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Location : Martan, Jammu and Kashmir
Century : 19th century
Built By : King Lalitaditya
Martand Temple is situated in Anantnag District of Jammu & Kashmir. This magnificent piece of architecture is now in its ruins. The temple was built as a dedication to the Sun God. Its builder, Lalitaditya himself belonged to Surya dynasty. This excavation site is the perfect example of the skill set and craftsmanship of the artists who were responsible for building it.
Attractions of the Place :
The style used in Martand Temple is unique and no contemporary towns or cities that are at par with its architectural beauty have been found till now. The remnants of this beautiful structure have been the focus of studies for many archeologists. The temple was constructed on an elevated plateau. Overlooking Martan village, this place is adorned with mesmerizing beauty and serenity. The panoramic view of the mountain that stands behind the mountain is appealing to the eyes of the tourists. The lush green forests that are framed with icy mountains are like jewels adorning the vast expanse of the temple.
The temple is built in gothic style. Presence of a massive number of columns is a distinctive feature. Overlooking the valley of Kashmir, the temple premises decorated with a spacious courtyard and a number of cells. Some of the other distinctive features that are unique to Martand include pilaster, uniformly spaced medallions, and motif. The Doric capitals of the pillars and Attic bases indicate the Greek influence on temple architecture. An excellent example of Kashmiri art, Martand Temple is built in limestone. The walls are decorated with murals influenced by the art of Pala Kingdom. A huge copper image of the sun deity was highly revered by the worshippers. Today the ruins of this temple stand as a reminiscences of the past.
The temple with its grandeur and dignity mirrors the artistic taste of Lalitaditya who was so passionate in building monumental constructions that he used to spend the booty collected from wars in building artistic temples that exemplified his glorious empire.
The temple architecture is clearly influenced with Kashmiri style. In fact, it stood out from its contemporaries in style and size. The king built a series of other temples at his capital at Parihasapura. These temples were built as a dedication to deities like Mahavarha, Garudstandard, and Muktakehsava.
Martand holds a high place in the architectural brilliance and is an embodiment of the skill of the artists.
Destruction of the Temple :
There were several factors that were responsible for the continuous destruction of the temple premises. One of the foremost reasons was the vandalism by certain people who removed the images and pieces of slabs from the complex. This was further aggravated by the exposure of the premises to the destructive forces of nature. Lack of repair and renovation, use of weak building material, and susceptibility of the limestone to weathering processes are some of the reasons that were responsible for the gradual deterioration of temple.