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Indira Srivatsa
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Surya Temple, Anantnag District, Kashmir: Magnificent Martand Surya Temple Bhavani Martand Temple (‘Martand’ in Sanskrit is the name for Sun) is one of the oldest Sun temples in India and built in nagara style of temple architecture. A symbol of invaluable ancient spiritual heritage of Kashmir, this Martand Sun Temple was built much earlier to Gujarat’s Modera Sun Temple (11th Century CE) and Odisha’s Konark Sun Temple (13th century CE). The technology and manpower used to build this temple must be way ahead of its time. This temple is an exemplary of the Kashmiri style of architecture, a skilled combination the Gandharan, Gupta and Greek types of architecture. Some Historians believe the foundation of this temple was laid by Ranaditya (5th Century CE). This magnificent temple was commissioned by Emperor Lalitaditya Muktapida (724-760 CE), a fiercest and the most powerful Emperor of the Karkota dynasty of Kashmir, whose kingdom extended from today’s Afghanistan to Bengal. The temple complex includes a peristyle with columns of courtyard, main shrine in the middle and 84 smaller shrines around it, extending 220 feet in length and 142 feet wide. Temple was designed in such a way that the Sun’s rays fall on the Surya idol throughout the day. This magnificent masterpiece is now in ruins, as it was plundered and ransacked by the orders of ruler Sikandar Shah Miri (1389-1413). Place: Martand Surya Temple, Anantnag District, Kashmir Period: Emperor Lalitaditya Muktapida (724-760 CE) of Karkota dynasty of Kashmir A TO Z INDIA AUGUST 2022 PAGE 14

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