Its totally surprising when we see Jammu and Kashmir nowadays where the culture chiefly reflects the Tibetan style mixed with Middle Eastern tendencies. But that place was different before the cultural invasions in the 12th century. The great Temple of Avantishwara and its ruins now stand as startling evidence of an ancient a culture that consisted of supreme knowledge and literature, prospered with huge glory.

King Avantivarman, who established the Utpala Dynasty, constructed this magnificent Shiva Temple, which is also called the Viswasara (Essence Of The Universe) when it was built during 9th century CE. The King built many temples in that region including many schools of ancient wisdom that taught Advaita and Sanskrit extensively, stood as an epicenter of wisdom after Taxasila. These ancient temples in Kashmir look strikingly unique than other temples in Kashmir as well as India.

As the region prospered under the reign of King Avantivarman, Kashmir saw a huge rise in larger stone architecture. Apart from this temple in Awantipora of Pulwama District, he also built another big Temple called Avantiswami Temple for Vishnu, which is a bit smaller in size, but with a similar plan as the sun temple at Marthand. There are still many surviving reliefs at the temple of Avantishwara which are a delight to behold, for they’re carved right on the stone marooned walls.

-Viswanath Venkat Dasari