Over the centuries, areas comprising Pakistan have housed a number of civilizations and there are historical, religious, architectural and cultural sites all over which are being preserved, maintained,rehabilitated, visited and respected as sacred sites by Hindus, Buddhists, Christians and followers of other religions and faiths besides Muslims. Katas Raj Temples is a Hindu complex situated in Kallar Kahar village near Choa Saiden Shah in Chakwal district of Punjab province. The temple complex surrounds a pond named Katas which is regarded as sacred by Hindus. Old name of Katas Raj was Kataksha which in classic Sanskrit means ‘God’s Tears’. These temples, which are connected with each other by walkways, are locally known as Qila Katas. The pond occupies an area of two kanals and 15 marlas with a maximum depth of 20 feet. The pond was originally referred to as Viskund or “poison spring” but was later referred to as Amarkund, Chamaskund and finally Katashkund meaning “Spring of tearful eyes”. In Urdu and Persian languages, the pond is also referred to as “Chashm-e-Alam” meaning “ Sorrowful/Tearful Eyes”. The Hindu pilgrims celebrate Maha Shivaratri at Katas Raj Temple. It is here that Shiva had entered into a nuptial bond . It is here that the oldest book in Hinduism “Reg Vida” was written. It is attributed to the eras of Hindu Shahis (kings) dating back about 615-950 CE and are dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is related that at the death of Shiva’s wife Sati, he was inconsolable and cried so much that it resulted in two pools of water , one at Pushkara near Ajmer and the other at Katas. It also existed since the days of Hindu epic poem Mahabharata and the Pandava brothers spent a substantial part of their exile at the site. It is also traditionally believed by Hindus to be the site where the brothers were engaged in a riddle contest with Yakshas, as described in the Yaksha Prashna. Another tradition states that the Hindu deity Krishna had laid the foundation of the temple and also established a hand-made shivling in it. The temples were visited by India’s former Deputy Prime Minister Lal Krishna Advani, better known as L.K.Advani, in 2005, the Pakistan government started rehabilitation works at the temples in 2006 followed by further improvements announced in 2017 and Pakistan had issued visas to 139 Indian Hindu pilgrims in 2018. Prior to its Hindu roots, the site held a Buddhist Stupa said to have towered 61 meters (206 feet) in height with ten streams around it. Katas site houses the Satgarha the seven temples, a gathering of seven old temples, remains of a Buddhist Stupa, a couple of medieval sanctuaries , havelis and some as the newly built sanctuaries, scattered around a lake considered sacred by Hindus. The temples at Katas are mostly constructed on square platforms. The Ramachandra Mandir is situated to the east of the Hari Singh Havile and Hanuman Mandir is on the western extreme of a high rectangular enclosure. The Salt Ranges have archeological remains which are still hidden underground. A number of bones of the limbs and vertebrae of animals have also been found at some nearby sites. Prehistoric axes and knives made of granite , and artifacts like terracotta bangles and pottery have also been unearthed at the Katas Raj site sometime back. The latter have been found to be similar to those excavated in Harappa but somehow have not been dated as yet. As for its founding, the 4th century CE Chinese monk , Faxian, described a temple at Katas Raj in his travelogues. The 7th century CE Chinese traveler Xuanzang visited the area and reported the existence of a Buddhist Stupa dating the era of the 3rd century BCE King Ashoka. Following the collapse of the Buddhist empire of Gandhara, Hinduism had gained traction to the region under the reign of the Hindu Shahis beginning around the 7th century CE. The Hindu Shahis, as briefly referred above also, established Hindu temples at Katas Raj from the mid 7th to 10th centuries though the British engineer Alexander Cunningham had dated the shrines to around 66 BCE. The Hindu Shahi empire had also funded construction of several other temples throughout northern Punjab and the Potohar plateau including the nearby Tilla Jogian and Kafir Kot in Khyber Pukhtoonkhwah province, The founder of the Sikh faith, Guru Nanak, is believed to have visited the Katas Raj Temple as the site became a popular destination for ascetics.The Sikh emperor Maharaja Ranjit Singh also regularly performed pilgrimage to the site. He had visited the site for the Baisakhi festival in 1806, in December 1818 and again in 1824. The Katas Raj Temples compex was a popular pilgrimage site for Hindus prior to the 1947 partition of the British India with large numbers visiting for Shivratri . Following the partition of the sub-continent, the local Hindu community left the region for the newly established Republic of India. The relationship of Hindus with the local Muslm population was good and local Muslims had accompanied Hindus to the nearby town of Choa Saiden Shah from where the local Hindua population departed for India. Indian pilgrims continued to visit the temples complex for the Shivratri festival until the Indo-Paikstan War of September 1965 after which Indian pilgrims were barred from visiting again until 1984. About 300 Indian Hindus visited the site for Shivratri festival in 2006 which for a short period became an annual tradition for some Indian pilgrims though the Indians had stopped coming after 2008 Mumbai attacks. About 2000 Pakistani Hindus resumed the tradition of celebrating Shivratri at the temples complex in 2010 and another 2000 in 2011 with visitors coming from as far as Karachi. In January 2017, the Pakistan government began installation of shikharas on the temples. In February 2017, 200 pilgrims from India travelled to the temples complex to participate in the Katas Raj Dham festival. As far as religious significance is concerned, the Katas Raj Temples complex is considered to be the second most sacred site in the historic Punjab region after the temple at Jwalamukhi in modern Himachal Pradesh. It is located about 20 to 24 kilometers from Kallar Kahar at an altitude of 2000 feet on the road between Kallar Kahar and Choa Saiden Shah. One has to go off the Motorway-2 Lahore-Islamabad at Kallar Kahar interchange. It is approximately 100 kilometers away by road from another important Hindu pilgrimage destination known as the Tilla Jogian complex. This is not only a historical site but also a very serene place to visit. Weather permitting the foreign and local visitors can really spend an hour or two in the complex and enjoy its beauty. It is better to hire a guide to explain to you about the place. So it is also better to bring your own food. There are many Loquat orchards around and the visitors can go and have their picnic there. There are many multiple dams also when one is returning to Islamabad after visiting the temples complex through Chakwal-Jhekum Road.IOn our way back, we went back to Islamabad through Chakwal-Jhelum Road. These dams are also beautiful and a nice place to rest, relax and have food for a couple of hours at least.