Avantiswami Temple, legacy of Kashmir
Updated: Jul 22, 2021
For a well travelled person Persepolis (Iran), Temple of Delphi(Greece) and Colosseum (Italy) must be part of bucket list. Avanti Swami temple might be unheard of yet nonetheless its marvel to experience. Let's take a tour of it with us!
Great kings came they conquered vast lands and became the part of the soil. Stories of their battles and riches also flows down the river. What remains are stories in the folklore and the work done by the artists commissioned by them. Our ancestors were well aware about that and definitely they had wonderful taste in art and architecture. That's why wherever you go monuments will be there even in the smallest village or in deep forest.
Even in their ruined condition the glory of the past cannot be hidden. What we need is just a little bit of imagination and guesswork. After travelling length and breadth of the country we are familiar about how difficult it is to create a world class masterpiece? Bharat, the land of marvellous art work is never short of it .
Now we will explore Avanti swamy Temple of Avantipora town in Kashmir. When one talks about Kashmir that is endowed with natural resources; human development in art, architecture, music and poetry is also second to none. Unfortunately the beauty of the state has been the reason for waves of invasions. Let's discuss this some other time. The temple architecture and sculpture of Kashmir are often overlooked subject in any tourist's or traveler's itinerary. The typical travel operators also ignore and even if you try to visit the places local drivers will be reluctant. We have faced similar situation in the past.
The visit to any city or tourist place is not complete without visiting local ancient architecture, art museums, galleries and villages. One can find the true flavour of the local culture over there. The massive development in the tourism sector has reduced the authenticity of most the hill stations.
Temples like Sugandhesa, Naranag, Martand Sun temple etc... were once at their height of glory. Scholars from Central Asia, Iran, Afghanistan were thronging to Kashmir in those times.
Awantipora in today's Kashmir is a place to find this beautiful temple. It is also the testimony of such period when King Avantiverman ; a peace loving king built this marvel dedicated to the Lord Vishnu. He is the founder of Utpala dynasty. One noticeable thing you will see whenever you visit any ancient temple is that waterbody is a crucial part of any temple. It must be within the premises or closer to it. it can be a Pushkarni, well, pond , lake or a river. This is close to the river Jhelum. Whomsoever visit any temple they will need water to drink, cook and also purify them. That's why waterbody was also a part of sacred architecture.
A grand temple not only tells us about the architectural feat but indirectly shows the stability of the kingdom without that massive projects cannot be carried out. The patronage to art is only done by Kings or Queens who have refined taste and looks for the welfare of the citizens they rule. King Avintiverman is also no exception to that. A visionary whose story might not be part of the textbooks but is engraved into the stones.
The temple style is identical to the Martand temple which is unique to Kashmir region. The whole area is vast. Even the fallen pillars looks gigantic. Let's hope someday the glory will be restored. As of now ASI is taking care of this complex. The temple is built around 9th century.
Eventually everything is going to be engulfed by the almighty time. The memory of art is long until humans will be there on the surface of the earth. Stories will be still there of the artists and the kings who promoted their skills devoting the powers of the nature in the form of GOD. You will discover lot of information about this temple online but listening to it on the same spot from the local guide will be much more interesting!
When you visit Kashmir make sure you visit these ruins to know the rich past of this beautiful land. People however troubled; still they are warm and hospitable. They have love for the land and always ready to show us the best of it. How many times we went to Kashmir still heart yearns to visit it again.
How to go ?
Srinagar - Awantipora : 32 kms
Pahalgam - Awantipora : 57 kms
It's an ASI protected monument. You will find local guides on location. If you hire anyone they can share stories behind the temple. This temple complex is a different style of temple compared to any other in the plains and in the souther part of the nation. To know more about the temple and architectural style one must visit the museum in Srinagar. It is full of beautiful paintings, sculptures and many more ancient as well contemporary art work. The visit to the museum after visiting the temple will be totally worth it.
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