Buddha of Swat, destroyed by Taliban, stands restored

Jul 13, 2018, 09:25 IST | Agencies

Buddha seated in a meditative posture, which is considered one of the largest rock sculptures in South Asia, was attacked in September 2007 by the Taliban militants, who blew up half the statue's face, triggering a worldwide anger

Buddha of Swat, destroyed by Taliban, stands restored
A restored Buddha of Swat, which was destroyed in 2007. Pic/AFP

The iconic Buddha of Swat, carved on a cliff in the 7th century, has been restored to its almost original form with Italian assistance in the troubled northwestern Pakistan, nearly 11 years after it was dynamited by the banned Taliban during their control over the area.

Buddha seated in a meditative posture, which is considered one of the largest rock sculptures in South Asia, was attacked in September 2007 by the Taliban militants, who blew up half the statue's face, triggering a worldwide anger.

The Italian government invested $2.9 million in five years to preserve the cultural heritage and restore the six-metre tall Buddha of Swat, depicted in a lotus position at the base of a granite cliff. Luca Maria Olivieri, an Italian archaeologist who oversaw the restoration, said the reconstruction is not identical, but that is deliberate, as "the idea of damage should remain visible".

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