89 Indian Pilgrims Reach Pakistan To Observe Hindu Festival Of Maha Shivaratri

March 16, 2023 0 By JohnValbyNation

On Tuesday, around 89 Hindu pilgrims from India reached Pakistan to celebrate Maha Shivaratri at Katas Raj Temple in the neighbouring country’s Punjab Province.


“Some 89 Hindu pilgrims arrived here from India via Wagah border on Tuesday. Evacuee Trust Property Board senior officers Rana Shahid and Fraz Abbas received them at the border,” Amir Hashmi, spokesperson for ETPB, which looks after the holy places of minorities in Pakistan, told PTI. 

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Maha Shivaratri event on Thursday

According to Hashmi, the Hindu pilgrims will halt at Lahore for a day before leaving for Chakwal, some 300 kms from Lahore, to attend their religious festival at Katas Raj. The main event, ‘Maha Shivaratri’, is scheduled to take place there on Thursday. 

The official assured that robust security arrangements were put in place regarding this religious visit.

Hindu pilgrims leader Sanjiv Kumar acknowledged the love from Pakistan towards the Hindu travellers and hoped that ETPB must have kept holy places in pristine condition. 

A complex of several Hindu temples  

The Shri Katas Raj Temples, also known as Qila Katas, is a complex of several Hindu temples connected by walkways. The temple complex surrounds a pond named Katas, which is regarded as sacred by Hindus. The complex is located in the Potohar Plateau region of Pakistan’s Punjab province.

Representational picture

Every year, thousands of Sikh and Hindu pilgrims from India go to Pakistan to observe religious festivals and events, as per the India-Pakistan Protocol on Visits to Religious Shrines of 1974.
Hindus from all around the world revere Shadani Darbar, a temple that is more than 300 years old. Sant Shadaram Sahib, born in Lahore in 1708, established the Shadani Darbar in 1786.

“The Pakistan High Commission has issued 96 visas to a group of Indian Hindu pilgrims for their visit to the prominent and sacred Shree Katas Raj temples, also known as Qila Katas, in Chakwal district of Punjab from December 20-25,” the Pakistani mission statement was quoted by PTI in its earlier report. 

100 visas to Indian pilgrims last month

According to the statement, the government of Pakistan’s attempts to facilitate visits to religious places are consistent with granting visas to Sikh and Hindu pilgrims.

Earlier last month, under a bilateral convention on visits to religious shrines, Pakistan had granted 100 visas to Indian pilgrims who seek to visit several of the neighbouring nation’s sacred sites, news agency ANI reported.     

Kerala Hajj pilgrim on foot stopped at Wagah


In an unrelated development, a Pakistan court dismissed a petition that urged the federal government to issue a visa to a 29-year-old Indian national last month. He wished to enter the country to complete a marathon journey on foot to Mecca in Saudi Arabia for the Hajj pilgrimage.

Shihab Bhai, who hails from Kerala, embarked on a 3,000-km journey on foot from his home state to the Wagah border. Shihab was barred from going ahead by Pakistan’s immigration authorities as he did not have a visa.

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