Photograph of excavated columns from the peristyle of the ruined temple of Avantiswami, at Avantipur in Jammu and Kashmir, taken by John Burke in 1868. This photograph is reproduced in Henry Hardy Cole's Archaeological Survey of India report, 'Illustrations of Ancient Buildings in Kashmir.' (1869), in which he stated, 'The present village of Avantipore is about 18 miles from Srinagar, and on the right bank of the Jhelum...now but a mere hamlet...Scarcely anything remains except the foundations and outlines of the colonnades of two temples...we know that the smaller one of Avantiswami was not only covered throughout with sculptures, but surrounded also by a handsome colonnade, in which great variety and beauty of ornamental detail was displayed...The amount of elaboration in the decoration, must have been great, as in addition to those parts of the colonnade which have been excavated, and which enabled a restoration to be made of the peristyle, a great quantity of stonework is strewn all over the pile of ruins, which now occupy the site of the central temple.' The fertile valley of Kashmir offered a retreat from the crossroads of Asia in the high Himalayas, and developed its own distinctive architecture. Buddhism, Vaishnavism and Shaivism were all popular in Kashmir which eventually became a centre of the Shaiva religion and philosophy and a seat of Sanskrit learning and literature. By the 14th century Kashmir came under Islamic rule. Most of its temples were deserted or sacked in the early 15th century. Avantipur was established by Avantivarman (ruled 855-83), the founder of Kashmir's Utpala dynasty. Two temples here are attributed to him, the Avantiswami Temple dedicated to Vishnu and the Avantishwara Temple dedicated to Shiva. The Avantiswami is smaller in size but similar in plan to the earlier sun temple at Martand.