LAHORE: The Punjab government has decided to start working on 10 archaeological protection and restoration projects during the coming financial year, official sources reveal.
Shalamar Bagh, Taxila Museum, Rohtas Fort, Fort Lahore Museum are on the list for restoration work.
Basic facilities and facilities will be added to attract tourists to the rich and important historical sites throughout the province.
Horticulture and Tourism Adviser to Punjab’s Chief Minister, Asif Mehmood, recently visited the centuries-old Shalamar Bagh in Lahore and reviewed the ongoing restoration work.
At present the third level of Shalamar Bagh is being redecorated with traditional mosaic tiles and restored in various places.
Parts of the west wall of the first level have also been repaired to restore lost beauty. Tourism advisors say that tourism promotion through the restoration of important and interesting archeological sites is its mission.
“Tourists are often attracted to the beautiful old architecture and persona of historical places around the world so we aim to attract tourists through the restoration of the lost glory of this magnificent building,” he explained.
In the financial year 2020-2021, the authorities have decided to restore and renovate 10 important historic sites including Shalamar Bagh, he added.
Speaking to the Asif tribune Express said that the tourism department had also planned to establish information counters at all of these historic sites.
In an effort to attract visitors, a storytelling event will be held at Shalamar Bagh where guards in Mughal-era clothing will greet guests. Tourists will also be allowed to take photos with this guard.
The Director of the Punjab Archaeological Department Malik Maqsood highlighted that Shalamar Bagh exhibited the beauty and elegance of Mughal era architecture.
“Shalamar Bagh which was built by Emperor Shah Jahan is so unique that it was declared a ‘World Heritage Site’ by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1981,” the director added.
He said the archeology department was developing a special program for tourists visiting the Mughal park.
A Gallup survey considers 16th-century Shalamar Bagh as the second most popular tourist destination in Lahore.
Eden on earth was built by Shah Jahan in 1642. The three parts of the park are named Farah Bakhsh (instilling joy), Faiz Bakhsh (beneficial), and Hayat Bakhsh (giving life).
The rectangular building, which is surrounded by high brick walls, holds 410 fountains, five waterfalls, various trees and several resting places.
The Orange Line project has placed historic sites in danger of being evicted from the World Heritage List. However, the 43rd UNESCO World Heritage Committee meeting held in Baku decided to maintain the park’s status as a world heritage site.
Punjab Tourism Minister Raja Yasir Humayun has assured the committee that immediate action will be taken to restore the monument.
Government interest has been quite clear in recent months because the famous Chauburji restoration work is nearing completion. Reportedly, the revamping project will be completed this year.
The Lahore Park and Horticultural Authority (PHA) has also planted a magnificent garden around the Chauburji building under the same project.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 27th, 2020.
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