Monday, February 04, 2008

Ancient Hindu Temple at पन्द्रेथान Kashmir

The gentle slopes of the spur of serpentine Zebarwan mountain range in Srinagar abound with natural beauty on the eastern and western side of ancient Pandrethan temple। The River Jhelum flows on the southern and western sides of the site. A smiling verdant valley picturesquely relieved with meandering rivers and brooks, gushing springs, calm Dal and Nagina Lakes. The entire panorama vibrating beauty and genial loveliness. The Kashmir valley is a paradise for tourist from all over the world not for its enchanting gifts bestowed by nature to eyes, affording works of man completing beauty in its fine handicrafts and edifices in various medium continuing the age old tradition to modern times.The Temple of Pandrethan is presently located in the Badami Bagh(Army) cantonment area, 5km to South West of Srinagar within the srinagar Municipility Limits. The name of city is derived from the ancient appellation Purana- Adhistana or old capital, Srinagari. Pandrethan, which was once ancient capital of Srinagari and which was made by the great Mauryan Emperor Asoka in 3rd century BC. The selection for the capital city was considered because of the following reasons which are devastating floods which generaly cause damage to life and property in the valley by the life giving river the Jhelum. During the 9th century AD king Avantivarman, under professional guidance of his able engineer Suyya devised means for better drainage and water management of the river by regulating the course of Vitasta or Jhelum River to minimize the damage. According to Rajatarangini, there was no Buddhist establishment at Srinagar by Buddhist King। His son Jaluka has been credited with the installation of Jyestharudra or Siva Temple in the capital. Another temple dedicated to Siva was built by Mihira- Kula, the Hun dynasty King during early 6th century AD. According to the chronicles Pandrathan witnessed considerable building activity till the fourth quarter of the 6th century AD. Then the capital was transferred to present site of Srinagar city under the King Parvarasena-II. It is clear from the archaeological evidences that the present site of Pandrethan in ancient days had been hub of Brahamanical, Buddhist and Secular buildings. The only visible monument at present is a temple of modest dimension. The process of destruction and desecration began during the reign of Sultan Sikander in the last quarter of 14th century AD, who had been given title of Butshikan or idol breaker by virtue of his breaking the images and demolishing the Hindu temples. The destruction of the temples was followed by the denudation of the site. The human vandalism added fuel to the fire since Pandrethan might have become a favorite quarry for building material, particularly the lime stone slabs. These operations continued for centuries till recent times. Whatever remaining structural remains lay buried at Pandrethan have been swept away by the building activities of the British authorities to establish the military cantonment in the area. Unfortunately, before the site could be taken for scientific archaeological excavation in 1913, it came under the possession of British Military authorities and continued as Indian Army cantonment till date.

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