Tourism minister visits archaeological sites

The Caretaker Minister for Sports, Tourism, Archaeology, Museums and Youth Affairs Mr Salim Jan Babar visited the historical heritage sites of Gor Khatri, Sethai House and Ganta Ghar today. The Minister was accompanied by the Secretary Sports, Tourism, Archaeology, Museums and Youth Affairs Syed Jamal uddin Shah and was briefed by Director Archaeology and Museums Dr Shah Nazar.

Gor Khatri is an archaeological complex in the walled city of Peshawar. Its importance is equal for both Hindus and Muslims as it has a Mandar and a Masjid both in the same compound. The Director informed the Minister about its history from the early Chinese pilgrims visit to Hindus performing Sardukar ritual Shaving off Heads, while during the Mughal reign it was converted into a caravanserai and named it Sarai Jahanabad, during the Sikh era the site was then converted into a residence and was the official headquarters of their mercenary. The Hindu temple was constructed during the Sikh era. Later on Gor Khatri became headquarters of the fire brigade department and also served as a Tehsil headquarter of Peshawar.

During an interview with a reporter the worthy Minister said that the purpose of this visit is to firstly visit the historical site and appreciate its importance in conservation. Secondly there have been some negative reports in the media about unlawful construction and demolition.

The Minister stressed that these areas should be regularly opened to the general public to visit and tours arranged for the students at large to learn more about their heritage. The Minister also said that many departments are operating at Gor Khatri and there should be coordination among them.

The Minister encouraged the plan of the Secretary to build a British Gallery at the Gor Khatri. He was also informed that all the sculptures at the Museum were extravagated during 20032010 in the compound of Gor Khatri.

He also visited the Cultural Tourism Site & Artisan village which will be built here soon. He was briefed about it by the Secretary and was told that there will be 36 in total stalls and will include Handicrafts, woodwork and Traditional food.

The Minister also visited a house of Ismail Sethai which was built in the 1800s then they visited the Sethai House that has been purchased by the Archaeology Department and is already completed and open to public. During the briefing the Dr Shah Nazar said this site holds a mine of information not only for the Archaeology students but also for engineering, Architects etc. The construction of this house is quite unique and has always intrigued and fascinated many tourists.

The Minister then visited Ganta Ghar. He thanked the Secretary and appreciated all the work that has been conducted in preservation of these historical sites.