Martand Sun temple, Jammu and Kashmir, India – Ode to the Sun God

Location: About 5 miles from Anantnag in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Main Deity: This temple is dedicated to Surya Dev or the Sun God. In Sanskrit, Martand means the sun. Interestingly, the word sun has various terms in both Hindi as well as Sanskrit. Some of the popular words are – Aditya, Bhaskar, Ravi, Suraj, Dinkar , Surya etc.

Apart from the Sun God, this temple has shrines for Shree Ram, Lord Shiva and Shree Ganesh, Shree  Vishnu, and goddesses – Ganga and Yamuna.

History:- Locally, this place is known as Martand or Mattan. It is also a place for the descendants of Pandavas and Kauravas. Sadly, nowadays it is one of the very few hindu temples in the vicinity. It is now a part of the centrally protected monuments by the Archeological Society of India.

Architecture: This temple was built in the 8 century CE during the reign of the Karkota dynasty. It was built by the King Lalitaditya Muktapada. The highlight of this temple is its architectural details at a time where there were no modern engineering tools. Although most of the temple is now considered a ruin, its past glory and grandeur can be easily noticed.
The temple is built atop a hill, and from this place one can see the entire Valley.
The courtyard is around 200 feet long and 150 feet wide. The main shrine is at the center
The beauty of the Kashmir valley is well known. This temple is also surrounded with a beautiful clear water lake. A beautiful garden around the temple is maintained by the government authorities.
On the walls of the temple, there are ancient carvings of various gods and ancient language carved on the walls of the temple. The construction of this temple is very similar to the temples Avantiswamin and Avantipura.

Specialties:- Generations of Kashmiri hindus have worshiped the Sun God at this altar.
Although the temple is almost abandoned, one can still contact the priest for Surya Puja.
This temple is the heart of the ancient civilization in kashmir.
Some people believe that this is the third Sun temple to be built after the Konark temple and the temple at Modhera in Gujarat.

Sun worship has always been one of the major parts of Hindu prayer rituals. A devout person will often begin his day by looking east and saying the following Shloka –

Om Jawakusuman, Shankashan, kashyapyang, Mahadituim

Dhantaring sarvapapoghna pranatahashmi divakaram”
which means “O lord Surya, the destroyer of all evils and sins; I bow my head to thee”

Surya namaskars or Sun salutations are a Yogic exercise for a full body workout.

Depictions in popular media:- This temple has always attracted filming for movies. A couple examples are below.
1. The shooting of Tere bina jindagise shikwa from movie Aandhi.
2. The famous song Bismil in the recent movie Haider.

Address:-Suriya Mandir Rd, Anantnag, Jammu and Kashmir 192125

Timings:-6.00 AM – 7.00 PM

How to Reach:-
By Road – This temple is about 1 hour drive from pahalgham (around 40 kilometers) and 60 km from Srinagar. One has to take a 3km uphill drive from Ranvipura Village.
By Air – Nearest airport is Srinagar airport or Satwari airport at Jammu
By Rail – Udhampur, Pahalgam and Ram Nagar are the nearby rail heads.

Nearby Place to Visit:-
Kheer Bhawani temple
Mughal Gardens
Pahalgam Golf Course
Betaab Valley

Image Courtesy:- Google Images

Location: Suriya Mandir Rd, Ranbir Pora 192125

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