Halt 'illegal' construction at Shiva temple: Pak Hindu leader to authorities

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Peshawar, Apr 17 (PTI) A prominent Hindu leader in Pakistan on Saturday alleged 'illegal' construction at an ancient Shiva temple in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and demanded that the authorities should stop the work immediately.

Leader of Hindu Community in Peshawar, Haroon Sarab Diyal, in a statement here said the government must stop unplanned construction at the site of Shiv Temple at Gandhiyan in Mansehra district.

'We would like to bring it to the notice of the authorities concerned to stop these illegal and unethical constructions at the site to ensure the sacredness and authenticity of this important temple,' he said.

Diyal said during his visit to the temple on April 11, he noticed that some toilets are being constructed at an unplanned manner in the temple which is destroying not only its sacredness, but also its historical and architectural authenticity.

'Being one of the few Shiva temples in Pakistan, the temple at Gandhiyan is of great religious significance and has the potential to attract tourists and pilgrims from across the country and abroad,' he said.

The Shiv temple is a double storey structure with square layout. The lower chamber of the temple is buried; while the upper chamber is accessible from the outside at the southeast corner.

The Garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum) of the temple accommodating the Shiv Lingam is octagonal in shape and is surmounted by a ribbed dome, showing an interesting blend of the Muslim and Hindu architectural features.

According to the latest research, the present building of the temple is a renovated form of the original structure constructed during the middle of the 19th century.

As per the Pakistan Hindu Council, there are around 8 million Hindus living in Pakistan, comprising 4 per cent of the total population. PTI AYZ SCY SCY