J&K govt initiates restoration of Martand Sun temple in Anantnag, India’s oldest Sun Temple

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Martand Surya Temple. Dedicated to the Sun God, this majestic shrine was constructed between 7th and 8th century. It now lies in ruins. Martand Surya Temple is at a distance of 7 kms from Anantnag. (Photo: News Intervention)
Martand Surya Temple. Dedicated to the Sun God, this majestic shrine was constructed between 7th and 8th century. It now lies in ruins. Martand Surya Temple is at a distance of 7 kms from Anantnag. (Photo: News Intervention)

Acting on a much needed demand in direction of cultural sites’ restoration, the central government has released an official notice announcing a high level meeting on April 1, 2024 regarding the preservation of 8th-century Martand Sun Temple in Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag district. After centuries of being in ruins, the temple is set to undergo conservation efforts aimed at rejuvenating it for devotees and visitors alike.

A high-level meeting of government officials, scheduled to convene on Monday, will play a pivotal role in determining the fate of the temple’s protection and restoration. Among the agenda items is the discussion on the installation of a statue honoring Emperor Lalitaditya Muktapida within the temple premises.

Subsequently, the official notice issued by the Jammu and Kashmir government highlights the gravity of the matter, emphasizing the need to safeguard and conserve the ancient temples in Kashmir, with a special focus on the Martand Sun Temple. The meeting, to be presided over by the Principal Secretary to the Government, Department of Culture, underscores the government’s commitment to preserving the region’s rich cultural and spiritual legacy.

History of Martand Temple

The Martand Sun Temple, erected during the reign of King Lalitaditya Muktapada in the 8th century, holds immense historical and religious significance. Being the oldest Sun temple in India, it serves as a testament to the enduring spiritual heritage of the region. Despite its glorious past, the temple fell into disrepair after being destroyed on the orders of Sultan Sikandar Shah Miri centuries ago.

Apparently, recent initiatives, including the installation of a ‘Kalash’ from Ayodhya at the Ram Temple within the premises of the Martand Sun Temple, underscore the renewed efforts to revitalize the sacred site. The involvement of local communities and devotees from across the country reflects a collective commitment to honoring and preserving India’s cultural heritage.

With due consideration, the forthcoming high-level meeting follows the visit of Jammu and Kashmir lieutenant governor Manoj Sinha to the Martand Sun Temple, where he offered prayers as well as participated in the Mahayagya organized by the Shri Martand Tirath Trust. His visit reaffirmed the government’s dedication to restoring the temple to its former glory and ensuring its significance endures for generations to come.

So, with stakeholders gathering to deliberate on the future of the Martand Sun Temple, anticipation mounts for a decision that could herald a new chapter in the preservation of India’s ancient architectural marvels.

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