Panchmukhi Hanuman Mandir
Location: Old quarters of Soldier
This temple is especially significant
for Hindus, being perhaps the only
shrine on the globe that houses a natural, non-manmade idol of Hanuman.
The blue and white eight ft statue was
found many centuries ago at the place
where the temple now stands; it bears
all five aspects of the deity —
Hanuman, Narasimha, Adivaraha,
Hayagriva and Garuda.
According to Ramnath Maharaj, the
temple’s keeper, this is the sole temple,
besides Shiva’s Katas Raj, that has a
mention in Al-Baruni’s Kitab-ul-Hind.
This was also the only Hindu site that
remained untouched in the mayhem
which followed the demolition of Babri
Mosque in India.
In Hinduism, it is believed that such
naturally-formed idols of deities possess
exceptional power and appear to
… Upon entering (the temple) one
is struck by the intricately carved
yellow stone structure in the middle
of the temple premises — an epicenter of lyrical buzz.
The small front porch has pillars of
carved yellow stone on either side with
a black and white marble floor; a wide
passage for clockwise circumambulation (parikrama) runs around it. It is
believed that completion of 108
rounds of the chambers cleanses all
pain, evil and adversity, making this
temple a citadel of healing for all
castes and creed.
EMBLEMS OF FAITH M12 THE MAGAZINE
district, Punjab province.
It takes a god to create
Katas Raj — an epochal
epilogue of myth and
antiquity that now disintegrates into an epitaph
of its own glory. However,
this sprawling elegy to
sacredness has seen many
Gaian (tyrannous) births,
all imbued with marvel.
accounts record it as
Katas Raj is considered
as one of the holiest sites
in Hinduism for another
reason — it provided
refuge to the Pandavas,
the five heroes of
Mahabharata, for four
years of their exile.
Rig Veda, the oldest of
Hindu scriptures, was
put on paper here comprising 18 books, including the Mahabharata,
which is the world’s
lengthiest war poem and
dates back to 300 BC;
the time is contested by
many scholars who say it
was penned in 1300 BC.
…Katas Raj stands
alone in majestic defiance
of reason — it is the closest one comes to believing that, perhaps, gods
did walk the earth.
Reema Abbasi explores the temples that
have survived across the border from India
Pakistan is home to nearly 50 ancient Hindu temples dating back 1,500 years. Karachi journalist Reema Abbasi takes a detailed look at these shrines in
Historic Temples in Pakistan: A Call to
Conscience. Along with vivid pictures
shot by photographer Madiha Aijaz,
the book sets out to “ignite a discourse
and the collective conscience of a
nation numbed into silence, fear
or false conviction of the supremacy of
a singular religion – to institutionalize
the fundamental right of will.”
According to Abbasi, her compilation
“makes a case for keeping ancient
emblems of faith alive and for plural-
ism in a land of irony that has been
home to multiple ancient faiths
yet stands besieged by
Kalka Devi Cave
Location: Arore, Sindh.
Kalka Cave can be identified by a faint
ancient imprint, believed to be an outline
of south shasthi origin that signifies a
goddess. At this door, it takes on the
avatar of Kalka, meaning power. This is
one of the holiest teeraths (pilgrimage
site) in Hinduism as Hindus believe that
Kali appeared here on her journey to
Hinglaj (in Balochistan).
It attracts Hindus, Muslims and
Christians from all over the subcontinent,
who pay homage and participate in ceremonies. Most devotees come to Kalka on
the night of the first Monday of each
month and multitudes attend her annual
festival in September.
Here the age-old role of caves as crevices
of immense sanctity for goddesses such as
Kali becomes as apparent as an apparition.
They are seen as reincarnations of the
womb and are replicated in Hindu temples in the form of the womb chamber,
wherein resides the primary deity.
There is a special aarti, the soup
kitchen stays alive from 10 am to 8 pm as
devotional songs ring out in her cavern, lit
with diyas that cast shadows of pirouettes
on stained surfaces, set to the beats of
dhol and tabla.”
Katas Raj Location: Chakwal district, Punjab province.
Panchmukhi Hanuman Mandir Location: Old quarters of Soldier Bazaar, Karachi.
Kalka Devi Cave Location: Arore, Sindh.