Temples of Kashmir: Marthand Sun Temple

19th August 2012

This was the photo that inspired us to visit this great Temple. Taken by John Burke in 1868 from a hill, it looked grand. (Picture is taken from Wikipedia)

But the Temple shown by our car driver was in complete contrast. Our interest was on the Sun Temple that was destroyed by Sikandar Butishikan and now in ruins. But what we saw was a huge Temple complex crowded with pilgrims performing various rites and rituals. And certainly it had no reminisce of the Temple in our mind. While it was great to see Hindus freely performing religious rites in Kashmir, we were simply not impressed. Did we come to a wrong Temple?

Coming back to car, we asked the driver whether things were goofed up. “The stone Temple is still further. But I thought that you would be interested in seeing this Temple” was his reply. First things first and we headed to the ruins!!

Unlike Naranag Temple, the sun Temple of Marthand is well protected by ASI. It is surrounded by beautiful garden which is typical of an ASI monument. Sardarji guides were available to provide the information about the Temple. That was a great thing. Unlike fellow Hindus, they decided to stay back in the valley.

The Temple was built by Laitaditya Muktapida during 8th century. The main Temple stands on a high plinth surrounded by 84 small shrines.

The main shrine consists of oblong, sanctum, vestibule and mantapa. The roof is completed destroyed. A specialty of this Temple is two double chambered sideways flanking the Mantapa.

Images of Ganga, Yamuna, Vishnu and other gods are carved on the vestibule and Mantapa.

It is said that the shrines surrounding the main shrine were built later.

A large tank in front of the main shrine.

Photo from the side of the main shrine.

This great Temple was destroyed in 15th century by Sikandar Butshikan , one of the cruel rulers of the world.

Marthand Sun Temple is about 60km from Srinagar via Ananthnag (also called as Islamabad by locals!!). It is on the way to Pahalgam. The Shiva Temple mentioned in the beginning of the post is in the village of Mattan, 5 km before Marthand Sun Temple.

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