Wednesday, March 14, 2012

World’s biggest Buddha sculpture awaits tourists

The world’s biggest Buddha carving in Jahanabad, Swat, Pakistan despite its majestic attraction, has not been able to draw tourists since the militancy.

The defaced sculpture of Buddha in Swat. PHOTO: FAZAL KHALIQ /Express Tribune
According to archaeologists, the meditating Buddha is the most remarkable piece of rock carving in the entire Gandhara region.
Situated in a peaceful isolated area, its serene surroundings feature a spring with crystal-clear water flowing downhill as well as a stream traversing verdant fields, enhancing the historical site’s beauty.
Archaeologists believe the structure is the biggest Buddha sculpture in the world, second only to the monumental statues in Bamiyan, Afghanistan, destroyed by the Taliban in 2001.
Describing the splendour of the statue, Tufail Anjum, who has a keen interest in archaeology, said, “It is an iconic figure which outshines all other carvings. Its gigantic size makes it unique and its exquisite rendition characterises its historical significance.”
“Buddhists believe Buddha visited Swat spiritually so the region is of paramount importance for his followers,” said Suvastu Arts and Culture Association Chairman Usman Ulas Yar, who actively fought to preserve the archaeology of Swat valley during militant rule.

He also suggested repairing Buddha’s disfigured face with the help of skilled artisans so the magnificent structure could regain its original splendour.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 14th, 2012.