In pictures: Pakistan's historic Hindu temples
Shreds of wish lists say ‘Jai Mata Ki’ at Mata Singh Bhavani Mandir at Thatta, Sindh. All pics courtesy/ Madhiha Aijaz
Neel Gumbad Mandir is dedicated to Valmiki. Located in Lahore (where only 35 Hindu families exist), the temple had a turbulent time during the Partition when vandals stripped the temple of everything sacred, including a tile of gold by Valmiki’s feet.
Kataas Raj in Punjab is seen as Shiva’s land of birth where his beloved Sati breathed her last; the Mahabharata calls its stream ‘the pool of the Universe’ and narrates that the inconsolable god wept here for his lost love, creating this vast pond and another in Pushkar. Shiva’s hallowed pond and Durga’s beautiful baradari of curved arches with the bulbuous domes of Shiv Mandir rising behind it.
Hinglaj at its holiest: Situated in Balochistan, this holy cavern is believed to be the spot where Sati’s head had fallen when Vishnu in an effort to end Shiva’s dance of fury and lament, divided Sati’s corpse in 52 parts. History of Sindh observes that the Hinglaj Puran contains a mention of Ram’s visit to the cave during his 14-year exile.
'Har mangal ko aarti raat 7:30 bajay hoti hai' says the notice board in Urdu at Krishna Mandir, Rawalpindi.
Mata Singh Bhavani Mandir at Thatta — once the capital of Lower Sindh. According to Maharaj Gopal, who served 25 years before moving to Hindlaj, the temple's walls often spew salt-laden water and its mysterious pond in the centre, just above the old cave, is named after Agore. This pond is believed to stretch all the way to Hinglaj; it has a twin in Ahmedabad in India.
Sri Ratneshwar Mahadev Temple in Karachi: It is believed that many centuries ago a sant in the Himalayas dreamt of, what this temple's Maharaj Ravi says, is Shiva's only home in a cave once under the sea. Some chronicles maintain that it has the honour of a mention in the Mahabharata and could actually be the precise point from where Karachi sprung up.
A woman immerses the idol of Ganpati on the occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi in Pakistan.
Fakira, a sculptor, has made 250 statues for churches, temples and homes, privately commissioned pieces such as busts, commercial works and pieces for exhibition in galleries.
Reema Abbasi, Author of Historic Temples in Pakistan.
Historic Temples in Pakistan: A Call to Conscience, by Reema Abbasi and photography by Madiha Aijaz, Niyogi Books, Rs. 1,250. Available at leading bookstores.