Thursday, 30 June 2022

160. Temple of Kalyan Das Suri, Rawalpindi.

Before independence and the partition of the country in 1947, Hindus formed one-third of the population of Rawalpindi city. They were an influential community and constructed beautiful houses, many of which still survive and remind us of the multi-religious society of the past and the rich cultural and architectural heritage of the pre-partition era. 

Besides beautiful houses, they built many temples, one of them is the famous Kalyan Das Temple in Kohati Bazar, it is located at  33°37'19.31"N,  73° 3'47.79"E. It is a majestic building and a masterpiece of Hindu architecture. 

Currently, the temple houses a special school for visually impaired children, named Government Qandeel Secondary School. The headmaster of the school was a very amiable gentleman and welcomed me warmly. However, due to some regulations, he did not permit me to take pictures, instead, he suggested to take permission from the concerned department. Which I did, a couple of days later. 

The building of the temple is in the middle of the compound and presents a breathtaking view. Its lofty spirals rise to a great height and give it a majestic look. The building around the temple is a modern structure and serves as classrooms for the students. 

I sat in the room of the headmaster for a while, waiting for the formalities to be cleared. During this time I had had opportunities to interact with some students and teachers, the experience was heartwarming. The courage and discipline of the students and teachers impressed me. At this moment the headmaster sahib requested me not to take pictures from inside or too closely. Soon I discovered the reason. The school building was undergoing repair and renovation work and the construction material was obstructing the view of the temple. Anyway, I avoided closer shots. However, some pictures available on the net show, beautiful paintings on the inner walls of the temple. 

Temple of Kalyan Das Suri, Rawalpindi. (01.02.2022.)



According to an article published in Tribune on March 25, 2022, written by Imran Ashgar, the foundations of the temple were laid in 1850 and it was completed in 1880. It carried great importance for the Hindu community of the city. It was a big complex and served the needs of worshippers and pilgrims from other areas. 
















The main spiral, surrounded by four smaller spirals gives a fascinating view of the temple. It is definitely one of the oldest structures in the city and if properly taken care of, can survive for a long time. The school for children is indeed doing a great service to the community but can be relocated to another better and bigger building. But heritage and history cannot be recreated or relocated. I strongly feel that this building should be preserved, as a part of our history and heritage and should be promoted as a tourist attraction in the city. 

Tariq Amir

June 30, 2022.
Doha - Qatar. 

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