Katas Raj Temple - Katas Raj Mandir - Chakwal - Pakistan



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Katasraj Temple - Katasraj Mandir is a Hindu temple complex situated in Katas village near Choa Saidanshah in the Chakwal district of Punjab in Pakistan.


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Dedicated to Shiva, the temple has, according to Hindu legend, existed since the days of Mahābhārata and the Pandava brothers spent a substantial part of their exile at the site and later Krishna himself laid the foundation of this temple and established his hand made Shivling in it. The Pakistan Government is considering nominating the temple complex for World Heritage Site status. In 2007, it also proposed to restore the temple complex. In 2012, the temple pond is drying up due to heavy use of ground water for industrial purposes.

The temple complex was abandoned by Hindus when they migrated to East Punjab in 1947 and no one stayed back. The relationship of Hindus with local Muslim population was very good. Local Muslims even accompanied them to next town Choa Saiden Shah from where the Katas Hindu population proceeded further to India. It has always been the site of holy pilgrimage for people of Hindu faith from northern Punjab.

The Katas site houses the Satgraha, a group of seven ancient temples, remains of a Buddhist stupa, a few medieval temples, havelis and some recently constructed temples, scattered around a pond considered holy by Hindus. The temples at Katas are mostly constructed on square platforms. The elevation of the sub shrines seems to form a series of cornices with small rows of pillars, crowned by a ribbed dome.

The Ramachandra Mandir is situated to the east of the Hari Singh Haveli and is closed from all sides except for an entrance on the east. The double-storied structure has eight rooms of various dimensions on the ground floor and a staircase at the south leading to the first floor. The mandir has two jharokas (balconies) that have been severely damaged.

The Hanuman Mandir is on the western extreme of a high rectangular enclosure with entrances on the south and the north. The temple's ceiling is undecorated, and lime-plastered.

The Shiva temple is also built on a square platform. Its entrance is a recessed round arch with faint cusps and a rectangular opening to the north.


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