Sunday, April 13, 2014

Complete Guide to Awantisvara Temple, Avantipur


A century ago, when the digging began at Avantipora, people expected to find two temples dedicated to Shiva. Instead they found one dedicated to Vishnu (Awantiswamin Temple) and the other dedicated to Shiva (Awantisvara Temple). The smaller of the two, Awantiswamin was found to be more stunning while Awantisvara was found to be in a more decrepit state.




Awantisvara temple is located near the hamlet of Jaubrar about a kilometer to the north-west of the Awantiswamin temple. While leaving Srinagar and moving onto Bijbehara, this is the first ruin of Avanitpur.


This temple too is believed to have been built by King Avantivarman (AD 855 – 883 AD), the first king of the Utpala dynasty.

Archaeologist Debala Mitra gives the layout of the complex:

"Facing the west, the complex consists of a panchayatana temple in the middle of an oblong courtyard, two subsidiary shrines (one each at the north-easter anf south-eastern corners)", a quadrangular array of cells around the periphery of the courtyard and a double chambered imposing gateway in the centre of the western row of cells in two flanks."




The ruins suggest that the temple was laid to be a immense monument but for unknown reasons the construction was never completed.

From the book 'Pandrethan, Avantipur & Martand' (1977) by Debala Mitra





What would have been a 'ghata- (pot) shaped' pillar. Something not found in design of Awantiswamin temple.

"The interior of the central shrine is still covered with a heap of large stones, and it is not yet known if any fragments of the image of Avantisvara-Mahadeva, which was worshipped in this temple, will be found." ~ D. R. Sahni in 1913 after doing the initial digging.



The relief of Avantivarman and his queen.  
The ground is littered with stones bearing such carving which were meant to be part of the temple.

Some part of the relief is buried under the ground

The injury to the stone is definitely recent and man made.
From the book 'Pandrethan, Avantipur & Martand' (1977) by Debala Mitra, the carved stone in a more pristine form.
Apparently there is something about breasts that makes the modern man very violent.


Found this beautifully carved and selectively mutilated stone slab sitting under a tree somewhere in Gurgaon, right next to a yellow, dusty, empty plot. [2010] 


This is one of the fluted shafts of the smaller shrines around the main complex



Vidyadhara, or the wisdom holders






In 2014, Awantiswamin is kept by ASI as site keeping in mind the tourists, there is an office and a ticketing system, while Awantisvara is more like a local public park. It is open for everyone with just a low barrier at the main outside gate designed to keep out the animals.

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Previously:
Complete Guide to Awantiswamin Temple, Avantipur

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