Martand Sun Temple

The famed Martand Temples is considered as an important historic ruin of Kashmir. It sets a perfect example of a typical ancient Sun Temple mostly seen in India, with the other one existing as the Sun Temple of Konark, situated in Orissa, India.

The Martand Sun Temple is highly revered as one of the most inspiring and memorable masterpiece that was erected during the reign of King Lalit Aditya who ruled this region during the ancient era. He ordered the construction of this spacious and spectacular Martand Sun Temple in Kashmir in honour and dedication to the Sun God, also referred to as Surya.

King Lalit Aditya belonged to the Surya dynasty period, and was a Kshatriya or King of the Warrior Military Caste, considered to be a highly authoritative figure, yet considerate and gentle leader to his people, during those times. It was during his era when the Sun, Moon and Holy entities were greatly worshipped and believed to possess spiritual and supernatural powers. Built to represent this Solar or Surya Dynasty, King Lalit Aditya had the Martand Temple built to commemorate Bhaskar, known then as the Sung God.

The vision of King Lalit Aditya was to create a unique style of architecture and construction of this temple structure that will be remembered for eternity. His dream and vision was realized with the skilled exhibition of the way the Martand Sun Temple was designed. This is one of the most rare temple structures that one would notice nowhere else in India but only in Kashmir and probably in the history of the world as well.

Despite the fact that the towns and settlements, during the era of King Lalit Aditya, is seen in ruins and did not manage to stand the test of times, the only formidable structure that stand as evidence and spells the greatness of his vision, lies within the existence of this stunning ancient edifice, what we know today, as the Martand Temple in Kashmir.

Today, the ruins of the King Lalit Aditya era seems to have vanished with time and only the remnants of this massive Martand Temple exists, which stands as testimony to the religious obeisance of the ancient inhabitants of Kashmir, who used this temple premises as their worship and pilgrimage ground. Also, setting as an apt example of the unique craftsmanship of an era filled with skilled artisans, the Martand Temple depicts the architectural brilliance of the ancient Hindus who are praised even today for their exquisite taste for distinct designs, and art works.

The name Martand is derived from the word ‘Mattan’, a word that sprouts from ‘Macch – Bhawan’ or ‘Fish Mansion’. Mattan is also known by several names that include Martand and Matan and these are the words from where the Temple got its name as most likely, the King thought of naming it after the profession of his people of those days, who were primarily fishermen and traders.

Martand thus, captures a very high position amongst the exquisite architectural designs of the world and is considered to one of the most famed examples of the architectural skills of the Kashmiri people who took pride in their skills. They ensured that an equally perfect scenic spot was chosen as the place to erect this beautiful Temple that would one day be the pride of Kashmir as well, putting it in the map of architectural excellences on a global scale.

Representing great buildings or monuments that combine the sum total of all the best qualities of designing aspects and attributes, the ruins of the gigantic Martand Temple stands silently on a square shaped field spread by a canvas of snow-surmounted mountains as its perfect backdrop lending one of the most mesmerizing vistas one has ever seen.

The Martand Sun Temple features a strong structure built of square limestone and showcases a line of pillars imitating a typical Greek pattern of architecture. This Sun Temple in Kashmir reflects the mirror image of the art, skills, and devotion of the ancient Kashmiri Hindus who greatly revered the Sun God, Bhaskar or Surya. The first Guru of the Sikhs named as Guru Nanak Dev Ji, had once visited this temple way back in 1700 AD and had preached about Sikhism to the Kashmiri Hindus.

The Martand Temple thus exhibits the strong sense of Kashmiri architecture and hence, its builder, King Lalit Aditya must not only be considered as the founder of his vast Surya Empire but, must be accredited as the great founder of the art, skills and craftsmanship of the Kashmiri inhabitants that has persisted for almost over six centuries since its establishment.

Places to Visit in Kashmir