22nd May 2017…Rancer Island to Masroor, Rock Cut Temples, 10 km
After an amazing time at the Nagrota Surian wetlands and a surprise ride to gumnam island Ransar, I drove back to Nagrota Surian. Since I had sufficient time in hand and the Rock Cut Temples at Masroor just a 7-8 kilometers excursion from the road, I decided to give a quick and brief visit to the temples.
But before that parked the car on a side under a shady tree and had a good one hour’s power nap in order to compensate for the previous night’s deficit. It took me just 15 minutes in reaching Masroor from there.
With description of various deities, erotica and amorous sculptures blissfully engraved on its walls, the temple at Masroor is a complex of monolithic rock cut temples dating back to 6–8th centuries.
The temples were identified in 1875 and in 1914, Archeological Survey of India declared the temples, a monument of national importance. An entry fee of Rs.15 is charged to Indian visitor for entering the complex.
Some people believe that these temples were constructed by Pandavas during exile. Others are of the views that Katoch kings of Jalandhar built these temples. A yet another is that these temples were built during the reigns of Lalitaditya and Yasovarman who ruled in the eighth century.
The historians believe that the temple was built as a dedication to Shiva, but at some stage during the middle ages, there was a shift in the religious beliefs of the rulers and people adopted Vaishnavite as witnessed by the images of Ram, Lakshman and Sita.
Such an architectural style is unique to Northern India while there are many such temples in Southern and Western India. A pond having a large number of fish lies in front of the temples which shows partial reflection of these temples.
Constant erosion has blurred the detailing of the stone carving and damaged the majority of sculptures. The earthquake in 1905 has also damaged the temple pillars and sculptures in a major way.
Many of the fully carved, elegant and graceful statues have been moved out of the complex and are exhibited in the Shimla State Museum. These are 8 such sculptures of Ganesha, Durga, Shiva, Surya and Varuna.
Rock Cut Temples, Masroor
It was very hot afternoon. So visiting the temples was a very brief affair. It was good to see some other visitors as well. At around 4pm afternoon, I left for Jawali, the next destination of the day was Bathu Ki Ladi, the submerged temples, the reason for my trip……!!!