KARACHI: Consul General Grace Shelton visited the Shri Varun Dev Mandir – a historic Hindu temple dedicated to the Lord of the Seas (Varuna) and believed to be the only temple dedicated to the Lord of the Seas in Pakistan here at Manora Island. She appreciated the preservation efforts for the temple, made by Sindh Exploration and Adventure Society (SEAS) under a U.S. government-funded project. Shri Varun Dev Mandir is the second U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) grant in Sindh province and the 19th project in Pakistan. With this grant, SEAS is making a series of significant efforts for preservation of this temple. Consul General Grace Shelton noted, “This site underscores the importance of interfaith harmony and highlights Pakistan long history of cultural and religious diversity. I am pleased that the diverse communities on Manora Island have all shown such a strong interest in protecting their cultural heritage,” she said. This preservation project is one of many examples of the U.S. commitment towards cultural preservation and U.S. respect for Pakistan rich heritage and religious and cultural diversity. Under the U.S. grant, SEAS has engaged the local community, trained skilled craftsmen, and organized outreach activities to generate awareness about the temple and importance of heritage preservation. Previously, the Shri Varun Dev temple was in a dilapidated state due to humid winds and unauthorized construction. However, since the preservation efforts started, Hindu priests and pilgrims have begun conducting religious rituals for the first time in decades.
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