Tuesday May 28, 2024

Hindu temples in Pindi to be preserved to original form

By Khalid Iqbal
January 08, 2018

Rawalpindi: Punjab government has approved Rs20 million for the renovation and preservation of historical Hindu temples in city.

However, so far the funds have not been released to start renovation work of oldest Krishna Mandir at Kabari Bazaar, Saddar. Punjab government has strictly directed local management of Rawalpindi to protect all temples (operational or non-operational) and bring them into their original glory.

Evacuee Trust (Rawalpindi) Assistant Administrator Muhammad Basharat told ‘The News’ that in total there are 34 temples (operational and non-operational) in garrison city. “Only two temples -- Krishna Mandir in Saddar and Guru Balmaki Mandir in Chaklala among the 34 temples are operational these days where Hindus perform their religious rituals like ‘Holi’ ‘Dewali’ freely,” he said. He said that majority of temples are non-operational but are in their genuine beauty. Azad Jammu and Kashmir refugees are settled in these temples, he claimed.

He said that Punjab government is providing Rs150,000 per month to every operational temple in garrison city. While, we are continuously looking after non-operational temples of the city, he claimed.

Pakistan Hindu-Sikh Council (Rawalpindi) President Sardar Heera Lal said that there are around 350 Hindu and Sikh families living in garrison city. “Punjab government has approved Rs20 million for the betterment and welfare of temples but funds are not released yet to start renovation work of the oldest Krishna Mandir. He appealed to higher authorities to establish a ‘gurdawara’ for Sikh community in Rawalpindi because there was no ‘gurdawara’ in twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad for Sikh community members to perform their religious rituals.

Krishna Mandir’s J Ram Pujari said that there are total 34 temples in garrison city and among them this Krishna Mandir is the oldest of them all which was built way back in 1897. He strongly appreciated government’s gesture regarding protecting the rights of minorities. He said that Punjab government is providing Rs150,000 to every operational temple to run its routine matters. “Those visiting temples are also giving money for the welfare and betterment of temples,” he said.

Hindu-Sikh Savek Committee Chairman Mohan Lal Keshap said that temples are increasing the beauty of garrison city and we are thankful to local government for protecting their genuine beauty. He said that some temples are in good condition while others need renovation work. “Punjab government should release funds of Rs20 million to start renovation work of operational temples as there were less space for prayers, he appealed.

According to ‘The News’ survey some temples are in good condition while some need renovation, as they are losing their charm and beauty continuously. Majority of non-operational temples are situated in Krishanpura, Akaal Garh, Mohanpura, Amarpura, Kartarpura, Bagh Sardaraan, Angatpura, Purana Qila which are in bad condition and losing their beauty and charm with each passing day. Some temples and ‘gurdawars’ have been converted into schools, colleges or functioning as government offices are in good condition.

A beautiful temple located at Kohati Bazaar is in good condition because it was changed into a government school for disabled children. Similarly, Asghar Mall College a beautiful ‘Gurdwara’ known as Bagh Sardaraan and Shiva temple at Ganjmandi are in good condition. While, some temples around College Road, Bohar Bazaar, Purana Qila, Namak Mandi, Ganjmandi are in bad condition. The Lunda Bazaar was famous for its beauty and there were three temples, a ‘gurdawara’ a Khalsa School and many havelis of Sikhs and Hindus. Of the three temples, two have survived. The third, of goddess Kali in the main bazaar, no longer exists. It has been converted into living quarters and extensions have been made, thus changing the original structure entirely.

In Lunda bazaar there is a tall structure of a temple known as Mohan Mandir. This temple is believed to have been built by two Hindu Hakims in 1930, Hakim Asa Anand and Hakim Moti Ram.