Oct. 21, 2022

Martand Sun Temple

Why in News?

Recently, a religious ceremony was organized at the ruins of Martand Sun Temple, built in 8th century, at Anantnag in Jammu and Kashmir which is a protected monument under the Archaeological Survey of India. 

A controversy has erupted over the involvement of Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha in the function premises of Martand Sun Temple without any prior notice. ASI called it a violation of rules.

About Martand Temple:

  • It is one of the oldest Sun temples in India which is a symbol of incredible ancient spiritual legacy.
  • It is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Surya (prominent deity in Hinduism). Lord Surya is also known as Martanda in Sanskrit.
  • Built by Lalitaditya Muktapida of the Karkota dynasty in the 8th century AD, this temple is a masterpiece of Kashmir architecture.
  • Martand Sun Temple is also known as 'Pandau Laidan'.
  • This temple was destroyed by Sikandar Shah Miri in the 14th century AD. Its ruins have been marked as a "Site of National Importance" by the Archaeological Survey of India.

Karkota Dynasty

  • According to Kalhana's 'Rajatarangini', the Karkota dynasty was founded by Duralabhvardhan in 625 AD. He was a contemporary of Harshavardhana, the ruler of Kannauj. At the same time, the Chinese traveller Hiuen Tsang visited Kashmir. Duralabhvardhan had presented the teeth of Buddha to Harshavardhana.
  • Further, Duralabhvardhan was succeeded by Durlabhaka who assumed the title of Pratapaditya and founded Pratappur city. After him, Chandrapida (Vajraditya), Tarapida (Udayaditya) and Muktapida (Lalitaditya) became the rulers respectively.
  • The rulers of the Karkota dynasty were Vaishnavites and they built many Vishnu temples.
  • Apart from this, there are evidences of many stupas, chaityas and viharas which hint towards patronage to Buddhism by the Karkota dynasty.

Lalitaditya Muktapida

  • Lalitaditya was the most powerful ruler of the Karkota dynasty of Kashmir. He is portrayed as a world conqueror in Kalhana's 'Rajatarangini'.
  • He established Parihaspur city near Srinagar which had many temples dedicated to Vishnu, Shiva and Buddha.
  • With the support of Yashovarman, ruler of Kannauj, He defeated the Tibetans and sent a delegation to China in 733.
  • During his eastern campaign, he defeated 5 chieftains of Gaur state. While returning from the campaign, he also defeated Yashovarman of Kanauj and captured Kanauj.
  • He brought Yashovarman's court poets Vakpati and Bhavabhuti to Kashmir.