Celebrating Peshawar’s Rich Cultural Heritage: The Gor Gathri Arts and Crafts Festival

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The Gor Gathri Arts and Crafts Festival commenced in Peshawar on Friday 2nd May, 2014. The event was organized jointly by the Tourism Corporation of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Directorate of Archeology and Museums. The aim of the event was to celebrate the rich cultural heritage of this ancient archaeological site and the province at large. Additionally, it also aimed to create more awareness of the regional arts and crafts and to give these artisans a chance to showcase their skillset.

The site of Gor Gathri – perhaps one of the oldest and most important excavation sites in the city – was adorned with artificial gates, colorful lights and large portraits of some important historical figures, partly to bring the site close to its original shape. It is because of sites like Gor Gathri that Peshawar is considered to be one of the oldest living cities in South Asia. Thus, it makes it all the more important to preserve this rich cultural heritage.

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The event was kicked-off with Khattak dance, presented by a group of highly skilled dancers.  Other than that, the event included exhibition of arts and crafts from various parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, stalls of local food and a music gig featuring local musicians. Some of the items on display included local music instruments, hand crafted suits, hand crafted utensils, and antiques of various sorts.

Entry to the museum at the Gor Gathri was also free, which displayed various artefacts excavated from the site.

One of the big delights at events was the display of the two vintage British-era fire engines, model 1919 and 1921 made by “Merry Weather London”. However, the open display of these centennial engines attracted the wrong crowd. These highly precious engines (both in terms of monetary and historical value) remained unguarded and uncovered throughout the event. It would have been better had the glass case, which the directorate of archeology and museums intends to build, would have been built before the start of this event. Because according to DAWN, recently around 2 million rupees were spent on the preservation of these engines.

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The preparations for the event continued for a long time, but those efforts were compensated when a large number of families attended the event. It should be remembered that in comparison to other metropolitan cities, fewer events with regard to arts and crafts, and food and culture are organized in Peshawar. However, in recent time the Tourism Corporation of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has been highly active in organizing such healthy activities and to promote tourism in the province.

It is highly important to maintain, preserve and celebrate our rich cultural heritage. Because Nations (and countries), which do not pay attention to and preserve their cultural heritage, perish, and become nobody.

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