Unveiling Rich Cultural Heritage Of South Punjab

Sun May 26 2024
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MULTAN: South Punjab, renowned for its fine quality cotton, aromatic mangoes, exquisite monuments, and craftsmanship, is also a treasure trove of cultural and historic heritage. The region, which was the cradle of the Indus Valley Civilization, boasts numerous sites and monuments that reflect its rich history.

The ancient remains of the Indus Valley Civilization, particularly at Ganweriwala in the Cholistan desert of Bahawalpur, were discovered by archaeologist Dr. Rafiq Mughal during a survey from 1974 to 1977. Recently, excavations at Ganweriwala resumed after a four-decade hiatus. The site, believed to be the third largest of the Indus Valley Civilization, has faced delays in excavation due to logistical challenges.

Saleem ul Haq, a retired Director of the Punjab Archaeology Department, explained that Ganweriwala was initially surveyed along with 414 other sites. The lack of water, funding, and road access hindered earlier excavation efforts. However, recent initiatives aim to uncover more of the site’s secrets, potentially revealing remains from both the mature and early Harappan periods.

Mound Dillu Roy, another significant site located at the boundary of Rajanpur and Dera Ghazi Khan districts, was excavated by Muhammad Hassan, Director of Archaeology South. This site has provided valuable insights into various historical periods, including the Buddhist, Hindu-Shahi, Gupta, Sassanian, and Kushan dynasties. Notable finds include a Gandharan-style lion figure, a clay female statue, and several seals.

In addition to these archaeological treasures, South Punjab is adorned with numerous monuments. Derawar Fort, with its unique architecture, stands out as a prominent edifice. However, many monuments in the region remain unprotected. Malik Ghulam Muhammad, a retired conservation expert, emphasized the importance of declaring these sites protected to ensure their restoration and preservation.

Protected monuments in South Punjab include the mausoleums of Hazrat Bahauddin Zakariya Multani, Hazrat Shah Rukn-e-Alam, and other significant historical figures. These sites not only highlight the region’s architectural beauty but also its spiritual and cultural significance.

Dr. Naseem Akhtar, Director of the Seraiki Area Study Centre at Bahauddin Zakariya University, highlighted the importance of the Indus Valley Civilization in South Punjab. She noted the uniqueness of Seraiki culture, which is reflected in its folk literature and aphorisms. Former Director Khalid Iqbal emphasized the need to preserve South Punjab’s heritage to promote tourism and economic activities while maintaining a strong connection to its historical roots.

The efforts to uncover and preserve South Punjab’s rich cultural heritage are crucial for promoting tourism, boosting the local economy, and broadening the vision of the younger generation. The region’s historical and cultural significance is a testament to the enduring legacy of its ancient civilizations and vibrant cultural traditions.

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