Katas Raj Temple: Bringing religions and histories together

Published: September 11, 2015
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The pond has been subjected to expansive media attention as well. PHOTO: KIRAN WALI

There is a Brahmanical story which says that Shiva was so inconsolable over the death of his wife Sati that the tears literally ‘rained from his eyes’ and ultimately transformed into a holy pool outside the Katas Raj Temple. It is said that Shiva and Sati spent some of their marital life here.

The holy temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, and is mentioned in Mahabharta as well. The fascinating part is that these are several temples built on a single piece of land close to one another. This complex is situated in Katas village, 40 kilometres from the Chakwal district of Punjab.

Recently, I got a chance to pay a visit to these temples; a place that holds significance not only in Hinduism but in Buddhism as well.

These temples are locally known as ‘Qila Katas’. Though there aren’t any idols present inside the temples anymore, but due to the holy nature of the pool, it is still a place frequently visited by its believers. Hindus residing in Pakistan and those in India visit this site every year as part of their pilgrimage to perform certain religious rituals.

The Pakistani government is considering nominating this temple for the World Heritage Site status, and rightly so, as its history dates back to the time of Ashoka. Furthermore, a Stupa can also be spotted at this site. Stupa, which holds historical significance in Buddhism, is a mound-like structure which has been used by Buddhists since ancient times as a place of meditation.

The site is not only historical but is also serene and attractive at the same time. Therefore, it has the capability of attracting tourists on a larger scale if promoted and maintained well. Thanks to the Pakistani government, the temple is well-maintained and Pakistan should keep up its preservation efforts in the future as well.

Although local tour guides are available for tourists, the government can make the site more tourism-friendly by displaying boards with brief information of every individual temple since each temple has a different name and historical significance.

The pond has been subjected to expansive media attention as well. The historical site can be seen in the frequently aired Q-Mobile adverts. Furthermore, a drama serial named after the temple, ‘Kanpur se Katas Tak’, has also been picturised at this very site.

A few months ago, Pakistani High Commissioner to India, Abdul Basit, sent a pitcher of water from the holy pond of Katas Raj to Indian politician LK Advani, who had visited the site back in 2005 during his visit to Pakistan, as a goodwill gesture.

These temples are a true depiction of what an ancient historical place is ought to be – highly captivating and awe-inspiring.

All in all, it is a site worth-visiting and a place that the tourism industry can promote as part of Pakistan’s captivating ancient historical sites.

All Photos: Kiran Wali

Kiran Wali

Kiran Wali

A business graduate working in the corporate sector. She tweets @KiranW_ (twitter.com/KiranW_)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Nandita.

    Nice!Recommend

  • Nomad1412

    Thank you for shedding light on this temple! I am a Christian from India, but I found the photograph of the pictorial roof of the temple very interesting. Would love it if I can see some bigger pictures of the entire roof. I wonder how it was done.Recommend

  • http://avinashadvani.blogspot.com/ Avinash Advani

    Doubtless, it is one of the most stunning pilgrimage and devotion. We have to preserve this place.Recommend

  • BP

    Why don’t we ship it to Modi? if they can transport London Bridge to
    Lake Havasu, Arizona, US. Why can’t this be shipped to Ayodha, to Somnath,
    or Rameshshwaram, or Ganga, or Banaras? Take it apart stone by stone,

    number the stones, ship by truck to Hindustan. They can reassemble it there.
    They loose the numbers diagram,…then it will be a big jigsaw puzzle Recommend

  • BP

    See, your ignorance is understandable. There are 215 million
    Muslims in Hindustan,..er…Bharat? Hindu Desh? More Muslims
    there, then in Pakistan. You would not want to aggravate them.
    Would you? Think about it. You already have 65 insurgencies in Hinduland. Big ones in Arunachal Pradesh, Ladakh, Kerala, Hindi
    occupied Kashmir,…see? You don’t want fresh ones starting in Delhi, Agra, Lucknow, Bombay, Gujrat, Manipur,…West Bengal,. would you?Recommend

  • Kushal

    The land where you are standing now also belong to the Hindus. I want it to be shipped too, off course, minus you.Recommend

  • Khurram

    Remarkable pictures should be preserved as a heritage site and people can visit from india and other places and will bring people together.Recommend

  • Yashfaa Rao

    nice but you could make pics more fascinating even with a little effort, really DAWN is doing a superb job in this respect i seen some pics of indias kumb mela there nd they were impressive but i loved your article,interesting story Recommend

  • Smr
  • Pro Truth

    Why? we should keep and care for our historic places regardless what they belong to! would India be interested to transport Taj Mahal to Pakistan? No will they stop taking pride on Taj Mahal as it was built by Muslim ruler? No so grow up and history and civilisation of Pakistan is great and it should be kept intact for future generationsRecommend

  • https://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=8559594100366660134#allposts Supriya Arcot

    No adjectives to describe the beauty of this place….Recommend

  • jay

    care for Pakistan more than thinking about India. Recommend

  • Ravi Blr

    What happened to the idols inside? Too much for a Islamic state, and were therefore demolished?Recommend

  • rationalist

    Thanks for the great pictures and the article about this ancient temple. Just one comment. There is nothing called “brahmanical stories”. There are only Hindu mythological tales and stories.Recommend

  • Nomad1412

    Obviously you are not Indian and have no idea about the so-called “insurgencies” in India most of which are low level political power struggles localized to some jungle areas of a few states of India. Big insurgency in Kerala? I am from Kerala and go there several times a year. You have no idea how much ignorance you just displayed.Recommend

  • SajM
  • ABK Ind

    Well BP. This is the mindset that instigates communal tensions & war. May be this civilised difference is why india has achieved so much more than pakistan.
    The reason for your hatred mainly comes from may be the narrow minded educational set up No wonder why minorities are migrating out of pakistan. Just think was this the pakistan Mr. Jinnah fought for??. Recommend

  • BP

    Hindu people are having ‘power struggles’ in jungle areas
    of Hindustan? Power struggle is the definition of insurgency.
    Overthrow your oppressive rulers. Do you see? YOU admitted
    yourself there are power struggles [insurgencies] in Bharatia.
    Something is lacking in the grey cells of Hindustanis.Recommend

  • Nomad1412

    Obviously India is not a security state like Pakistan that we simply kill anyone who is against the government (or establishment in your case) or try to purge political parties. Don’t forget I caught you out on your lie about Kerala which you have no response for.Recommend

  • tahir

    wonderful and informative read……thanks…Recommend

  • BP

    You were chasing your own tail. keep doing it. you will
    reach nirvana.
    This is a Hindu paper. It only prints Hindians here.Recommend

  • BP

    Yup, Hindia sure did achieve. Sati is still practised. Female
    infanticide ongoing. Hardly any women left. Rape Capital of the
    World. Defeated in 3 wars by a country one fourth Hindia’s size.
    Caste system still going strong. Untouchables still there. Millions
    and millions of Dalits still treated as pariahs….true, Hindia achieved.Recommend

  • Faisal Ashfaq

    The temples have already been nominated as World Heritage Site, not considering it.

    The idols inside were taken away by hindus during parition.

    The water looks greenish because there is limestone at the bottom hence when the sunlight hits the water, it gives off greenish colour.

    It is very close to second largest salt range in the world.

    The stupa here is of ashoka. Government of Pakistan renovates the temple using the stones from the stupa to keep the originality.

    Pilgrims come from both india and elsewhere in pakistan. During which they are able to stay in a hostel nearby.Recommend

  • Time Is Up

    Don’t waste your time engaging with hatefools. All you will read is personal attacks and no backing on what they say, when cornered. Lets move on.Recommend

  • Hamidah Fawad

    Read the first comment. They were taken away by Hindus at the time of partition. Stop bringing negativity into everything.
    Recommend

  • Hamidah Fawad

    LOL – he deserved thatRecommend

  • Hassan

    This shows Indian mentality..didn’t even bothered to read the article and came up with this carp. Recommend

  • Swaadhin

    When did the insurgencies start in Arunachal, Ladakh and Kerala and what are the names of the organisation’s? Do you also not have access to Google along with youtube. Recommend

  • Swaadhin

    I wish your tribe grows in Pakistan, nothing suits us better. Recommend

  • Swaadhin

    It is not three wars, it is 111 wars India lost to Pakistan, how can you forget that Pakistan was founded by Muhammad Bin Qasim and he was the first citizen of Pakistan, all the people who make Pakistan today are the ones who came to subcontinent riding horses and camels from Arabia and still have not gotten down, those who dared are the ones you call Ahmediyas and have shown them their right place in Pakistan. Well done, way to go. Recommend

  • narender sangwan

    Jat’s are secular and not very religious,its the Brhamin and Bania caste people who are very religious or pretends to be so to befool others.But these monuments are part of a shared history and one more thing that fascinates me is that how come they have not been destroyed while stories about demolition by Islamic invaders are quite rampant in this region of the World.This shows that stories are false and Islamic rulers also respected monuments.Recommend

  • Johnny Normark Friskilä

    Interesting to read, especially since I was there myself one month ago during my two week travel in Pakistan.Recommend