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Aventipur Temple

A wonderful piece of artwork can be seen in Avantipur Temple, built between 855 and 883 AD. Located 29-km southeast of Srinagar, it is believed to be constructed by King Avantivarman. He was a great devotee of Lord Surya, and therefore dedicated the temple to him, but a few other deities including Goddess Ragnya Devi can also be seen in the temple. The king constructed two other temples near the main shrine. The smaller one is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is still in daily use. The other, Avantiswami Temple, which is now in ruins, was a famous Vishnu Temple. Both the temples show an outward apperance of Greek architecture.

The main temple is popular for its extraordinary carvings. As you enter the temple, there is a sculpture of the royal family on the stairs leading up to the main shrine. Besides, there are carvings of Apsaras (the beautiful female demigods) as well on the stairs. From Navagrahas (the nine planets in Hindu astrology) to the beautiful Kinnara (a demigod with a human head and a bird's body), the temple walls, floors and pillars are full of beautiful, ancient and unique carvings. The British took several unique idols and elements from the temple to the museums in England, in 18th century, however, a few of them can still be seen in the SPS Museum in Srinagar.

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