Pakistan to preserve 2,400-year-old Buddhist caves in capital

Xinhua, Oct 18, 2010

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- As the natural beauty of Pakistan 's federal capital Islamabad is fading rapidly due to wide constructions and development activities, the government decided to preserve the archeological beauty of the city by approving a plan to protect the 2,400-year-old caves, local media reported on Monday.

The remains of more than 2,400-year-old Buddhist era are lying silently in the lap of Margalla Hills on the northwestern side of Islamabad as the murals of Buddha appear on the walls of the caves.

At the distance of 15 kilometers from the city's main entrance on western side, the site needs immediate attention of Department of Archeology and Museums as it possesses the relics of Buddhist times.

Imtiaz Inayat Elahi, Chairman of the Capital Development Authority (CDA), said the civic agency had approved a plan to preserve the archeological site and the environment wing had been given task to submit a feasibility report within no time.

Elahi also told media that he recently visited the caves and realized the preciousness of the site. He said that he had approved a plan for the conservation of the caves as well as the adjacent garden known as "Saadhu ka Bagh" (garden of Saadhu).

Under the plan only light structures will be allowed in the area to avoid any further damages to its beauty. CDA had already acquired extra land in the surroundings of the site.

According to official sources, the site would be opened for the tourists in the first quarter of the next year.