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Hindu Temple Pakistan

Written by Amina Iqbal 6:32 pm Pakistan Unveiled, Published Content

Kalka Devi Temple: The Legacy of Hindu Temples in Pakistan

Situated near Sukkur, the Kalka Devi Temple embodies the enduring legacy of the past in contemporary times, reflecting Pakistan’s rich history and cultural identity. Built in the 1920s by Hemraj Kewalramani, the temple’s architecture blends Islamic and Hindu styles, featuring intricate carvings and paintings depicting Hindu mythology. Despite being an important site for Hindu pilgrims, the temple’s visitors are mostly Muslim tourists. Today, the temple symbolizes unity and interfaith understanding, preserving Pakistan’s diverse heritage amidst environmental threats and commercial pressures.
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About the Author(s)
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Ms. Amina Iqbal is studying international relations at Kinnaird College for Women University, Lahore.

Introduction

In Pakistan, many relics and locations from history are still present, and they are referred to as “living antiquities” important to the country’s cultural legacy. They cover a wide range of subjects, from cultural activities comprising traditional games, crafts, and handicrafts to architectural wonders such as the Hindu Kalka Devi Temple in Pakistan—the history of which is still being explored.

Religious locations are extremely significant since they have been frequently used as hubs for community meetings and acts of worship for generations, safeguarding their historical significance in the face of evolving sociocultural conditions. Moreover, these living artifacts reflect the enduring legacy of the past in contemporary times and not only serve as vital links to Pakistan’s cultural identity but also serve as a reflection of the state’s rich history.

Location

Kalki Devi Temple is located in a mountain cave and has special importance. It is situated about one mile south of the ancient city of Aror (now Rohri) in Sindh. It has been said that the goddess appeared magnificently on her Hinglaj Yatra, a sacred pilgrimage of Hindus from Karachi to Balochistan, showering holiness and devotion upon the location. Due to its proximity to the town of Rohri, the temple is more easily accessible and welcomes pilgrims from every corner of the region who visit the temple and participate in the rituals and celebrations.

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Kalka Devi Temple is a moving example of Pakistan’s continued cultural and religious diversity. This temple is one of the very few Hindu temples that still stands in Pakistan and upholds the traditional customs and beliefs of Hinduism. In addition, this temple served as a sacred location of prayer and pilgrimage for followers seeking blessings and spiritual comfort.

History & Architecture

The Kalki Devi Temple was constructed in the 1920s by a rich Hindu businessman, Hemraj Kewalramani. The temple stands atop a hill with a commanding view of Sukkur. The harmonious spirit of the temple is reflected in its architectural integration of Islamic and Hindu styles. Surrounding the original structure, more chambers were made into the temple to offer places for both prayers as well as lodging for the hordes of tourists, especially during festivals.

Hindu Temple Pakistan
“Kalka Cave Temple” by Usman is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

The Hindu deity, Kalka Devi, is portrayed riding a lion or a tiger in the inner sanctuary Furthermore, the inner sanctuary is decorated with intricate carvings and paintings that reflect events from Hindu mythology. Kalka Devi is symbolized as the Hindu goddess of power, destruction, time, doomsday, and death, also known as Kali. In addition, she is portrayed as being blue or black, with several arms, fiery eyes, and a protruding tongue. She frequently holds a head that has been cut off and wears a necklace made of human heads and a girdle made of human arms.

In Hinduism, Kali is seen as the spouse of Shiva and the dual embodiment of Durga and Parvati, representing both the good and bad sides of life. At the temple, Kalka Devi is shown in all her forms, combining the ferocity of Durga, the milder aspects of Parvati, and the violent temperament of Kali. Thus, Shiva’s symbols and representations in the sanctum illustrate the connections between these gods, highlighting the complex and varied nature of Hindu theology and worship.

Legends & Customs: Paying Tributes to Kalka Devi

The complex tapestry of history and folklore regarding the temple’s beginnings contains accounts of the religious life of a woman named Kalka who lived in the caves that would later be called the Kalka Hills during the Roe era. The devotees visit Kalka Devi Temple on the first Monday of every month to offer prayers, to ask for blessings, and to show their eternal devotion to the goddess.

Emphasizing the status of the Hindu temple as a living archive of the historical past of Pakistan, this ceremonial ritual is a dynamic demonstration of spiritual devotion as well as cultural continuity. Additionally, the religious landscape of Pakistan is marked by a variety of faiths, yet Kalka Devi Temple stands out as an example of tolerance and relationship, showcasing the harmonious blending of different religions and traditions.

Importance & Obstacles Faced by Kalka Devi Temple

Kalka Devi is an extremely significant temple, a well-known Hindu pilgrimage site, and a famous tourist spot in Pakistan because of its striking architectural and historical significance. The temple continues to thrive in the face of persistent difficulties, including the huge migration that occurred after the partition of India in 1947 as well as a terrorist attack in the 1990s.

Furthermore, its ability to face hardships highlights its importance as a religious and cultural lighthouse, representing both the peaceful coexistence of numerous cultures and faiths in Pakistan and its extensive historical legacy. Hence, beyond its religious objective, the Hindu temple symbolizes the principles of unity of Pakistan by acting as a bridge to promote mutual respect and tolerance among communities.

Meanwhile, the temple, which is supposedly connected to the Hinglaj temple in Balochistan via tunnels, is facing looming environmental hazards from construction firms that are taking advantage of the nearby hills for financial gain. Although, it is a Hindu shrine and attracts an extensive number of tourists, among them 60% are Muslims and people belonging to other religions. This indicates a greater cross-religious and cultural exchange. It would not be wrong to say that the temple’s environmental as well as cultural legacy is still in jeopardy. It underscores how urgently conservation measures are needed in the face of mounting commercial pressure.

Conclusion

The Kalka Devi Temple is a symbol of the Hindu community’s resilience in Pakistan and a tribute to the state’s harmonious culture and extended history. However, by bridging gaps between different populations, the temple fosters tranquility and acts as a beacon of compassion and tolerance. Furthermore, it is an essential travel and pilgrimage site due to its historical and cultural importance, which encourages interfaith understanding while showcasing the intricate fabric of Pakistan’s legacy.


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