Pak to nominate Katasraj as World Heritage site

Islamabad proposes to spend approximately $25 million in three phases for the restoration of the complex whose restoration work was inaugurated by BJP President and Leader of Opposition LK Advani during his controversial visit to Pakistan in June this year.

Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the sprawling Katasraj shrine located in Chakwal district is constructed on a site believed to have been visited by the Pandavas. Apart from the temples, there is a sacred pool having mythical association with Lord Shiva.

According to KP Poonacha, Director (Conservation) of the Archaeological Survey of India, the temple complex is at present on the priority list of the Evacuee Trust Property Board for conservation and the Pakistan Government is considering nominating the complex for the World Heritage Site status.

Poonacha was deputed by the ASI to visit the site and formulate proposals for its conservation after Advani assured requisite help in the matter to Islamabad.

Recently, Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran called on Advani and apprised him that the ASI has submitted a 110-page report on the Katasraj project to the External Affairs Ministry to be forwarded to the Pakistan Government.

The Pakistan Government has constituted a five-member board to develop the Katasraj site. Headed by Sajda Haidar Wandal, Principal of the Lahore-based National College of Arts, the Board has formulated a development programme for the shrine complex.

"The significance of this site lies in its unique natural heritage, its historicity, architecture and sacredness and holds a lot of importance for the present and future generations of India and Pakistan as being a common heritage that spans across centuries as well as boundaries," Poonacha said.

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