Traveling through Pakistan – The Katas Raj Temple

Pakistan is much more than a bunch of bloodthirsty terrorists and corrupt politicians. Its really an amazing world which is yet to find its tourist potential. Pity that no government here has been able to grasp the wonders of this unexplored tourist paradise, with so many wonderful things that exist here to be seen and “exploited” (in a good sense of the word).
The country is losing so many opportunities to attract millions of tourists each year, because the government do not invest in advertising and even less adequately preserve the cultural richness of the land.
You can count on fingers the very few souls who visit Pakistan as tourists, in comparison to what it could have been!



by Mishal Zohaib


Mishal Zohaib is the young lady married, to her Pakistani husband. She also edits her blog (

Recently Mishal wrote a beautiful piece on a beautiful though neglected heritage site of Pakistan. She has written it in her mother tongue, which I understand is Portuguese. A machine translation of the post is available on her webpage, but as usual with all such translations, this one too is not so coherent as it should have been. But in any case the piece does reflect the writer’s feelings and observations on a  beautiful, paradise like heritage site of Pakistan. Mishal writes:

My project to know at least the major tourist sites in Pakistan is going steady and strong, thanks to my good God.

And by the way, I think it’s the gross negligence on part of the Pakistani people who live in a great country, a country that has much to offer. So much culture, so much history to be explored and so many magnificent places to see, yet they simply lose the opportunity to experience things so cool, by pure laziness perhaps. This happens a lot, in Brazil as well and the common excuse, eh its expensive and such bla bla bla but it doesn’t hold in case of Pakistan, because at least here, in Pakistan travelling the country is well accessible and economical.

And also those who come to Pakistan but limit themselves to just staying in the big cities and do not venture to travel in the countryside which is in many ways more fascinating than the Pakistani metro centres. They do not know what they are losing by not exploring the Pakistani countryside, a unique experience in its own sense.

Believe me, Pakistan is much more than a bunch of bloodthirsty terrorists and corrupt politicians. I won’t tire of saying that its really an amazing world which is yet to find its tourist potential. Pity that no government here has been able to grasp the wonders of this unexplored tourist paradise, with so many wonderful things that exist here to be seen and “exploited” (in a good sense of the word). They are losing so many opportunities to attract millions of tourists each year, because the government do not invest in advertising and even less adequately preserve the cultural richness of the land. You can count on fingers the very few souls who visit Pakistan as tourists, in comparison to what it could have been. What a pity!

In my case, am damn lucky because my hubby is just like me, an adventurous spirit and adoooora embroiled into the unknown. Also has passion for photography, just like me (though both are totally amateur in the art lol, photographers wannabe, you know?)

Since then, the latest item of sighting that got scratched on my list, was the Katas Raj Temple , which I already knew from pictures.

Small temple dedicated to celebrate the marriages. According to the guide, 10 weddings were held here at the same time in this tiny room, imagine?!

The Katas Raj is a complex of Hindu temples (ruins) dedicated to the god Shiva. The architecture is most “recent” dating back to just 900 years.  But the history of the place is much more ancient, dating from the sixth century AD. It is located in the Village of Katas in Chakwal District, Punjab, at about 1:30 pm (by car) from Islamabad up to the site. Know the whole story HERE .

The place is simply wowOwow!

Once we arrived, they all surrounded eh, but open to visitation, a very nice guide who speaks fluent English (to my happiness hehe), welcomed us and guided us (derrr) telling us in great detail the whole history of each construction and also the legends and trivia about the place. The damned even praised me and whispered furtively at one point he said something about a painting of a ceiling which was very beautiful and amended with a “just like you “lol … lol

At each step of a discovery and a “waoooooo.

We climb the stairs of the building, exploring, traveling in time, photographing, watching and absorbing that entire history lesson.

But to me, the apex of the visit was when I saw the famous natural pool, which according to legend, was formed with the tears of Lord Shiva on the occasion of the death of his wife. The depth of the pool eh still a mystery, but the guide told us something about 300 feet (+ or – 91 meters = O). MEDOOOO!

Folks, really, my heart sped up and I just could not believe my eyes. I have never seen anything like it in my life.

I know eh blue sea, there are many wonderful blue lakes on the planet, in caves and bla bla bla, but equal to it, never seen anything like it. Maybe because it’s surrounded by all these ruins, which give a tone of arid landscape and the deep turquoise pool breaks all this homogeneity and adds a touch of color to the scene, very unusual, you say in passing a eh sight for sore eyes. Always suspected that it was “fotoxopis” all that “azulidao” lol, but no, EH REAL, or better, SURREAL! Divine, gorgeous, wonderful!

Of course we took pictures from all angles, as you can see them here.

We ended the visit on the main and biggest temple, which sits on the highest point of the complex. The guide charged us 100 rupees for his work fantastic. Even if it were more, we would pay happily and with gusto.

The only ones “However,” eh who like everything here in Pakistan, the site is not properly preserved by the authorities and has already been ransacked by vandals and therefore, in urgent need of preservation and renovation. The project is at the risk of losing much of its legacy of amazing providence in a short time if not taken care of. Also missed the signposts with the description of each monument, and last, the visitors themselves with the terrible and abominable habit of littering everywhere. I swear that I want to beat afffff!

Oh, and when we were leaving the area, already outside, I saw four tourists arriving, four guys very gateenhos hehe by the way, that appeared to be European or American, I know it. All very beautiful and had gist of backpackers, although it was kind of a Beebe, huummm Hum. But anyway, eh funny to see tourists here, as they are rare, that I’m not Pakistani, I’m happy: P

Anyway, it was my most incredible ride across Pakistan and I came back with renewed energy with these fantastic images pasted in the retina:). Unforgettable! And am back to Islamabad, but will be coming back more often inshallah and explore things more thoroughly. Even the next time, my husband wants to take the guitar to make several videos of him singing and playing hehe. Stay tuned: P

To complete, I could not fail to register that same day (last Sunday – 06/03) also visited a nice park in Rawalpindi which have (forgotten the name of the blessed afffff), which in truth is a huge entertainment complex and very beautiful, with amusement park, lake, zoo, pedal boat, museum, restaurants, shops, area for camping and hiking, etc. .. rs ufaaa

Then we went to dinner at a new restaurant in Islamabad  and very cool, with warm and elegant at the same time, the Amelia, where we experience as input, Amelia Special Salad , one of the most delicious things I’ve ever had in life, do not have words to explain as much as good eh. A mix unusual  sweet and salty fruit (grapes, peaches, cherries, mango, liter) plus nuts, raisins, chicken breast, mayonnaise and some other extra creamy liquid which gives a pink color and sweet flavor to the dish, which is not recognized. Eh ajoalhada to eat, I swear Oh, as a main dish, the Karahi Chicken + Naan and raita (yogurt), all delicious too:)

For those who come to Islo, note the address there because that is very worthwhile.

And to close with a flourish this wonderful day, we passed quickly in a Mini Golf (another entertainment complex) that sits in Bahria Town (one of the noblest districts of Islo) with the intention to give a roll-kart, but very “expensive” and give up. So we proceeded to the Jungle Cafe, to the foot of the Margalla Hills (hills surrounding Islamabad) for a session of sheesha (just for my husband, not me lol) and of course, a delicious coffee, all outdoors and pure, a chill delicious and the best company in the world, that the purpose was in romantic mood TURBO mode on hehe;). Just Perfect!

And that folks, eh for these and other reasons I do not tire of saying, COME TO VISIT PAKISTAN (come visit Pakistan!). This has even turned my stick .. Alias, and who could give me a job as Minister of Tourism neh, aloka hihihi

Now, enough of bla bla bla and enjoy the pics!

As always, click the individual image  to view in full size.

Related Article 

KATAS – A Paradise Lost and a Paradise Regained!


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33 replies to “Traveling through Pakistan – The Katas Raj Temple

    1. Barring the very few Islamo-fanatics, some created by our Big brother and others who sprung up due to amateurish as well as immature politics of our mainstream leaders on the left and the right side of the spectrum, by and large we Pakistanis love our heritage, be it of Muslim, Hindu or Sikh origin. Katas Raj is one such heritage. A few years ago there was though a lot of enthusiasm to renovate this marvelous piece of historical magnitude, but from what I gather from Mishal Zohaib’s updating on the subject, things do not seem to have moved in the direction they should have moved. I do intend to visit this place sometimes in the very near future to further update our readers on the latest of Katas Raj and its resurrection / rehabilitation.

  1. A beautiful piece indeed, with description like a woman can only do, also with
    tongue in cheek.
    I will also give Mrs. Zohaib [and Mr. also if it is his handiwork] a certificate of good photography, much above the pass marks.
    To her question why Pakistanis don’t visit such places much, I venture to say that one big reason is lack of information. I have visited Chakwal atleast a dozen times in various years but did no know of it.
    Of course I saw Takhat-e-Babri, near Choha Saidan Shah, and naturally Khewra salt mines etc. couple of times but did not know of Katas.Will do it now sometime, thanks to Mishal [wonder what the name means, if it does! May be it is Mashal which means an old lightening device]

    1. Thanks Refique Bhai for your visit and your appreciative comments on Mishal Zohaib’s post on Katas Raj.

      Though I did have the chance to read your frequent emails on Jeddy’s email circle, its but for the first time that you are here and I really feel honoured.

      While I write these lines, am also sending your comments directly to Mishal Zohaib and I do hope she will respond to you with her appropriate comments [as she may deem desirable].

  2. Hello everyone =)
    I`m Mishal Zohaib and I got really surprised and glad with the email of Bhai Dr. Nayyar telling me about his appreciation of my humble n modest post n even more surprised with his re-blogging of the post in English here…I would never imagine that my post would reach such level of appreciation by Pakistanis. Actually I wrote this piece in Portuguese and sometimes using some local language “slangs” that only our people can understand and there is no translation for that
    I’m really sorry for that…Next time I`ll care more about these small details, then one can have a better translation.
    Khalid Rafique – your comment really made my day..Thanx a lot…And am glad that because of this post u came to know about such a wonderful place…Its really worth a visit
    And thanx for everyone’s comments here as well..

  3. As it so happens yesterday I visited Katas Raj temples with a few friends. It was my first visit to the Kahoon Valley in which the Katas Raj site is located. We too had the privilege of a guided tour of the complete complex through the services of a knowledgeable guide who loved practicing his English on us. In all fairness the guide was good.
    The famous pool which is the centre piece of the Katas site is almost dry. And a large donkey pump was chugging away, draining the pond of what little water is left. I am told this has happened within the last one or two years. Today the pool is a dirty pit filled with heavy weeds and some water. We were informed by our guide that the culprit for this disaster is the Bestway Cement plant which has sunk a number of large tube wells not far from the Katas site and they seem to be draining the aquifer.
    The condition of the actual temples, and there are a number of them, is pathetic. They have, I believed, been vandalized over the years and are in a state of total disrepair. Restoration is not the right word but whatever the authorities have done in terms of reconstruction is thoughtless and crude.
    I hope some international heritage organisation takes note of this state of affairs and takes over Katas Raj for proper restoration which this ancient site deserves, because it is beyond us to restore Takas Raj. The temples can be restored but the pool I believe will vanished forever. Very sad.

    1. Mahmud, I perfectly agree with you. Kahoon is a landscape that is not stark or dramatic. Its soft and languorous, done in soft colors, painted with a light brush by the Lord of Creation in happy and gentle mood. No exaggeration!

      Travel through the valley and a Hindu will believe that this indeed was the place where Lord Shiva shed tear. A pagan will believe that when the world was young the gods walked through the large amphitheatre formed by the hills. A Christian will believe that when God created the whole world in six days, on the seventh, the Sabbath, He rested from His labor in the valley. While a Muslim will need little convincing from Mullah that if there is a paradise on earth, this is it.

      Alas, all this now is a matter of the past. This valley of gods is prey to a brutal exploitation by the cement industry which is spewing forth smoke, dust and most polluting noxious gases in the atmosphere. But above all is the valley itself that is truning into a monstrous debris of which our futtre generations will see only as a vast accumulation of waste and a fully deformed landscape.

      I agree withyou you that the locals as well as foreign individuals / bodies who recognise importance of this heritage, should join hands to protect whatever is left of this once magnificient site.
      In this regard, please do go through our next post which touches this very aspect of plunder and greed in Kahoon.

  4. Thanks for this great piece and these photos! I love living in and touring Pakistan – I agree that it has more potential than even Pakistanis give it credit for.

  5. if i go to temple in the early morning around 6 A.M…so i can go in or not…there is any timing for the temple

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