Kashmir. Temple of Jyeshteswara [Shankaracharya], on the Takht-i-Suliman Hill, near Srinagar. Probable date 220 B.C. 1
Photographer: Burke, John
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the Shankaracharya Temple on the summit of Takht-i-Suleiman (Throne of Solomon), near Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir, taken by John Burke in 1868. This view was reproduced in Henry Hardy Cole's Archaeological Survey of India report, 'Illustrations of Ancient Buildings in Kashmir,' (1869), in which he wrote, 'The Takt-i-Suliman Hill overlooks Srinagar, the capital of Kashmir; standing one thousand feet above the plain, it commands a noble view of the Valley and its surrounding ridges of snow-topped peaks...The Temple of Jyeshteswara rests on the solid rock, and consists of an octagonal stone basement twenty feet high, on which is supported a square building: on each of the four sides are two projections which terminate in a pediment and a gable, the latter intersecting the main roof half-way up its slope. The terrace surrounding the Temple is reached by a stone staircase encased between two walls, and a doorway , exactly opposite, leads to the interior, which is a small and dark chamber, circular in plan. The ceiling is supported by four octagonal columns, which surround a Basin containing a Lingam encircled by a snake.' Commanding a panoramic view of the city of Srinagar and Dal Lake, this temple with its square plan, recessed sides and circular inner sanctum is one of the earliest Hindu shrines remaining in Kashmir, dedicated to Shiva, but as yet not firmly dated. It is possibly a 7th century temple which replaced an earlier Buddhist monument of the third century BC which local tradition believes was founded by Ashoka's son Jhaloka. It is popularly called Shankaracharya after the 9th century Hindu philosopher-sage who visited Kashmir and is associated with it.