Temple architecture

Temple-like structures dating back to around 11th century have been left to perish – Jammu and Kashmir latest news | Tourism

The heritage buildings of Purmandal are waiting to be explored

Nishikant Khajuria

JAMMU, 13th April: Centuries old temple like structures and monuments in one of the most revered pilgrimage sites in Jammu and Kashmir – Purmandal, have been found abandoned to perish as neither the government authorities nor the inhabitants do not seem sensitive to these heritage buildings.
Attached to each other, these structures are in ruins and seem to have been abandoned for an unknown period. While most of these structures have collapsed or nearly been demolished by locals to raise Pucca houses, a few still exist in a derelict state.
Since local villagers are unaware of the type of these monuments as well as the period of their existence, the architecture of the extant temples like the structures and materials used in their construction suggest that these monuments may have been built around the 11th century.
Ironically, the Archeology Survey of India (ASI) along with other state agencies are so far unaware of the existence of such historical monuments at Purmandal, which is visited by thousands of devotees and developed under various government programs.
Situated on the banks of the Devika River in the hills about 30 kilometers southeast of Winter Capital Jammu and about 25 kilometers northwest of the district headquarters of Samba, Purmandal is popularly known as Chhota Kashi and is home to a number of historic temples dedicated to Hindu gods and goddesses.
While these temples are built on the western bank of the Devika River and visited by devotees, people ignore these unexplored heritage buildings located on the other side of the river bank.
Made of carved stones without the use of Chuna, the architecture of these temple-like structures indicates that they were built around the 11th century. The interior of these temples and their curved top are also unique and suggest that these structures were built around 1000 years ago. These are square at the base and the walls curve inwards to a point on top.
While most of these age-old heritage structures have perished or been demolished by locals for the construction of pucca houses, four of these temples, located next to each other a few meters apart, are still to some extent in their original form.
Even though these abandoned temples were found empty with no idols inside, the outer walls of these structures have ornaments and carvings of Hindu deities. A small sculpture of Lord Hanuman was found near the platform of one of these temples and another temple has an idol of Lord Ganesha carved at its entrance.
However, most of the other temple-like structures almost perished apparently due to the lack of awareness among the inhabitants of their centuries-old heritage. The Excelsior team noticed that some chiselled ornamental stones from these monuments eat dust on the streets of Purmandal and are used in ordinary protection works.
The Purmandal temple complexes are said to have been built around 2,500 years ago, while additional structures were built during the reigns of Maharaja Gulab Singh and Ranbir Singh in the 19th century. There are indications that these ruined structures were the original temple complexes of Purmandal, which were later abandoned probably following the invasions of Timur and others.
Additionally, there are some large ‘Havelis’ (mansions) and several ‘Dharamshalas’ (rest houses for pilgrims) from the early 19th century, which are badly deteriorated. Many of these structures are adorned with murals dating from between 1813 and 1898. The royal cultural imprints are still clearly visible here, but no importance is given to the protection and conservation of these monuments and buildings. Initiatives need to be taken at the government level for the conservation of these historical structures and the heritage of Jammu.

Previous post8 vacant ED, CE and 11 SE positions; 15 divisions, 103 headless sub-divisions
Next postACB arrests 2 JE, Insp of KPDCL for corruption

The main daily newspaper in Jammu and Kashmir, India