Over 100 pilgrims leave for Katas Raj Temple in Pakistan to celebrate Mahashivratri

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Amritsar (Punjab): A group of over 100 pilgrims left Amritsar on Wednesday for Katas Raj Mahadev Temple in Pakistan to celebrate Mahashivratri. The Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi on Monday issued 112 visas to Indian Hindu pilgrims to visit Shree Katas Raj Temples, also known as Qila Katas, in Chakwal district of Punjab.
Pawan Gupta, a pilgrim visiting Katas Raj Mahadev Temple, stressed that very few people are allotted visas, adding that they want at least 1000 people to go together when they visit Katas Raj.

“A group of pilgrims goes to Katas Raj Mahadev twice every year, but most people visit on Mahashivratri. Very few people are allotted visas. This time as well, nearly 125 people were given visas. We want at least 1000-1500 people to be part of our group when we visit Katas Raj. When Muslim (pilgrims) visit India, they come in large numbers as well,” he said.

Another pilgrim, Ribu Kant Goswami emphasised the demand of visas for thousands of people to visit Shri Katas Raj Dham, adding that priests should stay there permanently to offer prayers. He also raised a need to build a corridor for Shri Katas Raj Dham.

“We don’t get visas for more than 100-150 people despite it being a very big place of worship for us. We demand visas for thousands of people. A corridor should be made for Shri Katas Raj Dham and our pandits should stay there permanently for offering prayers to Lord Shiva…,” he said.

Ram Prakash Sharma from Mathura, expressed his happiness as he has been trying to get a visa since four-five years.
“I was trying since 4-5 years to visit there, but this is the first time my visa has been approved and I am very happy. I will pray for the friendship of India and Pakistan. I would also pray that all the Hindu temples should be opened for the pilgrims without any visa and a corridor should be made so that the Hindu pilgrims can visit there easily,” he said.

The pilgrims will be visiting Pakistan from March 6 to 12. They visited Durgiana Temple in Amritsar.
Pakistan High Commission said on X that it had “issued 112 visas to a group of Indian Hindu Pilgrims for their visit to Shree Katas Raj Temples, also known as Qila Katas, in Chakwal district of Punjab from 06-12 March 2024”.

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