Islamabad, May 20: Pakistan's Punjab province government has released Rs 20 million to renovate a Krishna temple in Rawalpindi city and expand it to accommodate more Hindu worshippers on festivals and religious occasions, a media report said today.
Krishna temple is the only functioning Hindu temple in the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad. There are two prayers held at the temple every day - one in the morning and one in the evening - which are attended by six or seven people.
Mohammad Asif, the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) Deputy Administrator, said the government has released Rs 20 million to reconstruct the temple at the request of a Member of Provincial Assembly, Dawn reported.
He said reconstruction work would begin soon. A team has visited the site and pointed out a plan to start work. The main room where idols are kept will be sealed until reconstruction ends, the paper said.
"Once reconstructed, the temple will be able to accommodate more people," Asif was quoted as saying by the paper. The official said the temple could accommodate the local Hindu community from the twin cities and nearby areas.
The small temple was built by Kanji Mal and Ujagar Mal Ram Rachpal in 1897 to serve people in nearby areas. However, after partition, the street temple in Saddar became the only place of worship for Rawalpindi's Hindus.
The temple was reopened after partition in 1949; it was operated by local Hindus before being handed over to the ETPB in 1970. Until the 1980s, even diplomats living in Islamabad visited the temple to pray.
Local Hindus have said the temple's area should be expanded. Jag Mohan Arora said the temple courtyard, which can only accommodate 100 or so people, should be expanded, and shops next to the temple that the ETPB has leased to local traders should be retrieved to expand the front of the building.
"At present, the front of the temple is very small. The ETPB should vacate nearby shops that have been rented," Arora said.