Katas Raj Temples: You Need To Know Why 112 Indians Visit Pakistan
By:
Mabel Fatokun

Katas Raj Temples: You Need To Know Why 112 Indians Visit Pakistan

Pakistan

  • 243,984,904
  • 881,640 km²

Pakistan has granted limited, twice-yearly access to Indian pilgrims to the Katas Raj temple complex, with 112 visas issued for Maha Shivratri. Access to temples and shrines across the border is often subject to political dispensation and diplomatic climate. In 2019, Pakistan declared the Panj Tirath in Peshawar as national heritage, but later reports suggest the shrine has been heavily encroached and parts turned into an amusement park. India and Pakistan are also working on plans to develop a corridor to Sharda Peeth in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

Katas Raj Temples: You Need To Know Why 112 Indians Visit Pakistan

One of Lord Shiva’s tears fell at a location that is now in the Pakistani province of Punjab while he was walking the Earth in a state of frantic grief holding the corpse of his beloved wife Sati in his arms. The Earthlings called the lake created by the drop Katas. Numerous Hindu mythological figures have paid this location a visit over the millennia. The Pandavas are said to have spent a portion of their exile at the Katas Raj Lake, where the legendary Yaksha is said to have asked Yudhisthira 126 “Yaksha Prashnas”—questions meant to test his integrity and intelligence. They claim that this is the location where Krishna created a temple devoted to Lord Shiva by hand.

The Katas Raj temples, believed to have originated around 66 BCE to 7th Century CE, have a fuzzy historical timeline. Post-Partition India, the temple complex suffered neglect due to industrial activity, putting the lake at risk. In 2017, Pakistan’s Supreme Court criticized the government for neglect.

The Shri Katas Raj Temples, also known as Qila Katas, is a Hindu temple complex in Pakistan’s Punjab province near the M2 Motorway. Walkways connect the temples and surround a sacred pond called Katas. According to the Puranas, Shiva’s teardrops created the pond after his wife Sati’s death. The pond, which spans two kanals and 15 marlas, has a maximum depth of 20 feet.

The Katas Raj Temples in Punjab, Pakistan, are significant Hindu pilgrimage sites dedicated to Lord Shiva. Dating back to 615-950 CE, they are attributed to the Hindu Shahis era and are still used by both local and international Hindu community members. The temples are a significant part of Pakistan’s Hindu heritage.

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