Here Are Some Of The Most Beautiful Temples In Pakistan Pakistan, being the land where many great nations came and settled, has a number of ethnicities harmoniously coexisting and celebrating festivals. Holi is one such festivity that commemorates the arrival of spring, the end of winter, and the blossoming of love. For many Hindus, it is a festive day to meet others, play and laugh, forget and forgive. Known as the festival of colors, the festivities begin with people visiting their nearby temples or mandirs and then indulging in friendly exchanges and spraying colors over everyone. The canvas of care-free spraying of colors is what welcomes spring in every corner of the city, during the festival of Holi.
As festivities often begin at places of worship, let’s take a look at some of the most beautiful temples in Pakistan.
TEMPLES IN PAKISTAN
Here is a list of temples in Pakistan, that are known for their beautiful architecture and historical significance.
SHRI PANCH MUKHI HANUMAN MANDIR, KARACHI
Shri Panchmukhi Hanuman Mandir is a 1,500-year-old Hindu temple in Karachi. The temple spreads over 2,609 square feet and is located in Karachi’s famous Soldier Bazaar. It is the only temple in the world that has the natural statue of Lord Hanuman.
The Sindh Cultural Heritage (Preservation) Act of 1994 has declared it as a part of national heritage. According to the Hindu belief system, Lord Ram visited the temple site during exile, and sometime later a blue-and-white, eight-foot-tall statue of Hanuman was excavated from here. Devotees then built this temple here, and uphold the practice that circumambulating the Panchamukhi Hanuman idol 11 or 21 times fulfills any wishes of devotees. Over the years, renovations have taken place. In 2012 members of the Hindu community started renovating the temple, while during the 2019 reconstruction work, many new idols and artifacts were unearthed which have been placed inside the temple now.
Karachi is a city that is known for its thriving Hindu community, one of the many original inhabitants of the land. This community gives the city it’s unique demographic and adds to the city’s cultural diversity. A number of old temples can be found here.
SHRI HINGLAJ MATA TEMPLE, LAS BELA DISTRICT
Shri Hinglaj Mata temple is located in Lasbela District’s Hingol National Park. It is the shrine of the Goddess Hinglaj and is located about 215 kilometers west of Karachi. This temple holds the largest annual Hinglaj Yatra (pilgrimage) in Pakistan which is attended by more than 250,000 pilgrims annually.
Located near this temple is Baba Chandragup, a mud volcano. The entire site is therefore considered to be sacred for Hindus. The volcano is an important stop for pilgrims on their way to the shrine of Shri Hinglaj Mata temple and is believed to be embodying Lord Shiva.
KATAS RAJ TEMPLES, KALLAR KAHAR
The Shri Katas Raj Temples are also known as Qila Katas, is a complex of several Hindu temples connected to one another by walkways, located in Kallar Kahar. The temple complex surrounds a pond named Katas which is regarded as sacred by Hindus, as many believe that it was created from the teardrops of Shiva, after he wandered the Earth following the death of his wife, Sati. The pond itself spreads over two canals and has a depth of 20 feet, while the temples are spread over several hills.
Apart from the story of Shiva, a number of prominent traditions have been linked with this. Mahabharata narrates it as the site where the Pandava brothers spent a significant portion of their exile, while some believe that it is the site where the brothers engaged in a riddle contest with the Yakshas. Another tradition states that the Hindu deity Krishna laid the foundation of the temple. Either way, it is considered sacred to Hindus who visit the place regularly. Recently, Prime Minister Imran Khan has also included this under his newly-launched heritage tourism initiative, Al Beruni Radius.
The area around Katas Raj holds special significance for the Hindus. A number of springs in this region carry tales that have religious importance for the Hindus.
KRISHNA MANDIR, LAHORE
The Krishna Mandir is a Hindu temple, as the name suggests, is dedicated to the Hindu deity Krishna and is located on Ravi Road, opposite Timber Market. This temple as well as the 1,200-year-old Valmiki Mandir in Anarkali are managed by the Pakistan Hindu Council and Evacuee Trust Property Board.
Diwali and Holi celebrations take place at Krishna Mandir every year.
SHIVALA TEJA SINGH TEMPLE, SIALKOT
Shivala Teja Singh temple is a historic Hindu temple in Sialkot city and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple was built by Teja Singh, however, was sealed soon after Partition.
In 2015, local Hindu leaders urged the Pakistani government to ensure the early repairing of the crumbling building of Shawala Teja Singh Temple, but it wasn’t until recently that Prime Minister Imran Khan reopened this mandir to its devotees. Pakistan government’s Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) has chalked out a plan for the renovation and preservation of the temple with the help of Lahore-based Sir Ganga Ram Heritage Foundation. In 2019, the Pakistan government renovated and formally handed over the centuries-old Shawala Teja Singh Temple to the Pakistan Hindu Council for facilitating pilgrim visits and other rituals.
GORAKHNATH TEMPLE, PESHAWAR
Gorakhnath Temple is located in the Gorkhatri area of Peshawar. The temple is dedicated to Guru Gorakhnath, who is believed to be the founder of Kanphata Yogis, a religious order in India that worships the Hindu deity Shiva. Gorakhnath Temple was built in 1851 but was closed in 1947 before being reopened in October 2011 by Peshawar High Court, after about 60 years, because of relentless efforts by Kaka Ram, a pandit who dedicated his entire life to reviving this temple. The court’s order clearly specified that the temple had been reopened for religious purposes only.
The temple is surrounded by nine rooms on two sides, while a white structure sits in the middle and has two worshiping rooms for the deities. These two rooms are connected and have three domes. Flags of red, black, and yellow colors have also been hoisted at the front gate.
Peshawar is one of the oldest living cities of South Asia and has a number of monuments and structures from the Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh, and British eras. Along with Goraknath Temple, Kalibari Mandir, Dargah Pir Ratan Nath Jee, and Jhanda Bazaar are the oldest surviving temples in the city.
GURU BALMIK SWAMIJI’S MANDIR, RAWALPINDI
Guru Balmik Swamiji’s mandir is situated in the Chaklala Cantonment and was built in 1935. It is owned and operated by the local Hindu community. The mandir is surrounded by military camps, which have been there since the British era.
Rawalpindi is home to one of the oldest Hindu communities in the country. This city, very much like Lahore, had a number of gates, containing old bazaars and temples. Most of these temples had been abandoned or were decaying, however, the government has launched a new initiative to restore seven temples around Sujan Singh Haveli. The project will also include a complete restoration of Sujan Singh Haveli and Bhabra Food Street for which a project concept-I (PC-I) has been devised. Moreover, a century-old temple of the Hindu community near the Lal Haveli in Bhabra Bazaar that had been occupied by encroachers for decades has been recovered. The possession of the ancient worship site has been handed over to the Auqaf department, which is responsible for the upkeep and management of religious sites. This temple will be open to the Hindu community after repair work.
The incumbent government is making all efforts necessary for religious minorities to be able to practice their beliefs with utmost liberty. These efforts are in line with celebrating Pakistan’s rich cultural history as well as present values. This also goes on to show the harmony with which Pakistanis are coexisting and adding a unique flavor to the country.