The Hindu sacred place “Katas” is located in the salt range at a distance of 18 miles in the south of Chakwal. The mention of Katas is found in “Maha Bharat” which was written in 300 BC. The etymology of this place as narrated in the old edition of “Tarikh-e-Jhelum” is that according to Brahaman’s belief, Shiv Devta wept so profusely on the death of his beloved wife Satti that two holy ponds one at Pushkar of Ajmair and other at Katak Shell came into being with his tears. In Sanskrit, the word “Katak Shell” means chain of tears, which later on was pronounced as “Katas”. According to Gen. Cunningham, Katas was considered the second largest holy place in Punjab for Hindu pilgrims after the Jawala Mukhi. It is said that famous Pando brothers spent 12 years in Katas and built the temples of Satghara.
It is said that Al-Bairuni also spent some period at Katas to learn Sanskrit in a linguistic university, which, at that time, was established here. During his stay at Katas and Nandana Fort, Al-Bairuni wrote a famous book “Kitab-ul-Hind” which depicted the religion, scientific knowledge, and social customs of Hindus. Al-Bairuni during his stay at Katas not only learned Sanskrit but also performed various geographic experiments and eventually succeeded in discovering the radius of the earth. The Pandavas, it is believed, constructed these temples. Efforts are being made to restore and renovate these temples. There are also cave-type structures near the temples that, it is believed, were used for meditation purposes. At a short distance from the temple, there is also the haveli of Hari Singh Nalwa, who used to be a General in the Army of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. The place is mentioned in Maha Bharat and according to Hindu religious belief; both Katas and the Paskar (Ajmer) are the eyes of Shiva. Paras Nath Jogi breathed his last here. Guru Nanak also visited Katas. It was the abode of contemplation for larger groups of mystics and Jogies.
According to Gen Cunningham, Katas was considered the second largest holy place in Punjab for Hindu pilgrims after Jawala Mukhi. It is said famous Pando brothers spent 12 years in Katas and built the temples of Satghara. Temples at Katas have been transferred from the federal government to the Punjab Archaeology Department recently.