Martand Sun temple | 10 May 2022

For Prelims: Site of National Importance, Karkota Dynasty.

For Mains: Lalitaditya Muktapida, Martand Sun Temple.

    Why in News?

    The Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor participated in a religious ceremony held in the ruins of the 8th century Martand Sun temple, a protected monument under the Archaeological Survey of India. This temple has been recognised as a “Site of national importance”.

    What is the Martand Sun Temple?

    • The Martand Sun Temple also known as Pandou Laidan is a Hindu temple dedicated to Surya (the chief solar deity in Hinduism) and built during the 8th century CE. Martand is another Sanskrit synonym for Surya.
    • It was built by the third ruler of the Karkota Dynasty, Lalitaditya Muktapida.
    • It is now in ruins, as it was destroyed by the orders of Muslim ruler Sikandar Shah Miri.
    • The temple is located five miles from Anantnag in the Indian union territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
    • From the ruins and related archaeological findings, it can be said it was an excellent specimen of Kashmiri architecture, which had blended the Gandharan, Gupta and Chinese forms of architecture.
    • The temple appears in the list of centrally protected monuments as Kartanda (Sun Temple).

    Who was Lalitaditya Muktapida?

    • Lalitaditya was born in the year of 699 AD as the third son of Durlabhak-Pratapaditya of kashmir.
    • He was from the Nagvanshi Karkota Kayastha Dynasty of Kashmir.
      • Karkota Kayastha families were mainly serving in the army of the kings of Kashmir since decades. They were known for their remarkable courage in the battlefield.
      • The Kings of Kashmir had given them the title Sakhasena for their immense contribution.
    • Lalitaditya’s birth name was Muktapida and his older brothers were Chandrapida and Tarapida.
    • Muktapida took over the Kingdom of Kashmir in the year 724 AD. 
    • It was the same time, when the western invasion had begun in India and the Arabs had already occupied the province of swat, multan, peshawar and the Kingdom of Sindh.
    • The Arab king Mohammad Bin Qasim, the Arab ruler was already threatening to occupy Kashmir and central India.
    • He fought the daradas, kabhojas and bhuttas of ladakh who were under Tibetan rule.
    • Lalitaditya himself led the army into the war defeating all Kings and established control over the regions of Ladakh.
    • The alliance between Lalitaditya and Yashovarman defeated the Arabs from entering Kashmir.
    • He later invaded Turkestan via Kabul. Lalitaditya acquired most of the places in the west and south of India starting from Rashtrakutas in Maharashtra, Pallavas and Kalinga in the southern part.
    • He also extended his kingdom to central China after defeating the Chinese. After which he was compared with Alexander the great.
    • The Kashmir Kingdom gained enormous wealth and Lalitaditya utilized the wealth to build massive infrastructure in Kashmir, construction of temples were taken up and Kashmir saw extensive development under Lalitaditya.
    • Lalitaditya was a very liberal King, though he was a strong follower of Hindu tradition, he respected all religions. He is said to be a very compassionate ruler who responded to people’s voices.
    • In the year 760 AD, the Lalitaditya era came to an end by his sudden death.

    What are the Key Points of the Karkota Dynasty?

    • The Karkota dynasty established their power in Kashmir (early 7th century) and it emerged as a power in central Asia and northern India.
    • Durlabh Vardhana was the founder of the Karkota dynasty.
    • The Karkota rulers were Hindus and built spectacular Hindu temples at Parihaspur (capital).
    • They also patronised Buddhism as some stupas, chaityas and viharas have been found in the ruins of their capital.

    Source: TH