Martand Sun Temple

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Martand Sun Temple
Martand Sun Temple Central shrine (6133772365).jpg
Central shrine of the temple ruins
DistrictAnantnag district
DeitySurya (Martand)
StateJammu and Kashmir
Martand Sun Temple is located in Jammu and Kashmir
Martand Sun Temple
Location within Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir
Martand Sun Temple is located in India
Martand Sun Temple
Location within India
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
TypeAncient Indian
CreatorLalitaditya Muktapida
Completed8th century CE
Demolished15th century CE

The Martand Sun Temple, also known as Pandou Laidan,[citation needed] is a Hindu temple located near the city of Anantnag in Jammu and Kashmir, India. It dates back to the 8th century CE and was dedicated to Surya, the chief solar deity in Hinduism; Surya is also known by the Sanskrit-language synonym Martand (मार्तंड, Mārtanda). The temple was destroyed by the Shah Miri dynasty in the 15th century, on the orders of the erstwhile Muslim ruler of Kashmir, Sikandar Shah Miri.


Photograph taken by John Burke in 1868 showing the ruins of the Martand Sun Temple

The Martand Sun Temple was built by Lalitaditya Muktapida, the third maharaja of Kashmir under the Karkota dynasty, in the 8th century CE.[1][2] While it has been thought to have been built between 725–756 CE,[3] the foundation of the temple dates back to around 370–500 CE, with some attributing the construction of the temple to have begun with Ranaditya.[4][5]

The ancient temple[edit]

Restored impression of the temple from Letters from India and Kashmir by J. Duguid, 1870–1873

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 and Chinese forms of architecture.[6][7]

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.[8] 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 centralised 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.[9]

Temple ruins as seen from the entrance to the main temple structure
Temple ruins as seen from the entrance to the main temple structure
Gateway of the temple
Inscriptions within the temple ruins

Official site status[edit]

The Archaeological Survey of India has declared the Martand Sun Temple as a site of national importance in Jammu and Kashmir.[10] The temple appears in the list of centrally protected monuments as Kartanda (Sun Temple).[11]

Details sign — ASI

Modern tirtha complex[edit]

In the nearby Mattan Chowk named after the ancient temple, Anantnag town there exists a modern Hindu temple complex around a picturesque lake (kunda) with several shrines including one dedicated to Surya, crafted in marble. These are in active worship administered by local Brahmin pandits. This is a successor to the ancient temple.[citation needed]

Modern Surya Mandir Martand Tirth (Mattan) in Kashmir

In popular culture[edit]


  1. ^ Animals in stone: Indian mammals sculptured through time By Alexandra Anna Enrica van der Geer. 2008. pp. Ixx. ISBN 978-9004168190.
  2. ^ Gupta, Kulwant Rai (2006). India-Pakistan Relations with Special Reference to Kashmir By Kulwant Rai Gupta. p. 35. ISBN 9788126902712.
  3. ^ Goetz, Hermann (1955). The Early Wooden Temples of Chamba. Brill Archive. pp. 50, 66. martand sun.
  4. ^ "Tourist places in south Kashmir". Retrieved 8 July 2012.
  5. ^ "Martand House of Pandavs". Search Kashmir. Retrieved 11 July 2012.
  6. ^ Wink, André (1991). Al-Hind, the Making of the Indo-Islamic World, Volume 1 By André Wink. pp. 250–51. ISBN 9004095098.
  7. ^ Chaitanya, Krishna (1987). Arts Of India By Krishna Chaitanya. p. 7. ISBN 9788170172093.
  8. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica: a new survey of universal knowledge: Volume 12, pp:965
  9. ^ Kak, Ram Chandra. "Ancient Monuments of Kashmir". Retrieved 8 November 2014.
  10. ^ "Archaeological survey of India protected monuments". Retrieved 11 August 2012.
  11. ^ "Protected monuments in Jammu & Kashmir"., Archaeological surey of india. Archived from the original on 7 May 2012. Retrieved 29 October 2012.
  12. ^ "Chala Bhi Aa Aaja Rasiya | Lata Mangeshkar, Mohammed Rafi | Man Ki Aankhen 1970 Songs | Dharmendra". Retrieved 4 February 2020 – via
  13. ^ "Tere Bina Zindagi Se Koi Shikwa To Nahin | Lata Mangeshkar, Kishore Kumar | Aandhi 1975 Songs". Retrieved 4 February 2020 – via

External links[edit]

a)A History of Kashmir by Pandit Prithvi Nath Kaul Bamzai, pp. 140