A Hindu temple, believed to be 1,300 years ago, has been discovered by Pakistani and Italian archaeological experts at a mountain in Swat district. The discovery was reportedly made during an excavation at Barikot Ghundai.
According to Fazle Khaliq of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Department of Archaeology, the temple discovered is of Lord Vishnu. It was built by the Hindus 1,300 years ago during the Hindu Shahi period, he said.
The Hindu Shahis or 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.
During their excavation, archaeologists also found traces of a cantonment and watchtowers near the temple site. Experts also found a water tank near the temple site which they assume was used by the Hindus for bathing before worship.
Khaliq said that the Swat district is home to numerous ancient archaeological sites, some of which are thousands of years old, but traces of the Hindu Shahi period have been found for the first time in the area.
Dr Luka, the head of the Italian archaeological mission, said this was the first temple of the Ghandhara Civilisation discovered in Swat district.
Swat district is among the top 20 sites in Pakistan which is home to every kind of tourism such as natural beauty, religious tourism, cultural tourism and archaeological sites.
Several places of worship of Buddhism are also situated in Swat district.
Last year in October, archaeologists and historians discovered another temple, reportedly built in the 7th century, during the Turki Shahi period, on the top of Ghwandai mount at Bazira in Barikot Swat.