Pak officials to study Indian temples for restoration

Pak officials to study Indian temples for restoration of Katas Raj temples near Lahore

Lahore : India’s Leader of Opposition, LK Advani has invited the top three officials of Punjab Archaeology Department (PAD) to study temples in India and then make an attempt to restore the Katas Raj temples in Pakistan.

PAD Director General Oriya Maqbool Jan is likely to visit India next month in connection with the conservation and restoration project of the famous temples in Pakistan. His deputy directors Shahbaz Khan and Talib Hussain will also accompany him to India, and visit several Hindu temples to study the architecture there and other structural styles, reported the Daily Times.

Maqbool said that Pakistan would need Indian expertise in the last phase because that involved fresco paintings, and that Pakistani experts did not have much knowledge about traditional Indian fresco work.

The trio would visit Ajmer, Banaras and New Delhi and meet Indian Archaeology Department officials to discuss conserving and restoring Katas Raj Temples, the paper quoted Jan as saying.

He said Pakistan did not want funds from India to restore the temples and that the government had allocated Rs 30 million for the purpose. However, he said, the project would need about Rs 1.5 billion and 10 years to complete. In the initial phase the temples would be made secure and basic conservation and restoration work would be carried out, he added.

Jan said that the Public Health and Engineering Department was cleaning the holy pond around the temples, the Communication and Works Department was working on various roads that led to the temples while PAD was looking after the havelis in and around the temples. Maqbool said a list of recommendations suggested by Indian and Pakistani experts for the restoration and conservation work had been finalised.

The conservation and restoration of Katas Raj temples figured during Advani’s visit to Pakistan in June 2005, when he had also laid the foundation stone for the restoration of a group of temples.

Thereafter, Pakistan Muslim League president Ch. Shujaat Hussain and Indian High Commissioner Shiv Shankar Menon met over the same issue on September 1, 2005.

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