The Temples of Katas Raj

Posted on December 3, 2006
Filed Under >S.A.J. Shirazi, Architecture, Culture & Heritage, History, Religion, Travel
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S.A.J Shirazi

In October-November 2006, more than 200 Hindu pilgrims (yatrees) came from outside of Pakistan to visit Katas Raj.

The mention of Katas Raj, located in the salt range 18 miles south of Chakwal, is found in Maha Bharat written in 300 BC. The etymology of this place as narrated in the old edition of Tarikh-i-Jhelum (History of Jhelum) is that according to Brahaman belief, Shiv Devta wept so profusely on the death of his beloved wife Satti that two holy ponds – one at Pushkar of Ajmair and other at Katak Shell – came into being with his tears. In Sanskrit, the word  – Katak Shell – means chain of tears which later on was pronounced as ‘Katas’.

Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha and President Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) L.K Advani also visited Katas Raj to inaugurate the conservation work at Satghrah temple in June this year. The photo to the right is from that occasion.

According to Gen Cunningham, Katas was considered the second largest holy place in Punjab for Hindu pilgrims after Jawala Mukhi. It is said famous Pando brothers spent 12 years in Katas and built the temples of Satghara. It is said Al-Beruni also spent some time at Katas to learn Sanskrit in a linguistic university which, at that time, was established here. Temples at Katas have been transferred from the federal government to the Punjab Archaeology Department recently.

Katas Raj is also the place where Alberuni attempted to measure the circumference of the Earth, studied Sanskrit and wrote his renowned Kitab-ul-Hind (Book of Hind) which depicted the religion, scientific knowledge, and social customs of Hindus. Paras Nath Jogi drew his last breath on Katas. Jagat Guru Nanak Ji also visited the place on the 1st of Visakh. Katas came to be known as Nanaknawas and was a site of contemplation for many large groups of mystics, ascetics and jogis. According to Hindu beliefs, taking bath in the holy pond at the site washes away all sins and makes man innocent.

33 responses to “The Temples of Katas Raj”

  1. Janjua Rajput says:

    Karnail Singh saheb, it is because of poor understanding and the actions of a few evil people that misunderstandings between us Pakistanis and our Indian brethren have come about. We Janjua Rajeh for example, are the sons of Arjun Pandav, we respect and love him, AND love and respect all those who also love him. Our honour lies in love, not hatred. Our duty lies in respect, not intolerance. Our faith lies in what good we can do, not in how bad we can be….

    Rest assured, there are many many many Pakistanis who are as passionate about their links with the Hindu and Sikh friends pre Partition, who also did their best to protect and give safe passage to our Hindu neighbours to India, as I am sure vice versa.

    Your Mandirs are our responsibility, our Holy Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. ordered us to protect your honour and your rights to your places of worship, so we shall do our best to allow this Inshallah, especially in Katas which by God’s will falls in our domain.

    Thank you for your kind words

  2. It is really great. I do not know how I happened to reach this stuff, But the minutes spent reading the post and comments are worth it. The post is very informative. Reading comments was the best part of it because generally it is thought that Pakistan is not sensitive about Hindu Mandirs. But the concerns of the Pakistanis are welcome (I hope adverse comments have not been removed by the adminstarator)

  3. vishal says:

    hi everybody
    i m from hoshiarpur in indian punjab
    it is really nice that pak govt. is taking care of katas raj temlple as it will have strong effect to have nice relationship with our pak brother which have been seperated from us since1947 due to angreji hakoomat.

  4. Farhan says:

    Assalam-o-alaikum. I have recently heard about Katas Raj Temples and the holy lake. I am surprised to know all about Katas Raj and I don’t know why I never heard about these temples before. Anyways, I have decided to visit Katas Raj in comming Eid vacations with my friends & family. I request you all to please guide me the rout (after reaching Kallar Kahan) through which we can easily reach there. Or is there any other public conveyance that brings us to Katas Raj easily. Waiting for prompt reply…..

  5. This is a great post, I learned so much. I know that there are Hindu and Sikh communities in Pakistan, and to a lesser extent in Afghanistan. But I had never heard about these mandirs in particular.

    Like the several comments here which express a wish that Pakistan should preserve these mandirs, I also believe that Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan should preserve and even nourish whatever communities and representations we have, regardless of what their origins are. Because the truth is that these diverse strands of our cultures are so intertwined that you cannot separate one from the other.

    I’m also quite heartened to read the comments. If only people there were more people like those who commented above.

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