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date: 19 September 2019


  • J. Marr


Temple site on a high plateau overlooking the Kashmir Valley, Jammu and Kashmir, India. The Surya Temple, built by the Karkota king Lalitaditya (regc. ad 724–c. 760) is the earliest surviving Hindu temple in Kashmir. The main shrine, measuring some 19×11 m, stands on a high plinth in a rectangular colonnaded court (80.5×52 m) surrounded by 84 small shrines. This layout, together with the use of tall ribbed pillars and pilasters in the entrance porch and the repeated motif of a trefoil arch within a triangular pediment, gives a strong feeling of Bactrian Hellenistic influence. Indeed, the earlier Buddhist monasteries of the region were directly influenced by the architecture of Gandhara and Bactria, and the style remained current in both Buddhist and Hindu buildings in Kashmir until the 13th century ad (see Indian subcontinent §III 5., (i)). The entire temple is built of large blocks of dressed grey limestone held together by mortar and dowels. The large entrance portico, where the once profuse decorations have nearly disappeared owing to the friability of the stone, is on the west. There is a small tank in front of the main shrine, and traces of foundations in the four corners of the court suggest that the temple originally formed a quincunx. The main shrine consists of a portico (Skt ...

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