Srinagar, May 9:
Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha performed the auspicious Navgrah Ashtamangalam Pooja at the ancient Martand Sun temple in Anantnag's Mattan, on May 8. Lt Gov of Jammu and Kashmir performed the pooja at the Martand Sun Temple
in the presence of Hindu saints, members of Kashmiri Pandit community and local residents.
The Lt Governor of the UT of Jammu and Kashmir Manoj Sinha peformed the Navgrah Ashtamangalam Pooja at the ancient Martand Sun temple on the muhurta of Vaishakha Shukla Saptami. Sinha has termed the event a truly divine experience. According to the reports, the Kerala priest who guided the pooja said the special Navgrah Ashtamangalam Pooja was for the peace and prosperity of the whole world and particularly for the county and Kashmir valley.
BJP leader Surinder Ambardar has been quoted saying, "Mahatmas and religious saints who used to come here earlier to do meditation, their traditions are being carried forward. This pooja is for world peace, for India's peace, and for Jammu and Kashmir's peace. In Kashmir, many temples were broken and the Gods are angry with us so this is an attempt to make them happy so that peace is prevailed in Jammu and Kashmir and in India."
There is no recent record of any grand pooja being performed at the ancient temple. The last grand Hindu ritual that had been performed at the Martand Sun Temple was the visit of the Mathadhish of Shri Kashi Math Samsthan, Varanasi, Shrimad Samyamindra Tirtha Swamiji in Apr 2021. Swamiji had chanted Surya mantra and performed pooja at the temple. Swamiji was the first Saraswat brahmin to visit the valley in decades.
The Martand Sun temple shares a special place not only in the history of Kashmir but also of the Indian subcontinent. There are only three important sun temples in India; one in Kashmir's Anantnag, second in Gujarat's Modhera and third in Odisha's Konark. The Sun temple in Kashmir is the oldest among the three and also the most grand monumental structure among the three sun temples. Lalitaditya Muktpida's Kashmir was one of the wealthiest kingdoms of the subcontinent.
There had been several invasions in an attempt to vandalize the temple but it was only after the invasion of Sultan Sikandar that the temple was destroyed. Sikandar had two motives behind the vandalization of the temple. The temples were always where most of the wealth of any kingdom would be stored. The sun temple was the most grand and significant temple of the marvellous Karkota dynasty.
Historians believe the temple had idols made of gold and silver which were looted during Sultan Sikandar's invasion. Besides, Sikandar also had a different motive underlying the economic factor; Islamisation of the society. Lt Gov Sinha's pooja at the ancient Martand Sun temple is significant in revival of the Hindu chapters of Kashmir's history, which were attempted to be erased off permanently.