KARACHI: Consul General Grace Shelton joined the local community to mark the closing ceremony of the Shri Varun Dev Mandir – a historic Hindu temple – today at Manora Island. She congratulated the Sindh Exploration and Adventure Society (SEAS) on the successful completion of the temple’s preservation, under a US government-funded project. Consul General Shelton applauded SEAS, the Pakistan Navy, the Karachi Port Trust, the Manora Cantonment Board, the Karachi Cantonment Board, the Government of Pakistan and the local indigenous population of Manora for their strong coordination and cooperation. Shri Varun Dev Mandir is the second U.S. Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) grant in Sindh province and the 19th AFCP project in Pakistan. The Varun Dev temple is believed to be the only temple dedicated to the Lord of the Seas in Pakistan. Humid winds had damaged the temple’s structure and eroded intricate carvings that affected the integrity of the temple and its grounds. Under the US$250,000 AFCP grant, SEAS completed the preservation work to international standards in record time. “This project is an outstanding example of the strong cultural partnership between our two countries and the work we can accomplish together to preserve the rich, diverse, and multi-religious history of Pakistan.” Consul General Grace Shelton noted, “Rehabilitating the Varun Dev temple shows our collective commitment and our respect to protecting and preserving Sindh’s diverse cultural heritage.” This preservation project is one of many examples of the US commitment to cultural preservation and respect for Pakistan’s rich heritage and religious and cultural diversity. Published in Daily Times, January 26th 2018.