Katasraj Mandir is a Hindu mandir or temple complex situated in Katas village near ChoaSaidanshah in the Chakwal district of Punjab in Pakistan. Dedicated to Shiva, the temple has existed since the days of Mahabharata where sthe Pandava brothers spent a substantial part of their exile at the site. ThePakistan Government is considering nominating the temple complex for World Heritage Site status.
The Shri Katas Raj temple is attributed to Hindu Shahiya (615-950 A.D) are dedicated to Lord Shiva and is an important Hindu pilgrimage site. It is believed by the followers that this particular complex was constructed at a place that was visited by Pandawa brothers of the great Indian Eptc "Mahabharta". This particular site is also the most significant Hindu temple site in Salt Range. The first Director General of Archaeological Survey of India, Alexander Cunningham had visited this site in 1872-73 A.D. and confirmed the findings of Huen Tsang, a famous Chinese pilgrim of 7th century A.D. who had reported the stone stupa of Ashoka that was about 200 feet high and surrounded by 10 springs. Cunningham also traced the walls of a gateway tower of the old fortification which lead down to the lower enclosure at the east end where stands the Sat Ghare. He accounted these temples as being the only ancient remains of any interest that existed in Katas, constructed in a style similar to Kashmir temples of Karkotaand Varma dynasties that ruled from 625-939 A.D.
There are many legends associated with Shri Katas Raj and a lot of sanctity given to the built and natural heritage components. There is a Brahmanical story which relates that Shiva was so inconsolable for the death of his wife Saati, the daughter of Daksha, that the tears literally "rained from his eyes" and formed the two sacred pools of Pushkara or Pokhar, near Ajmer , and Kataksha or Katas, Another mythical story associates this site with magical pool of the Mahabharata epic. The site is believed to be in Dvaitavana when Pandavas lived during the period of exile and the questioning session between the Pandavas to be a place where Pandavas lived during a portion of their 12 years wanderings. The pool irregular in shape, measuring 150 feet in length, with an extreme breadth of 90 feet at the upper end, and about 50 feet at the lower end.
A pilgrimage to Shri Katas Raj is a life time experience.