A Hindu temple, believed to have been constructed 1,300 years ago, has been discovered by Pakistani and Italian archaeological experts at a mountain in Northwest Pakistan’s Swat district. The discovery was made during an excavation at Barikot Ghundai.
Announcing the discovery, Fazle Khaliq of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Department of Archaeology said that the temple discovered is of Lord Vishnu. It was built by the Hindus 1,300 years ago during the Hindu Shahi period, he said. During their excavation, the archaeologists also found traces of cantonment and watchtowers near the temple site. The experts also found a water tank near the temple site which they believe was used by the Hindus for bathing before worship.
Khaliq said that Swat district is home to a thousand-year-old archaeological sites and the traces of the Hindu Shahi period have been found for the first time in the area. The Hindu Shahis of Kabul Shahis (850–1026 CE) was a Hindu dynasty that ruled the Kabul Valley (eastern Afghanistan), Gandhara (modern-day Pakistan), and present-day northwestern India.
Dr Luka, the head of the Italian archaeological mission, said this was the first temple of the Ghandhara civilisation discovered in Swat district. It is to be noted that several places of worship of Buddhism are also situated in Swat district.