Naranag

The Valley of Kashmir is known not only for its lush green meadows, snow-capped mountains but also for its historical and religious places. There is a temple complex called Nara Nag which evokes awe and is a devotee's delight. According to the traditions the water of the spring comes from the Gangabal Lake, as the spring is located at the foot of the Bhutsher or Bhuteshwara, a spur of the Haramukha peaks. There are two groups of temples situated at a distance of about 100 yards from each other. The small tank with perennial water of Nara Nag has refreshing, digestive properties. At a further distance there is a temple dedicated to Bhairva. The western group identified with the temple is dedicated to Lord Siva. Lalitaditya Muktapida eighth century King of Kashmir erected a temple of Lord Shiva here. The King Avantivarman paid a visit and donated a pedestal with a silver conduct for bathing at Bhutsher. These temples are built of grayish granite found in abundance in neighborhood and their different architectural entities as evidently prove that they are of a different era. The first group consists of seven temples, the largest temple of the group has two entrances opposite to each other in north-east and south-west direction. The temple is built of huge rectangular stones laid in dry masonry with inter locking system. The interior is square and ceiling is domical built of horizontal kanjur stones and the apex stone crowned by a full blown lotus. The closed doors embellished with trefoil arches and pediment reflect the Greco-Roman influence on the Kashmiri Temple architecture.The second group of temples is enclosed by two chambered huge gateway of similar size and shape as of Avantipur temple. The 100` ft long by 67` broad pillared hall is a remarkable architecture feat of the whole group of temples. The temples were plundered in the days of Jyasimha in Kalhana's time. The temple of Naranag suffered many misfortunes as mentioned in Khalhana's Rajatarangani during the reign of Sangramaraja (11th century). The temple- was plundered by Bhandesvara, a Minister of the King. For the period of the reign of Uchchala (12th century) a conflagration caused much damage to the building and during the reign of Jayasimha Hayavadava(12th century), a rebel minister also attacked these temples. Nara Nag is the base camp of the Gangabal Lake' it takes 8-10 hour on foot or on horse back to reach the lake.

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