitation Organization (HAFO) received a U.S. grant to execute the two-phase project at Takht-i-Bahi. Working in close collaboration with the Directorate of Archeology and Museums Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, HAFO completed preservation of the Buddhist priests’ living quarters (Block-C) over the past year. During phase one, HAFO received a $400,000 grant to preserve Block-B of the monastery from 2017 to 2019.
The preservation project provided training and employment to dozens of skilled and unskilled laborers. It also encourages increased local and international religious tourism, with hundreds of visitors coming to the monastery each week. HAFO provided guided tours to hundreds of students from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa over the course of the project, educating them about the history of the site and the importance of conservation efforts.
The U.S. Mission in Pakistan supports cultural preservation efforts across the country and has previously funded restoration work at Masjid Mohabbat Khan and Gor Gathrie in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. In his video address, U.S. Consul General Gregory Macris said, “Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is home to numerous sites that reflect Pakistan’s rich cultural and religious diversity and the U.S Mission to Pakistan is proud to partner with Pakistan to preserve them for future generations.”