Temples in Pakistan – Pakistan aims to restore 400 templesApr 24, 2019
There are hundreds of ancient temples in India that are regarded very powerful. Being a predominantly Hindu country, temples are seldom seen deserted as people throng to temples to stand in the presence of not just their favourite deity but also amidst marvels of architecture. However, India is not the only country that is home to antique temples. Many other countries like Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan are home to such temples as well. Today, not many of these are as well-known as Indian temples.
Particularly in the case of Pakistan, it is always assumed that since Pakistan is a country with majority of Muslim population, there is little to discuss about temples in the country. This is not true. Although India and Pakistan became two separate countries over 70 years ago, the common history that India and Pakistan share predates that by many centuries. A large part of the Indus valley civilisation and many other ancient civilisations were spread over India and Pakistan together. Therefore, it is natural for many temples to have been located in Pakistan as well.
There were over 428 temples in Pakistan, out of which only around 10 are currently functioning. The rest have been converted into shops, restaurants, offices, schools, etc. The Pakistan government has recently announced that it will restore these ancient temples.
Before reading about that, let us look at some important temples in Pakistan.
Hinglaj Mata Mandir
This temple is a ‘Shakti Peetha’ of goddess Sati. This ancient cave temple is located on the banks of the Hingol River in the district of Balochistan.
Panchamukhi Hanuman Mandir
This is said to be one of the oldest Hindu temples in Pakistan. This temple is located in Soldier Bazaar and is especially significant as the Hanuman idol is one of the only ones in the world that occurred naturally.
This is a pilgrimage site that has many temple linked through a walkway and is an important temple for Hindus. The Katasraj pond is believed to have formed due to the tears of Lord Shiva when his beloved wife Sati died.
This is one of the ancient temples of Lord Jagannath and is said to have been of prime importance before the partition of India and Pakistan. It is in a dilapidated state today due to poor maintenance. This beautiful temple is located in Silakot.
Sun Temple of Multan
This is a temple that is said to be more than 5000 years old! This is a temple that is dedicated to the sun-god and is said to have been the main temple for a group of Hindus who worshipped the sun. Legend has it that this temple was built by Lord Krishna’s son, Samba.
This is a temple dedicated to Guru Gorakhnath. The temple is said to have been built in the 1850s. This is located in the Gorkhatri area of Peshawar.
Plan to restore 400 temples
As majority of the temples in Pakistan are in a dilapidated and ruined state, the Pakistan government made an announcement recently that it will restore these temples in multiple phases. This is a welcome move that is sure to provide relief to the Hindu minority living in Pakistan.
The government, led by Imran Khan, has said that this is a step in the direction of improving social harmony and peace. The government has also agreed to open the Karatarpur Sahib corridor for Indians to visit the birthplace of Guru Nanak. Pakistan is also currently discussing ways to let Pakistani Hindus visit the Sharda Peeth in Pakistan occupied Kashmir.