There is a popular tirtha of Shiva in the Punjab by the name of Sri Katasraj Dhama. It is a large complex and like many pauranika temples, houses a kunda. Although now infrequently visited and without a hereditary priest, it has formerly been a revered temple, so much so that even the Sikh supremo Maharaja Ranjit Singh paid regular visits to it.
Now there is a very high probability that such a revered temple with a kunda would have a pauranika significance, to make it a tirtha with a mahatmya, probably even among the 68 shiva kshetras. Currently the information across the internet attributes 2 legends to it, without pauranika backing:
- Shiva cried for Sati due to which this kunda got filled up.
- The Yaksha praśna of Yudhishthira happened at this place and the Pandavas established a Shiva temple.
Being almost out of commission, the stories seem like a childish attempt to attribute some legend, since they don’t have access to the original one.
- If we go by the first story we have to remember if at all Shiva did cry, the tears manifested as rudraksha and he did mourn all over the earth (a prelude to the creation of shakti peethas). It is highly unlikely he shed all his tears in this pond and bhaktas have a bath in the Lord’s sorrows.
- The establishment of a temple by the Pandavas is not of such a great significance to make a temple revered like Kashi, Chidambaram and Ujjayini. A temple gets significance (at least in previous yugas) because of the deeds performed by object of worship, not the establisher. There must also be a reason for establishment which is surely not a Yaksha Prasna.
In such a situation
What is the authentic pauranika mahatmya for the Sri Katasraj temple and the kunda? Is there anything like a Madra desha Mahatmyam mentioning the temple, the sins washed by bathing in the kunda, etc? Please describe the legend in brief.
The way it was revered, is it among the 68 holy shiva kshetras?
(Note a list of temples is found in the khandatmaka Skanda Purana Nagara khanda but this list includes many relatively insignicant temples and excludes temples of high importance like Chidambaram, Halasya, Kalahasti etc, which find mention as being among the 68 shiva kshetras in the Samhitatmaka Skanda purana)
Although highly unlikely, if unfortunately it doesn’t have a pauranika backing, then what is the history of the temple and how did it come to be as revered as it was?