Islamabad – The Federal Minister launched restoration efforts aimed at safeguarding the ancient Shah Allah Ditta Caves in Islamabad on Tuesday. The construction, maintenance and preservation project “Shah Allah Ditta Caves” commenced with its foundation stone being laid by Mr. Jamal Shah, Caretaker Minister for National Heritage & Culture (NH&C).
The Shah Allah Ditta Caves site has been officially designated by the Department of Archaeology & Museums (DOAM) Islamabad as a “Protected Antiquity” under the Antiquities Act of 1975, the minister mentioned at the event.
Per news reports, the minister attended the function along with several other senior officials including Humaira Ahmed, the NH&C Federal Secretary, and Dr. Abdul Azeem, DOAM Islamabad’s Director General (DG).
Major initiatives for the development, preservation, protection and restoration of the caves have been undertaken by the NH&C in the current budgetary year. Both hard and soft landscaping techniques are being incorporated in the project. Moreover, the scope of work included:
- An archaeological excavation
- A comprehensive documentation of the site
- Execution of drainage works
- Geotechnical studies related to binding material
The site holds tremendous archaeological significance as Buddhist remnants including stupas, viharas, chaityas and sculptures were discovered here during excavations in the 1980s.
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The minister highlighted that this project will boost religious tourism as well as provide employment opportunities to locals. He stated the government is committed to preserving the nation’s ancient heritage and promoting tourism.
The restoration initiative, involving multiple government bodies, is aimed at preventing further decay of the historically significant site and transforming it into a top tourist attraction.