Saturday, September 15, 2012

Ruins of Naran Nag

Man Mohan Munshi Ji is back after a month and a half  long tour of Kashmir Valley visiting remote inaccessible glens, valleys, mountain tops and holy places. He will be sharing his photographs from the tour here at this blog. First in this series is his photographs of Naran Nag. About the place he says:

A number of ruins of ancient temples exist at Narang Nag near Wangat locted by the side of Kankahini (Krenk Nadi) above the township of Kangan in Sind valley. It is believed that these temples were built by well to do Pilgrims as a thanks giving for successful yatra of Haramukh above Utrasaras (Gangabal).








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To these photographs I am adding a note on Naran Nag temple complex by Pandit Anand Koul from his book 'Archaeological Remains In Kashmir' (1935) . [You can read the complete book here]:



"Five miles to the east of Vangat (Vasishtbashrama) higer up in the Sindh Valley, there are some ruined temples near the spring called Naran Nag, at the foot of the Bhutsher or Bhuteshvara spur of the Haramukuta peaks. They are in two groups, situated at a distance of about 100 yards from each other.

The locality of these temple nearer Vangat is known by the name of Rajdhani, or metropolis. This group consists of six buildings, all more or lss ruined, and the remains of an enclosing wall, measuring 176 feet by 130 feet, may still be traced, although there is no evidence of the form it originally had. The largest temple of the group measures 24 feet square and has a projection on each of its four sides, measuring 3 feet by 15 1/2 feet 6 in. The main blovk is surmounted by a pyramidal roof of rubble formerly, no doubt, faced with stone; and the gables which terminated the porch-like projections on all four sides, can still be traced. Ther are two entrances facing east and west. Not far from the group is a platform, rectangular in shape, (100 feet by 67 feet) which appears to have been the basement of some building or temple. A colonnade once existed all round it - numerous bases of pillars are to be seen in their places on one of the longer sides of the rectangle, and several fragments of fluted columns are lying about, their average diameter being two feet.

 About 20 yards to the north-east of the platform are the ruins of the second group of temples, eleven in number, with the remains of a gateway in the centre about 22 feer wide, similar to that belonging to the first group. The principal one among them is 25 feet square with projections on each face.

 A mass of stone measuring 22 feet by 7 feet shaped into a tank for water, exists on the south face of the principal temples.

 The whole group is encircled by the remains of a rectangular wall of which the foundation can be traced, together with several bases of pillars; and at the N.W. corner is a large tank of stone, full of cold and clear water. The dome of the chief temple is of rubble masonry, but all the other parts of the building are of sculptured stones.

 The chief peculiarities of these ruins are the number of temples contained withing the same enclosing wall, and the absence of symmetry in their arrangement. There is a rock in the middle of the Kankanadi stream, half a mile from here, with a room cut into it which is sufficient to accommodate four persons. In its centre there is a linga and there is also a niche in one wall.

 In antiquity these ruins are supposed to rank next to those on the Shankracharya hill. Major Cole assigned the age of these building to about the commencement of the Christian era.

The worship of Shiva Bhutesha, the Lord of Beings, localised near the sacred mountain-lake of Haramukuta-Ganga, has played an important part in the ancient religion of Kashmir. Sir Aurel Stein has been able to show the identity of these temples with the buildings which the Kashmir kings had, at the different periods, raised in honour of Shiva Bhutesha and the neighouring lings of Shiva Jyeshtesha. The small tank above the ruins, which is now known as Naran Nag, is, according to him, identical with the Sodara spring mentioned in connection with King Jalauka, son of Asoka, and king Samdhimat-Aryaraja (35 B.C.). A large store pith or seat, 15 feet long 8 feet broad and 6 feet high, has been recently unearthed near Naran Nag. The eastern group clusters round a temple, which Sir Aurel Stein identifies with the Bhutesha shrine and which, according to Kalhana, was situated close to that of Bhairava. The western group is, therefore, identical with the temple dedicated to Shiva Jyeshtesa. King Jalauka erected here a stone temple to Shiva Bhutesha, and made donations to the shrine of Shiva Jyeshtesha. King Narendraditya Khinnkhila (250-214 B.C.) consecrated shrines to Shiva Bhuteshvara here. If he is identical with Khinkhila, whose reign is known from a coin, he probably belonged to the 5th or 6th century, so says Dr. Sten Konow. Lalitaditya Muktapida (700-36 A.D.) erected a temple for Shiva Jyeshtesha here, which Sir Aurel Stein thinks is the is the existing principal shrine in the western group. Kalhana inform us that King Avantivarman (855-83 A.D.) visited this place and made a pedestal with silver conduit for bathing at Bhutesha. He further relates how the temple was plundered in the days of Jyasimha in Kalhana's time (1128-49, the date when the Rajatarangini was written). No important additions were believed to have been made to the building there, and the conclusion one arrives at is that the central shrine of the western group belongs to the 8th century A.D., while others are older."

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Update: P. Parimoo Ji sends in photographs of the place shot around a year ago on 14th June 2011.



 He is intrigued by absence of GI Sheets in the recent photographs.

Man Mohan Munshi Ji adds:
"No sheets were not there during my visit to the place in August but entrances to some of the temples were blocked with wooden planks and crude stone masonry."

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