Unique eighth century Hindu temple restored in Kashmir

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Manasbal, Kashmir, Nov 18 (UNI) A unique eighth century submerged stone temple with pyramid-shaped roof top, which had got half buried under earth over a period of time, has been restored by the tourism authorities in a central Kashmir village.

The ancient Hindu temple, situated near the Manasbal Lake in Ganderbal district about 32 km from Srinagar, was discovered recently by the tourism authorities.

The credit for restoration of the temple goes to Wullar-Manasbal Development Authority Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Nazir Ahmed Mir.

After assuming the charge on July 16 last year, Mr Mir worked tirelessly for the restoration of the ancient temple and beautification of Manasbal and Wullar tourist places.

The temple, which stands on the eastern shore of the Manasbal Lake below a fine cataract formed by the Amravati stream, was built in the traditional architectural style of ancient Kashmir.

Crowned with the unique pyramid-shaped roof top and having Corinthian or floral motifs, the temple had been constructed in local grey stone, probably during the reign of Awantivarman or Sankaravarman between eighth and ninth centuries as could be interpreted from both writings and the architectural style.

Resembling the temple at Awantipora in south Kashmir, this ancient place of worship could still be seen partially submerged in water which keeps percolating from below non-stop because of several springs underneath.

''The lower half of this ancient temple was buried under earth till we took up the restoration work last year,'' said Mr Mir.

He said the rising water flow from the underneath springs hampered the restoration work. ''But, we were determined to go ahead with the restoration work and sought expert opinion to ensure that its architecture is not disturbed,'' Mr Mir added.

The CEO said the place has become a new attraction for pilgrims visiting the holy cave shrine of Amarnath and the Kheer Bhawani temple at Tulmulla in Ganderbal district, which is located just five km from Manasbal.

Some of the locals had an opportunity to go inside the temple and see the carvings and the sculptures inside the dome.

Javed Ahmed, a local, said about 5-6 people could go inside the temple at a time. The inside part is about 6-7 ft in width.

He said a snake visits the temple every Friday. ''I have seen the snake and so have many others. The snake comes to the temple every Friday at around 8.30 a.m. We tried to capture the picture of the snake in our cameras on many occasions. But, you won't believe while the picture of the surroundings comes out quite clearly, that of the snake is missing. We have given up now,'' Javed added.

UNI

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