Dr. R. Nagaswamy


Avantipur is about 30 km from Srinagar

It was established by Avantivarman of Utpala dynasty around 875

It was already a beautiful settlement called Visvasara

Avantivarman was an illustrious ruler , loving peace and care of his subjects.

He selected one brilliant Engineer named Suyya to assist him

Suyya drew up an extraordinary plan and regulated the River Jhelum (originally Clled Vitsta)

This enabled the land to be well irrigated and made the country fertile. Agricultural production was at its height and economy developed fast.

Avantivarman concentrated on religious edifices like temples, mathas His was the golen age of Kashmir

Avantivarman built two great temple at Avantipura, one to Vishnu named Avantiswami  and the other to Siva named Avantisvara.

Remains of these wo temples still exist in Avantipur

He was a great devotee of Vishnu and at the same time patronized Saiva and other religions alike

The unscrupulous Kalasa who came to throne confiscated the riches and the properties of the temples of Avantiswami temple as it was the richest then

The situation became still worse as there was siege of the temple by the feudal lords named Damaras.

The temple survived and the besiegers driven out

As Avantipur was on the main route to Srinagar, the kings used the town as a halting place.

Avantiswami temple
Avantiswara Temple VisitAvantiswara Temple Visit

Avantisvami temple  was built on a grand scale by Avantivarman with an eye on aesthetics

The sculptural wealth of this temple is commendable  

The Vishnu temple has a central sanctum tower with preceding mandapas, inside a rectangular prakara with a large number of Cells and preceded by a gopura.

The temple is conceived as a pancayatana temple with four additional small temples around the main sanctum tower.. There was also a garuda sthambha in the complex.

One of the niche contains a figure of Kamadea

A sculpture on the northern side is identified with Avantivarman himself

A corresponding niche carries another portrait probably of Avanti varman or his predecessor.

One of the best sculptures of Vishnu was found within the compound during excavation

This represents a four face Vishnu known as Vaikunta, Chaturmurti or Cahtur vyuha.

This Vishnu with his right face s a lion, and theleft as a varaha and the front one as Vasudeva is the finest of Kashmiri images.

It is said that the other four smaller shrines around the main shrine were dedicated to Samkarshana, Aniruddha, Pradyumna and also Vasudeva with the central main image  representing Chatur vyuha-Cahturmurtii.

In the prakara there are 69 cells dedicated to various deities

A good number of sculptures were found in the temple during excavation and they are now housed in the local Pratap singh Museum

Avantisvara temple The temple faces west and is almost the same plan as the Vishnu temple but on a more grand scale

It is also built as a Pancayatana temple with one central tower surrounded by four subsidiary shrines

It has an oblong prakara with a number of cells

It has also a chambered gopura in front

There is a sculpture of Lakulisa and another a portrait of Avanti varman himself.

Both these temples have suffered extensive destruction in the hands of the Idol destroyer Sultan Sikander.


Dr. Nagaswamy visited Avantipur recently as part of His Holiness' entourage during the recent yatra of His Holiness to Srinagar and surrounding places.

Related News: His Holiness visits Ancient Temples in Srinagar


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