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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Ruins of ancient Narastan temple with a foliated arch entrance ,Avantipora(J&K)

Dated: ~5th century CE or older
An interesting feature of the Narastan Temple is, it has no ceiling. The courtyard measures 70 feet square. From the outer wall, there is a small side entrance near the southwestern side. This circular shaped temple is wholly constructed with stones in Gandhara style of architecture. The temple is on a single base consisting of only four courses of stones. At the top of the pediment, there is a figure that resembles a Garuda, the king of birds, sacred vehicle to Lord Vishnu, who is half man and half eagle with the power to acquire any shape. The main draw of the temple is the trefoil arches on the peripheral of the shrine walls. Another remarkable feature is the absence of any circumambulatory path on top of the base. From the courtyard, a flight of four steps leads to the shrine of Narastan. There is a stream of water that gushes down near the front of the temple3. The main temple, except the roof, if very well preserved. The important features of the temple are:
The temple, built on a single base made of only four courses of stones, is in a courtyard.
The courtyard measures 70 feet square. It is surrounded by a wall, which is unornamented except for a plain-filleted stringcourse, at about 2 feet from the ground, a predimental trefoiled niche in the West wall and a recess 3 feet square.
The temple cell measures 8 feet 6 inches internally and contained a Shiv Linga.
The temple is at the centre of 5 feet thick and 8 feet high walled enclosure, parts of which are in ruins.
The temple has an entrance, 4.5 feet wide, inner and middle gateways, designed stone doors, a portico and outer portal supporting columns (8 feet high). It has also a chamber measuring 8.5 feet square, two vestibules (outer one 8 feet by 4 feet and the second one of larger dimensions), the flooring, blank arched recess on the walls and a small cell projecting into the enclosure.
Photo credit: Chander Bhat