Saturday, 16 July 2011
Temples of Pakistan
Ruins of the famous centuries old Hindu temple Katas Raj in Chakwal District, Pakistan. Legend has it that, it was at the pond at Katas that the Yaksha and Yudhishthir (Dharmaraj), the eldest of the five Pandava brothers in the epic Mahabharata, had their famous question-answer session. Yakshas questions and Yudhishthir's answers have a profound philosophical message which is relevant even to modern times.
Katasraj temple is a Hindu temple situated in the Chakwal district of Punjab in Pakistan. Dedicated to Shiva, the temple has existed since the days of Mahābhārata and the Pandava brothers spent a substantial part of their exile at the site. The Pakistan Government is considering nominating the temple complex for World Heritage Site status. It also proposes to spend about Rs 20 million in three phases for the restoration of the complex.
Most of the temples, located some 40 km from the modern city of Chakwal in the Potohar region of northern Punjab in Pakistan, were built during the reign of Hindu kings. These several temples were built around 900 years ago or more, although the earliest of the Katasraj temples dates back to the latter half of the 6th century A.D. Scholars believe that most of the temples were actually constructed when the Shahi kingdom, driven from Afghanistan when their ethnic cousin Mahmud of Ghanavi came to power, fled to the region and set up base there.
Many legends are associated with the temples, some of them involving Shiva himself. Legend says that the five Pandava brothers, heroes of the Sanskrit epic Mahabharata, stayed here for four out of the 14 years that they spent in exile.
Another legend involves the death of Shiva's wife Satti; the story goes that when she died he cried so much and for so long that his tears created two holy ponds - one at Pushkara in Ajmer and the other at Ketaksha, which literally means "raining eyes" in Sanskrit. It is from this name that the word Ketas is derived. Another version of the legend mentions the two pools at Katasraj and Nainital.
Another legend involves the death of Shiva's horse Katas; the story goes that when that horse died he cried so much and for so long that his tears created two holy ponds - one at Pushkara in Ajmer and the other at Ketaksha, which literally means "raining eyes" in Sanskrit. It is from this name that the word Ketas is derived. Another version of the legend mentions the two pools at Katasraj and Nainital.People bathe in that holy pond and seek forgiveness as Hindu belief holds that bathing in the pond (especially on certain occasions) causes the forgiveness of sins and helps attain salvation. Many people believe that this will come from bathing in the pond at any time. Depth of this holy pond is still a mystery.