HISTORY OF FORT RAJ KATAS:
"According to Hindu religious scriptures, both Katas and Pushkar, near Ajmer in
Rajasthan, are the eyes of Shiva. After Guru Nanak visited the place, Katas came to be
known as Nanaknawas and was a site of contemplation for many groups of mystics and
Katas raj temple is a Hindu temple situated in Chakwal district of Punjab in
Pakistan. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the temple has existed since the days of
Mahabharata and the Pandava brothers spent a substantial part of their exile at
the site. Pakistan Government is considering nominating the temple complex for
World Heritage Site status. It also proposes to spend about R.s 20 million in
three phases for the restoration of the complex
History of Katas: Shiva’s valley
The Katas site houses the Satgraha, a group of seven ancient temples, remains of a
Buddhist stupa, a few medieval temples, havelis (means old but wide and huge
compounded houses we saw and few took risk to climb on top of shivering roof, and
some recently constructed temples, scattered around a pond considered holy by Hindus.
Most of the temples, located some 40 km from the modern city of Chakwal in Pakistan’s
Punjab, were built during the reign of Hindu kings. These several temples were built
around 900 years ago or more. Although, the earliest of the Katas Raj temples dates back
to the latter half of the 6th century AD.
The temples at Katas are mostly constructed on square platforms. The elevation of the
sub shrines seems to form a series of cornices with small rows of pillars, crowned by a
The Ram Chandra temple 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 temple has two Jharokas (balconies) that have been severely damaged.
The Hanuman temple 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.
Katas Raj temple complex is believed to date back to the Mahabharata era. There are
stories about the Pandavas spending time there during their long exile. The lake in the
complex is believed to have magical powers and supposed to be where Yudhishtir
defeated the Yaksha with his wisdom to bring his brothers back to life.
The mention of Katas Raj, located in the salt range 18 miles south of Chakwal, is found
in Maha Bharat written in 300 BC. The etymology of this place as narrated in the old
edition of Tarikh-i-Jhelum (History of Jhelum) is that according to Brahaman belief,
Shiv Devta wept so profusely on the death of his beloved wife Satti that two holy ponds
- one at Pushkar of Ajmair and other at Katak Shell - came into being with his tears. In
Sanskrit, the word - Katak Shell - means chain of tears which later on was pronounced as
According to Gen Cunningham, Katas was considered the second largest holy place in
Punjab for Hindu pilgrims after Jawala Mukhi. It is said famous Pando brothers spent
12 years in Katas and built the temples of Satghara. It is said Al-Beruni also spent some
time at Katas to learn Sanskrit in a linguistic university which, at that time, was
established here. Temples at Katas have been transferred from the federal government to
the Punjab Archaeology Department recently.
Katas Raj is also the place where Alberuni attempted to measure the circumference of
the Earth, studied Sanskrit and wrote his renowned Kitab-ul-Hind (Book of Hind) which
depicted the religion, scientific knowledge, and social customs of Hindus. Paras Nath
Jogi drew his last breath on Katas. Jagat Guru Nanak Ji also visited the place on the 1st
of Visakh. Katas came to be known as Nanaknawas and was a site of contemplation for
many large groups of mystics, ascetics and jogis. According to Hindu beliefs, taking bath
in the holy pond at the site washes away all sins and makes man innocent.
Khewra Salt mines is situated in the salt range which is about 260km long, 16 km wide and have an
altitude of 900metere. The mine is located in tehsil Pind Dadan Khan at a distance of 299 kms from
Islamabad via Lahore- Islamabad Motorway and 240km from Lahore via same route.
Mining rock salt from Khewra area is being carried out prior to the time, Alexander came to this area 327
The mines were developed on scientific lines by a British Mining Engineer, Dr. Warth in 1872. Many
improvements were later made in the working and transportation system. Mining of salt being carried out by
“ Room and Pillar Method”. The mine has 17 levels, total length of tunnels at all the level inside the
mountain is over 100kms. Mine produces about 350,000 tons salt per annum.
Based on the salt reserves of Khewra Salt Mines, Imperial Chemical Industries of UK (ICI) established a soda
Ash plant at Khewra in 1938. major part if total production of salt from Khewra sold to other industrial
users/ salt dealers for edible purposes. Sleeted rock salt is so pure that it is edible with out any
purification/ Processing. PMDC is now is a position to export large quantity of salt to other countries.
Decoration pieces e.g. Lamps, Vases, Ashtrays, Statue etc made from Khewra rock salt and is very popular in
The main tunnel at ground level developed by Dr. Warth in 1872 has been converted into a tourist resort.
Thousands of tourist visit the Khewra mine each year to see the Nature’ Beauty inside a mountain. PMDC
launched Khewra salt mines tourist resort development project in feb 2002. first phase of the project has
been completed at a cost of PKR 4.2 million. Second phase has already been launched at a cost of PKR 3
million. This project is being financed out of PMDC’s own resources.
During the 1st
phase, PMDC has set up a well furnished reception office with multifarious facilities for the
visitors. A souvenir shop has also been opened in the reception area where a tourist can find table lamps,
and other decorative articles made of rock salt. Parking has been improved and the walk –way to the mine
has been paved.
Walkways inside the mine have been leveled, widened and illuminated. Special areas of interest i.e. salt
mosque, assemble hall and salt places have been illuminate and given a glittering look. Mini electric train
and the track have also been improved. Refreshment corner inside the mine with seating arrangements has
also been created inside the mine,
Establishment of Asthma Clinic:
PMDC also plans to establish an asthma clinic.
PMDC also plans to establish a museum of salt range at Khewra things of geological, archaeological and
historical nature would be exhibited.
A large chamber having walls, roof and floor of rock is called “Assembly Hall”. The height of salt walls is
over 200 feet. Hot air balloon made of paper is flown inside the hall to show the height of the hall. The hall
is unbelievable high as been illuminated and is a real wonder.
There are certain chambers which are filled with saturated salt brine. These ponds are also of great interest
to visitors. PMDC plans to illuminate these ponds and use these ponds for water sports.
In this area beautiful arches have been carved in the
transparent salt. Different chambers are connected with the salt bridges. Wall of transparent salt, when
illuminated with lights show a beautiful scene. There are water ponds inside the shish Mahal. These ponds,
roof, and the walls have been tastefully illuminated the area fascinates the tourist.
The Chagi Hill:
It take 70 years to make this hill in mine, the saturated
brine drop by drop dripped and then this hill is made
after 70 years. Previously it was named as shimla
pahari but after the neculiar power experiment in
Chagi hill, it name also changed to Chagi Hill
Illumination of Mine /Ponds and
Establishment of Musical Fountain
PMDC plans to further illuminate parts of interest inside the mine and water pounds. It also plans to install
a musical function.
Mini train pulled by an electric engine takes visitors from mine. Mouth to the visiting area through a 1 km
long tunnel. This train has been renovated and improved
A beautiful mosque made of salt bricks has been constructed. Hollow walls of salt bricks when lighted given
a beautiful look.
Stalactite & Stalagmite:
Grapes like structure and hanging salt tubes formed by the dripping of saturated saltish water from roof of
the chamber can be seen on the way.