Modern Indian History-Events and Personalities

Places in news: Martand Sun Temple


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Martand Sun Temple

Mains level: Not Much

After Prayers held at the ruins of the eighth-century Martand Sun Temple in Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag is deemed to be a violation of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) rules.

About Martand Sun Temple

  • The Martand Sun Temple is a Hindu temple located near the city of Anantnag in the Kashmir Valley.
  • It dates back to the eighth century AD and was dedicated to Surya, the chief solar deity.
  • The temple was destroyed by Sikandar Shah Miri in a bid to undertake mass conversion and execution of Hindus in the valley.
  • According to Kalhana, the Temple was commissioned by Lalitaditya Muktapida in the eighth century AD.
  • The temple is built on top of a plateau from where one can view whole of the Kashmir Valley.
  • From the ruins the visible architecture seems to be blended with the Gandharan, Gupta and Chinese forms of architecture.

Why in news now?

  • According to ASI, prayers are allowed at its protected sites only if they were “functioning places of worship” at the time it took charge of them.
  • No religious rituals can be conducted at non-living monuments where there has been no continuity of worship when it became an ASI-protected site.

What are the living/non-living monument?

  • If some activity, like any kind of worship, has been going on for years in the structure, then it is taken over as a living monument.
  • But where no activity has taken place, say an abandoned building, then it is declared a dead monument.
  • The latter is difficult to restore because it is generally covered by a lot of overgrowths.
  • The best-known example of a living ASI monument is the Taj Mahal in Agra, where namaz is held every Friday.


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