Avantipur and Martand

Avantipur and Martand, on the road from Srinagar to Pehelgam, are the site of three imposing Hindu temples. The two temples in Avantipur date from the 9th c AD, and the the largest of the three in Martand is from the 8th c. While all three temples are in ruins, there is enough there (after reconstruction) to give an idea of what stone temple architecture in Kashmir from that time would have looked like. The style of these temples is unique, heavily influenced by the Buddhist Gandhara school of art, which in turn is heavily influenced by Greek and Hellenistic art and architecture. Scholarship mentions that these Kashmiri temples also show direct Roman influences, but I wonder if this influence could also be redirected from later Gandharan times. Continue reading