Indus civilisation India site under vanishing threat

Washington: Rakhigari, one of the largest and oldest Indus Valley sites in the world located in Haryana along with Taxila in Pakistan are under threat of vanishing in a tide of rapid economic growth, the World Heritage Fund has warned.

Rakhigari, discovered by Indian archaeologists in 1963 is among the ten sites identified by the Fund as the most in danger of "irreparable loss and destruction," in its new report `Asia`s Heritage in peril` released last night in California.

The sites under threat include Kashgar, one of the last intact silk road sites in China, Mes Aynak, the last Buddhist ancient Monastry complex on the silk Road still standing in Afghanistan, Plain of Jars, Megalithic archaeological landscape of mysterious origins in Laos and Taxila, the former crossroads of industry in Ancient Asia in Pakistan.

"These 10 sites represent merely a fragment of the endangered treasures across Asia and the rest of the developing world," the fund`s executive director Jeff Morgan said in presenting the report.

The architectural gems from across Asia`s ancient and sophisticated cultures are struggling in the face of economic expansion, sudden floods of tourists and areas of lawlessness and war, the report said. Other sites named in the report are: Ayutthaya in Thailand, a former Siamese capital known as the "Venice of the East." Fort Santiago in the Philippines, Mahasthangarh, one of South Asia`s earliest archaeological sites in Bangladesh, Myauk-U, capital of the first Arakanese kingdom in Myanmar and Preah Vihear, a Khmer architectural masterpiece in Cambodia.

The endangered Rakhigari site lies just 150 kms away from the Indian capital in a village in Hisar district of Haryana. Archaeological Survey of India is carrying out a detailed excavation of the site, revealing the size of a lost city and recovering numerous artifacts, some over 5,000 years old.

At Rakhigari, the diggers have found evidence of paved roads, drainage system, large rainwater collection, storage system, terracotta brick, statue production and skilled metal working in both bronze and precious metals.