In the ruins of BUNIYAR

In the ruins of BUNIYAR
The wall around the temple

The Buniyar temple is a very old Vishnu temple present on the road from Srinagar to Uri, J&K, India. The temple now lies in a state of total ruin and all traces of the king or the people who built it or the God the temple was dedicated to is totally gone, weathered away by the rough cold mountain winds.

The temple is an imposing structure, a huge rectangular building built of large, roughly hewn granite blocks atop a two-tier plinth. The top of the temple with its dilapidated roof can be seen from afar while travelling on the highway, a large sepulchral structure jutting out of the horizon, filling one with awe. The complex is not very large, as compared to the other very elaborate and extravagant temples found scattered all over India, dedicated to the thousands of Gods and Goddessess that i can never keep a track of. It is totally surrounded by a wall that has niches carved into it which adds to the arcane feeling that catches hold of you as soon as you get near it. The temple clearly shows the influence of Greek architecture that was brought into India when Alexander the Great invaded this country.

The temple is dated to around 9th century AD and there is no record of who built it and for what reason. According to a folklore, as told by a fakir, to the British historian John Burke, it was built by the Pandus thousands of years ago who according to John Burke were a “mythical race of giants”. The sanctum lacks a deity because the Muslim rulers of the 14th century were intolerant and had pillaged the temples of its wealth and idols.

The Buniyar temple, photographed by John Burke in 1868
The Buniyar temple, photographed by John Burke in 1868

When i first saw the temple, the first thing that struck me was the immense amount of hard work that might have gone into the shaping of those large stone blocks and then dragging them on the mountainous terrain and then placing them atop one another to create an architectural wonder. I was totally spellbound in the eerie surroundings complete with barren trees and barren mountains in the backdrop. Its a place that refuses to leave my mind and when my mind is idle or in deep thought on irrelevant things it seems to wander back to that quiet, dark decrepit place and walks among the stones strewn about.

Centuries of loot and assault, manmade or natural, but the temple still stands strong even if a little broken down, holding its own against the passage of time. A  lonely looking place with no signs of habitation around, ignored because of its lack of intricate designs or domes or expensive materials but nevertheless a wonder on its own.

the temple, clicked by me when i visited this place on dec 2012
the temple, clicked by me when i visited this place on dec 2012
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