Martand Sun Temple

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Overview:

Members of a little-known Hindutva group forced their way into the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)-protected Martand sun temple recently.

About Martand Sun Temple

  • It is a Hindu temple located near the city of Anantnag in the Kashmir Valley of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • It is dedicated to the Sun God. Martand is another Sanskrit synonym for Surya.
  • It was built by King Lalitaditya Muktapida around the 8th Century CE. Lalitaditya Muktapida was the third ruler of the Karkota Dynasty. 
  • Features:
    • It has a unique architecture where local Kashmiri style is blended with the architectural styles of Gupta, Chinese, Gandhara, Roman, and Greek.
    • The temple is located on top of a plateau and has been constructed entirely out of stone.
    • It covers an area of 32,000 square feet. 
    • It stands in the middle of a large courtyard with 86 fluted columns. The courtyard is connected to the main shrine, where Sun God’s idol was installed. 
    • The construction of the main shrine was such that during most of the days’ time, especially during sunrise and sunset, the rays would directly fall on the idol. 
    • The central shrine, or vimana, stands tall at around 60 feet. It features intricate carvings and sculptures that depict various Hindu gods and goddesses. 
    • There are 84 smaller shrines around the main Sun Temple. They are lined along the perimeter of the complex. 
  • The temple is believed to have been demolished by Sultan Sikandar Shah Miri, who ruled Kashmir from 1389 to 1413.

Q1) What is the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)?

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), under the Ministry of Culture, is the premier organization for the archaeological research and protection of the cultural heritage of the nation. Maintenance of ancient monuments and archaeological sites and remains of national importance is the prime concern of the ASI.

Source: Despite ASI attempts, saffron outfit once again forces entry into J&K Martand sun temple