Satghara-Katas, Chakwal District, Pakistan

Katas, 18 September 2006 – Saadullah Bashir

15 November 2011.A Documentary on Katas Raj in Chakwal, Pakistan

Yesterday, I made a trip to Satghara-Katas (pronounced Kataas) with friends/photographers, Saadullah Bashir and Jim Stipe. Detailed and reliable information about the place is hard to come by, but I have transcribed below the brief outline provided by the Department of Archaeology, Punjab. If the account sounds clumsy, incredible, and obsessed with Al-Baruni instead of saying more about the place itself, please forbear.

The photographs were taken by Saadullah Bashir with a Nikon D50 and primarily depict various aspects and details of the Shiv temple complex dating back to circa 6th 10th century AD, and a fortified haveli built by Sardar Hari Singh Nalwa in the early 19th century.

The information is evidently patchy and probably inaccurate. I will try to fill in the gaps and make the descriptions coherent as I find out more, but the images above are worth watching even now and do speak for themselves.

The Hindu sacred place “Katas” is located in the salt range at a distance of 18 miles in the south of Chakwal. The mention of Katas is found in “Maha Bharat” which was written in 300 BC. The etymology of this place as narrated in the old edition of “Tarikh-e-Jhelum” is that according to Brahaman’s 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 “Katas”. According to Gen. Cunningham, Katas was considered the second largest holy place in Punjab for Hindu pilgrims after the Jawala Mukhi. It is said that famous Pando brothers spent 12 years in Katas and built the temples of Satghara.

It is said that Al-Baruni also spent some period at Katas to learn Sanskrit in a linguistic university which, at that time, was established here. During his stay at Katas and Nandana Fort, Al-Baruni wrote a famous book “Kitab-ul-Hind” which depicted the religion, scientific knowledge, and social customs of Hindus. A prominent scholar Panikar stated that this book as a study of foreign civilization and culture not only touched the peaks of Muslim scholarship, but also due to impartial analyses it is a high ranked literary composition. Al-Baruni during his stay at Katas not only learned Sanskrit but also performed various geographic experiments and eventually succeeded in discovering the radius of the earth.&#151Department for Preservation of Historical Sites, Punjab

Postscript

In light of some online resources, we have made a few corrections above and furnished the pictures with brief descriptions where possible. They have been quoted below and links to the original pages are provided at the end of each article.

[An]… official document prepared by the district government of Chakwal (Pakistan) tells an interesting story about nearby Katas Raj, where a Shiv temple and other historical monuments are located. Katas was earlier the name of a sacred spring which is believed to have been created by a stream of tears that flowed from Lord Shiva’s eyes following the death of his wife.

In fact, two streams of tears flowed. The other holy lake was created at Pushkar in Rajasthan.

There was an important university housed at Katas in which the education of Sanskrit was imparted. There are seven temples in the east of the sacred spring.

These temples, it is believed, were constructed by the Pandavas. Efforts are being made to restore and renovate these temples. There are also cave-type structures near the temples which, it is believed, were used for meditation purposes.

At a short distance from the temple, there is also the haveli of Hari Singh Nalwa, who used to be a General in the Army of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.&#151The Tribune

Katas is a very sacred place for the Hindus. It is located on a hill six kilometers from Choasaidan Shah of Chakwal district. The place is mentioned in Mahabharata and according to Hindu religious belief, both Katas and the Paskar (Ajmer) are the eyes of Shiva. Paras Nath Jogi breathed his last here. Jagat Guru Nanak Ji also visited Katas and had set his foot here on the 1st of Visakh. This place came to be known as Nanaknawas. It was the abode of contemplation for larger groups of mystics, ascetics and Jogies. In the absence of proper markings or sign boards it is difficult to separate one place from the other.

It has great historical significance because it was the place where Al-Beruni attempted to measure the circumference of Earth, studied and learnt Sanskrit, wrote his renowned “Kitab-ul-Hind”. Even today groups of Hindu pilgrims come from India to visit it regularly to worship.

These historical sites are gradually withering away due to the neglect by the government.&#151All About Sikhs

Katas Raj project for approval

By Intikhab Hanif

LAHORE, Sept 10 [2006]: The Punjab Archaeology Department is submitting a Rs108.170 million project for the conservation of Katas Raj, the second most sacred Hindu religious place after Banaras, before the provincial development working party for approval on Monday (today).

The project was announced upon the visit of BJP leader L K Advani to Katas Raj in June last year. Accompanied by his family and PML president Chaudhry Shujaat Husain, Mr Advani had laid the foundation stone of the conservation work at the temple complex.

He was the first Indian political personality to visit the Satghrrah temples complex, situated on a hill six kilometers from Choa Saidan Shah in Chakwal district.

The semi-ruined seven ancient temples on the hill belong to the 6th century Hindu Shahi period. And they are the first to be conserved after the creation of Pakistan.

Sources said on Sunday that the plan, which was likely to be approved by the PDWP, included conservation of ancient temples and other surrounding structures, construction of a VIP guest house, staff residences and a reception block. It also included fencing of the temple complex and development of its lake called Amrat Kund, the sacred pool.

Besides restoring its status as a living Hindu worship place, the government also intends to develop it as an attraction for local and foreign tourists, they said, adding the project was scheduled to be completed by 2009.

The officials said at present the temples were in a dilapidated condition and no facility was available for local and foreign tourists whose flow too was limited because of the same reason.

The government hoped that after the completion of the project, the flow of Hindu pilgrims from India and other parts of the world would increase, besides attracting a large number of local and foreign tourists.

This would also lead to the development of the remote Salt Range area, providing direct and indirect jobs to its people, they said.

They said the project had been designed following a survey conducted jointly by the Punjab Archaeology Department and Indian archaeology department chief P K Punacha who had visited Pakistan for the purpose last year.

The Punjab government was providing funds for the project that would be completed jointly by its archaeology, building and housing and engineering departments.—Dawn

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24 thoughts on “Satghara-Katas, Chakwal District, Pakistan

  1. Raabya Amjad

    Dear Taimur,

    The photography is indeed very good. Is this place the same as Katas Raj? I visited Katas Raj last year and have taken a few photos but there is no similarity between my photos and these, although Katas Raj is also located in Choa Saidan Shah in Chakwal.

    Best

    Reply
  2. Santosh

    Hi Taimur,

    Thanks for the great pictures of Katas Raj. Even though its primarily an Islamic nation, Indonesia has done an excellent job at the sites of the temples at Prambanan & Borobudur. If Pakistan can do the same, it will not only generate a lot of jobs & benefits for economy but also a lot of goodwill of Hindus all over the world.

    BTW I googled in through a search on Ghalib and I am still discovering the hidden gems of your fantastic web site.

    Best rgds.

    Reply
  3. Vanit Nalwa

    I wish the Alifbepe team a very happy 2007. Your website promotes the best human beings have to offer – music, art and literature. Keep up the good work. Vanit Nalwa, New Delhi

    Reply
  4. hemant khanna

    Pictures are wonderful indeed our civilzation is very old and full of knowledge , it is the proof we had the first global universities teaching the real meaning of LIFE (TAXILA) far more advanced than todays western institutions like HAWARD and OXFORD , SHIV MEANS there is only one GOD, PURE ENERGY , NOOR-E-ELLAHI , that is why it is has no FORM, SHAPE OR GENDER it called SHIVLING which means it is neither a man nor a woman , it neither takes birth nor it dies it is forever.

    Reply
  5. Shahid Nadeem

    The Historical City of Chakwal

    Katas Raj

    It is located in the middle of salt range mountains 18 miles away from Chakwal city. The epic poem Maha-Bharat, written circa 300BC contains its references. The area is now known as Makhial. In olden days the place was called Kot Cheena where an annual festival was held in March-April where the pilgrimage performed holy bath in the waters of a pond called Katak-Shail or Ketaksha (flowing- tears or raining eyes) filled by the Lord Shev’s left eye and water filled in a pond called Pushkar or Pokhar at Ajmair (now in India) from Lord Shev’s right eye, as a result of the death of his wife Sati, daughter of Dikshia.

    The word Katak-Shail later on changed into Katsha or Kataksha and now Katas. This pond is locate 200 feet above sea level near Ganian rain / spring water way where its water was merged through a 122 feet long under ground water tunnel-way which was used for irrigation. The wall around the front of pond was built by Raja Pataik or Pattak who was a minister of some Dehli King; the wall is 2.5 feet thick and 19 feet high to protect water and its surrounding dilapidated buildings. Near Ganian water stream there are two hills about 200 feet high. On the southern hills the ruins of old town Kotera , now called Sadhu-Ka-Ghar (Sadhu’s house) was found. Here we also find ruins of Sat-Gharra Mandir (temple) which is considered to be the oldest temple of all. The famous Pandu brothers spent few of their 12-14 years here. Gen Cunningham cited some stupas (Buddhist’s temples) or some more mandirs (Hindu temples) here which were destroyed by the vagaries of weather and one can not forget the torrential rains of September 1948 which destroyed the local geo-contours.

    In recent days Pandit Mohan Lal from India, visited the place in November 1983 and cited the name of Lord Shankar or Lord Shev Maharaj for calling the place as Kay-TaiKash Raj “King of Snakes”. According to him the Lord Shankar, the King of Snakes, was born here which is why the Katas waters are found with snakes but un-harmful to anyone. The famous question-answer debate / discourse between Pandus elder brother Yaksha and local spiritual leaders, was also held at the same pond which is mentioned in the Maha Baharta epic poem.

    There is another reference given by in the travelogue of famous Chinese traveler Chinese traveler Hiuen Tsang, he visited the area circa 630 AD. The kingdom was spread over the period of circa 3500 years or so. On its west was Indus River, in the south there was a huge 200 feet high Stupa of the times of Ashoke Mahraja and here were 10 interconnected clean water ponds with fish. There were plenty of fruit tress whose shadows were reflected in those clean waters. He also mentioned that there was a place where the young called Sarman and the elder called Bkakshu, all semi nude, gathered for worship whose manners and out looks were akin to Buddhists except they were in white colour when dressed and were also keeping back head tied hair like Buddhists.

    Dr Stein who visited the area in 1889 perceived that Chinese traveler Hiuen Tsang cited place is today where Katas Temples are located. His letter of the accounts were published in the 4th volume of Voyaba Oriental general in 1890 which mentioned that there were a hill named Mortee where idols and scripted stone arks were found which were later on used in the construction of the then new bridge of Choa-saiden-Shah (as ordered by the Assistant Commissioner of Choa Saoden Shah……and what a pity…!) The hill was located almost where the Chinese traveler Hiuen Tsang visited the valley cited the location of worshippers etc. From here the archeological material was transported to Lahore on 30-camels back. The distance of present Katas and the Moortee hill is about 7 miles where ruins of a stupa are still seen in the shape of small debris. So Sangapura city of Chinese traveler Hiuen Tsang belonging to Jain religion was in the north of present Katas in the times of Raja Pattak who left the kingdom before Raj Mal. Raja Pattak is the same person buried near Arra village in Jhangar area, the grave is known as Pir Pattak a non Muslim respected saint still accepted by localites for offering holy visits.

    The present area distribution of Didtrict Chakwal included Dhan, Jhangar, Kahun & Nahar and Awan Karee were part of Sangapura Kingdom in 7th century AD and its capital was located 117 miles (700-lee Chinese miles) in the south-east of Taxila. In the north of capital city was Taxila , in the east was Indus river, in the south was river Jhelum. The Sanagpura Kingdom was spread in the radius of 250 square miles. There was a university almost equal to the status of Taxila University. The university was called Shakuntalla University where students from Buddhism, Jainism and Hinduism from Far East and Near-East used to study here. There were three old routs and highways existed centuries back which now includes following present cities.
    1. Kabeer-highway started from present Attock and passing through Talagang, Bharpur Kalan appering in the plains of kalu and connecting Bhaira highway at junction of Kalar kahar.
    2. Second highway connected Chappar-Basharat and fort Nandna with Kalar Kahar
    3. Third highway linked Chappar to Phdial, Padhari and Baran Garan traveling down onwards
    4. Forth connected Kalar kahar to Bhira, Pindi Bhattian, Lahore and Delhi cities of recent times.
    During the spread of population when the Dhan water got settled through “Ghori-Gala” this part of South Asia was ruled by the King Sher-Shah-Suri who regulated the road communication system of area including today’s Mandra-Chakwal road, Chakwal Khushab road, Chakwal Pindi road, Chakwal Mianwali road, Chakwal Jhelum road and Chakwal Pind Dadan Khan Road. The road communication system of that time linked the old Bhon market to Pushawatee, Taxila, Bhaira, Chinniot, Lahore and Delhi cities of recent times

    Malot Temples

    The Malot temples, built of local red sand stones of salt range mountains, are located located on the road leading to Malot village near Choi village. The road is linked with main Kalar kahar road from where it turns from Karuli Chawk towards Malot via Pakistan cement factory and Choi village along with coal mines. It is nine miles away in the south of Katas and same distance from Kalar kahar in the east. It is at the height of 3000 feet and the original spread of the fort was 2000 feet from east to west and 1500 feet from north to south. The inner most spread is 1000 by 500 feet. Gen Cunningham estimated the radius of 2.5 miles.

    The Malot was also called Namrod and Ramrod. Gen Abbot has mentioned its name as Shah Garh or Shai Garh but Janjuas name d it Raj Garh. The name is after the King of MalDev or Malu. The Rajput history claims its name Malot from the word Malik-Kot as they believed that the title of Malik was given to the one who accepted annexation to the Muslim King of Delhi although in reward the Malik enjoyed the autonomous status with full sovereignty in the assigned area. The Mughal King Babur’s travelogue “Tuzkai-Babree” attests to the corollary of Malik-Kot, Mal-Kot and then Malot. According to Ghadholak Rajput archives the city of Delhi was built around 994 AD and Malot was built around 980 AD. Gen Cunningham found the Malot Fort and Temples in a very bad shape even in 1848.

    The two present temples were looked after by the Brahman Bali Hindus till 1947. The Guru of Bali Hindus, Guru Tarlok Nath shrines were frequently visited by them. In the year 1527 Daulat khan Lodhi was forced by the royal forces of Mughal king Babur, to surrender. Mahan Singh, father of Maharaja Rangeet singh, also built a small fort here at Malot in early 19th century.

    Shev or Sab Ganga
    Near Dalwal (where a cement factory is located) in the east of Malot at 3 miles distances in the east the Buddhist temples are located at Sab-Ganga. It is made of red sand stone with triglyph arches and pyramedical moldings and on them animal’s pictures are carved. Near by, a potable water channel is flowing since centuries passing through a pond resembling to Katas pond. Major Abbot mentioned about a head of a statue resembling to Alexander. There is another temple located near a small pond along with some residential buildings which might have been used by the pilgrimages. This place is scenic and shady fruit trees are found. Now this place is called Malkana ocated 3 miles away to Maghal bus stand. The access is through an un-mettle road where trucks loaded with coal pass by.
    Pir Kadh
    The parable is linked with Shar Shah Suri and Mughal King Babur. The story goes saying that the area of Dhan, central Chakwal valley, was filled with water with unknown depth. The king during his second visit to the local area thought of the water but had no idea how to know the depth and disposal of water. He found that most of the area of recent Chakwal was covered by water. He thought to make way to run water but he had no idea where to start and surprised as how deep could be that water. A volunteer in his army offered a plan. He took a spear in his hand and got himself submerged into the water riding his horse. As he went further into the water he began to lift his spear so that the King might get the idea of the deepness of water. He was completely drowned in the water and couldn’t be found thence. But King had now a better plan. He ordered his men to cut off a big piece of mountain in the southwest of Chakwal. Hence the water was driven out of Chakwal. About 7000 men under the leadership of Sheikh Qutub uddin Paracha worked day and night to complete the task of pulling water from the central valley of Chakwal. while sitting at the peak of Diljabba mountainous valley the King saw 84 hurricane lantern held by the sons of Kangra, Jamun, Rampur Rayyasi and Pathankot areas, on seeing them the king was mesmerized by the sight and ordered establishment of 84 villages by allocating land to each. That place where the mountain was chiseled is known as “Ghodi Gala” even today, named after the volunteer who drowned alongwith his horse. This place is in “Peer Kaddah” located near the villages of Nochindee, Pindi-Gujran and Dharuggi- Rajgan falling under union council Mulhal Mughlan headed by Raja Arshad Mehmood, a young man making headway in local politics. Then King ordered to populate this area with eighty four (84) villages, that’s why this part of central Chakwal is also known as “Dhann 84″ or Dhanni. Today there are 172 villages in lieu of 84 due to population spread in last 450 years after spread of water through “Ghori-Gala”.
    Sasi-Da-Kalra
    The village of Sha Wali mohammad is located in the North West of Chakwal. In the south of this village, today called Shah Mohammadi, about 3 miles away an old temple is located on a small mountain about 100 feet above sea level which is commonly called Kalar or sassi-Da-Kallara. The temple is made of bricks of the size 17.5 “long, 10.5” wide and 2” thick. The temple is located towards east. According to Jhelum district gazetteer 1884, a coin was found pertaining to Venka Deva age belonging to 8th century AD. The hill top is wide piece of land where ruins and dwindling graves are located here and there. According to Gen Cunningham the temples might had been built around 800-950 Ad as these resembled to Amb Temples located about 50 km in the south of this temple. All these temples pertain to Kashmirian architecture which is now also called Hindu-Shahia architecture.

    Monda Kariala Mound
    This mound is located near Bhun about 105 miles towards east. This mound is known in the revenue record as Pind Jahania or Thohawala Panda. According to Hindu links the palce was acalled Dropad Nagar where Arjun Pandu won Krishna Dropadi. People have found coins belonging to local Kings of Hindu Shahia times. Another witness is that this place was a palace of Raja Kaknia. Kaknia was a caste and Raja Kaknia was father in law of Krishan Maharaj. His five sons’ fought the war of Maha Bharat for Pandus.

    City of Neska Alexandrian
    Old history reveals that Alexander the great established a city by the name of Neska Alexandria in salt range which is erroneously placed in the village of Mong near Mandi Bahauddin although Mong has no relevance to salt range. Near Malkani Dhokon and Dharabee shrine on Kakar kahar road about 1 mile away in the west there are ruins of an old town called Neska. This place about 13 miles away to Chakwal is filled with scattered left over of a living city.

    Dhankar or Pind Kottan
    If we go towards Rohna Seydan from Bhun about 205 miles towards north-west we find two ruins of old habitation are found. One was called Pind and other was Pindi in the old revenew record the place has entered Pind Kottan, locally it is called Purana Pind. Gen Cunningham visited this place in 1888 and he mentioned this place as Dhankar. This place was very developed and economically prosperous. Here can find few old grapes and small shrine this place also refereed to an old building which is locally called Maree, which might have been the Palace of Sultan Jalaludin Khawarzem. He married here around the year circa 1215 A.D the Raja Karsaknain (Khokar Sukhnain) of Salt range. There is a village in the name Nain Sukh in the Tehsil of Chakwal.

    Coins of the Greek Kings of Bakhtari

    In the District Chakwal office Mohafiz Khana (safe house) there are 47 coins which are yet to be deciphered.

    The Fort of Nandna and 40-Spirtual Spirits

    Before Abu-Rehan-Albeiruni visited Malot, Kassak and Nandna to find out the measurement of the circumference of the earth, the local parable confirm that 40 Holy spirits in shape of human being use to live on top of the Mountain where Nandna Fort of Bhaggan Wala is accessed through a road coming nearby this village.

    Village Laphi (Wanhar)

    It is well known in the area that on arrival of Muhammad-Bin-Qasim in the year around 712 A.D, and famous “Lanee Brothers” settled in the present village of Laphi (Wanhar). Here, they built a grand building which was a state of the art by architectural standard. That building is no more in its existence.

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  6. Shahid Nadeem

    Rohtas Fort
    Rohtas Fort is situated near Jehlum in Pakistan. Just about 20 kilometers from the famous fort, the ruins of “Tilla Jogian” are situated atop a hill (I have already managed an ASG day trip to the hill on 28-2-2007, a beautiful place to visit and hike also, to reach to historical ruins belonging to circa 70 BC and onwards.). No research is available in literature to place the ruins on a historical time1line; in other words, it is not known who, when and why built the temples, residential quarters and extensive water works that go by the name Tilla Jogian today.

    Since no record exists of Tilla Jogian from the era of or after Sher Shah Suri–the emperor who made Rohtas Fort famous, it can be concluded that by Suri’s time, the site had already lost most, if not all of its religious and sociopolitical significance. While no attempt to scholarly date the site has been made, it can be surmised that this historical site would have seen its prime in days several hundred years before that of Suri (who ruled Rohtas Fort in around 1500 AD).

    The site gets its name from the legend of Heer-Ranjha. It is said that Ranjha used to spend his time as a love sick animal atop the hills of Tilla Jogian when his affair with Heer was not seeing the best of its days–that’s an entirely different story, but if there’s any truth to it, it can provide us some clue to the origins of the ruins of Tilla Jogian.
    It is said that Ranjha became a Jogi (ascetic) when he discovered the Tilla (hill) of Jogi Gorakhnath while he was wandering the villages of Punjab in a state of despair and heart-break. Could it be that the Tilla Jogian or hill of ascetics refers to a complex of temples built under the auspices of the Nath tradition of Hinduism, in the days of the great Baba Gorakhnath in around 11th century or 12 century AD (or even 8th century when some believe Gorakhnath to have lived)?

    Ostensibly, Tilla Jo gian comprises of a complex of hindu temples housing at least three baths and a network of waterworks with at least two minor dams. The ancient stone pathway leading up to the highest temple are still intact and are still the only way to get to Tilla Jogian. By mere observation it can be deduced that the complex of temples was home to a population of religious elite, at least in hundreds; the lifestyle practiced here was one of luxury and affluence. Though no record can easily be found of the ruin’s purpose and position in history, it can be ascertained that this would have been a site of at least some religious significance in its prime.

    In the middle of the palace is the Aina Mahal, where the chief wife of the Man Singh lived. The grandest structure within the palace is however the Takhte Badshahi, where Man Singh himself resided: a four-storied building, with a cupola on top. On the second floor is an assembly hall and a gallery resting on strong, engraved stone pillars. The third floor has a tiny, cupola which opens into the women’ quarters. From the fourth floor one can get a bird’s eye view of the surrounding area. The governor’s residential quarters were on the first floor which has linked to the ladies’ rooms via a gateway in the east. Also within the palace precincts, a little to the west of baradari or the hall of public audience is an assembly hall, probably the diwan-e-khas or the hall or private audience. This is decorated with engravings of flowers and leaves, and rests on similarly decorated pillars.

    Outside the palace grounds are the Jami Masjid, Habsh Khan’s mausoleum and the makbara of Shufi Sultan. According to exerts, the beautiful stucco style, with the cupola resting on pillars, are reminiscent of the Rajputana stuyle where the domed structures are known as chhatris. Though this style had previously not been seen in Bengal and Bihar, its emergence at Rhotas was not surprising since more than half the fort’s guardians hailed from Rajputana. About half a kilometer to the west of Man Singh’s palace is a Ganesh temple, which, with its sanctum facing two porch-ways and tall imposing superstructure, resembles the temples of Rajputana (Rajasthan) , especially those seen at Ossian (near Jodhpur) built in the 8th century and the Mira Bai temple of the 17th century at Chittor. Further west one comes to the edge of the fort, where some construction must have taken place even though there is no written evidence of what stood here. But the local folk call it the Hanging House…the drop here is a sheer 1500 feet, straight down with no obstacles on the way. Hearsay has it that at this spot is the mouth of a cave, where a Muslim fakir (mendicant) is buried. It is said that he was thrown into the ravine from here, three times, and each time in spite of being bound hand and foot, the fakir escaped unhurt. Finally he was interred in the cave. About a mile and half north-east of the palace are the ruins of two temples. One is the Rohtasan, a temple of Lord Shiva. The roof and the main mandap (pavilion) which housed the sacred lingam were probably destroyed by iconoclasts, all that remains now are the 84 steps which lead to the temple constructed by king Harishchandra – the Devi mandir. Capped by domes, here too the idol of the deity is missing, though the rest of the building is in good condition.

    Today, an aura of impregnability surrounds the ruins of Rhotas which had earlier made it a formidable obstacle for the enemy to overcome. The founder of the fort certainly chose the site with foresight. Rhotas was constructed on a plateau atop a hill with steeply rising sides. The steps leading to the fort cut into limestone of the hill were uncomfortably high. Many streams traversed the plateau, the soil was fertile and the crops easily grown, so the inhabitants of the fort could hold out for months even years against an enemy besieging the fort. The hill was surrounded by forest. Wild animals and dacoits provided other natural and man-made barriers. Thus the fort could not be taken by force but only by deceit and cunning. The Rohtas Fort was constructed on a plateau over the top of a hill with steeply rising sides. The steps directing to the fort cut into limestone of the hill. Many streams crossed the plateau and the soil was productive, which help in easy growth of the crops, so that the inhabitants of the fort could hold out for months against an enemy besieging the fort. Forest and wild animals surrounded the hill and dacoits provided other natural and man-made barriers. Thus the fort could not be taken by force but only by deceit and cunningness.

    When compared with the ease with which other Indian forts can be reached, Rohtas still requires quite a bit of extra effort. What the iconoclasts left undestroyed is being destroyed be the most relentless foe of all, nature. In the years to come, when wind and rain and sun have done their work…may be a few scattered mounds of earth and rubble will remain, together with a whisper of memories of a once formidable fort…

    History
    The history of Rohtas is a long and chequered one. From old texts and inscriptions found near Rohtas, it appears that the fort was in the possession of the Hindu king Pratapdhavala of the Japla dynasty. Other inscriptions mention that it was ruled by the Khayarwala clan who were sovereigns of Shahbad (the area now known as Bhojpur and Rohtas). Historians are of the opinion that the Hindu kings of Rohtas did a lot of construction – a road through the jungle leading from the foothill to the plateau, the fortifications on the jungle roads, plus the four gates on the four ghats. The main fortifications at the Raja ghat and the Katauthiya ghat can still be seen. Apart from a matrix for making seals belonging to the 7th century king Sasanka, all other artifacts are from the time of Sher Shah Suri onwards.

    Rohtas Fort in 1500s

    The fate of Rohtas took a turn in 1539 when it fell out of the hands of the Hindu kings into those of Sher Shah Suri. At war with the Mughal emperor Humayun he had just lost the fort at Chunar and was desperately trying to gain a foothold for himself. Sher Shah made a request to the ruler of Rohtas that he wanted to leave his women, children and treasure in the safety of the fort, while he was away fighting in Bengal. The king agreed and in the first few palanquins there were women and children but the later ones the wily Sher Shah had substituted with fierce Afghan soldiers, who captured Rohtas, forcing the Hindu king to flee. During the Sher Shah’s reign the fort was guarded by 10000 armed men under the command of one of his trusted general, Haibat Khan Niazi. Haibat Khan Niazi built the Jami Masjid in 1543 AD, which lies to the west of the fort and is made of white sandstone, consisting of three domes. Another monument of this time is a mausoleum, perhaps of the daroga (superintendent of works) of Sher Shah, Habsh Khan.
    Then in 1558, Rohtas saw the rule of Man Singh, Akbar’s Hindu general, who made it his political stronghold. Northern India had been under Mughal rule, in contrast eastern India was highly unstable, with the various kings putting up resistance against the Mughals. Man Singh as governor of Bengal and Bihar made Rohtas his headquarters in view of its inaccessibility and other natural defences. He constructed a beautiful palace for himself, which is still in a fairly good condition, repaired the rest of the fort, cleared the ponds and made gardens in Persian style. The palace was constructed in a north-south direction, with its entrance to the west with barracks for soldiers in front. The main gate is known as the Hathiya pol or elephant gat…named after the figures of the behemoths which decorate it. It is the largest of the gates and was made in 1597.

    Rohtas Fort in 1600s

    After the death of Man Singh, the fort came under the jurisdiction of the office of the Emperor’s wazir (Prime Minister) from where the governors were appointed. In 1621, the Prince Khurram (later Emperor Shahjahan) revolted against his father Jehangir, and fled to the safety of Rohtas, where the guardian of the fort, Saiyyad Mubarak handed over the keys of Rohtas to the prince. Once more, Khurram tried to win avadh, but lost the battle of Kampat and again sought refuge in Rohtas. It was here that his son Murad Baksh was born to his wife Arjumand Bano who later became as famous as Mumtaz Mahal. During Aurangzeb’s reign the fort was used as a detention camp for those under trial and for housing prisoners sentenced for life.

    Rohtas Fort in 1700s, 1800s

    Once again the fortunes of Rohtas changed. In 1763 in the battle of Udhwa Nala, the Nawab of Bihar and Bengal – Mir Kasim, lost to the British and fled with his family to Rohtas. But Mir Kasim’s luck was out and he fared no better at the fort. Finally the Diwan of Rohtas, Shahmal handed it over to the British Captain Goddard. During his two month stay at the fort, the captain destroyed the storeroom and many of the fortifications. When Goddard left he put some guard in charge, but they too left after a year. Perched on a plateau where the fertile land and abundant water supply once supported 10000 matchlock men, Rohtas was now empty. There was peace at the fort for the next 100 years or so, which was finally shattered during the time of the First War of independence in 1857. Umer Singh, the brother of brave Kunwar Singh together with his companions took refuge here. There were many encounters with the British where the latter were at a disadvantage, for the jungles and the tribals in them were of great help to the Indian soldiers. Finally, after a long drawn out siege and many skirmishes, the British overcame the Indians.

    Khewra Salt Mines
    Khewra Salt Mines is a salt mine in Pakistan, about 160 kilometers from Islamabad and 260 kilometers from Lahore in Tehsil Pind Dadan Khan District Jhelum. It has easy approach via Lahore – Islamabad Motorway through Lilla Interchange. Situated at the foothills of the Salt Range, Khewra Salt Mines are the oldest in the salt mining history of the sub-continent. Discovery of Rock Salt dates back to days of Alexander the great. Salt has been mined at Khewra since 320 BC, in an underground area of about 110 sq. km. Khewra salt mine has proven reserves of 300 million tons. This reserve could not be consumed in 600 years even at the rate of half a million tons production every day. Current production from the mine is around 0.3 million tons. It was in the year 1872, when scientific mining operation started under the British rule.
    Prior to annexation of Punjab by the British Empire in the year 1849, the salt mines in the province were owned and operated by the Janjua Rajas, and after its annexation, the British Government took over the administration of these mines. Centuries ago, salt was take out at these mines from the out-crops of the salt seams exposed to the surface of the hill by those who were living in its vicinity. Dr. Warth, a renowned Mining Engineer of UK, laid out the main tunnel at ground level in 1872 to have an easy and direct approach to salt deposits. The new system introduced by Dr. Warth is still in-vogue.
    The mine-head buildings have 19 levels, with 11 below ground. The salt-mine is 945 feet above sea level and extends around 2,400 feet inside the earth from the mine-mouth. There are 17 working levels and the cumulative length of all tunnels is more than 40 km.
    Salt occurs in the form of an irregular dome like structure. There are seven thick salt seams with a cumulative thickness of about 150 meters. At places the rock salt is 99% pure. Salt is transparent, white, pink, reddish to beef-color red. There are beautiful alternate bands of red and white color salt.
    It attracts up to 40,000 visitors per year and is the second biggest salt mine in the world. The main tunnel at ground level developed by Dr. Warth in 1872 has been converted into Tourist Resort. Khewra Salt Mines Tourist Resort has been developed by PMDC with its own resources. Inside the Mine a beautiful mosque made of different shades of rock salt bricks have been constructed – hollow walls of salt bricks when lighted gives a beautiful look. A large chamber called “Assembly Hall” measuring more than 250 ft in height fascinates tourists. There are certain chambers filled in with saturated brine solution. These ponds when illuminated with fancy lights give splendid look. There is an area of transparent salt of light pink colour known as “Shish Mahal”. Different chambers are connected with salt bridges over water ponds and when illuminated with lights show marvelous reflection of different colours of salt. The development programme envisages creation and development of following facilities at Khewra Salt Mines in the first phase of development programme, which have since been completed.
    Khewra Salt Mines produce about 3,25,000 tonnes salt per annum. Major portion of production in the range of 2,00,000 to 2,40,000 tonnes annually is supplied to Imperial Chemical Industries ICI Soda Ash Khewra. Based on Khewra salt ICI Soda Ash Plant was established in 1938.
    KHEWRA SALT MINES

    Contact Project manager 092-458-211137
    Khewra salt Mines
    Khewra, Distt. Jhelum
    Location 160km south of Islamabad
    Leased area 3,398.53 acres
    Geological Horizon Pre-Cambrian (4.5 billion years)
    Commercial salt Average 96%
    Shades of salt White, Pink and Red
    Mining method Room and Pillar
    Rock Sally Resources 6.687 Billion Tons
    Production (Estimated) 318,000 tons

    Rock Salt produced from Khewra Mines besides ICI Khewra is supplied to other Industrial consumers like Ittehad Chemical Limited Kala Shah Kaku, and tanneries etc. Selected quality Rock Salt is supplied to dealers for animal and human consumption. A reasonable quantity is also exported to foreign countries including India. Decoration pieces like; lamps, vases, ash rays etc are also made from Khewra Rock Salt and exported to foreign countries in large quantity by some exporters. Salt occurs in the form of an irregular dome like structure. There are seven thick salt seams with cumulative thickness of about 150 meters. At places rock salt is 99% pure. Salt is transparent, white, pink, reddish to beef-color red. In certain horizons it is crystalline. Inside the mine there are beautiful alternate bands of red and white color salt. There are 18 working levels. Cumulative length of all drivages is more than 40 km.

    • CREATION OF RECEPTION/BRIEFING HALL: A reception/briefing hall has been constructed to serve as reception center for tourists.
    • WALKWAY: The walkway from receipt/briefing hall to the Mine Mouth has been constructed by fixing pavers for the smooth walk of tourist.
    • SOUVENIR SHOP: For the convenience of tourist, a souvenir shop has been established in the reception/briefing hall area where tourists can find model lamps and other articles made of salt.
    • CLEANING THE MINES: The Main Mine area reserved for tourist has been cleaned and cleared from the unwanted materials and debris for the convenience and comfort of the tourists.
    • ILLUMINATION: The mines have been illuminated at a grand scale with fancy and reflector type lights to magnify intrinsic beauty of the salient features of the mine, its interior look and texture of rock salt.
    • ELECTRIC TRAIN: Electric train has been made available for tourists to have a joy ride upto main juncture inside the Mines.
    • REFRESHMENT: Seating arrangements have been made in side the mine. Refreshments have been provided inside the mine, where kiosks have been fitted, having sufficient capacity for tourists to relax and enjoy light refreshments.
    • MINE GUIDE: Trained female guides are available at the mine to conduct tour of visitors inside the Mines.
    • CHARGES:
    1. Entry Fee:
    – Foreigner Adult US$ 6.00 or equivalent
    – Foreigner Student US$ 3.00 or equivalent
    – Pakistani Adult Rs. 30.00
    – Pakistani Student Rs. 15.00
    2. Trolley Charges
    – Upto group of 12 person Rs. 250.00 per trip
    – A group of 12 person and above Rs. 20.00 per head
    3. Parking Fee
    – Scooter/Motor Cycle Rs. 3.00
    – Car/Jeep/Suzuki Van Rs.10.00
    – Van/Hiace Rs. 20.00
    – Coaster/Flying Coach Rs. 30.00
    – Bus Rs. 50.00
    4. Guest House Charges
    – VIP suit (per night) Rs.500 + Rs. 100 (Air condition charges)
    – Side Room (per night) Rs.300 + Rs. 100 (Air condition charges)
    OTHER SALT MINES IN PAKISTAN

    WARCHA SALT MINES
    Warcha salt Mines are located 276km from Islamabad. The salt occurs in the form of an irregular and broken salt dome. Its white salt is well demanded by the manufacturers of kitchen-flow salt. The pure white salt is transparent and crystalline.

    WARCHA SALT MINES

    Contact Project Manager Office Tel: 092-4528-770315
    Warcha Salt Mines
    Warcha, Distt. Mianwali
    Location 276km south of Islamabad
    Leased Area (Two) 3,601.17 acres
    Geological Horizon Pre-Cambrian
    Commercial salt Average 98%
    Shades of salt Generally white and pink
    Mining method Room and Pillar
    Total Resources Over one Billion tons
    Production (2003-04) 332,555 tons

    KALABAGH SALT MINES
    Kalabagh Salt Mines are located on the bank of the Indus River. Salt is excavated by Room and Pillar method. Some of the chambers are more than 80 meters deep where the salt is still mined manually. There are 13 different kinds of salt seams with different shades of color. Actual old mines are located near the village known as Wanda Kukranwala.

    KALABAGH SALT MINES

    Contact Project Manager
    Office Tel: 092-4529-395704
    Kalabagh Salt Mines
    Kalabagh, Distt. Mianwali
    Location 296km from Islamabad or
    50km from Mianwali
    Leased Area
    (Two Leases) 3,837.81 acres
    Geological Horizon Pre-Cambrian
    Purity of Salt (NaCl) Average 96%
    Shades of salt White and Pink
    Rock Salt Resources Over One Billion tons
    Production (2003-04) 52,995 tons

    Jatta/Bahadurkheil Salt Mines

    Jatta Salt Mines

    Contact Project Manager
    PMDC Jatta/BahadurKhel Salt Mines
    Jatta, Distt. Karak
    Office Tel: 092-922-550020
    Location 217km from Islamabad or
    35 km from Kohat
    Leased Area 8,449.92 acres
    Geological Horizon Tertiary (?)
    Purity of salt (NaCl) Average 92%
    Shades of salt white, light to dark grey
    Total Resources Over few Billion tons
    Production (2003-04) 52,563 tons

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  7. Shahid Nadeem

    Tilla Jogian
    Tilla Jogian is the highest peak in the Eastern Salt Range in Punjab, Pakistan. Tilla Jogian in Punjabi means the hill of saints. At 975 meters (3200ft) above sea level, is located at 33°24′N 73°18′E , it is about 25 km to the west of Jhelum city and 10 km west of the model village of Khukha. The view from the top of Tilla is highly rewarding. Rohtas, Pakistan Fort is located in the east of Tilla Jogian at a distance of about 7 km from Dina, a rapidly expanding town on the GT Road.
    Tilla Jogian can be seen from the districts of Mandi-bahauddin, Gujrat, Jhelum and Chakwal. It is situated on a commanding place near the Jhelum River. From its height of 3200 feet, you can see a panorama unparallel in Pakistan..
    Hindu Temple at Tilla Jogian: For thousand of years it was a place of sun worship for the Hindus because the Sun can be seen here earlier and sets here later due to its height. It became a place of worship for Hindus.
    Tradition holds that Tilla Jogian was founded 100 B.C.Tilla Jogian also means Hill of the Yogis and lies about 50 kilometers North of Bhera. This is where the Kanpatha Jogis, who pierced their earlobes, founded by Guru Gorakh Nath have left behind a monastery.
    Tilla Jogian also finds mention in the epic love poem Heer Ranjha of Spiritual poet Waris Shah, and Ranjha spent his time on the rebound, sublimating his love & passion in the spiritual world, came here for consolation and got his ears ringed here as was the tradition of Guru Goraknath’s followers.
    For the Hindu and Sikh Punjabi there is another significance to Tilla Jogian as Guru Nanak Dev-II spent 40 days in quiet seclusion of Tilla Jogian, Baba Guru Nanak, the founder of the Sikhism. The Sikhs in Ranjit Singh period made a stone pond here in his memory.
    Moghul Emperor Jehangir visited this place many times. About the famous iconoclast of Punjabi romantic folklore Heer (female) Ranjha (male), it is said that Ranjha became a Jogi (ascetic) when he discovered the Tilla (hill) of Jogi Gorakhnath while he was wandering the villages of Punjab in a state of despair and heart-break.
    The British made a road and a pond here too for water. Pond in memory of Guru Nanak Dev who was born on 5 November 1469 in a Bedi family of Hindu Khatri clan, in the village of Rāi Bhōi dī Talvaṇḍī, now called Nankana Sahib, near Lahore (in present-day Pakistan). His father, Mehta Kalu, was a Patwari—an accountant of land revenue in the government. He worked for the Muslim landlord of the village, Rai Bullar. Guru Nanak’s mother was Tripta Devi and he had one older sister, Nanaki.. The Janamsākhīs recount in minute detail all the circumstances of the birth of the guru. They claim that at his birth, an astrologer who came to write his horoscope insisted on seeing the child. On seeing the infant, he is said to have worshipped him with clasped hands. The astrologer is said to have remarked that he regretted that he should never live to see young Guru Nanak’s eminence, worshipped as he should be alike by Hindus and Muslims, and not merely by Hindus.
    At the age of five years Nanak is said to have begun to discuss spiritual and divine subjects. At age seven, his father Mehta Kalu enrolled him at the village school. [8] Nanak left school early after he had shown his scholastic proficiency. He then took to private study and meditation.]
    All the Janamsākhīs are unanimous in stating that Nanak courted the retirement of the local forest and the society of the religious men who frequented it. Several of them were profoundly versed in the Indian religious literature of the age. They had also traveled far and wide within the limits of ancient India, and met its renowned religious teachers. Nanak thus became acquainted with the latest teachings of Indian philosophers and reformers.
    History states that he made four great journeys, traveling to all parts of India, and into Arabia and Persia, visiting Mecca and Baghdad. He spoke before Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, Parsees, and Muslims. He spoke in the temples and mosques, and at various pilgrimage sites. Wherever he went, Nanak spoke out against empty religious rituals, pilgrimages, the caste system, the sacrifice of widows, of depending on books to learn the true religion, and of all the other tenets that were to define his teachings. Never did he ask his listeners to follow him. He asked the Muslims to be true Muslims and the Hindus to be true Hindus.
    My friend Salman Rashid, a famous traveler / writer / freelance generalist of Pakistan, writes,” the first time ever I trod the hallowed ground of Tilla Jogian was in October 1974. Young, callow and utterly unread, I had no idea regarding its history or how sacred that hilltop was. But even as my friend Shahid and I wandered among the deserted ruins, here was a feeling, more than palpable, of the holiness of the site. We spoke in whispers, we walked on tiptoes. And we half expected some grizzled old guru, his snow-white beard reaching down the navel leaning on a crooked and gnarled staff to appear from somewhere and denounce us for violating the inviolable with our frivolous visit.

    But no one appeared. Save for several hedgehogs in the thickets and the droves of birds singing in the tall trees we met with no one. The decrepit rest house built sometime in the 1890s had lost part of its roof. Once it was used by the Deputy Commissioner of the Jhelum district as the summer headquarter. In those pre-electricity days, the 1000 meter (3300 feet) height of Tilla Jogian above sea level meant comparatively milder summers. And so every year in May the DC moved up to the cool, pine-shaded hill to hold office and dispense justice. There he stayed until the beginning of September.

    That was also the time when the monastery of Tilla Jogian thrived. Its hostels were home to acolytes of the Kunphutta (pierced ears) sect of jogis from all over India tutored by dozens of accomplished masters of the creed. That had been the way since its inception in the 1st century BC. That was when the great guru Goraknath lived and established both the sect and the monastery. History tells us of two illustrious ones among the guru’s disciples: Raja Bhartari, the philosophical prince of Ujjain, who gave up the throne early in the 1st century BC to become a jogi. And in that same period, Puran the prince of Sialkot much wronged by his libidinous step-mother. Both found spiritual fulfillment in the tutelage of Guru Goraknath.
    Over the years Salman Rashid returned again and again and saw modern Ahmed Shah Abdalis systematically doing their work: yet another floor uprooted, another samadhi destroyed, the British milestone that said ‘Jhelum 25 miles’ stolen, dozens of the ancient olive trees cut and burnt and more and more buildings defaced with graffiti. But what not even the most vicious vandal has been able to damage is the aura of Tilla Jogian. The tangible feel of it being a special place; a place much favoured by higher beings. And even if the hum of religious worship may never rise above the sound of wind soughing through the pine trees of Tilla Jogian; even if no jogi ever returns here to seek his own nirvana, that is one thing no vandal will be able to remove from the monastery of Guru Goraknath. “
    As mentioned above, established in the 1st century BC by Guru Goraknath, the founder of the sect of Kanphatta (pierced ears) jogis, the monastery thrived for two thousand years. For two thousand years followers of different persuasions resorted here to become jogis. Most names are lost, but we know that Guru Nanak spent the prescribed forty days worshipping his Lord in the quiet seclusion of Tilla Jogian. Tilla Jogian is the highest peak of the Salt Range, which is known for its temples, forts and fossilized rocks and trees. This peak is famous for its ruins of Hindu temples dating back to the time when Alexander the Great came to this part of the world as the head of a military expedition. Scenic and beautiful, Tilla Jogian is a pleasant picnic spot from where one can have a magnificent view of the river Jhelum and the vast landscape of the Potohar Plateau.

    The remains of the monastery which Guru Goraknath, the founder of the Jogi tradition in India during the reign of Raja Salvahan of Sialkot in the first century BC, established to spread Hindu education with special emphasis on meditation.

    SOME INTERESTYING STORIES Many traditional stories have been attributed to Tilla Jogian.
     One of them relates to Raja Bharthi, also known in history as Puran Bhagat, the elder brother of Raja Vikramaditya of Ujjain, who left his throne to his brother to join the monastery as a disciple of Guru Goraknath. A samadhi (grave) on the top of the mound is said to be that of Puran Bhagat, a legendary character in Punjabi folk.
     According to another tradition, the legendary romantic hero, Ranjha, joined the fraternity of jogis at this very place after his heart was broken because Heer was forcibly married off to someone else. He travelled all the way from Sial in Jhang, the village of Heer of Sialan, to Tilla Jogian away from Jhelum, to become the ‘faqir of Heer’. Dressed in saffron robes with ears pierced and wearing wooden slippers, Ranjha resumed his journey to find his beloved from this mound carrying a begging bowl.
     Another story links Tilla Jogian with Hakeem Abu Rehan Al-Bairuni, the mathematician and scholar of the Mahmood Ghaznavi period, who spent 13 years in this area to discover the circumference of the world. He first sat on Tilla Jogian and then the Nandna Fort to accomplish his rare scientific feat, which is to date acknowledged as the correct measurement of the global circumference. The scientist, historian and philosopher from Afghanistan, considered to be a rebel by the rulers of Ghazna, has narrated his visits to the Salt Range in his famous book Kitabul Hind.
     For Mughal monarchs, the pine-strewn heights of Tilla Jogian must have been a welcome respite from the summer of Punjab as they usually stopped here during their journey between Lahore and Kashmir. It was because of this stopover that Mughal Emperor Akbar got a water tank built here.
     It is said that Baba Guru Nanak, the founder of the Sikh religion, spent 40 days to complete the ‘chilla’, worshipping his lord. For the British rulers of Punjab,
     Tilla Jogian served as a summer resort and the deputy commissioner of Jhelum stayed here for weeks when hot weather in Jhelum would become unbearable.
     The mound area has three groups of old structures at its top. Twelve temples, a shrine and a monastery, all in ruins, stand out among them. A central water tank and a well built in the Central Asian style from the Mughal period also adorn the historic site. The water tank, made for storage of rain water from the catchments area, is square in shape with 10 steps on all four sides.
     Also standing here is a ramp from the floor in the northern wall having semi-hexagonal minarets and walls on both sides. Each minaret has a kiosk on top surmounted by a fluted and ribbed dome finished with a lantern. The eastern parapet is separated by a wall for women bathers and cross-legged deities which are a special feature of this part of the tank.
     The shrine commemorates the visit of Baba Guru Nanak and its damaged structures can be seen on the peak of the hill. There is also a cave underneath. The monastery, a lonely clump of weathered buildings, is located in the forest peak. Most of its buildings are roofless hulks and are in ruins. But the temple of Lord Shiva has a roof and is, by and large, intact.
     Noted archaeologist Sir Alexander Cunningham, who visited this site in 1864, believes that Guru Gorak Nath was the transmutation of Lord Shiva. The monastery survived and thrived for more than 2,000 years with Goruk Nath and his disciples imparting learning and the art of meditation to the followers of the Kunphatta (torn ears) sect of ‘jogis’ from all over India.
     As for temples, they are 12 in number and are clustered on all sides of Tilla Jogian. All are built with stones and are square in shape. Three of them are to the west of the main tank. A complex of seven temples is in the north-west and two of them stand on the eastern side.
     Tilla Jogian has for centuries been the site of a great annual congregation of ‘jogis’ from India. Now this mound is a deserted place where the wind sighs through hundreds of pine trees. It has a colonial building where British officers used to spend their pastime. The building is now serving as a rest house for tourists besides a camping site where cooking facility is available.
     Tilla Jogian was the last frontier of Achaemenid Empire and for its conquest Alexander the great reached Tilla Jogian from Greece.
     Mughal Emperor Jehangir visited this place many times. Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of Sikhism spent some time at this holy place.
     The Sikhs in Ranjit Singh period made a stone pond here in the remembrance.
     The Ex-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif visited here and did some protective work for the safety of its pristine beauty.
     Tilla Jogian comprises of a complex of Hindu temples housing at least three baths and a network of waterworks with at least two minor dams.
     There are two ways to reach at the top: One from Rohtas Fort side and the other from Sanghoi / the Jhelum River side.
     By mere observation it can be deduced that the complex of temples was home to a population of religious elite, at least in hundreds; the lifestyle practiced here was one of luxury and affluence. Though no record can easily be found of the ruin’s purpose and position in history, it can be ascertained that this would have been a site of at least some religious significance in its prime.
    SHAHID NADEEM (Please feel free to ask at taimur66@hotmail.com regarding the article)

    Reply
  8. Raza Rumi

    Excellent post – informative and lovely pictures.Kataas is one of my favourite places in Pakistan. It has a powerful ambience and mood. You have inspired me to visit again.

    Reply
  9. Shahid Nadeem

    Let us go to Salt Range Temples / Salt Mines

    The access to Salt Range Mallot Temples Distt Chakwal is as follows,
    Coming from Lahore / south-western parts of Pakistan or from Islamabad / Rawalpindi we will travel on motorway till Kallar Kahar interchange. From Kallar Kahar interchange toll plaza we will be taking turn going towards Choa Saidan Shah Distt Chakwal, leaving the other turn going towards “Soon-Sakeisar valley. From there about 2km away there is a right turning called “Karuli chowk” from here the road will lead us to Choi village after passing near by newly established Pakistan Cement Factory. After Choi village we will reach Mallot village where Mallot Temples are located which were built circa 900-1000 years ago. The total distance will be around 35-40 minutes from “Karuli chowk” to Mallot village.

    The access to Katas Temples Distt Chakwal is as follows,
    Coming from Lahore / south-western parts of Pakistan or from Islamabad / Rawalpindi we will travel on motorway till Kallar Kahar interchange. OR coming from GT road, we have to reach Chakwal from where we will be traveling towards Katas Temples via Chakwal-Kallar Kahar road. From Kallar Kahar interchange toll plaza we will be taking the turn going towards Choa Saidan Shah Distt Chakwal, leaving the other turn going towards “Soon-Sakeisar valley. From there about 20km away from motoway interchande Katas Temples are located on the right side of road leading to Choa Saidan Shah, a Tehsil of Distt Chakwal. The time distance will be maximum around 45 minutes from the Kallar Kahar interchange.

    The access to AmbTemples Distt Khushab is as follows,
    Coming from Lahore / south-western parts of Pakistan or from Islamabad / Rawalpindi we will travel on motorway till Kallar Kahar interchange. From Kallar Kahar interchange toll plaza will be taking the turn going towards Soon-Sakeisar valley, leaving the other turn going towards Choa Saidan Shah Distt Chakwal. We will come across towns like Bochal Kallan—Miani-Noorpur—-Manara—-Padhrar—Pail—Sodhi—-Noshera—Uchali—Sakeisar ( here we have to seek permission to enter from the PAF base) and will reach Amb Sharief after crossing the PAF base of Sakaeisar on mountain top. The same road will lead to Qadirabad of Distt Khushab. The time spent will be around 2 hours from Kallar Kahar interchange till PAF base Sakaisar. After driving down in an hour from the mountain top, the access to Amb temples is by a dirt road stretching for about 4km to the metalled part of a road which is another 4km upwards to Amb village. REMEMBER, this dirt road will start from about 500 meters crossing a small bridge and this bridge comes immediately on down road at ground-zero level. The dirt road is on the left side of the same road which leads to Qadirabad, about 28km away from the bridge. The other access to Amb temples is from the interchange of Khushab, traveling on Khushab—–Qadirabad link road and from Qadirabad we can ask anyone for the road linking Amb village. The access from this option same is traveling on the same dirt road and onwards, as mentioned above.

    The access to Sangni Fort located in Tehsil Gujar Khan is as follows,
    The link road taking us to Sangni fort is located on the right side of GT road coming from Rawalpindi / Islamabad. On our right side from the GT road Gujar Khan we will take left turn towards a locally well known village of Bewal. We will cross Bewal in half an hour with low speed as the road is medium wide with a lot off traffic on it and will reach a road side village of Takkal located on our left side. From Takkal village after 5 minutes drive we will face the grandeur of Sangni Fort built during Sikh dominance era. The distance from the GT road Gujat Khan Town is about 25km.
    The access to Salt mines Khewra located in Tehsil Pind Dadan Khan Distt Jhelum is as follows,
    Coming from Lahore / south-western parts of Pakistan or from Islamabad / Rawalpindi we will travel on motorway till Lilla interchange. From Lilla interchange toll plaza will be taking the turn going towards Pind Dadan Khan, Khewra, leaving the other turn going towards Lilla Town. The distance is about 30km from the interchange. After traveling for about 30km we will reach near T-section of roads. Here we will take left turn which is going towards PMDC, ICI soda ash factory and Khewra salt mines in 05 minutes drive while the right turn we left is going towards Pind Dadan Khan. We need at least 02 hours to visit the place including 3rd world asthma therapy hospital located near these world 2nd largest sat mines after Poland Sat mines.

    The access to Tilla Jogian summit of Salt Range near Domeli in Distt Jhelum, is as follows,
    Coming from Lahore we will take Domeli turning on our left. This turning is about 10km onwards from Dina, a town which comes after Jhelum. Coming from Rawalpindi we will take a U-turn on GT road for going towards Domeli turning on our left side. This U-turn is about 12km away from Sohawa located on main GT road. The Domeli village is about half an hour or slightly more onwards from Sohawa. From Domeli village we can spot sign board indicating a left turn towards Gattar village, here we will take left turn. After about 3km from this turning we will take another left turn which will lead us to village called Gattar, in about 15 minutes drive from the left turning of Domeli village. The roads from hereon are broken and narrow which is subject to improvements from time to time. So do not worry, you may find a better road then the roads I traveled on last, in February 2007. As soon as we will reach near the shops of village Gattar, we will take right turn towards village Baith (do ask some local if you are not clear). This will lead us to reach within 10 minutes at our final destination called village Bhaith located in the foothills of Tilla Jogian. Here we can park our vehicle near a school or a dispensary which is a safe place and may ask, if needed, some local to guide us to show the starting point to climb the 1.15 hrs hike which will starts immediately after the walk.. The access to Tilla Jogian Mountain is beyond description. Just excellent. Go and visit religious ruins of Sikh era including a dilapidated famous Baba Guru Nanak’s “Baithak” a sitting place for thoughts and meditation, ponds of Mughal period and feel the presence of Baba Gorakh Nath (circa 70BC) in the nook and cranny of place once a centre of spiritual nirvana. The Govt of Pakistan and Govt of the Punjab must preserve the dilapidated sitting place of Baba Guru Nanak and improve the over all historical ambience of the ruins with out changing its original outlook..

    The access to Tilla Jogian summit of Salt Range near Domeli in Distt Jhelum, is as follows,
    Coming from Lahore we will take a left turning just short of a small railway underway road bridge and opposite to it there is another indication of a sign board showing towards right hand side a short cut leading to Mangla via a village Ladhar Manara. This turning is less then 15km onwards from Jhelum. Coming from Rawalpindi we will take a U-turn on GT road after crossing a small road bridge for railways under passing. This U-turn is about 1km away from Dina Town located on main GT road. As soon as we take a U-turn we will read an indication for take a left turn towards Rohtas fort about 15km away. The access to Rohtas fort is very scenic and arresting. The fort belongs to Sher Shah Suri times but it is said that there was another fort built at the same place may be of smaller size but had no significant cite in the annals of history.

    Reply
  10. Liaquat Abbas

    I belong to Malot village and I am in Pakistan Navy. Nowadays the road is being made till the temples. It is a great effort of Punjab Govt. I will suggest that they should made a restaurant there also. The condition of the temples is not good. Repair work should also be done.

    Thanks,
    Liaquat Abbas

    Malot

    Reply
  11. Liaquat Abbas

    Saadullah Bashir has written a great article. i am pleased to see the important information about the Katas and my native village Malot. Malot temples are ancient in the history of Sub continent. The Govt of Pakistan has to pay full attention to save these rare temples. These temples have lost their grace because of digging by the strangers in the past. I live in this village and i have taken my early education from this village.If a Govt of Punjab gives the resources to build the wall round the temples malot it will be great effort. I have talked with many foreigners who came from the different countries. they have said taht these temples will lost their origin very soon because no one is taking care of them. Sir i will request to the Govt of Punjab that please save these ancient temples by paying attention.

    Thanks a lot,

    Liaquat Abbas,
    village Malot.

    Reply
  12. Muhammad Zohaib Tabassum

    A.A All readers!
    I read it and glad to read more information getted because i lived 3 years in katas and getted my Degree from Punjab School of Mines katas, there is too much need to construct a resturant in katas bcs there is no proper way of staying for outsider and visitor, also film industry’s related peoples shoot there films and dramas in katas which is hardly prohibited in this place but we are pakistani and having some suspence k what will happened here,
    Visit time for katas is from 3pm to 6pm every day bcs there weather too much hot in day and too much cold in night timings but i suggust all visit there at sunday.
    There is need to constructional work.
    Thanks to Taimoor sb which wive most attention to katas valley.
    Allah Hafiz
    ariam786@Gmail.com

    Reply
  13. Lal Chand Koreca

    I am Lal Chand Koreca, from Daharki Sindh.

    I visited Katas Raj (Kataksha) in December 2009; it is located in the middle of salt range at a distance of 18 miles in the south of Chakwal.

    The condition of the temples was not good. There is too much need of constructional work & there is no any proper staying for outsider.

    I will suggest that they should make a repair work there also.

    I am sure that I will visit Katas very soon again.

    Thanks.

    Reply
  14. kashif

    i am pleased to see the important information about the Tilla Jogian and my village Domeli (jehlum). I belong to the Gakkhar famili, thanx

    Tnkfull to you,

    Kashif Raja

    Reply
    1. shahid nadeem

      It is great that many net-readers have been benefitted from my contribution on some of the archaeological sites located in the area of Salt Range. The Salt Range mountains belong to the Precambrian era 500m – 4.5bn years… which means these mountains are present since the creation of the earth. But time and its tides have not saved many of the happenings since human civilizations dwell here. Few marks of the human civilizations now present, are in a dilapidated condition. I am sure we all will pass our knowledge on to posterity.
      With regards,
      Shahid Nadeem
      taimur66@yahoo.com
      Islamabad Pakistan

      Reply

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