(Last Updated on : 12/04/2014)
Martand temple is situated near the town of Anantnag in the state of Jammu and Kashmir
. It has been built on a plateau encircled by a range of eternal snows, this temple represents an architectural expressiveness of the highest order, and forms the supreme model of a style to which a great number of later temples subscribed. It is also significant in that it marks a departure from the Buddhist influence and the acceptance of the Brahmanical creed by the people. Seen here, instead of the Buddhist assembly hall, where congregational worship was held, the central structure here is a sanctuary for the divine symbol.
It is a gothic temple, dedicated to Bhaskar, the Sun God. King Lalitaditya, a Kshatriya
of Surya (Solar) dynasty, built the Sun temple to memorialise Lord Surya
. Built with 84 columns, the temple offers a magnificent view of the Kashmir Valley. The shrine stands within an immense courtyard surrounded by a pillared arcade and a series of cells. Certain features in the surface decoration of the Martand temple are of unique interest. The regularly spaced medallions, the frequent use of pilasters and the pediment motif- all recall the architecture of the antique classical West. The capitals of the fluted pillars supporting cornices have something Doric about them, and their moulded bases are of the Attic type. The encircling colonnade is also reminiscent of the Greek style. However, experts are of the view that these influences are not deep rooted and that the main composition is of indigenous inspiration, the product of the genius of Kashmir.
The mural sculpture on the walls displays unmistakably the influence of the art movement fostered by the Pala Kings of Bengal
. This was apparently of such intensity that it made itself felt in regions far beyond its geographical boundaries. As further evidence of the source of this influence, it has been pointed out that the copper gilt image of the sun-god installed in the cell of the Martand temple must have been wrought in the very same foundry where expert Pala metal-workers shaped that famous copper image of Lord Buddha
which was discovered at Sultanganj in Bengal and is now in the Birmingham Art Gallery.