Martand Sun Temple

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Martand Sun Temple
Martand Surya Temple
Martand Sun Temple Central shrine (6133772365).jpg
Martand Sun Temple Central shrine
DeityMartand (Surya)
StateJammu and Kashmir
Geographic coordinates33°44′44″N 75°13′13″E / 33.74556°N 75.22028°E / 33.74556; 75.22028Coordinates: 33°44′44″N 75°13′13″E / 33.74556°N 75.22028°E / 33.74556; 75.22028
CreatorLalitaditya Muktapida
Completed8th century CE

The Martand Sun Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Surya (the chief solar deity in Hinduism) and built during the 8th century CE. Martand is another Sanskrit name for the Hindu Sun-god. Now in ruins, the temple is located five miles from Anantnag in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. It was destroyed during the sultanate of Sikandar Butshikan.


Ruins of the Surya Temple at Martand, photo taken by John Burke in 1868

The Martand Sun Temple was built by the third ruler of the Karkota Dynasty, Lalitaditya Muktapida, in the 8th century CE.[1][2] It is said to have been built during 725-756 CE.[3] The foundation of the temple is said to have been around since 370-500 CE, with some attributing the construction of the temple to have begun with Ranaditya.[4][5]

The temple was completely destroyed on the orders of Muslim ruler Sikandar Butshikan in the early 15th century, with demolition lasting a year.[6][failed verification][non-primary source needed][7]

The temple[edit]

Restored impression of temple from Letters from India and Kashmir by J. Duguid, 1870-73

The Martand temple was built on top of a plateau from where one can view whole of the Kashmir Valley. From the ruins and related archaeological findings, it can be said it was an excellent specimen of Kashmiri architecture, which had blended the Gandharan, Gupta, Chinese, Roman, Syrian-Byzantine and Greek forms of architecture.[8][9]

The temple has a colonnaded courtyard, with its primary shrine in its center and surrounded by 84 smaller shrines, stretching to be 220 feet long and 142 feet broad total and incorporating a smaller temple that was previously built.[10] The temple turns out to be the largest example of a peristyle in Kashmir, and is complex due to its various chambers that are proportional in size and aligned with the overall perimeter of the temple. In accordance with Hindu temple architecture, the primary entrance to the temple is situated in the western side of the quadrangle and is the same width as the temple itself, creating grandeur. The entrance is highly reflective of the temple as a whole due to its elaborate decoration and allusion to the deities worshiped inside. The primary shrine is located in a centralized structure (the temple proper) that is thought to have had a pyramidal top - a common feature of the temples in Kashmir. Various wall carvings in the antechamber of the temple proper depict other gods, such as Vishnu, and river goddesses, such as Ganga and Yamuna, in addition to the sun-god Surya.[11]

Temple ruins as seen from the entrance to the main temple structure
Temple ruins as seen from the entrance to the main temple structure
Martand gate
Ruins of Martand temple

Portrayals in Popular Culture[edit]

Site of National Importance[edit]

The Archaeological Survey of India has declared the Martand Sun Temple as a site of national importance in Jammu and Kashmir.[14] The temple appears in the list of centrally protected monuments as Martanda (Sun Temple).[15]

Details sign - ASI


  1. ^ Animals in stone: Indian mammals sculptured through time By Alexandra Anna Enrica van der Geer. pp. Ixx.
  2. ^ India-Pakistan Relations with Special Reference to Kashmir By Kulwant Rai Gupta. p. 35.
  3. ^ The Early Wooden Temples of Chamba. pp. 50, 66.
  4. ^ "Tourist places in south Kashmir". Retrieved 8 July 2012.
  5. ^ "Martand House of Pandavs". Search Kashmir. Retrieved 11 July 2012.
  6. ^ Hindu temples were felled to the ground and for one year a large establishment was maintained for the demolition of the grand Martand temple. But when the massive masonry resisted all efforts, it was set on fire and the noble buildings cruelly defaced.-Firishta, Muhammad Qãsim Hindû Shãh; John Briggs (translator) (1829–1981 Reprint). Tãrîkh-i-Firishta (History of the Rise of the Mahomedan Power in India). New Delhi
  7. ^ India: A History. Revised and Updated By John Keay.
  8. ^ Al-Hind, the Making of the Indo-Islamic World, Volume 1 By André Wink. 1991. pp. 250–51.
  9. ^ Arts Of India By Krishna Chaitanya. p. 7.
  10. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica: a new survey of universal knowledge: Volume 12, pp:965
  11. ^ Kak, Ram Chandra. "Ancient Monuments of Kashmir". Retrieved 8 November 2014. External link in |website= (help)
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Archaeological survey of India protected monuments". Retrieved 11 August 2012.
  15. ^ "Protected monuments in Jammu & Kashmir"., Archaeological surey of india. Retrieved 29 October 2012.

External links[edit]