PESHAWAR: The provincial government handed over the historic Gor Gathri archaeological complex to the Directorate of Archaeology and Museums on Thursday.
The complex was previously under the jurisdiction of several other departments, including the municipal administration, Auqaf and fire brigade. The directorate had earlier asked the provincial government to hand over all historical sites in Peshawar. However, for now only the complex has been handed over to the directorate.
State of negligence
Although Gor Gathri is home to buildings that speak of the rich history of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, hardly any measures have been
taken to restore the crumbling structures.
The complex comprises historical buildings such as the 17th century Guru Gorakhnath Temple, Mughal-era Sera-e-Jahandad and the 1912 fire brigade office outside of which two restored fire engines used during the colonial era are parked.
The Municipal Corporation Peshawar and fire brigade department have been asked to vacate the offices they have been occupying in the complex. The departments had been parking their trucks and other vehicles inside, damaging the ancient complex and tarnishing the ambience for visitors.
The fire brigade office building is on the verge of collapse, posing a hazard to people strolling around it, while Sera-e-Jahandad—rest rooms for travellers in the Mughal era—was destroyed by the tourism department after they installed aluminium gates which caused cracks in the walls.
Similarly, the fire engines that were restored last year at the cost of Rs2 million are parked out in the open with no special arrangements to protect them.
Archaeology and Museums Director Dr Abdul Samad told The Express Tribune restoration work on Gor Gathri buildings will be accelerated now that funds have been approved and control has been given to the directorate. “We will make it one of the first ever archaeological parks of the country.”
Samad added work on the fire brigade building has started but it would take time to complete reconstruction. Aside from restoring the existing structure, Samad said, an artisan village is in the process of being set up to bring life to the dying arts and crafts of K-P.
A wall has been constructed on one side of the complex and renovation of Gor Gathri Museum has started, while a gallery to house ancient relics and the fire engines is near completion, he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 27th, 2015.
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