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.