Pak launches Katas Raj renovation project | india | Hindustan Times
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Pak launches Katas Raj renovation project

india Updated: Jul 01, 2006 02:21 IST
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Pakistan government will renovate at the cost of $25 million the ancient Katas Raj Temple where the Pandavas from Mahabharata are believed to have spent their years in exile.

The three-phased restoration, which could take as many as 10 years would include development of the pond, which was considered to be as "old as civilisation."

The Pandavas are believed to have spent their years of exile at this temple after they were banished by their cousins Kauravas as depicted in the epic Mahabharata.

The Shiva Temple, which dated back to the sixth century, was in a bad shape prompting Pakistan government to undertake its renovation, Director General of Pakistan's Punjab Archaeological Department Oriya Mqbool Jan Abbas said.

The ground breaking ceremony of the restoration project was held at the temple site in Punjab province on Friday attended by among others the Indian High Commissioner Shivshankar Menon, BJP leader Balbir Punj, Pakistan's Religious Minister Ijazul Haq and the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Q President Shujat Hussain.

BJP Leader LK Advani had visited the temple during his trip to Pakistan last year and the government, which announced a liberalised visa policy for Indian pilgrims on Friday hopes to attract a sizable number of Indian tourists to the place.

The government has invited a team of officials from the Archaeological Survey of India to draw up a plan for the restoration work, which according to Abbas included complete renovation of the temple, it surroundings and building a guest house facilities for pilgrims.