1500 years of history: Enter the Katas Raj temples
Spreading its beauty near Chakwal in Punjab province of Pakistan, the most reverenced among all the temples are the Katas Raj Temples. In a heaven like surrounding, complex of temples stands in homage to the deities of Hindu mythology.
The Katas site houses the Satgraha or seven temples, a gathering of seven old temple, remains of a Buddhist stupa, a couple of medieval sanctuaries, havelis and some as the newly built sanctuaries, scattered around a lake considered sacred by Hindus.
The sanctuaries at Katas are mostly developed 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.
According to Alan Cunningham, the first Director General of the Archaeological Survey of India in 1872-73 CE, Katasraj is the second biggest holy place in Punjab for Hindu pioneers after Jawala Mukhi. It is said prominent Pandwas brothers lived 12 years in Katas and assembled the sanctuaries of Satghara.
Katas Raj, a medieval town sacred to the Hindus, lies about 16 kilometers (10 miles) from Kallar Kahar, and 5 kilometers in west of Choa Saidan Shah on the Choa-Kallar Kahar road Chakwal. Its importance is derived from the fact that it contains over a 100 temples built over a period of more than a 1000 years by its Hindu Rajas. Some of these temples are dilapidated but a large number of them have been well maintained.
Hindu pilgrims from all over Pakistan and India frequently visit this town to worship. Katas Raj at its peak time was the well renowned University, a famous mathematician Alberuni measured the circumference of the earth while he was studying the Sanskrit in this University.
It is situated about 40 kilometers from the city of Chakwal making it a popular tourist place among people of Chakwal. Basically, Katas Raj is a temple complex consisting seven ancient temples called Satgraha, some temples of middle ages and some recently constructed temples. The oldest temple dates back to 6th century A.D. All these temples are built around a pond acknowledged holy to Hindus.
In the mountains of Pothohar Plateau, these Hindu temples are famous worldwide. A large number of people belonging to Hinduism visit these temples each year to perform their religious practices and rituals. The pond in the center of temples is considered holy among Hindus because they believe it is filled by the tears of Shiva and taking bath in this pond provides forgiveness to sins.
Photo Gallery Katas Raj Chakwal
It is said old name of Katas Raj was Kataksha, which in classic Sanskrit means “God’s Tears”. A visit to Kataj Raj Temple provides great information about the history of religions and about Hinduism. Katas Raj, a conglomeration of temples preserves at least 1500 years worth of history ranging from Buddhist era to British rule in that particular space.
It would be better to take some time to visit Kalar Kahar Lake nearby for spending a picnic and boating.