The Suntemple
Martand, Kashmir


The magnificient 5th century Sun Temple seen from the main entrance


The inner shrine facing west


About the Sun Temple

The Sun Temple at Martand is among the most imposing ruins and was/is the largest Hindu temple in Kashmir. This historic temple was built by Ram Ditya in the 5th century probably between 490 and 555 AD. The collonade probably dates back to 693-729 AD. It was further modified by King Lalitaditya in the 8th century.

Temples were seldom exclusively places of worship. They were also depositories of treasure, political statements which embodied the ambitions of their royal patrons and on occation even military strongholds. In the early 15th century the Hindu temple was destroyed by Muslim rulers.

The temple is dedicated to the Sun or in Sanskrit, "Surya". The entrance of the Sanctum Sanctorum is facing west, so the rays of the setting sun would touch the the Surya idol which were inside, when the temple was in use.

The site has been escavated and restored by the English. Some idols were taken abroard, but there are still quite a few idols in the SPS Museum in Srinagar.

The Sun Temple, which is situated at a distance of  80 km from Srinagar, is from the same period as the huge Avantiswami Temple in Avantipur, 29 km from Srinagar. Both temples show a distinctive Greek influence.

General view of Temple and Enclosure of Marttand or the Sun, near Bhawan. Probable date of temple A.D. 490-555. Probable date of colonnade A.D. 693-729. Photograph of the Surya Temple at Martand in Jammu & Kashmir taken by John Burke in 1868.
Old photograph of the Surya
Temple at Martand taken by John Burke in 1868



The northern collonade with entrances to several minor shrines


Main entrance of the temple compound
 seen from the innermost shrine
towards west, the direction of the setting sun


The northern collonade with small shrines

Surya at the entrance hall


Northern collonade with base of a side temple in the foreground


Shiva Linga base at the eastern collonade





Carvings on the south face of the temple


South and east face of the temple





Carvings on the backside of the temple

Inscription in Sharada language   ►  created by BP