Kashmir. Temple of Marttand or the Sun. Niche in the interior - female figure probably representing one of the Sun's wives, 'the Moon in conjunction,' 'Intellect,' or 'Brightness.'
Photographer: Burke, John
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of a sculpture of a female deity in a niche at the Surya Temple at Martand in Jammu and Kashmir, taken by John Burke in 1868. This photograph was reproduced in Henry Hardy Cole's Archaeological Survey of India Report 'Illustrations of Ancient Buildings in Kashmir.' (1869), in which Cole wrote, ' The most impressive and the grandest ruins in Kashmir, are at Marttand, which is about three miles east of Islamabad...' Situated on a high plateau and commanding superb views over the Kashmir valley, the ruined temple, dedicated to the sun god (Surya), is considered a masterpiece of early temple architecture in Kashmir. It was built by Lalitaditya Muktapida (ruled c.724-c.760) of the Karkota dynasty, one of the greatest of Kashmir's rulers, under whom both Buddhism and Hinduism flourished. The main shrine consists of a portico, an entrance hall and a sanctum, with a monumental doorway before the sanctum and two small shrines flanking the portico. It is richly decorated with niches and carvings representing various deities of the Hindu pantheon. It stands at one end of a large rectangular colonnaded court entered by a central gate in its western side.