Despite ASI objection, right-wing group holds rituals at Kashmir’s 8th-century Sun Temple

The Martand Sun Temple is safeguarded by ASI guidelines that explicitly prohibit religious ceremonies inside such historical sites

Srinagar: Despite objections from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), A Hindu right-wing group forcibly entered the ASI-protected Martand Sun Temple in Rambirpora of South Kashmir’s Anantnag district on the day of consecration of Ram temple in Ayodhaya, according to various reports.

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On January 22, members of a Hindu right-wing group from Bharatpur, Rajasthan, trespassed into the ASI-protected site to offer prayers, Kashmir Times reported.

After a forceful entry, the ASI staff thwarted the group from occupying the interior of the ruins of the 8th-century temple devoted to the Hindu God Surya, constructed by King Lalitaditya Muktapida of the Karkota dynasty.

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The group put up a saffron flag within the temple complex, recited the Hanuman Chalisa, and conducted ‘Parikrama’ during their visit. This marked their third consecutive attempt since 2022, and the group is identified as Rashtriya Anhad Mahayog Peeth.

The Martand Sun Temple is safeguarded by ASI guidelines that explicitly prohibit religious ceremonies inside such historical sites unless they served as functional prayer sites when ASI assumed control.

In April of the previous year, the same group tried to conduct ‘puja’ at the temple but was barred from entering, facing detainment at a Shiv temple in Mattan town near Martand.

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