Monuments of Jammu Region -
Monuments of Jammu Region
Posted 07 Dec 2016 03:32 PM

Ancient Fort, Akhnoor, District Jammu
The fort is situated on the right bank of River Chenab (Ancient name Asikni). The construction of the fort was started by Mian Tej Singh in 1762 A.D. and completely by his successor Raja Alum Singh in 1802 A.D.

The fort has high fortification walls with bastions at regular intervals and is crowned with battlements. There are two-storyed watch-towers at the corners which are also crowned by battlements and merlons. The fort has two parts which are bifurcated by a wall with a gate leading to the Palace located on the southern side. The palace is two storeyed and the walls facing the courtyard have decorated arches, some of which contains mural paintings. Access to the fort is obtained through both the river sides as well as the northern side. The large part of the fort was in ruins. At present the conservation work of the fort is in progress.
The Akhnoor fort is in fact, perched upon an ancient site locally known as Manda which has been subjected to a limited excavation, which in turn has yields three fold sequence of culture. Period I is represented by the harappan, Red & Grey wares, the shapes being jar, dish-on-stand beaker and goblets and other objects including copper-pin, bone arrowheads, terracotta cakes, sherds with harappan graffiti, Period II is marked by the presence of early historic pottery and Period III is represented by Kushana objects and impressive walls of rubble diaper masonary flanked on both sides by a 3m wide street

Ancient Site, Ambaran, District Jammu
The Buddhist site is situated on the right bank of river Chenab about 5 km from Akhnoor fort. The scientific excavation yielded remains of a monastery and large number of terracotta heads and pottery ranging from second-first century B.C. to eight century A.D.
The study of the site after excavation in 1999-2001 has revealed the sequence of four cultural periods. Period I suggesting a small Hamlet during second-first century BC when people used Grey Ware potteries. Period II being the most prolific period of building activity of Kushana period. First-third century AD, when the Stupa & Vihara were constructed. The well known Akhnoor terracotta Heads of the Ambaran are displayed in national/International museums. Period III representing Gupta age when the structure were strengthen & embellished at certain places with terracotta figures & decorations Period IV belongs to Post Gupta time sixth-seventh century A.D. A reliquary casket was also found in the square stupa contains copper casket with in round silver casket and with in a Gold casket along with bones, ashes, semiprecious stones, Pearl beads, Silver and Gold foils, copper coins etc.

Most significant and distinguished Buddhist bricks structure spoked wheel Stupa has been exposed during the scientific clearance work at Ancient Buddhist site Ambaran, in the year 2008-10 which is discovered for the first time in the Northern part of India Sub-continent of Jammu and Kashmir state. The exposed Bricks structure is similar to famous excavated Stupa of Nagarjunakonda in Southern Indian and Sanghol in Punjab.

Mahdera Temple, Basohli, District Kathua:
Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the temple, on plan, consists of a sanctum and a Porch. It has two offsets on each. The offset on the front side is lengthened into a porch. The Shikara is of usual type having circular medallions. The top is crowned by ribbed finials. The outer walls are plain at the top, partly moulded and ornamented at the base. The lower courses have the representatives of human figures carrying bows and arrows floral scroll, etc. besides Vishnu riding on Garuda, Internally the sanctum is square on plan and covered with circular ceiling of concentric circles. The right door jamb of the porch contains a figure of Ganga standing on a crocodile whereas the lintel is ornamental with a figures of Ganesha. In front there is small masonary pillar, on top of which a small figure of Nandi is placed

Harihara Temple, Billawar, District Kathua
This Siva Temple according to tradition is said to have been built by king Babhruvahana, son of Arjuna. The ancient name of the place was Belapur or villapur which got corrupted to Billawar. The temple is noteworthy for architectural planning, sculptural wealth and decorative scheme. It is Navratha on plan and consists of a square sanctum internally crowned by curvilinear sikhara, Antarala and a pillared mandapa. The wall portion has plain moulding at the base and top. It has niched shrines for Parsvadevatas on its central rathas and is studded with dikpala figures and rosettes in pedimented niches at the corners and flanking rathas. The temple is assignable to circa 10th century A.D.

Group of Temples, Kirmachi, District Udhampur
Situated on a small hillock between two rivulets Birhama and Kirmachi at a distance of 12 km north of Udhampur-Lander road, the group of temples are locally known as the Pandava temples. The complex consists of five temples and two small shrines. All the temples are facing east except Temple3. Temple 1,2,3 and two small shrines are build on a common raised platform, whereas the Temple 4 is on a separate and higher platform. Temple 5 is built at a lower level as compared to other temples.
The temples on plan consist of a garbhagriha with curvilinear shikhara and an elongated antarala with a sukanasika decorated with kuta-shikhara and kalasa motif. Some of the temples have a pillared mandapa in front of the antarala, which appears to have been added at a later date. Temple 2 has an intact mandapa, whereas all other temples are survived with the remnants of mandapa. The temples are built either on triratha or pancharatha plan externally and square internally. Inner walls of the antarala have trefoil niches and a pattern of an inverted lotus flower on the ceiling under a double tiered triangular roof.
Temple 3 marks the beginning of the architectural activity at kirmachi. It is the oldest and smallest structure consisting of a square sanctum with a pyramidal roof and an antarala provide with a wagon vaulted roof. It is followed by Temple 2, more elaborate on plan and higher in elevation. Its mandapa is entered through three trifoliate arches. It is presumed that it had only plinths. Temple 4 marks the beginning of developed temple architecture at Kiramachi. A chance discovery has revealed, that it stands on earlier brick structure datable to the post Gupta period. It is followed by Temple 5, its pillars shows remnants of sculptures most probably of river goddesses. Temple 1 is most developed and elaborately ornamented. It depicts large size mouldings, niches for astadikpalas and saptamatrikas in addition to parsvadevtas.
During execution of conservation work a large number of terracotta pestles, querns coins, iron arrowheads, beads of semi-precious stone, pestles, querns and earthen pots were found. Besides, a hearth, brick-platform and mud-platform belonging to the late-Gupta period also exposed.

Kala Dera Temple – I, Manwal, Dist. Udhampur
It is also built on a high platform and preceded by a mandapa. The entrance is through a flight of steps on the east. The superstructure is missing. The temple is on the high platform, two jambs of the sanctum, the entrance way to the Mandapa and the bases of four columns. The jambs of the entrance to the sanctum have two niches each with arched tops. Between the sanctum and the mandapa is a porch which also contains two smaller pillar bases. The four massive fluted columns have recently been fixed on their bases. Externally the sanctum has both plain moulding and geometrical designs. The walls of the basement have recently been concerned. The noteworthy architectural members, lying at the site are fluted, shafts, carved ceiling with inverted lotus flowers, pedestal of images and pillar bases, besides two sculptures of dancing Siva, now exhibited in the sculpture shed. The temple is assignable to circa 10th century A.D.

Kala Dera Temple – II, Manwal, Dist. Udhampur
The temple is Saptratha on plan externally and built on a raised platform approached by a flight of steps on the east. The sikhara is intact on the western side and externally the temple is adorned with plain projecting niches and offsets bearing carving. On the west side there is makaramukha pranala through which the water used to flow into a small rectangular cistern is carved out of a single block. The roof of the mandapa was supported on four fluted columns surmounted by capitals.
Besides the principal entrance, facing the central aisles, it has two smaller entrances at the rear. The figures on the jambs of the door and the porch are now defaced. Basements of the other two shrines are on the south-east corner. The temple is assignable to crica 10th-11th century A.D.

Nand Babour Temple, Manwal, Dist. Udhampur
Dedicated to Lord Shiva, it is built on a high platform. It has three sanctums each preceded by an antarala attached to a common mandapa. The jambs of the antarala and sanctum are carved with figures of Ganga, Yamuna, Shiva & Parvati and that of lintel with an image of Ganesa, flanked by Lakshmi and Parvati.
The ceiling of the mandapa is rested on small fluted columns decorated with pot and foliage, motifs. Externally the temple is decorated with mouldings, ornate pedimented niches and triangles. At the northern corner a small subsidiary shrine containing an image of Ganesa has been exposed. Several loose architectural members like amalka, fluted shafts etc. are lying at the site. The temple is assignable to circa 10th-11th century A.D.

Dera Temple, Thalora, District Udhampur:
Built on a high rectangular platform, it is approached by a flight of steps on the west side. It has two principal square sanctuaries divided from each other by an ornate cell. Each of the sanctums is preceded by a porch having two fluted pillars surmounted by a very ornamental vase and floral capitals. The ceiling is of interlacing squares with expanded louts on top. The lintel and door jambs of the doorway are profusely decorated with figures. The main sanctum has makaramukha pranala. The frieze over the architrave above the columns of the porch of the sanctuary on the northern side of the mandapa contains ornamented Navagraha panel. In front of sanctum is a large pillared mandapa. The lower half of the super-structure is intact and is decorated with mouldings, pedimented niches and triangles with lotus flowers but the upper portion is missing. The temple is assignable to circa 10th century A.D.

Devi Bhagwati Temple, Thalora, District Udhampur
The temple is Saptratha on plan externally. It consists of a Garbhagriha and Antarala with a square mandapa. The mandapa is entered through its western wall. The latter has flight of steps both inside and outside. The shikhara is missing and the mandapa is left with four fluted columns on plain bases. On the western side of mandapa wall there are eight niches inside, decorated with highly ornamented columns. The porch of the temple also contains two fluted columns which are surmounted by a square capital adorned with floral scrolls. The entrance of the antarala has a lintel which is carved with the figure of Ganesha at the centre, while its jambs bear the figures of Ganga and Yamuna. Externally the temple is well decorated. It has foliated projecting triangles alternating with rectangular niches surmounted by stepped pediments. A sculpture-shed is provide for housing the loose architectural members and sculptures. The temple is assignable to circa 10th century A.D.

Purana Mahal (Old Palace), Ramnagar, District Udhampur
Built by Raja Suchet Singh, the Purana Mahal consists of a complex of rooms rising to three storeys having high walls with watchtowers at regular intervals. The walls of the rooms are decorated with stucco work and painted with floral designs. The wooden members of the ceiling are also profusely decorated. The corners of the roofs have projections in the shape of lotus flowers

Nawa Mahal, Ramnagar, District Udhampur:
It was built by Raja Ram Singh, son of Raja Ranbir Singh. The complex has open courtyards surrounded by rooms with two entrances facing each other in opposite wings. The outer walls are high and are duly supported by buttresses. The rooms has false wooden ceiling and the interior walls are decorated with floral designs.

Sheesh Mahal, Ramnagar, Dist. Udhampur:
Built during the resign of Raja Ram Singh, it comprises two forecourts having burjis at the corners. Behind these are halls and rooms flanked on either side of the central passage. To the right of the entrance is Dewan-e-aam with rooms at its back. To the left of entrance are Darbar Hall, Sheesh Mahal and Rang Mahal respectively. All the rooms have paintings and Darbar Hall has murals showing influence of Pahari School. Themes from Ramayana, Bhagawata and other Puranas, court and battle scenes connected with Raja Suchet Singh are also depicted in the paintings besides some lithographs of later period. The walls of Sheesh Mahal are decorated with mirrors and mural paintings of Nayikas, Raginis, Adjoining the Sheesh Mahal walls of Rang Mahal panels depicting hunting and court scenes, Krishna-Lila scenes etc.

Ancient Fort, Ramnagar, Dist. Udhampur:
The ancient fort is square on plan with polygonal bastions to support its four corners. The fortifications wall and the bastions are high and rise to three storeys crowned with battlements and merinos. Around the central courtyard inside, there are cells and vaulted chambers where cannon balls are stored. There are images of Ganesa, Durga and Hanuman in the gateway. The fort is surmounted by a moat externally and the access to it is gained through a narrow bridge across the moat on the southeastern side.
Samadhi of Queen of Raja Suchet Singh, Ramnagar, District Udhampur:
The Samadhi was built by Raja Ranbir Singh on the spot where Rani performed sati after the death of Raja Suchet Singh in 1844 A.D. The structure is erected on a raised platform enclosed with ambulatory passage, the roof of which is domical in shape. The inner walls of the Samadhi are decorated with paintings. On either side of the entrance there are rooms. The façade is decorated with ornamental plaster whereas the interior of the walls of the rooms are plain.

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