Like many other historic tourist resorts in the country, the ancient Katas Raj Temple in Choa Saidan Shah is now under serious threat of the raging indutrialization in the region.
Located at some 40 kilometers from the Chakwal District, the The Katas site houses the Satgraha, a group of seven ancient temples, remains of a Buddhiststupa, a few medieval temples, havelis and some recently constructed temples, scattered around a pond considered holy by Hindus.
After declaring Chakwal Industrial Zone in the tenure of President Pervez Musharraf, no fewer than three gigantic cemenet facotires were established in the region. These factories, which use thousands of gallons of water every day, were suppose to be connected to the Jehlum River for uninterrupted supply of water-a project which never saw the light of the day.
As an alternate, the factories resorted to underground water which thereby has severly affected the spring in the Katas Raj temple. The spring has now almost died and the pond has turned into a heap of dead algae and filth.
"The water in our village has disappeared due to the cement factory," says Fazal Elahi, an attendant of the water pumps and a resident of Waula village. He said a water supply scheme had been approved by the Punjab government for the village but work on it could not be started yet. The villagers had protested many times against the unwarranted water use by the factory but to no avail.
The Temple dates back to the time of the reign of Hindu kings. These several temples were built around 900 years ago or more, although the earliest of the Katasraj temples dates back to the latter half of the 6th century A.D.
According to the Hindu mythology, the holy pond came into existence as Lord Shiva wept over the demise of his beloved wife Sati. At the
time of partition of India and Pakistan in 1947, the Hindu population of the region plunged into a mass exodus as majority of them decided to move to India.
The Temple fell into oblivion, Murtis stolen, and the pond filled with garbage. The temple disappeared in the fading shades of time and human intrusion untill the government of Pakistan decided to reclaim of what was left.
Hectic renovation work started in the times of President Musharraf in the years 2006-2007. The Murtis, many which were part of the various museums, were returned to the Temple.
The pond and its water source was restored and the Katas Ral Temple came back to life with its full vigour. Once again, the Temple is suffering from the negligence and the religious bias of the concerned authorities.