THE VALLEY OF KASHMIR - ARCHAEOLOGY
Walter R. Lawrence
Excerpts: 'THE VALLEY OF KASHMIR' by Walter R. Lawrence
The Valley of Kashmir is the 'holy land' of the Hindus, and l have rarely been in any village which cannot shove some relic of antiquity. Curious stone miniatures of the old Kashmiri temples (Kulr-Muru), huge stone seats of Mahadeo (Badrpith) inverted by pious Musalmans, Phallic emblems imlumerable, and carved images heaped in grotesque confusion by some clear spring, have met me at every turn. The villagers can give no information as to the history of these remains, save the value guess that they were the works of the Buddhists or of the Pandus. The Pandits of the city care nothing for archaeological research, and know little about the past glories of their country in the old Hindu times. When one comes to the more recent period of the Mughals, tradition becomes more definite, and I have seen curious mosques built in a style unlike the present, of wooden beams with stones between, mostly raised by Aurangzeb. He built religious edifices, while the other Mughals devoted themselves to stately pleasure-domes, gardens, terraces, waterfalls, and pretty summer houses. While the old Hindu buildings defy time and weather the Musalman shrines and mosques crumble away and have little now of their pristine grandeur. Here and there the excellent masonry of Jehangir has withstood the great destroyer, but unless money is spent quickly and judiciously there will be little left, save the wild roses of the valley, to remind posterity of the pleasure-haunts of Selim and Naurmahal. It is to be hoped that the Kashmir State will never allow the beautiful pleasaunces of Achabal and Vernag, Shalamar and Nishat to pass away, but unless early steps are taken these fair places will become sad and unsightly ruins. As regards the older buildings of ancient Kashmir it is hard to say whether it would be possible to protect these monuments from further damage. I have often looked at Martand and noticed with sorrow that the temple to the north, supposed by Cunningham to be the fan of Ranesa, is sloping sway from the main temple, and the push of an earth-quake would send it crashing into the mass of mighty stones beneath. But if Martand - 'Precious specimen of ancient art, deserving a foremost place among the remains of antiquity' - is to be preserved, not only money but artistic skill would be required. A brick buttress would be an act of desecration. If the State ever takes up the work of conservation of ancient monuments, I think that the two relics of the old Hindus most worthy of preservation would be Martand and Payech. The former is the grandest of the ancient buildings, the latter the most perfect. Earthquakes will always render the future of the Kashmir temples uncertain, and the shock of 1885 caused great damage to the buildings at Pattan. I have made extracts from the greatest authority on the archaeology of Kashmir, and have quoted descriptions of the most important of the buildings of the old Hindus, but a rich field awaits explorers in the valley. Chance excavations, for irrigation and other works, reveal curious sculptures and interesting relics of ancient history, and any one with money and leisure might find profitable employment in tracing the old cities on the hill slopes and the karewas of Kashmir. In 1882 Mr. Garrick, late of the Archaeological Survey of India, carried out extensive excavations at Ushkpur near Baramula. He excavated a lope or stupa of squared stones, held together with iron clamps, in the hope of finding certain copper plates which, according to the Chinese pilgrim, Hwen Thsang, were deposited therein. On the copper plates were engraved the proceedings of a Buddhist synod held in the reign of Kanishka. Mr. Garrick's excavations were thorough, but unsuccessful. It was at Ushkpur that Lalitaditya is said to have built an image of the Mukhtswami and a large monastery with a stupa of the Buddhists. Along the eastern side of the valley one sees everywhere on the slopes of the mountains remains of ancient cities. I do not know how far these have been examined, but am under the impression that explorers, owing to the short time of their stay in the valley, have chiefly confined their attention to the well-known temples. I am also under the impression, founded on what the people say, that many valuable relics have been carried away from Kashmir, while the State itself has removed several sculptures and thousands of lingams from their old sites to Srinagar. The island on the Wular is a notable example of this. To the explorer I would recommend the eastern side of the valley. Tradition assigns Sumbal, on the Jhelum as the site of the ancient Jayapura, and the people say that excavation at Sumbal would reveal great treasures. Hardly a year passes without rumours of fabulous treasure being discovered in Kashmir. Official measures are at once taken to secure the State's interests, but since I have been in the valley all such rumours have proved to be unfounded. It is quite possible, however, that treasure is found, and it is very possible that systematic exploration might discover some of the w earth with which Lalitaditya, and other conquerors endowed the valley.
My duties left me no leisure to investigate the history of the ruined forts and the little palaces (kutraj) which occur so frequently on the western side of the valley. The forts are recent, of Mughal or Pathan times, but the little palaces carry one back to the prehistoric ages when Kashmir was parcelled out among a number of princelings. The forts and palaces are now mere heaps of stones, the abode of snakes and jackals, 'the populous city is deserted, and thorns and briers have come up upon the land.' A curious antiquity known as Raman Kan, not described in previous accounts of the valley, may be mentioned here.
On the Kutraj karewa, near the village of Khushipura, the arrows of Ram Chandr and Lachman are to be found. The arrows are of cut stone, octagonal is section, stand about four feet out of the ground, and the depth to which they have penetrated the soil after their long flight is unknown. The karewa also has a number of depressions, varying in size and depth and containing water and weeds. This table-land was once the abode of the Rakshas, devils in human form, who lessened the tediousness of time by wrestlillg-matches among themselves and by devouring men. The depressions were made by the rubbing of giant elbows and knees against the ground during the wrestling-bouts. The avatars at last took compassion on the people thus oppressed, and preyed upon, and fired arrows from Ram Koond and Lachman Koond, sacred places in Machipura, where Hindus go to bathe, and the Rakshas were slain. The legend is interesting in that it points to a time when the Kutraj country was inhabited by a lawless people who made periodical inroads on the peace lovulg and better-favoured lowlander. I have visited all the buildings which are now to be described, and have debated with myself whether anything of interest could be added by me to the excellent and accurate descriptions which expert writers have already given. I have decided that it would be presumptuous and useless, and just as in the chapter on geology I have availed myself of Lydekker's researches, so in this chapter I repeat the words of the greatest of Indian antiquarians, the late Sir Alexander Cunningham. I first give his general remarks on the architectural remains of Kashmir, and in the detailed description of each temple I reproduce the notices contained in Bates' Gazetteer.
'The architectural remains of Kashmir are perhaps the most remarkable of the existing monuments of India, as they exhibit undoubted traces of the influence of Grecian art. The Hindu temple is generally a sort of architectural pasty, a huge collection of ornamental fritters huddled together, either with or without keeping, while the Jain temple is usually a vast forest of pillars, made to look as unlike one another as possible by some paltry differences in their petty details. On the other hand the Kashmirian fans are distinguished by the graceful elegance of their outlines, by the massive boldness of their parts, and by the happy propriety of their decorations. They cannot, indeed, vie with the severe simplicity of the Parthenon nor with the luxuriant gracefulness of the monument of Lysicrates, but they possess great beauty, different indeed, yet quite their own.
The characteristic features of the Kashmirian architecture are its lofty pyramidal roofs, its trefoiled doorways, covered by pyramidal pediments, and the great width of its intercolumniations. The Grecian pediment is very low, and its roof exceedingly flat, the Kashmirian pediment, on the contrary, is extremely lofty, and its roof high. The former is adapted for a sunny and almost rainless climate, while the latter is equally well suited to a rainy and snowy climate. But besides the difference of climate, there was perhaps another reason for the form of roofing peculiar to the two countries in the kind of material most readily procurable for buildings. In Greece it was stone, in Kashmir it was timber. The former imposed low flat roofs with small intercolumniations, the latter suggested lofty roofs and wide intercolumniations.
In the Kashmirian architecture the great width of the interval between the columns (which is constant) is perhaps the most characteristic feature of the order. Indeed I have suspicion that the distinctive mark of the Kashmirian style was well known to the Greeks; for an intercolumination of four diameters, an interval seldom, if ever, used by themselves, was called Araiostyle, a name which would appear to refer to the intercolumniation common amongst the Hindus or Eastern Aryas, the 'APEIOI of Herodotus. The vulgar etymology of Araiostyle from 'APAIO, "rare," seems extremely far-fetched if not absurd; while the etymology of the "Arian columnar interval" appears both natural and appropriate, as the intercolumniation followed by the Aryas of Kashmir was never less than four diameters.
Now the interval between the Kashmirian pillars being always Araiostyle, I feel inclined to call the style of architecture used by the Aryas of Kashmir the "Arian Order." This name it fully merits, for it is as much a distinct order of architecture as any one of the more celebrated classic orders. Like them it is subject to known rules, which confine the genius of its architects within certain limits. A Kashmirian pillar is indeed distinguished from all Indian pillars by having a base, a shaft, and a capital, and each, besides, bearing a certain proportion to the diameter. How unlike is this to the columnar vagaries of the Hindus, which are of all shapes and of all dimensions A favourite Hindu pillar has the lowest fourth of its height square, the next eight-sided, and the third sixteen-sided, and the upper part round; another has a double capital with a low flat base; whilst a third has a shaft of only one-fourth of its height, the remaining three-fourths being all base and capital, and yet these three pillars may be neighbouring columns of the same temple.
The superiority of the Kashmirian architecture over all other Indian buildings would appear to have been known to the Hindus themselves, for one of their names of the people of Kashmir is Shastra-Sllilpina, or "architects," a term which could only have been applied to them on account of their well-known skill in building. Even now the Kashmiris are the most expert handicraftsmen of the East; and it is not difficult to believe that the same people, who at present excel all other orientals as weavers, gun-smiths, and as calligraphers, must once have been the most eminent of the Indian architects.
Before entering upon any details of the Arian order of architecture, and upon the comparisons naturally suggested between it and some of the classical orders, I will first describe the present state and appearance of the principal buildings that still exist in Kashmir, all of which were accurately measured by myself in November, 1847. They are
entirely composed of a blue limestone which is capable of taking the highest polish, a property to which I mainly attribute the present beautiful state of preservation of most of the Kashmirian buildings; not one of these temples has a name, excepting that of Martand, which is called in the corrupt Kashmirian pronunciation, Matan, but they are all Flown by the general name of Pandavanki lard or "Pandus-house," a title to which they have no claim whatever, unless indeed the statement of Ptolemy can be considered of sufficient authority upon such a subject. He says "circa autem Bidaspum Pandovorum regio" - the Kingdom of the Pandus is upon the Betasta of (Behat), that is, it corresponded with Kashmir. This passage would seem to prove that the Pandavas still inhabited Kashmir so late as the second century of our era. Granting the correctness of this point there may be some truth in the universal attribution of the Kashmirian temples to the race of Pandus, for some of these buildings date as high as the end of the fifth century, and there are others that must undoubtedly be much more ancient, perhaps even as old as the beginning of the Christian era. One of them dates from 220 B.C.
Most of the Kashmirian temples are more or less injured, but more particularly those at Awantipura, which are mere heaps of ruins. Speaking of these temples, Trebeck says, " It is scarcely possible to imagine that the state of ruin to which they have been reduced has been the work of time or even of men, as their solidity is fully equal to that of the most massive monuments of Egypt; earthquakes must have been the chief agents in their overthrow." I have quoted this passage to show the utter confusion that characterizes the ruins of the Awantipura temples. In my opinion their overthrow is too complete to have been the result of an earthquake, which would have simply prostrated the buildings in large masses. But the whole of the superstructure of these temples is now lying in one confused heap of stones totally disjoined from one another. I believe, therefore, that I am fully justified in saying, from my own experience, that such a complete and disruptive overturn could only have been produced by gunpowder. I have myself blown up a fort, besides several buildings, both of stone and of brick, and I have observed that the result has always been the entire sundering of all parts one from another, and the capsizing or bouleversement of many of them. Neither of these effects can be produced by an earthquake. It seems also that Trebeck and
Moorcroft would most likely have attributed their to destruction to the same agency, had Hey not believed that the use of gunpowder was unknown at the time; for in speaking of a traditional attempt made by Shah Hamdan to destroy Martand, they say, "It is fortunate he was not acquainted with the use of gunpowder." I admit that this destructive it agent was most probably unheard of in Kashmir so early as the reign of Shah Mirshah of Hamdan; but the destruction of the Kashmirian temples is universally attributed, both by history and by a tradition, to the bigoted Sikander, whose idol breaking zeal procured him the title of But-Shikan, or "Iconoclast." He was reigning at the period of Timur's invasion of India, with whom he exchanged friendly presents, and from whom I suppose he may have received a present of the "villainous saltpetre." This is not at all unlikely, for the furious Tamerlane was as great an idol-breaker as Sikandar himself. Gibbon, it is true, denies that either the Mughals or Ottomans in 1402 were acquainted with gunpowder, but as he points out that the Turks had metal cannon at the siege of Constantinople in A. D. 1422, I think it is no great stretch of probability to suppose that gunpowder itself had been carried into the East, even as far as Kashmir, at least ten or twenty years earlier, that is about A. D. 1400 to 1420, or certainly during the reign of Sikandar, who died in 1416.
Even if this be not admitted, I still adhere to my opinion that the complete ruin of Awantipura temples could only have been effected by gunpowder, and I would then ascribe their overthrow to the bigotted Aurangzeb. Ferishta attributed to Sikandar the demolition of all the Kashmirian temples save one which was dedicated to Mahadeo, and which only escaped "in consequence of its foundation being below the surface of the neighbouring water." In A. D. 158090, however, Abulfazal mentions that some of the idolatrous temples were in "perfect preservation;" and Ferishta himself describes many of these being in existence in his own item, or about A. D. 1600. Besides, as several of them are still standing, although more or less injured, it is quite certain that Sikandar could not have destroyed them all. He most likely gave orders that they should all be overturned; and I have no doubt that many of the principal temples were thrown down during his reign. For instance, the tomb of his own queen in Srinagar is built upon the foundation, and with the materials of a Hindu temple; likewise the wall which surrounds the tomb of his son, Zain-ul-Ab-ul-din, was once the enclosure of a Hindu temple; and lastly, the entrance of a Masjid in Nawashahra of Srinagar, which, according to its inscription, was built during the reign of his son Zain-ul-Ab-ul-din, is formed of two fluted pillars of a Hindu peristyle. These instances prove that at least three different temples, in He capital alone, must have been overthrown either by Sikandar or by one of his predecessors. But as the demolition of idol temples is not attributed to any one of the earlier kings, we may safely ascribe the destruction of the three above mentioned to Sikandar himself. But besides the ruthless hand of the destroyer another agency, less immediate, but equally certain in its ultimate effects, must have been at work upon the large temples of Kashmir. The silent ravages of the destroyer who carries away pillars and stones for the erection of other edifices have been going on for centuries. Pillars from which the architraves have been thus removed have been thrown down by earthquakes, ready to be set up again for the decoration of the first masjid or tomb that might be erected in their neighbourhood. Thus every Muhammadan building in Kashmir is constructed either entirely or in part of the ruins of Hindu temples.
Even at first sight, one is immediately struck by the strong resemblance which the Kashmirian columnades bear to the classical peristyle of Greece. This first impression is undoubtedly due to the distinct division of the pillars into the three members - base, shaft and capital, as well as to the fluting of the shafts. On further inspection the first impression is confirmed by the recognition that some of the principal mouldings are also peculiar to the Grecian orders, but more especially to the Doric. Thus the echinos, which is the leading feature of the Kashmirian capital, is also the chief member of the Doric capital. A still closer examination reveals the fact that the width of the capital is subject exactly to the same rules as that of all the classical orders excepting the Corinthian.
Even the temples themselves, with their porches and pediments, remind one more of Greece than of India; and it is difficult to believe that a style of architecture which differs so much from all Indian examples, and which has so much in common with those of Greece, could have been indebted to chance alone for this striking resemblance. in Professor Willis admits the probability that the Kashmirian pediments may have been borrowed from those of the Syrian Greeks, and he founds his opinion upon the fact that the trefoiled arch of the Kashmirian temple rises high into the tympanum of the pediment; a practice which was not introduced into the classical architecture until after the commencement of the Christian era. But the l'rofessor had not, I believe, seen any examples of the older Kashmirian buildings, such as the enclosing walls of the temple on the Takht-iSuliman and of the tomb of Zain-ul-Ab-ul-din, as well as the perfect little cave temple of Bhumju. Of these specimens the first dates as early as 220 B.C., at which time the Kabul valley, and even the western Panjab, were occupied by the Bactrin Greeks, under Euthydemus and his son Demetrius. If, therefore, it is admitted that the Kashmirian architects have been indebted to those of Greece, for their pediments, for their fluted columns, or even for any of their minor details, I think that they must certainly have borrowed them from the temples of their immediate neighbours the Bactrian Greeks, and not from the buildings of distant Syrian Greeks; I think also that had these pediments been imitated from the latter Romanized examples the copyist would scarcely have overlooked the structural arches which occupy their pediments. In fact the forms of the principal Kashmirian mouldings, which are all quirked ovolos, or echni, could only have been borrowed from the pure Greek style of an earlier period than the Roman innovation of circular segmental mouldings.
Another striking resemblance between the Kashmirian architecture and that of the various Grecian orders is its stereotyped style, which during the long flourishing period of several centuries remained unchanged. In this respect it is so widely different from the ever-varying forms and plastic vagaries of the Hindu architecture, that it is impossible to conceive their evolution from a common origin. I feel convinced myself that several of the Kashmirian forms, and many of the details, were borrowed from the temples of the Kabulian Greeks, while the arrangement of the interior, arid the relative proportions of the different parts, were of Hindu origin. Such, in fact, must necessarily have been the case with imitations by Indian workmen, which would naturally have been engrafted upon the indigenous architecture. The general arrangement would therefore still remain Infirm, while many of the details, and even some of the larger forms, might be of foreign origin.
As a whole, I think that the Kashmirian architecture, with it noble fluted pillars, its vast colonnades, its lofty pediments and its elegant trefoiled arches, is fully entitled to be classed as a distinct style. I have therefore ventured to call it the "Arian order", a name to which it has a double right: firstly, because it was the style of the Aryas, for Arians of Kashmir; and secondly, because its intercolumniations are always of four diameters, an interval which the Greeks called Araiostyle.
Bhumju or Bumzu or Bhaumajo lies at the mouth of the Liddar valley, and is easily reached from Islamabad.
These caves are situated on the left bank of the Liddar river about a mile north of the village of Bawan, the largest is dedicated to Kaladeva. The cave temple stands at the far end of a natural but artificially enlarged fissure in the limestone cliff. The entrance to the cavern, which is more than 60 feet above the level of the river, is carved into an architectural doorway, and a gloomy passage, 50 feet in length, leads from it to the door of the temple. It is a simple cella, 10 feet square, exterior dimensions, raised on a badly moulded plinth, and approached by a short flight of steps. The square doorway in flanked by two round-headed niches despoiled of their statues, and is surmounted by a high, triangular pediment, reaching to the apex of the roof, with a trefoiled tympanum, There is no record nor tradition as to the time of erection; but from absence of all ornamentation, and the simple character of the roof, which appears to be a rudimentary copy in stone of the ordinary sloping timber roof of the country, it may with great probability be inferred that this is the earliest perfect specimen of a Kashmir temple, and dates from the first or second century of the Christian era. Close by is another cave of still greater extent, but with no architectural accesories; and about half a mile further up the valley, at the foot of the cliff, are two temples, the larger of which has been converted into a Muhammadan tomb. Both are, to a considerable extent, copies of the cave-temple, but may be of much later date.
The shrine of Baba Ramdin Rishi and the tomb of his disciple Ruku din Rishi are also close by. Hugel states that the Bhumju caves occupy a very conspicuous place in the fables of the timid Kashmiris, and are supposed to have originated from the following causes. In the year Kali 2108 (933 B.C.) Raja Nara succeeded his father. Vibishana; during his reign a certain Brahman espoused Chandrasaha, the daughter of Susravas, a serpent-god, whose place was in a lake near the Vitusta, and near a city built and inhabited by Nara. One day, as Raja Nara beheld the beautiful daughter of the serpent on the shore of the lake, moving gracefully through the calm waters, he was struck with the deepest admiration, and endeavoured vainly to inspire the same sentiments he himself felt. At length he resolved to carry her off from her husband, but the plan failed, and the enraged Brahman called on her father to avenge the insult. A storm was accordingly called up, and the earth opened and swallowed up the king and his whole court. The sister of the serpent-god assisted him, and hurled on the city huge stones from the Bawan mountain. The caverns of Bhumju are said to be on the spot where these rocks were uptorn (Huger, Growse).
Awantipura lies on the right bank of the Jhelum and is distant about 18 miles by land from Srinagar.
The ancient capital of Awantipura was called after its founder, the famous king Awanti-Varma, who reigned from A. D. 854 to 883. The whole neighbourhood is strewn with ruins, but the only traces that remain of its former greatness are the two temples which he founded - one before his accession to the throne, and the other and larger one subsequently. Both were dedicated to Mahadeva, the former under the title of AwantiSwami, the latter under that of Awantiswara. These two temples are situated on the bank of the river, one at Awantipura and the other about three quarters of a mile to the north, near the village of Janbior. They are now shapeless masses of ruins, but the gateways of both are standing, and the colonnade of the smaller temple, which had been completely 'buried underground, has recently been partially excavated. The style corresponds with that of the Martand quadrangle; but the semi-attached pillars of the arched recesses are enriched with elaborate carving of very varied character, while the large detached columns are somewhat less elegantly proportioned.
The writer in the Calcutta Review, from whose description the above account has been extracted, is of opinion that the silting up of the Awantipura quadrangle can only be explained by the supposition that all the Kashmiri temples were originally surrounded by artificial lakes. Forster, who visited Awantipura in May, 1783, calls the place Bhyteepour.
Martand lies on the karewa above Islamabad, and is easily reached from Islamabad, Bawan and Athabal.
The ruins of the Hindu temple of Martand, or, as it is commonly called, the Pandu-Koru, or the house of the Pandus and Korus - the Cyclopes of the East - are situated on the highest part of a karewa, where it commences to rise to its juncture with the mountains, about 3 miles east of Islamabad. Occupying, undoubtedly, the finest position in Kashmir, this noble ruin is the most striking in size and situation of all the existing remains of Kashmir grandeur. The temple itself is not now more that 40 feet in height, but its solid walls and bold outlines, towering over the fluted pillars of the surrounding colonnade, give it a most imposing appearance. There are no petty confused details, but all are distinct and massive, and most admirably suited to the general character of the building. Many vain speculations have been hazarded regarding the date of erection of this temple, and the worship to which it was appropriated. It is usually called the House of the Pandus by the Brahmins, and by the people "Martand", or the sun, to which the temple was dedicated. The true date of the erection of this temple - the wonder of Kashmir - is a disputed point of chronology; but the period of its foundation can be determined within the limits of one century, or between A.D. 370 and 500. The mass of building now known by the name of Martand consists of one lofty central edifice, with a small detached with on each side of the entrance, the whole standing in a large quadrangle, surrounded by a colonnade of fluted pillars with intervening, trefoil-headed recesses. The length of the outer side of the wall, which is blank, is about 90 yards; that of the front is about 56. There are in all eighty-four columns - a singularly appropriate number in a temple of the sun, if, as is supposed, the number eighty-four is accounted sacred by the Hindus in consequence of its being the multiple of the number of days in the week with the number of signs in the zodiac. The colonnade is recorded in the Rajatarangini as the work of the famous king Laltaditya, who reigned from A.D. 693 to 729. Frorn the same authority we gather - though the interpretation of the verses is considerably disputed - that the temple itself was built by Ranaditya, and the side chapels, or at least one of them, by his queen, Amritaprakha. The date of Ranaditya's reign is involved in some obscurity, but it may safely be conjectured that he died in the first half of the fifth century after Christ. The remains of three gateways opening into the court are now standing. The principal of these fronts due west towards Islamabad. It is also rectangular in its details and built with enormous blocks of limestone, 6 or 8 feet in length, and one of 9, and of proportionate solidity, cemented with an excellent mortar.
The central building is 63 feet in length by 36 in width, and, alone of all the temples of Kashmir possesses, in addition to the cella or sanctuary, a choir and nave, termed in Sandkrit the antarala and arddhamandapa; the nave is 18 feet square. The sanctuary alone is left entirely bare, the two other compartments being lined with rich panellings and sculptured niches. As the main building is at present entirely uncovered, the original form of the roof can only be determined by a reference to other temples and to the general form and character of the various parts of the Martand temple itself. It has been conjectured that the roof was of pyramidal form, and that the entrance chamber and wings were similarly covered. There would thus have been four distinct pyramids, of which that over the inner chamber must have been the loftiest, the height of its pinnacle above the ground being about 75 feet.
The interior must have been as imposing as the exterior. On ascending the flight of steps, now covered by ruins, the votary of the sun entered a highly decorated chamber, with a doorway on each side covered by a pediment, with a trefoil-headed niche containing a bust of the Hindu triad, and on the flanks of the main entrance, as well as on those of the side doorways, were pointed and trefoil niches, each of which held a statue of a Hindu deity. The interior decorations of the roof can only be conjecturally determined, as there do not appear to be any ornamented stones that could with certainty be assigned to it. Baron Hugel doubts that Martand ever had a roof, but as the walls of the temple are still standing the numerous heaps of large stones that are scattered about on all sides can only have belonged to the roof.
Cunningham thinks that the erection of this sun-temple was suggested by the magnificent sunny prospect which its position commands. It overlooks the finest view in Kashmir, and perhaps in the known world. Beneath it lies the paradise of the east, with its sacred streams and glens, it orchards and green fields, surrounded on all sides by vast snowy mountains, whose lofty peaks seem to smile upon the beautiful valley below. The vast extent of the scene makes it sublime; for this magnificent view of Kashmir is no petty peer in a half mile glen, but the full display of a valley 60 miles in breadth and upwards of 100 miles in length, the whole of which lies beneath the "ken of the wonderful Martand."
Narastan. In the east of the valley about 35 miles from Srinagar, via Trahat.
This is one of the most interesting ruins in Kashmir. Its situation is very picturesque, looking down the narrow valley, while behind it the ground slopes up towards the lofty mountains of the Brariangan range. The cella stands in a walled enclosure about 65 feet square. This wall, which is about 5 feet thick and 8 feet high to the top of the coping stone, has in some places fallen to the ground. The main entrance is on the west side, through and imposing portico; the outer portal is arched, the pediment possessing the usual characteristics of the Arian order of architecture. It was supported by two columns about 8 feet high, the width of the entrance between the pillars being about 4.5 feet. The outer vestibule measured about 8 feet by 4; in the middle is a square gateway opening into a second vestibule of rather larger dimensions.
In the middle of each of the other three sides of the wall within the enclosure there is a blank arched recess, and on the north side there is also a small square pastern measuring about 3 feet by 2, and a similar one on the west side seems to have led into a square chamber which occupied the south-west corner of the enclosure; this chamber was lighted by a small arched window. Projecting into the enclosure from the southern wall is a small cell about 5 feet square, with a pyramidal roof.
The cella of the temple which occupies the centre of the enclosure is similar in general appearance to those of Payech and Pandrathan, but more imposing in its proportion and elaborate in its details. Each side measures about 15 feet above the plinth. The porch, which is on the west side, projects rather more than 3 feet from the face of the wall.
In the middle of each of the other three sides is a blank trefoil archway corresponding in proportions to the portal. On either side of the vestibule the figure of a Hindu god is carved in bold relief on the panel contained within a trefoil-arched recess.
The inner entrance is a square gateway about 6.5 feet high by 3.5 feet wide supported by pillars; both this and the middle gateway of the north seem to have been fitted with stone doors. The inside chamber is about 8.5 feet square, the walls are blank with the exception of a small arched recess on the south side of the entrance. The flooring is of stone, which has given way in the centre, where probably the lingam stood. About 8.5 feet from the ground there is a cornice, from which the roof seems to have tapered to a point; the walls
are now standing to a height of about 24 feet, and the pinnacle was probably about 10 feet higher. In each side of the roof was a lancet'.
Pandrathan lies on the Srinagar-Islamabad road, and is easily reached from Srinagar.
The place is remarkable for a very old and interesting Hindu temple, standing in the middle of the tank, about 50 yards from the river bank, surrounded by a grove of willows and chenars. The tank is about 40 yards square, and in ordinary seasons 4 feet deep; it is filled with reeds growing in a bed of soft mud; the water is derived from it small springs on its northern side.
Access to the interior is therefore a matter of some difficulty, which is unfortunate, since the domed roof is well worth inspection, being covered with sculpture of such purely classic design that any uninitiated person who saw a copy of it on paper would at once take it for a sketch from Greek or Roman original.
The temple is 18 feet square, with a projecting portico on each side, and displays in a confused exuberance of decoration, more especially the repetition of pediment within pediment and trefoil within trefoil, clear indications of having been built at a later date than other existing ruins; it is probably the most modern example of the true Kashmir style extant. It was erected during the reign of king Partha, who governed Kashmir from A.D. 921 to 931, by his prime minister, Meru, who dedicated it to Mahadeva under the title of Meru Vardhama Swami.
The ground about it was then occupied by the original city of Srinagar, the modem name of Pandrathan being a corruption of the Sanskrit Puranadhishthana, i. e. "the old capital." Dr. Elmslie, however, supposes the name to be derived from Pandu and Durendun, the father of the Pandus. The seat of government had been transferred to the present site by king Pravarasena II nearly 500 years before the foundation of this temple; but the old city was not entirely deserted until its destruction by fire in the reign of Abhimanyum about the year A.D. 960. The conflagration was so violent that, excepting the temple which was protected by the water about it, no other building escaped. There are in the neighbourhood some few fragmentary remains, consisting of two large lingams, one 6 feet high, erect and entire, the other broken into the pieces, the lower part polygonal, the upper round with conical top, which together made up a height of 16 feet. Near these, which are separated from each other by a short interval, is a huge mass of stone, being the feet and legs as high as the knees of a colossal seated figure, probably a Buddhist image. At some little distance beyond this an isolated crag has been cut, as it stood, into some sculptured form, apparently a Chaumukbi, i. e. a square pillar with a figure on each face. But the rock has been overthrown, broken into three pieces, and so defaced by the action of fire that it is impossible to speak positively as to the original design. Of there fragments, one the base is still attached to and forms part of the natural rock. Baron Hugel calls the Pandrathan edifice a "Buddhist temple," and states that there are some well-preserved Buddhist figures in the interior. But he is doubly mistaken, for the temple was dedicated to Mahadeva, and the figures in the inside have no connection with Buddhism.
Trebeck, Moorcroft's companion, swam into the interior, and could discover no figures of any kind, but as the whole ceiling was formerly hidden by a coating of plaster, his statement was at that time perfectly correct.
The object of erecting the temples in the midst of water was doubtless to place them immediately under the protection of the Nagas or human bodied and snake-tailed gods who were zealously worshipped for ages throughout Kashmir (Moorcroft, Hugel, Vigne, Cunningham, Growse). Dr. Stein in his "Tours Archaeological and Topographical in and about Kashmir" - read before the Royal Asiatic Society, London, November 13.
1894 - speaking of his recent examination of ruins of in Kashmir says. 'In every case where a thorough rat examination of the ruins is still possible, I have found the Naga in a separate, larger or smaller walled basin in front or by the side of the temple irrespective of Pandrathan, which now stands in a en morass, I have come across nowhere a trace of that arrangement, according to which, as has been his frequently assumed, all Kashmirian temples were placed in the middle of tanks."
Patan lies on the Srinagar-Baramula road about the half-way between these places.
It is recorded in the Rajatarangini that Sankaravarma, who succeeded Awantivarma, and reigned from A.D. 883 to 901, in conjunction with his queen. Sugandha, dedicated to Mahadeva. under the title of Sankara Gauresa and Sugandhesvara, two temples at his new capital of Sankarapura. This town is identified with the modern Patan, where beside the highway on the south-east side of the village two stately temples are still standing. Each is a simple cella; but in the larger one, the projection of the closed porches al the sides is so considerable that they form deep niches, or rather shallow chambers, in each of which was once a lingam. In both the architecture is of the same character as at Martand, and of equa] excellence. Here and there the carving is as sharp and fresh as if executed yesterday, but there are many ominous cracks in the walls, and if the forest trees which have taken root in these crevices are allowed to remain and spread, the destruction of both buildings is imminent.
By the wayside to the north of the village, near the hamlet of Gasipur, are two very curious stone pillars which the natives call Gurmat, and believe to have been mortals who for their misdeeds suffered a fate similar to that which befell Lot's wife. These pillars are, however, nothing more than the miniature models of temples which occur here and there throughout the country, but they posses this peculiarity that they are not hollowed out in the interior, the place of the open doorway being occupied by a sculptured panel.
A few letters also remain of an old inscription which Vigne copied and sent to Calcutta, but they were found to be illegible, although bearing some resemblance to Sanskrit (Vigne, Growse)'.
Payech lies about 19 miles from Srinagar, under the Naunagri karewa, about 6 miles from the Jhelum river.
On the south side of this village, situated in a small green space near the bank of the stream, surrounded by a few walnut and willow trees, is an ancient temple, which in intrinsic beauty and elegance of outline is superior to all the existing remains in Kashmir of similar dimensions. Its excellent preservation may probably be explained by its retired situation at the foot of the high tableland, which separates it by an interval of 5 or 6 miles from the bank of the Jhelum, and by the marvelous solidity of its construction. The cella, which is 8 feet square, and has an open doorway on each of the four sides is composed of only ten
stones, the four corners being each a single stone, the sculptured tympanums over the doorways four others, while two more compose the pyramid roof, the lower of these being an enormous mass 8 feet square by 4 feet in height. It has been ascribed by General Cunningham, on grounds which in the absence of any positive authority either way may be taken as adequate, to king Narendraditya, who reigned from A.D. 483 to 490. The sculptures over the doorways are coarsely executed in comparison with the artistic finish of the purely architectural details, and are much defaced, but apparently represent Brahma, Vishnu, Siva and the goddess Durga. The building is said to be dedicated to Vishnu as Surya or the sun-god.
Inside the cupola is radiated so as to represent the sun, and at each corner of the square the space intervening between the angle and the line of the circle is filled up with a gin or attendant, who seems to be sporting at the edge of its rays. It will be observed that the roof has been partly displaced, which is said to have been the result of an attempt made by the Patans to take it down and remove it to the city.
The interior is still occupied by a large stone lingam, and from the water-drain and the bulls carved on the smaller pilasters of the doorways it is evident that this was the original intention (Vigne, Growse).
Takht-i-Suliman. The temple crowning the Takht-i-Suliman is stated to be the earliest of all the temples in Kashmir. Baron Hugel records that its erection is ascribed to Gopiditya of the Gonerdya dynasty, 370 B. C., but later authorities seem to agree that the first religious edifice on this commanding site was built by Jaloka. the son of the great Buddhist convert Asoka, about 20 B.C. In all probability there is not a fragment of this now remaining. The temple was subsequently rebuilt and dedicated to Jyeshtesvara, a title of Mahadeva, by Raja Gopiditya, who reigned from A. D. 253 to 328. To this date may be ascribed the low enclosing wall and the plinth of the existing temple, but all the superstructure is evidently modem or greatly modernized. Its summit has been damaged, but its general figure has been that of a cone, with four sides formed by the rectangular adjustment of eight gable-shaped slabs of masonry, the surface of the outer slab being much less than that of the inner one. The cone, which is about 25 feet in height with proportionate base, rests upon an octagonal raised platform, whose wall is about 10 or 12 feet above the rock on which it is built, and whose circumference may be about 100 feet. A handsome flight of steps, formed, as the whole building is, of limestone, leads from the ground to the door of the temple. At a little distance below the latter building, which rises on the very summit of the Takht, are some ruins that indicate the existence of another edifice of the same material.
the interior is circular, and 14 feet in diameter; the roof is flat and 11 feet high; the walls, which are 8 feet thick, are covered with white plaster composed of gypsum, and the roof is supported by four octagonal limestone pillars. In the centre of the floor there is a quadrangular stone platform; it supports a lingam of black stone, around which is carved a coiled serpent. Upon the hinder of the two pillars on the left there are two Persian inscriptions; that upon the front of it states that the but or idol was made by Haji Hushti, a Soukar, in the year 54 of the Samvat or Hindu era, or about 1,870 years, ago, while that at the foot of the back part of the same pillar states that "he who raised up this idol was Kwaja Rukm, son or Mir Jan, in the year….. "
The remainder of the inscription is below the pavement, and cannot be made out.' Fergusson is convinced that the temple as it now stands was commenced by some nameless Hindus in honour of Siva, during the tolerant reign of Jehangir, and that the building was stopped at the date engraved on the staircase, A.H. 1069 (A.D. 1659), the first year of the reign of the bigot Aurungzeb.
Wangat. About three miles north of Wangat, at the head of the glen, far from all human habitations, are some ruined temples. They are situated high up on the precipitous mountain side, in the midst of dense jungle and towering pinetrees, which lend a more than religious gloom to their crumbling walls.
In antiquity these ruins are supposed to rank next after those on the Takht-i-Suliman, at Bhumju and at Payech. They are in two groups, situated at a distance of a hundred yards from each other, and consisting respectively of six and eleven distinct buildings. The luxuriant forest growth has overthrown and buried almost completely several of the smaller temples; on the summit of the largest a tall pine has taken root and rises straight from the centre, in rivalry of the original finial. The architecture is of a slightly more advanced type than at Payech, the most striking feature being the bold projection and lofty trefoiled arches of the lateral porches.
In close proximity is a sacred spring called Nagbal, and by it the footpath leads up the height of Haramak to the mountain-lake of Gangabal, a celebrated place of pilgrimage. A great festival held annually about August 20, which is attended by thousands of Hindus from all parts of Kashmir. By this footpath the Tilail valley may also be reached.
It is probable that the Wangat temples were erected at different times by returning pilgrims as votive offerings after successful accomplishment of the hazardous ascent.'