Thursday, December 25, 2014

Masroor Rock Cut Temple - A Monolithic Masterpiece

Hi, 



I am not a historian, but out of curiosity, I searched Google map to find the location of this temple, only one of its type (they say) in the northern India, and found it to be only at a distance of about seventy kilometres from town of Hamirpur. I had watched the photos posted by some of my friends on Facebook, and it looked unique to me, the one of its type that I never had visited earlier.

I gathered a little more of the information from the Wikipedia, and other websites and found that Masroor is famous for a group of about fifteen monolithic rock cut temples.  
It is believed to be built by Pandavas, however archaeological dates are not available at the site, but it is also dated by some, to be built in around eighth century. This was possible for me to pick up my bike, ride it to the temple, visit the temple and come back in the evening of same day.

 Deepak Singh and I are batch-mates, and the only two, who had been staying at the hostel, while others left for home. I found him to be interested in visiting the place, and we ended up with a plan to visit the following places in the Kangra District of Himachal Pradesh:
1.     Masroor Rock Cut Temple
2.     Maharana Pratap Sagar (Pong Reservoir)
3.     Kangra Fort
4.     Vajreshwari Maa Temple(Kangra Temple)

Read previous recent posts: 
1. A visit to Sujanpur Tira Fort

Masroor Rock Cut Temple

In this post, I am going to share with you the glimpses of our visit to the Masroor Rock Temple.

How to Reach: 

Reaching Kangra is via plane or train is easy because of the availability of the Gaggal airport and railway station respectively. Gaggal airport is the biggest airport of Himachal Pradesh till date, and is situated at Gaggal at a distance of about 11km from Kangra town via NH 20.  
Toy trains are available from the Pathankot to reach Kangra via this beautiful narrow gauge railway track, surrounded by the hills, ravines and fresh environment.  After reaching Kangra, you have to take a cab or personal vehicle to reach Masroor, a village situated in somewhat a remote location with an aggregate distance of about thirty eight kilometres from Kangra. 

On the way, you have to take a single lane road from Lunj, which mainly links  the Nagrota Suriyan at the end, but a three kilometres long left diversion ten kilometres ahead of Nagrota Sooriyan, takes us to the temple. However, a good number of information boards are erected on the road sides, many are worn out and some are hiding behind each others, so reaching the place via this single lane road can be difficult for a novice. a little bit difficult.

A Protected Monument:

They say that temple got saved from the Muhammad Gajni, because of its remote location, but it got partly damaged in a major earthquake that rocked the Kangra region in the year 1905. According to a board erected at the entrance to the temple, department of Archaeological Survey of India has declared this temple to be a monument of national importance under the ancient monuments and archaeological sites and remains act, 1958.
Efforts have been made to get the status of UNESCO world heritage site status.

Temple that I observed:

At the end of that single laned road, we got off the motorcycle, and from back side of the temple, we stepped up almost 25 steps of a stone paved path, leading us to the temple gate that was on the right face of the temple. 



Masroor rock cut monolith, the ancient wonder in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh



As I have already told, neither am I a historian nor an archaeologist, but I will try my best to describe the temple.  If you are lucky to have the sunshine, you will see a beautifully carved monolithic rock structure, shining with tint of Gold, elevated with respect to the surroundings, and therefore giving a heavenly view with a sense of presence of divine. 




Shikhars of the rock cut Masroor temple, Kangra

 Along with many other broken pieces, none of the beautiful shikharas, similar to those at the Lakshmi-narayan temple at Kangra Fort, are standing at their elevated spots, now they are the injured witnesses the destruction that was caused by the 1905 earthquake.


  

Masroor rock cut temple (Rathas), Kangra, Himachal Pradesh



The fine work that was done to carve out the images and artful designs on the stone walls is highly appreciable, and can make you wonder about the time and labour it might have taken at those old days, when not much was available in the name of machine and tools. 

 I read that this was the Indo-Aryan style of carving and designing, that had been used here. I don't have answers to many of my queries, but if you come out with any answers, then please do share with me.




Idols of Rama, Sita and Lakshman at Masroor rock cut temple, Kangra, Himachal Pradesh


The Garbha-Griha contains three beautiful stone shrines of Lord Rama, Lakshman and Sita, but the presence of another of Lord Shiva above the three indicates that temple had been mainly dedicated to Lord Shiva. This central temple where the shrines are kept is the only one, which is inwardly carved, other 14 are carved from outside, 7 on each side of it.


A click from elevated spot at Masroor rock cut temple, Kangra, Himachal Pradesh


It makes me wonder about the time period, it might have taken to build these 15 temples, from a single rock piece. Repair work and propping is done at places for stability and strength and one can imagine how beautiful it would have been, if earthquake hadn't occurred.





The most beautiful view of Masroor Rock cut temple, Kangra, Himachal Pradesh


Temple along with its reflected image onto a rectangular surfaced water pool makes another delicious feast for the hungry human eyes.  There is a govt. senior secondary school and a Masroor panchayat office adjacent to the temple. Our next spot was Maharana Pratap Sagar, also known as Pong Dam, that I will cover in my next post. 


Thank you for your kind visit, please come visit again!