There is a Hindu mythological story which says that Shiva was so inconsolable for the death of his wife Satti that the tears literally “rained from his eyes” and ultimately transformed into a Holy Pool. It is said that Shiva and Satti spent sometime of their marital life here.
Katas Raj temples are dedicated to Lord Shiva. The place has a mention in Mahabharta as well. The fascinating part is that these are several temples built at a single place 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 has a history not only in Hinduism, but in Buddhism as well.
Katas Raj Temples are locally known as “Qila Katas”. The place is held sacred in Hinduism. 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 from both Pakistan and India visit the site every year as part of pilgrimage to perform certain religious rituals.
Pakistan government has nominated the complex for World Heritage Site status; and rightly so, as its history goes back to the time of Ashoka. Furthermore, a Stupa can also be spotted at this site. Stupa is of historical significance in Buddhism. It is basically 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 well.
This historical site has been subjected to media attention as well. Recently, it was seen in the Q-Mobile advert featuring actor Fahad Mustafa. Moreover drama serial titled “Kanpur Se Katas Tak” was also picturised at this site sometime back which was clearly named after these temples.
Few months back, the government of Pakistan sent holy water from the pool of Katas Raj to the Indian politician, Mr. L. K. Advani, as a goodwill gesture. Mr. Advani visited the site back in 2005 during his visit to Pakistan.
Although local tour guides are available for the visitors but the government can make it more tourism-friendly by displaying boards with brief information of every individual temple of the complex since all of them hold different names and historical significance.
The 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 ancient historical sites.
This article originally appeared in Express Tribune Blogs.