Holy Pilgrimage - Hindu temples in Pakistan
Multan Sun Temple, Pakistan
HistoryThe original Sun Temple at Multan is said to have been build by Samba, son of Krishna, to get relief from disease of leprosy.
This Sun Temple has been mentioned also by Greek Admiral Skylax, who passed through this area in 515 B.C. The Multan and its temple are also earlier known as Kashya-papura is mentioned by Herodotus.
Huen Tsang is said to have visited this temple in 641 AD and had described the deity made of pure gold and eyes of whom were made of large red rubies. The gold, silver and gems were abundantly used in doors, pillars and shikhara of temple. Thousands of Hindus regularly went to Multan to worship Sun God. He is also said to have seen several dancing girls (devadasis) in the temple. He further mentions the deities of Shiva and Buddha were also installed in the temple. Even after conquest of Multan by Umayyad Caliphate in 8th Century AD, under Muhammad bin Qasim, the Sun Temple was left intact, as it was a source of great income.Al-Baruni, who also visited Multan in 10th Century AD has also left glowing description of it. However, the temple is said to have been finally destroyed by Mahmud of Ghazni in 1026 AD
The city of Multan may get its name from the Sanskrit name Mulasthana named after location of this Sun Temple. The exact site of Sun Temple of Multan is, however, unknown and subject of debate for researchers.
Jagannath Temple, Sialkot, Pakistan
The Jagannath Temple in Sialkot, Pakistan, is dedicated to the Hindu God Jagannath. The temple was built in the city's Paris Road area in early 2007 with a special grant of 200,000 rupees from Punjab Chief Minister Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi. The special grant was given through the minority MPA Joseph Hakim Din due to the efforts of Hakem Ratan Lal Bhagat ,Member of the District Peace Committee of and the participation of the Hindu community of Sialkot.
Katasraj temple, Pakistan
Katasraj Mandir (Urdu: کٹاس راج مندر)) is a Hindu mandir or temple complex situated in Katas village near Choa Saidanshah 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. 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 not abandoned by Hindus when they migrated to East Punjab in 1947. It has always been the site of holy pilgrimage for people of various faiths. Even nowadays, worshippers of all faiths perform pilgrimage to the mandir. The pilgrims bathe in the sacred pool and seek forgiveness as Hindu belief holds that bathing in the pond (especially on certain occasions) leads to the forgiveness of sins and helps attain salvation. Until recently, it was believed that the pond had unlimited depth.
The two semi-ruined temples of the Hindushahiya period (650–950 AD) have been frequently photographed by newspapers and history journals.
Renovation by the Government of Pakistan
In 2006-07, Pakistan decided to place murtis of Hindu gods in the seven mandirs and restore them to their original state to attract visitors. The budget allocated for the project was Rs. 51.06 million. The temple was visited by India's former deputy prime minister Lal Krishna Advani in 2005.[ The government decided to import idols of Hindu gods from various monuments in India to Pakistan for the restoration. A three-member archaeological team visited neighbouring India, Sri Lanka and Nepal to collect murtis of Hindu gods.
LocationThe Katasraj mandirs are located 40 kilometres from Chakwal District. It takes a little effort to reach Katasraj by road - one has to go off the M2 motorway - (Islamabad - Lahore) at the Kallar Kahar interchange, Then follow the road to Choa Saidan Shah for 24 km. just past the cement factory the road passes through the temple complex, with the major temple complex and the pond on the right.
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.
LegendsKatasraj temple complex is believed to date back to the Mahabharata era. Many legends are associated with the temples. 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. The lake in the complex is believed to have magical powers and is supposed to be where Yudhisthira defeated the Yaksha with his wisdom to bring his brothers back to life.
Another legend involves the death of Shiva's wife Sati; 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.
Yet another version of the Siva legend involves the death of Shiva's horse Katas instead of that of Sati his consort.
Prehistoric tools and weaponsPrehistoric tools and weapons such as axes and knives made of granite, and artifacts like terracotta bangles and pottery have been unearthed at the Katasraj site. The latter have been found to be similar to those excavated in Harappa, but have not been dated for want of expert opinion. The fascinating Salt Ranges have a vast archaeological treasure still hidden underground. The Salt Ranges have also been yielding prehistoric finds. While some local experts place the fossils discovered in the period between 6000 and 7000 BC, the fact remains that they have not yet been examined by trained palaeontologists of international standing. A large number of bones of the limbs and vertebrae of giant animals resembling the extinct mammoth and dinosaur have been found at some sites. “An entire range of low mountains in the area appears to be fossilized, revealing to the naked eye layer upon layer of a variety of plants and soils,” says one writer.
Prahladpuri Temple, Multan, Pakistan
Prahladpuri Temple is an ancient Hindu temple located in Multan, Pakistan. It is named after Prahlada and dedicated to Lord Narasimha. The temple is at present in ruins.
HistoryThe original temple of Prahladpuri is said to have been built by Prahlad, son of Hiranyakashipu, the king of Multan (Kashya-papura) in honor of Narsing Avatar, an incarnation of Hindu god Vishnu, who emerged from the pillar to save Prahlada.
The Prahladapuri temple like the Sun Temple of Multan had been destroyed after Muslim conquest of Multan, suffered several material losses and was reduced to a nondescript shrine by the 19th century. It is located on top of a raised platform inside the Fort of Multan, adjacent to tomb of Hazrat Baha’ul Haq Zakariya. A mosque has subsequently built adjacent to temple. The records suggested by Dr. A.N. Khan say that temple was once rebuilt in decade of 1810, when area was under rule of Sikhs. However, Alexander Burnes, who visited the temple in 1831, said that he found it deserted and without a roof. Later, in year 1849, when British laid siege of Multan Fort against Mul Raj, a shell fired by British army fell on gunpowder store within the fort, thus destroying almost all of the fort except the mausoleums of Bahauddin Zakaria and his sons and the Prahladpuri temple complex. Alexander Cunningham described this temple as it was seen in 1853 by him who wrote that: “It was a square brick building with some very finely carved wooden pillars for the support of the roof. The present temple was first built in 1861 by Mahant Bawl Ram Das at cost of Rs.11,000 by way of public donation and again in 1872 by the subsequent Mahanta of Prahladpuri temple with donations from Thakur Dawara Fateh Chand Tanksalia and other Hindu citizens of Multan. But in 1881, while renovation of temple a major dispute arose between Hindus & Muslims over the height of shikhara of the temple and dome of the adjacent mausoleum, which lead to riot in which 2 mosques and 22 temples were destroyed. The British government of Punjab did little to control the mobs and in this riot Prahladapuri temple was also sacked and obliterated. However, the temple was soon rebuilt by then prosperous Hindu community of Multan and was managed by the community, who regulated Mahant of Prahladpuri temple
After the partition of India, many Hindus migrated and the affairs of temple were managed by minority Hindus of city. The original idols of Lord Narasimha was brought to India by Baba Narayan Das Batra from Multan at the time of partition in 1947. They are now placed in a temple at Haridwar.
In 1992, the temple was completely destroyed by mob in retaliation of news of Babri Masjid demolition in India.
FeaturesThe temple was built on a high platform inside Multan Fort and was before 1992 a prominent landmark of Multan. It had a main hall, circumlocutory and skylights and a large mandapa. The central hall had a replica of idol under a baldachin. Adjacent to temple was dharamshala complex.
Traditions, however, claim that the original temple was a columnar structure and both the roof and the columns supporting it were made of pure gold It is further stated that for some unknown reason, this entire building sank into ground and over it was built a new temple.
ImportanceThe temple is of ancient origin and the is located on the site where the original temple is said to have been built by Prhalada himself. It is the place where the Lord Narasimha is said the have appeared out of pillar to save him from his father Hiranyakashyapa. The Hindus, therefore, believe the tradition and the festival of Holika Dahan started here.
Present statusThe temple is in ruins since its destruction by mob in 1992. In 2006, on occasion of Urs of Bahaudin Zikriya, the foreign minister of government, ordered construction of facilities for Wuzu and in 2008 facilities for Langar in premises of temple. These actions were later protested by some NGOs as according to the constitution of Pakistan, no Muslim construction can be done within the places of worship of other religions. A case was filed and court ordered stay on construction. The matter is still pending in court. Many peaceful protests were held by minority organizations and many persons and organizations have requested Government of Pakistan to restore this ancient temple of importance
Sadh Belo, Pakistan
Sadhu Belo is the Temple situated at the centre of the Indus River, near Rohri Bridge.Worshippers have to use a boat to get to the island.The temple is spread over nine acres and comprises a main place of worship (Asthan of Baba Bankhandi Maharaj), abodes for his ‘shish’ (students), a library which houses books on religion and Hindu mythology, separate ‘Bhandars’ (dining rooms) for women and men, separate places of worship for men and women, washrooms and a huge garden Every year at the urs of Baba Bankhandi, thousand of Hindus from across the country come to pay their respects to the saint at the temple.Sadhu bela is one of the famous temple of pakistan
Shiv Mandir, Umerkot, Pakistan
Shiv Mandir is a Hindu temple situated in Umerkot in Sindh, Pakistan. This temple is divine and sacred among the Hindus residing in lower Sindh. The temple has magnificent Shiv Lingam, which is indeed on of the best in the whole world. Lenged says that the Lingam kep growing itself until locals marked the height to literally observe the growth. Besides every year on Shiv Ratri there is a huge three day festival with several hundred thousand pilgrims from surrounding cities.
Hinglaj Mata, Pakistan
Hinglaj Mata, also known as Hinglaj Devi, Hingula Devi and Nani Mandir, is a Hindu temple in Hinglaj, a town on the Makran coast in the Lasbela district of Balochistan, Pakistan, and is the middle of the Hingol National Park. It is one of the Shakti Peethas of the goddess Sati. It is a form of Durga or Devi located in a mountain cavern on the banks of the Hingol River
The shrine is located in a small natural cave. There is a low mud altar. There is no man-made image of the goddess. A small shapeless stone is worshipped as Hinglaj Mata. The stone is smeared with Sindoor (vermilion), which possibly gives the location its Sanskrit name Hingula, which is the root of the present-day name Hinglaj.
Other places of worship in and around Hinglaj are: Ganesh Deva, Mata Kali, Gurugorakh Nath Dooni, Braham Kudh, Tir Kundh, Gurunanak Kharao, Ramjarokha Bethak, Aneel Kundh On Chorasi Mountain, Chandra Goop, Khaririver and Aghore Pooja.
Religious significance and legendsHinglaj Mata is said to be very powerful deity who bestows good to all her devotees. While Hinglaj is her main temple, temples dedicated to her exist in neighbouring Indian states Gujarat and Rajasthan. The shrine is known as Hingula, Hingalaja, Hinglaja, and Hingulata in Hindu scriptures, particularly in Sanskrit. The goddess is known as Hinglaj Mata (The Mother of Hinglaj), Hinglaj Devi (the Goddess of Hinglaj), Hingula Devi (the red goddess or the Goddess of Hingula).[ and Kottari or Kotavi ("nude woman" in Sanskrit)
The chief legend of Hinglaj Mata, relates to the creation of the Shakti Peethas. The daughter of Prajapati Daksha, Sati was married to the god Shiva against his wishes. Daksha organized a great yajna, but did not invite Sati and Shiva. Uninvited, Sati reached the yajna-site, where Daksha ignored Sati and vilified Shiva. Unable to withstand this insult, Sati jumped into the sacrificial fire and committed suicide. Sati died, but her corpse did not burn. Shiva (as Virabhadra) slew Daksha for being responsible for Sati's death and forgave him, resurrecting him. The wild, grief-stricken Shiva wandered the universe with Sati's corpse. Finally, the god Vishnu dismembered the body of Sati into 52 parts, each of which became Shakti Peetha, temple to a form of the Goddess. Shiva is also worshipped at each Shakti Pitha in the form of Bhairava, the male counterpart or guardian of the presiding goddess of the Pitha. The head of Sati is believed to have fallen at Hinglaj.
The Kularnava Tantra mentions 18 Pithas and mentions Hingula as the third one. In the Kubjika Tantra, Hingula is listed among the 42 Shakta or Siddha Pithas in which Hinglaj is at the fifth place The Pithanirnaya or Mahapithanirupana section from the Tantrachudamani originally listed 43 names, but names were added over time making it 51 Pithas. It details the Pitha-devata or Devi (name of goddess at the Pitha), the Kshastradishas (Bhairava) and the anga-pratyanga (limbs including ornaments of Sati). Hingula or Hingulata is the first in list, with the anga-pratyanga being Brahmarandhra (a suture in the crown of the head). The Devi is known by several names such as Kottari, Kottavi, Kottarisha, and the Bhairava is Bhimalochana. In the Shivasharitha, Hingula is again the first in a list of 55 Pithas. Brahmarandhra is the anga-pratyanga, the goddess is called Kottari and the Bhairava is Bhimalochana. In the non-scripture 16th century Bengali work Chandimangal, Mukundaram lists nine Pithas in the Daksha-yajna-bhanga section. Hinglaja is the last Pitha described to be the place where Sati's navel fell.
Another legend narrates that Hingol and Sundar, sons of Vichitra who lived in the Treta yuga (second of 4 Hindu eons), tormented the people. To free the people from their tyrant, the god Ganesha slew Sundar. Then, the people prayed to Devi (the Hindu Goddess) to kill Hingol as well, which she agreed to do. She followed Hingol to the cave, which is currently the Hinglaj Mata shrine. Before he was killed, Hingol requested the goddess to name the place after him, which she granted.
Another legend is related to the caste Brahmakshatriya, who venerate Hinglaj Mata as their family deity. When the god Parashurama was persecuting kshatriyas (the warrior caste), some Brahmins (priest caste) provided protection to 12 kshatriyas and disguised them as Brahmins and they were also protected by Hinglaj Mata. This caste traces its roots to the Brhmakshatriyas. Another variation of the tale is that the sage Dadhichi provided protection to Ratnasena, a king ruling in Sind, in his ashram (hermitage). However, Parashurama killed him when he ventured out. His sons remained in the ashram. When Parashurama visited the ashram, they were disguised as Brahmins. One of them, Jayasena return to Sind to rule the kingdom, armed with a protective mantra of Hinglaj Mata, given by Dadhici. Hinglaj Mata not only protected Jayasena, but also ordered Parshurama to end his killing spree.
The local Muslims also hold Hinglaj Mata in reverence and provide security to the shrine. They call the temple as the "Nani Mandir" (lit. "maternal grandmother’s temple") The goddess is herself called Bibi Nani (respected maternal grandmother). Bibi Nani may be the same as the goddess Nana, that appears on Kushan coins and was widely worshipped in West and Central Asia. Local Muslim tribes, following an ancient tradition, also join the pilgrimage group and call the pilgrimage as the "Nani Ki Haj".
During the pilgrimage, pilgrims from all over Pakistan and even India visit the temple, holding traditional red-coloured banners and wearing red-gold decorative head-scarves, which are associated with sanctuaries of Hindu goddesses, in this case Hinglaj Mata. What was once a journey of more than 150 kilometres (93 mi) by foot through the desert from the nearest road, is now made easy because of a new coastal highway built connecting Karachi with Gwadar. Consequently, the number of pilgrims visiting the shrine has substantially increased over the years; the last reported figure was 25000 to 30000. While most pilgrims come by bus or private cars, a few even cycle their way to the shrine, as it is believed that more the austerities, the more is the grace of the deity.
. The pilgrims also includes middle-class Hindus, especially from nearby Karachi, which is a stop on the pilgrimage route to Hinglaj.
The pilgrimage also serves as meeting point for places and doing community activity like gathering funds for construction of a Hindu temple. Hundreds of volunteers help in the organization. Diesel generators are installed. Vast community kitchens are set up to cook food prepared with tonnes of food stuff such as wheat floor, rice, lentils, and vegetables supplied by local people to feed the pilgrims. Three meals are prepared. Temporary bathroom facilities and camps are installed
Om Tat Sat
(My humble salutations to the great devotees , wikisources and Pilgrimage tourist guide for the collection )