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Kashmir. Ruins of a temple at Norwah

Kashmir. Ruins of a temple at Norwah

Photographer: Burke, John

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1868

Shelfmark: Photo 981/1(35)

Item number: 35

Length: 19.9

Width: 14.9

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Photograph

Photograph of a temple at Norwah in Jammu and Kashmir, taken by John Burke in 1868. This view of a partly buried archway, with measuring scales placed horizontally and vertically, is reproduced in Henry Hardy Cole's Archaeological Survey of India report, 'Illustrations of Ancient Buildings in Kashmir,' (1869), in which he wrote, 'The temple is circular in the interior and square externally, it is about 14 feet underground and should be excavated. Only the north face is standing.' Kashmir is dotted with the remnants of temples from its pre-Islamic history prior to the 14th century, many of which were deserted or sacked by the early 15th century. Sheltered on one side of the Pir Panjal range, and near the crossroads of Asia, Kashmir received influences from Buddhist, Gandharan and Bactrian culture and developed its own distinct style of architecture which coalesced in its medieval period of temple building. The temples, mainly dedicated to Shiva or Vishnu, usually feature rectangular courtyards defined by colonnaded cells and an elevated shrine in the centre facing a monumental gateway. The typical temple is made of great blocks of stone constructed in square or rectangular shapes of impressive strength and simplicity, with pent roofs, entrances framed with pyramidal pediments and trefoil arches. Even when ruined they show how their builders successfully matched their solid forms to their mountainous environment.

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