Katasraj Mandir

Katasraj Mandir is a Hindu temple complex situated in Katas village, Punjab, Pakistan, in the Salt Range mountains. Since it is not very far from the Khewra Salt Mine, I went there after the mine, before going back to Lahore. Dedicated to Shiva, the Katasraj temple complex is believed to date back to the Mahabharata era. Many legends are associated with the temples: The five Pandava brothers, heroes of the Sanskrit epic the Mahabharata, stayed here for 4 of the 13 years they spent in exile. Another story goes: After the death of his wife Sati, Shiva cried so much and for so long that his tears created two holy ponds, one in Rajasthan, the other here at Katas. The temple complex was abandoned by local Hindus when they migrated to India during partition in 1947 and no one stayed back. However, it has remained a place of pilgrimage for Hindu worshippers (especially from Sindh).

Above, in the Salt Range, on the way to Katas.

Above, entrance of Katasraj Mandir.

Above, the pond.

Above, Hanuman Temple. It is normally not open to visitors but after my guide had a chat with the guardian, they let us through.

Above, one of the few remaining original frescos.

Above, view from the top of Hanuman Temple.

Above, remain of a Buddhist stupa.

Above, fertility ritual inside Shiva Temple. The guy is pouring milk on a stone representing Shiva’s penis (Shiv Ling).

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