Rawalpindi: The Embassy of Indonesia in Islamabad is participating in a seven-day Gandhara Civilization Festival 2023, which commenced in Taxila and is ongoing in Rawalpindi starting from 29th January 2023 to 4th February 2023. The week-long festival is organized by the Rawalpindi Arts Council (RAC) which aims at promoting Pakistan as a custodian of the Gandhara Civilisation to encourage religious tourism as a global symbol of peace and harmony.

The opening ceremony was attended by the Indonesian Ambassador Mr. Adam Tugio, senior government officials, the media community, International and nationally renowned artists, folk musicians, and people from all walks of life. More than 30 stalls are set up which includes sculpture, stone carving, gemstones, handmade paintings, and Gandhara art to highlight the heritage of the existence of Gandhara civilization in Pakistan.

Ambassador Tugio appreciated RAC’s efforts in hosting the festival, which will boost Pakistan’s soft image among Buddhist nations and promotes religious tourism in Pakistan. He also stated that Pakistan has a rich heritage and history of the Gandhara civilization.

The Indonesian Embassy displayed a vibrant stall that attracted a mass audience. It also featured a 3D model of Borobudur temple which is the largest Buddhist temple in the world, as well as an exquisite collection of traditional Indonesian batik and Pakistani Ajrak designs to highlight the cultural similarities between Indonesia and Pakistan.

Speaking on the occasion, Director General Punjab Arts Council, Mr. Muhammad Mehboob Alam said, “The main objective of the festival is to highlight the old civilization of the region and to inform the young generation about the country’s history of art and culture.”

Commissioner Rawalpindi Division, Mr. Liaqat Ali Chatta stated, “The word “Gandhara” means “land of fragrances.” We shall spread the fragrance of tolerance in our country through these gestures, which will stand out as a message of peace and love for humanity.

The event brought together a display of Gandhara artifacts in Pakistan, a screening of the documentary on Buddhist heritage, book fair, traditional folk dances and musical performances, a Sufi night, and a display of Buddhist artifacts.