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Pre-Buddhist rock paintings give ‘mysterious’ feelings to visitors

MINGORA: The students and young culture activists were impressed by the ancient rock paintings of pre-Islamic and pre-Buddhist era in Swat during a visit to the site here on Tuesday.

The group of students and young activists from different parts of Swat visited Kakai-kandao and Sargah-sar following a two-hour trek from Balo Kallay village in Barikot tehsil. The ancient rock paintings were discovered by Italian Archaeological Mission that later, in collaboration with the archaeology department, developed a proper trekking line for easy access of the tourists.

Dr Luca Maria Olivieri, head of the Italian Archaeological Mission in Swat, told Dawn that the rock paintings narrated stories of deities, wild animals and warriors.

“The rock paintings of Kakai-kandao and Sargah-sar probably belonged to 1,000 BCE. These are considered the most ancient ones, having highly symbolic compositions. The paintings suggest that they are the work of cultures lacking a written language. The paintings of Sargha-sar are on the face of a huge rock giving a mysterious touch to the visitors,” said Dr Luca.
Students call for including a chapter on the site in syllabus

Zafar Ali, a resident of Mingora who visited the site for the first time, said that he was excited to see the ancient historical record of his land. “Unfortunately, we have never learnt about it from the government mediums. The paintings on rocks tell us about the sources and medium of information during the prehistoric era in the area,” he told Dawn.

The students, who did not know about the rock painting culture of Swat valley, said that they felt sorry as such an important chapter of history was not included in their syllabus.

“For the first time I saw the proofs of the cultural history of Swat on stones and rocks about which I have never read in my history and Pakistan Studies books. It is very strange for me,” said Faraz Ahamd, a student of University of Swat.

Mirwais Zafar, 9th grader, said that the visit was fruitful for him as he saw the ancient rock paintings instead of books. “I hope government will arrange such trips for students to show them these rock paintings, which are of high importance,” he added.

Malang Bacha, a resident of Sargah-sar, said that recently several groups including locals and foreigners visited the site. “The visitors get excited to see these rock paintings. It makes us happy when people love these rocks in our area,” he added.

There are 49 sites of rock paintings in Kandak and Kotah valleys of Barikot tehsil majority of which were discovered between 2000 and 2006.

A proper guidebook with photographs and maps that illustrates the trekking trail titled “A guide to Kandak and Kotah valleys” has also been published for the guidance of tourists.

courtesy : dawn news



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