Documentary on “Gandhara: The Buddhist Heritage of Pakistan”

(LANKAPUVATH | COLOMBO) – “Gandhara” is a documentary jointly produced by the High Commission of Pakistan in Sri Lanka and Siddhivinayak Cine Arts (Private) Limited with the support of and in coordination with the Ministry of Buddhasasana, Religious and Cultural Affairs. It takes the viewers on a visual journey along the Gandhara Buddhist heritage sites of Pakistan. The documentary will be launched today (16) at Temple Trees by Prime Mahinda Rajapaksa, in the presence of Venerable Buddhist monks, Cabinet and State Ministers, Parliamentarians, Ambassadors of Buddhist countries, as well as business, tourism and media fraternity of Sri Lanka.

One of the Tooth Relics of the Lord Buddha, discovered from the Gandhara region is preserved at Taxila Museum in Pakistan. It is the region where the Gandhara Buddhist civilization reached its pinnacle of glory from 1st century AD to the 7th century AD. The first anthropomorphic statue of Lord Buddha was created in the region now called Pakistan. Also known for one of the the world’s oldest Buddhist University, Thakshashila, Taxila in Pakistan is home to some of the most sacred Buddhist artefacts found during archaeological excavations around the 12th century. A sapling from the sacred Bodhi Tree in Anuradhapura, gifted by the Government of Sri Lanka to the Government of Pakistan, also grows in the gardens of Taxila Museum.

In order to present this heritage to the Buddhist world in general and Sri Lanka in particular, the idea of “Gandhara: The Buddhist Heritage of Pakistan” was conceived. Launched with the blessings of the Prime Minister and Minister of Buddha Sasana, Religious and Cultural Affairs Mahinda Rajapaksa, and the Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan, this documentary will open up new avenues in religious tourism as well as strengthening cultural and people to people ties between the brotherly countries of Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

With special permission from the Government of Pakistan, both local and foreign technicians including Director Mr. Mateen Saherai and Production Controller Mr. Sajjad Mohommad (Gateway to Production, England) from England have contributed to this film. The film is based on a screenplay that explores the historical ruins and artefacts captured in a realistic way while also exploring background historical information. Venerable Agrahera Kassapa Thero is the Senior Adviser to the entire project. The concept and script has been prepared by the Project Consultant Director, Vidyajothi Professor Nimal Silva. The film is co-produced by Siddhivinayak Cine Arts (Private) Limited, known for producing, marketing, distribution and exhibition of international films. The sound and movie editing is done by local artists.

The Chairperson of Siddhivinayak Cine Arts (Private) Limited Ms. Kaushalya Wickramasinghe mentioned that the film is expected to be screened in local cinemas as well as on local television channels and abroad in collaboration with international organizations. Acting High Commissioner of Pakistan Mr. Tanvir Ahmed said that “Gandhara” was conceptualized with the aim of bringing the peoples of Sri Lanka and Pakistan together through their shared history and heritage. The Chief Incumbent of the Gangaramaya Temple Venerable Dr. Kirindey Assaji Thero, while fondly recalling his visit to the Holy Buddhist Trail in Pakistan organised by the High Commission of Pakistan, gave his blessings for the success of the documentary and closer relations between the two countries.

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