Archaeology of Pakistan
Indus Valley Civilization is the earliest known urban civilization with large cities and connectivity that was found on the entire Indian Sub-Continent. The fertile plains around the River Indus provided rich ground for these enterprising individuals. The civilizations flourished from 3rd Millennium BCE to 2nd Millennium BCE. It covered a vast area stretching from present Balochistan (Pakistan) to the areas surrounding Jumna River near Delhi (India) making it not only one of the earliest civilizations but the most expansive one too. Several cities developed as part of the Indus Valley Civilization including Harappa and Mohenjo Daro whose ruins can be visited in Pakistan.
Harappa is an archaeological site in Punjab, Pakistan about 20km west of a major urban centre of Sahiwal. This archaeological site was named after the closest village i.e. Harappa (later given to that era of the Indus Valley Civilization).
The present day ruins indicate the existence of a bustling towm that would have housed upto 40,000 inhabitants and occupied an area of around 100 hectares at its peak. The ruins have provided evidence of a civilization containing its own writing system, unique city center and its own social and economic system. It was re-discovered in the 1920s. For more information on Harrapa Civilization and to visit Harappa Museum please use the following links:
Information on Harappa Civilization: https://www.harappa.com/
Harappa Museum, Sahiwal: https://archaeology.punjab.gov.pk/Harappa_Museums
Mehrgarh is now considered to be the first stage of the Indus Valley Civilization/ Harappan civilization and lies on the Kacchi plain of Balochistan, Pakistan (one of the main routes connecting modern day Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan). Mehrgarh is a Neolithic site dating to around 7000 BCE to 2000 BCE. This site is the first confirmed incidence of animal husbandry and farming in the area denoting a thriving civilization. Early Mehrgarh residents lived in mud brick houses while also building special granaries for access grain with mud bricks too.
Ruins indicating later Mehrgarh period have also hinted at the flourishing crafts including flint knapping, tanning, bead production, and metalworking. Rich archaeological material is associated with the later period of Mehrgarh including 32000 artifacts of various nature as well as tools. These include female figurines similar to Venus and world’s oldest painted pottery. Interested readers can read more about Mehrgarh on the official website of UNESCO (https://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/1876/)
Mohenjo-Daro literally means “city of dead” in the Sindhi language. Mohenjo-Daro is an important archaeological city dating around 2500 BCE and one of the world’s earliest major cities. The site is currently on the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Mohenjo-Daro is a city with planned grid lines. At its peak the city housed around 40,000 individuals. The buildings found on the site include a “Great Hall” possibly a granary, elaborate public baths and colonnaded courtyard leading to a waterproof pool (lined with Bitumen). Most interestingly the city’s original plan included a permanent water supply system and organized sewage and waste water disposal.
The artifacts discovered from Mohenjo-Daro include “Dancing Girl”, “Priest King” and several necklaces of unique design.
Moenjo Daro Museum is one of the important sites under management on the Provincial Government of Sindh (https://antiquities.sindhculture.gov.pk/index.php/sites/museums/archaeological-museum-mohenjo-daro-larkano)
The Gandhara Civilization existed in what is now Northern Pakistan and Afghanistan from the middle of the 1st millennium BCE to the beginning of the 2nd millennium CE. Although multiple major powers ruled over this area during that time, they all had in common great reverence for Buddhism and the adoption of the Indo Greek artistic tradition which had developed in the region following Alexander’s invasions into India. The civilization was mentioned by the historians for Achmeanid king Cyrus and later recorded in detail by the Buddhist monk Xuanzang (Hsüan-tsang, 602- 664 CE) in the 7th century CE. It is estimated that Gandhara proper was a vast tract of land in the Valley of Swat (modern day Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa, Pakistan) while Gandhara Greater extended to Kabul Valley in Afghanistan to Potwar Plateau in modern day Punjab, Pakistan.
Alexander the Great conquered Gandhara in 327 BCE. His historical sources properly narrate a war with the King Porus at the Battle of Haydespes. Local historical references are full of the spiritual fight put up by King Porus and the respectable treatment granted to him by Alexander, the Great. For more information about Gandhara please click (https://www.ancient.eu/Gandhara_Civilization/)
Taxila is an important archeological site of ancient Gandhara (this should be clickable and linked to the description of Gandhara Civilization above). This was an important city on the peak of Gandhara civilization joining Indian Sub-Continent and Central Asia both in the flow of goods and ideas. At its peak the city and its university were linked to Eastern India, Kashmir and Central Asia through a road network described by ancient Greek travelers.
Taxila is considered to be the home of one of the earliest universities in the world having permanent faculty and purpose built lecture halls. Taxila city is about 32 km away from the capital Islamabad.
The artifacts discovered from Taxila include “Buddha Sitting on Lion Throne” and a standing sculpture of “Shakyamuni”. These and other artefacts can be seen in the Taxila Museum located near the ruins.
Taxila is on the UNESCO World Heritage Site. For more information please visit (https://archaeology.punjab.gov.pk/taxila-museums)
Takht-i-Bahi, which means Spring Throne, is a Buddhist monastic complex dating from the 1st century BC located at the top of a 152m high hill. The ruins are located approximately 16 km from Mardan and 80 km from Peshawar. Sahr-i-Bahlol is a small walled town from the same period located near Takht-i-Bahi. The historic complex is a complete Buddhist monastery made up of four main groups; the Court of Stupas, a monastic complex, a temple complex and a tantric monastic complex. Artefacts from this site as well as other Budhist/Gandhara sites in the area are housed in the Swat Museum located in the city of Saidu Sharif.
The site is a UNESCO World Heritage Site (https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/140/)
Interested readers can follow the linkages of Takht-i-Bahi to the broader Gandhara world and its linkages to Central Asia through the following book (available in full) on UNESCO website (https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000104612)
For actual footage of the site you may like to watch this video (first half)
Buddha of Swat
The Jehanabad Buddha of Swat, is another part of Pakistan’s Gandhara heritage (link with the definition of Gandhara above). It was carved on a cliff in the 7th century and was, unfortunately, dynamited by the Taliban in 2007. The carving had remained a powerful symbol of tolerance in the valley. The carving was restored fully in 2012 with the help from the Italian Archeological Mission in Pakistan. The site is now open to tourism in the picturesque Valley of Jahanabad.
The figure shows Buddha in a lotus position at the base of a granite cliff. The carving has passed numerous tests of times and remains visible from miles away.
For actual footage and views of a tourist, you may watch. Fun Fact: Watch how cows give special attention to the drones at 11:14
The Rohtas Fort is located near the city of Jhelum along the historic Grand Trunk Road. It was built by Sher Shah Suri who assumed the throne in Delhi after defeating Mughal Emperor Humayun in 1541. The Fort of Rohtas, or Qila Rohtas, is an outstanding example of the beginnings of Muslim military architecture in this region of Asia.
Rohtas Fort is a UN World Heritage Site. Its main fortifications are made up of massive walls that extend for more than 4 km that include thick ramparts and strong masonry in arches. The stone work also includes a delicate display of stone carving and calligraphy.
For more information about the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Please Read (https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/586/).
For historical detail of Rohtas Fort (filmed by FilmFreeway) please see (https://filmfreeway.com/RohtasFort)
For aerial footage of the Fort
Makli Necropolis in Thatta is one of the largest burial sites in the world, spanning 10 square kilometers near the modern town of Thatta, in Pakistan’s Sindh province. The site is home to approximately 500,000 to 1 million tombs built over a period of 400 years. Makli Necropolis features several large funerary monuments belonging to royalty, various Sufi saints and esteemed scholars. The site was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1981 as an “exceptional testament” of Sindhi civilization between the 14th and 18th centuries. (https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/143/)
The Sufi saint, poet and scholar Sheikh Jamali, established a Khanqah, or Sufi gathering place, in Makli, where he was eventually buried. The 14th century Trakhan ruler, Jam Tamachi, worshiped the saint and wished to be buried near the saint, beginning the tradition of using Makli as a burial site. The site became a major burial site under the Samma dynasty, who had established their capital near Thatta. The most architecturally significant tombs on the site date from the time of the Mughal era, between 1570 and 1640 CE.
Fun Fact: Noori- Jam Tamachi also makes for a folkloric love story. Read more about it (https://steemit.com/story/@msaleem/true-love-story-of-noori-jam-tamachi-the-king-jam-tamachi-and-daughter-of-fisherman)
Ranikot is a historical Fort near Sann, Jamshoro, Sindh, Pakistan. Otherwise known as a “Great Wall of Sindh”. The actual history of building of Ranikot is unknown (undocumented) and it may have been built by the Talpur Dynasty in the 17th century. The Fort encompasses an area of 31 km in straight length joined by high walls, desert hills and guard towers. The main architecture has been built with stone and lime mortar with four entry gate.
Ranikot is on the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Site https://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/1284/9).
To realize the scale and to understand the environment of Ranikot.
The Port of Banbhore (Port of Banbhore) is an ancient town dating from the 1st century BC. It is currently situated 37 miles north of the metropolitan city of Karachi, Sindh. It dates back to the Scytho-Parthian era and was later controlled by Muslims from the 8th to the 13th century, after which it was abandoned. The bustling port city was most probably abandoned gradually after the course of the Indus River changed (around 13th century) and since then the city first diminished in size and eventually deserted.
The remains of one of the oldest known mosques in the region, dating from 727 AD, are still preserved in the city. For more details (https://www.discover-pakistan.com/bhambore.html)
For aerial view of the ruins of the Bhambore City please watch
Banbhore plays an important role in the folk tales of tragic love of Sassi-Punu (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sassui_Punnhun)
THE EDICTS OF MANSEHRA ROCK
The Edicts of Mansehra Rock ( Mansehra Rock Edicts) are 14 edicts of Mauryan Emperor Ashoka, carved on rocks at Mansehra in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. The edicts are cut into three blocks and date back to the 3rd century BC. They are written in the ancient Indian script of Gandhara culture, Kharosthi. The edicts mention aspects of Ashoka’s dhamma . The site has been submitted for inclusion in World Heritage sites and is currently on the Tentative List (https://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/1880/)
To understand the Edicts and their linkage in broader historical context, the interested readers may read (https://www.chitralnews.com/in-search-of-ashokas-edict/).
Mosques of Paksitan
The Wazir-Khan Mosque was built in 1634 during the reign of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan by the governor of the province of Punjab: Nawab Wazir Khan.
This mosque, one of the most beautiful in Pakistan, is famous for the exceptional quality of its mosaics, a mixture of floral motifs and calligraphic compositions.
The prayer hall consists of four rooms, with painted ceilings, surmounted by a dome.
Google Arts and Culture page has a wonderful pictorial, historiography of the mosque that can be viewed through this link (https://artsandculture.google.com/exhibit/wazir-khan-mosque-walled-city-of-lahore-authority-wcla/YALCRbBD4YTAJA?hl=en).
FAISAL SHAH MOSQUE
In Islamabad, the Pakistani capital, one of the biggest attractions is the King Faisal Mosque which can also be admired by going for a walk on the heights of the Margalla hills, which are the meeting place of the inhabitants of the city on weekends.
It is the largest in Pakistan and was funded by King Faisal of Saudi Arabia. He spent almost $ 120 million to build this place of worship which was completed in 10 years, from 1976 to 1986. It was also necessary to build the road, wide and straight, of Shaharah-e-Islamabad, which allows believers to reach there. The mosque is in the northern part of town seen from the hills on the right. It includes an Islamic University and the tomb of General Zia in an adjacent part. As we can see, this mosque is gigantic and its architecture, designed by a Turkish architect Vedat Dalokay, takes the shape of the tents of the Arab Bedouin of the peninsula. The four minarets are in Turkish style and stand 90 meters high. It has a large prayer hall.
For more images and description (https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/faisal-mosque)
Watch how other tourists fared in Faisal Mosque, what to expect and what to do. This video also includes a trip to Monal Hotel and a short introduction to the Pakistani cuisine.
The Badshahi Mosque was constructed by the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb between 1671 and 1673. The mosque is an important example of Mughal architecture, with an exterior that is decorated with carved red sandstone with marble inlay. It remains the largest mosque of the Mughal-era, and is the second-largest mosque in Pakistan. The Mosque is adjacent to the walled city of Lahore and faces the Lahore Fort. The tomb of the National Poet of Pakistan Allama Muhammad Iqbal lives near the entrance of the Mosque.
For more details please visit (https://www.orientalarchitecture.com/sid/568/pakistan/lahore/badshahi-mosque)
For the aerial footage of the mosque and experience of a tourist (quite some expressions there) can be of interest.
THE GRAND MOSQUE JAMIA
Grand Mosque Jamia Lahore is a mosque located in Bahria city, Lahore, Pakistan. With a capacity of 70,000 worshipers, it is the third largest mosque in Pakistan and the seventh largest mosque in the world.
Designed by Nayyar Ali Dada, it was inaugurated on October 6, 2014 at Eid al-Adha. It can accommodate 25,000 worshipers inside, while the courtyard and corridor leading to the main places of worship can accommodate 70,000 people. The architecture is influenced by Badshahi Masjid, Wazir Khan Mosque and Sheikh Zayed Mosque, with construction costs of over 4 billion rupees (or approximately $ 39 million).
The structure includes four minarets, each 165 meters high, and a large dome surrounded by 20 smaller domes. The exterior is covered with 4 million handmade Multani tiles. The interior is decorated with rugs imported from Turkey and more than 50 chandeliers imported from Iran. One of the floors consists of an Islamic heritage museum with rare Quranic collections, an Islamic library and an Islamic art gallery with various ancient artifacts. Over four million handcrafted mosaic tiles by Multani cover the surface of the mosque.
Read more about the Mosque (https://arch-com.net/en/architectural-articles/0a447fb1-grand-jamia-mosque-lahore)
To understand the scale of the Mosque and its surrounding areas you may like to watch
Masjid e Tooba or Tooba Mosque also known as Gol Masjid, is located in Karachi Sindh Province. It is located in phase 2 of DHA (Defense Housing Authority), Karachi.
Construction of the mosque began in 1966 and was completed in 1969. The mosque was designed by Pakistani architect Babar Hamid Chauhan and the engineer was Zaheer Haider Naqvi. The Mosque huge white dome is not supported by any pillars. A small wall, using modern engineering techniques, supports the whole dome creating a unique feature and aura of the Mosque.
Data Darbar, located in Lahore, Punjab (Pakistan), is the largest Sufi shrine in South Asia. It was built to house the remains of the Muslim mystic, Abul Hassan Ali Hajvery, commonly known as Data Ganj Baksh, who is believed to have lived at the site in the 11th century CE. The site is considered to be the holiest place in Lahore and attracts up to a million visitors to its annual urs festival.
Data Darbar is located in the center of the old walled city of Lahore – the capital of many powerful governments and empires of the past.
Regular qawali performances are held at Data Darbar and the Shrine provides a wide array of social services t the impoverished. Read this blog with its descriptions and videos for more information on Data Darbar (https://www.bitlanders.com/blogs/my-visit-to-the-famous-shrine-of-hazrat-data-ganj-baksh-data-darbar/5671293).
Pakistani devotees gather at the shrine of Sufi Saint Data Ganj Bakhsh in Lahore on December 1, 2015. The three-day celebrations of 972th festival of Hazrat Ali Bin Usman popularly known as Data Gunj Bakhsh started with traditional zeal with ‘chaddar’ laying ceremony at the shrine. / AFP / ARIF ALI
Bhanbhore is a city dating from the 1st century BCE located in modern Sindh, Pakistan. The ruins of the city can be found on the N-5 national road, east of Karachi. It dates back to the Scytho-Parthian era and was later controlled by Muslims from the 8th to the 13th century, after which it was abandoned. The remains of one of the oldest known mosques in the region, dating from 727 AD, are still preserved in the city. In 2004, the Department of Archeology and Museums of Pakistan submitted the site to UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
To get an aerial view of the Bhambore City and Mosque (ruins) please watch.
Shahi Mosque is the main mosque in the city of Chitral. It is located on the bank of the Chitral River adjacent to the Fort of Chitral. It was the main mosque of the State of Chitral. The mosque was built on the orders of Shuja-ul-Mulk in 1924. Click here to view this 100 years old mosque, nestled in mountains.
MAHABAT KHAN MOSQUE
Mahabat Khan Mosque, sometimes spelled Mohabbat Khan Mosque, is a 17th-century Mughal-era mosque located in Peshawar, Pakistan. The mosque was built in 1630 and is named after the Mughal governor of Peshawar, Nawab Mahabat Khan bin Ali Mardan Khan, also known as Mahabat Khan and Ali Mardan Khan. The mosque’s white marble facade is considered one of the most iconic sites in Peshawar.
The Mosque was originally built on a hall with an area of 30,155 Square feet.
The Mosque contains exquisite examples of floral motifs and Quranic calligraphy of the Mughal era.
Watch the visuals of this historical gem in the centre of the bustling city of Peshawar .
SHAH JAHAN MOSQUE
Shah Jahan Mosque, also known as Jamia Masjid of Thatta, is a 17th-century building that serves as the central mosque in the city of Thatta, in Pakistan’s Sindh province. The mosque is considered to have the most elaborate tile display in South Asia and also stands out for its geometric brickwork – an unusual decorative element for mosques of the Mughal period. It was built during the reign of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, who gifted it to the city as a token of gratitude, and is heavily influenced by the architecture of Central Asia – a reflection of Shah Jahan’s campaigns near Samarkand shortly before the conception of the mosque. The mosque is known for its acoustics – the worshippers can hear the voice of the imam in all parts of the mosque without loudspeakers.
Read more about Shah Jahan Mosque (https://antiquities.sindhculture.gov.pk/index.php/antiquities-sites/mosques/shah-jahan-mosque-thatta).
Watch the breathtaking beauty of the Mosque and richness of architectural expression here .
The Chaqchan Mosque, which means “the miraculous mosque”, is a mosque located in the city of Khaplu, in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of northern Pakistan. Dating from 1370, the mosque is one of the oldest in the region and dates from the time when the population of this region converted en masse from Buddhism to Islam. The design of the mosque is heavily influenced by the architecture of the Kashmir valley and was probably also built by craftsmen from Kashmir. Watch the aerial visuals of this old mosque here in its scenic area of the North of Pakistan .
Churches in Pakistan
ST ANDREW’S CHURCH
St Andrew’s Church is located in Saddar, Karachi. It is known as the Scottish Church. It was built in 1868 by a Scottish mission. It merged with the Church of Pakistan in 1970, when the country’s Protestant churches united. Four denominations gathered: Anglican, Methodist, Lutheran and Presbyterian (Scottish) from four dioceses. The church building is built in Gothic style with arches.
Follow the latest activities taking place in the Church on their Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/StAndrewsChurchSaddarKarachi/).
Saint Thomas Church is located on G-7-2 Hospital Road, Islamabad, and has been designed in accordance with local practice. It is inspired by the tradition of Mughal masonry.
A large hall sits under the church itself, accessible from the rear of this steeply sloping site, and a two-story house sits to the side, dividing the site into two outdoor spaces. It is part of the Anglican Communion and is loosely affiliated with the Anglican Diocese of Manchester. A warm red colored brick structure of indeterminate age dates back to the 1980s. It looks slightly out of place considering the monolithic concrete buildings nearby, most of which seem to suffer from neglect.
Follow the latest activities taking place in the church on their Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/st.thomaschurchisb/).
ST. PATRICK’S CATHEDRAL, Karachi
The first church in Sindh was originally built on the grounds of this cathedral in 1845 and was called St. Patrick’s Church. It was in April 1881 that the current cathedral was opened, as the number of members of the Catholic community increased, the need for a larger place of worship became evident. Despite the construction of the new building, the small church continued to function until it was destroyed by a storm in 1885.
Watch the Church here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EsaUqc8XAbE).
The Cathedral of the Holy Trinity ( Sialkot Cathedral ) is located in Sialkot in Pakistan. Its first stone was laid on March 1, 1852. It is located in the Sialkot district on the shopping center (Quaid-i-Azam street). The church was consecrated in1857, Sialkot at the time in the diocese of Calcutta.
Follow the latest activities of the Cathedral on their Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/Holy-Trinity-Cathedral-Sialkot-Cantt-1190600307636432/).
LAHORE CATHEDRAL CHURCH
The Resurrection Cathedral, also known as Lahore Cathedral, is an Anglican cathedral located in the heart of Lahore, Pakistan. It was built on The Mall in 1887, opposite the Lahore High Court. It is the seat of the Diocese of Lahore, of the Church of Pakistan.
The cathedral is neo-Gothic in style. It was originally built in pink sandstone by architect John Oldrid Scott (son of George Gilbert Scott). In 1898, two towers with tall steeples were added to the building, but the steeples were dismantled after the 1911 earthquake.
The Lahoris generally call Kukar Girja (Girja, a Hindi / Urdu word meaning “church” originating in Portuguese igreja) due to the presence of a meteorological cockerel mounted on the central nave, one of the highest points.
A treasure of the cathedral is the ancient Cross of Saint Thomas excavated in 1935 near the site of the ancient city of Sirkap, although its antiquity is controversial (Sirkap was an ancient city close to Taxila). The structure is also well known for its stained glass windows, pipe organ and clock dating from 1862.
Follow the latest activities of the Church on their Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/dioceseoflahore/).
ST. JOHN’S CHURCH
St. John’s Church , located in Jhelum District, Pakistan, by the Jhelum River. It was built in 1860 and is a landmark of the city. It is a Protestant church which was in use during the British colonial period. For forty years it remained closed, but was renovated and reopened in 2007.
Follow the latest activities of the Church on their Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/St-John-Church-Jhelum-111948497139532/).
ST LUKE’S CHURCH
St. Luke’s Church in Abbottabad is an Anglican church dedicated to St. Luke, now under the jurisdiction of the Diocese of Peshawar of the Church of Pakistan. It was founded in the city of Abbottabad in 1864. Construction work on St Luke began in 1854-1855, with initial delays due to slow fundraising and then a brief hiatus due to the Indian rebellion of 1857.
Follow the latest activities of the Church on their Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/Saint-Lukes-Church-Abbottabad-1635236923369728/?ref=page_internal).
ST. MATTHEWS CHURCH
The century-old Church of St Matthews is located in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, in the hills of Nathia Gali, a hill station located in the Hazara district. Located near Paradise Point, it can be reached after a steep hike from the main market and was built entirely of cedar wood during the British period.
THE CATHEDRAL OF THE HOLY TRINITY
The Holy Trinity Cathedral is the seat of the Diocese of Karachi, located on Fatima Jinnah Road, Karachi. Built in 1855, its tall tower was also a lighthouse, as it was built for the purpose of facilitating ship access to the port of Karachi.
SAINT JOSEPH CONVENT
Convent Saint-Joseph (St. Joseph’s Convent) in 1861, apostolic vicar of Bombay, crossing Belgium, called on Mother Marie Thérèse, superior general and founder of the Daughter of the Cross, and asked several of her sisters to work in the field in India. In January 1862, five volunteering women left Belgium for India and were assigned their jobs in Karachi.
From January 1871 the institution that these and subsequent volunteers built was known as St. Joseph’s Convent.
After many years in 1951, the college was built. After the construction of the new St. Patrick’s Church, the convent acquired the use of the old church, which was rebuilt to suit the educational institution.
Today, the school has more than 2000 students. The school enjoys a good reputation and is in great demand among the citizens of Karachi.
Follow the latest activities of the Convent on their Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/sjc2020/).
Hindu Temples in Pakistan
HINGLAJ MATA TEMPLE
Hinglaj Mata also known as Hinglaj Devi, Hingula Devi and Nani Mandir, is a Hindu temple in Hinglaj, a town on the Makran coast in the Lasbela district of Balochistan, Pakistan, and is in the middle of Hingol National Park. This temple is dedicated to one of the Shakti Peethas of the Hindu goddess Sati. It is a form of Durga or Devidin, a mountain cave on the banks of the Hingol River. Over the past three decades, the place has gained increasing popularity and has become a unifying point of reference for the many Hindu communities in Pakistan. Hinglaj Yatra is the biggest Hindu pilgrimage in Pakistan.
Watch the temple and its surrounding areas here.
Jagannath Temple in Sialkot, Pakistan is dedicated to the Hindu god Jagannath. Built over 1000 years ago, the temple was renovated in early 2007 with a special grant by the Government of the Punjab, Pakistan.
Watch the temple and its re-opening here
SHRI DEV VARUN TEMPLE
Shri Dev Varun Mandir is a Hindu temple located in Manora Island in Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan. The temple is dedicated to Varuna, the deity who represents water or sea in Hinduism.
According to a legend, it was around the 16th century when a wealthy sailor named Bhojomal Bhattia bought the island of Manora from the Khan of Kalat, who owned most of the land along the coast at that time, then his family ordered a temple. It is widely believed that the current structure was renovated around 1917-1918.
Watch the Temple here.
KATAS RAJ TEMPLE
Katas Raj Temples also known as Qila Katas is a complex of several Hindu temples connected to each other by walkways. The temple complex surrounds a pond named Katas (meaning tearful eye), considered sacred by Hindus. The complex is located in the Potohar Plateau region of Pakistan’s Punjab province. The temples are located near the city of Kallar Kahar.
In the Puranas, the temple pond is said to have been created from the tears of Shiva. It is reported that he cried inconsolably at the death of his wife Sati leading to the creation of two ponds (the other being in Nanital, India).
These temples also play a very important role in the Hindu epic poem, the Mahabharata. It is believed that these were the temples where the Pandav brothers spent a certain period of their exile.
Watch a tour of the Temple Complex here. The video is in Urdu but has English sub-titles.
PANCHMUKHI HANUMAN TEMPLE
1500-year-old Panchmukhi Hanuman Mandir located at Soldier Bazaar in Karachi is one of the oldest Hindu temples in Pakistan. The temple holds special significance for Hindus as it is the only shrine in the world to have a “natural statue” of Hanuman that was not created by man. The 8-foot blue and white statue was found several centuries ago at the current temple site. The Temple represents all five aspects of Hanuman: Narasimha, Adivaraha, Hayagriva, Hanuman and Garuda.
JAIN NAGARPARKAR TEMPLE
Jain temple, Nagarparkar is a complex of temples denoting the ebb of times gone by. Run of Kutch – a marshland between the inward protrusion of the Arabian Sea and the flow of the mighty Indus was a point of strong economic activity in the 15-19 Centuries. The slow silting brought on by the Indus River led to change of flow of the river and a gradual decrease of economic activity. During the zenith of its commercial activity, the area was populated by Jains, many of whom accumulated a great deal of wealth.
A series of temples around the town of Nagarparkar (Sindh), Viravah Village (now deserted) and on the foothills of Karoonjhar mountains gave expression to the religious and cultural adherences of the Jains. The ruins continue to attract Jains as well as local Muslims for offroad tourism.
Read more about these Temples in this Report (https://www.dawn.com/news/1238823).
Some visuals of the Temples.
Rama Temple, Saidpur
Saidpur is a historic Pakistani village located in a ravine in the Margalla Hills near Islamabad and overlooking Daman-e-Koh. The historic core of the village includes a Hindu temple and Sikh gurdwara. Both these buildings were renovated in 2006.
Historically, it is reported that Said Khan offered the village of Saidpur to his daughter who was then married to Mughal Emperor Jahangir, son of Mughal Emperor Akbar. Jahangir’s memoir, Tuzk-e-Jahangiri, mentions that Said Khan resides in a place “beyond Rawalpindi” on his way to Kabul, which is said to be Saidpur.
Watch here the visuals of the Rama Kund (Temple), the associated Dharamshala (now a museum) and Gurudwara .
Sikh Temples in Pakistan
GURDWARA JANAM ASTHAN
Gurdwara Janam Asthan (Gurdwara Janam Asthan) also called Gurdwara Nankana Sahib, is a one of the most revered holy sites of the Sikhs and was built on the site where the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak, was believed to be born. The shrine is located in the city of Nankana Sahib, near the city of Sheikhupura in the Punjab province of Pakistan.
Read more about Gurdwara Janam Asthan and other places of interest in Nankana Sahib here (https://nankana.punjab.gov.pk/important_places).
Watch this Vlog for a virtual tour of the Gurdwara Janam Asthan .
GURUDWARA BAL LILAH SAHIB
This Gurudwara is associated with the early childhood profile of Guru Nanak. Gurudwara Bal Lilah is located about half a kilometer from Gurdwara Janam Asthan. Rai Bular, the ruler of Talwandi, built the holy Temple as a token of the memory of Guru Nanak.
Sadh Belo, Sindhi, or Sat, is an island in the Indus River near Sukkur, Sindh, Pakistan, famous for its highly revered Dharmic shrines. The temples are associated with the Udasi syncretic movement, which had strong ties to Sikhism. There is a Hindu temple on the island, founded in 1823 by Baba Bankhandi Maharaj, who had immigrated from Nepal.The place is held in high esteem by Hindus from Sindh and even India, attracting pilgrims.The annual death Baba Bankhandi Maharaj, analogous to Sufis urs, is celebrated with a three-day festival in which pilgrims receive free accommodation, food and water.
Watch the Temple here
GURDWARA PANJA SAHIB
Gurdwara Panja Sahib is a gurdwara located in Hasan Abdal, 48 kilometers from Rawalpindi in Pakistan. It is one of the holiest places in Sikhism due to the presence of a rock with the hand-engraved imprint of Guru Nanak.
Read more about Panja Sahib here (https://azizakhmad.medium.com/panja-sahib-miracle-that-happened-at-hasanabdal-76d1b5df9a63)
SAMADHI RANJIT SINGH
The Samadhi of Ranjit Singh is a 19th-century building in Lahore, Pakistan that houses the funerary urns of the Jat Sikh ruler Ranjit Singh (1780 – 1839). It is located adjacent to the Lahore Fort and Badshahi Mosque, as well the Gurdwara Dera Sahib which marks the spot where the 5th guru of Sikhism, Guru Arjan Dev, died.
Read about a touristic impression of the place here (https://www.youlinmagazine.com/article/the-samadhi-of-ranjit-singh-lahore/MTE3MQ==)
Watch the Samadhi here at 0800 minutes onwards along with a broad view of Lahore city in this video.