Aurel Stein
  The Sanskritist
  Manuscript Treasures
  Kashmiri Scholarship
  Interface of Scholarship
  The Adopted Home
  Unfinished Tasks
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Supported by:
  Heritage Lottery Fund, Cambridge.
  Bodelian Library, Oxford.
  Nityanand Shastri Library Collection, Delhi.
  Kashmir Bhavan Centre, Luton.
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Archaeology of old Kashmir
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For next two days Stein employed his efforts to clear the gate way of Vangath and decaying structures. Here he saw two openings near the main temple of first group, one to North and other in the South. The former was used by the Gujars as an entrance and the temple had been converted into a cow shed since the ground was covered to a considerable level with layer of dung. In the course of excavation work on the beautifully moulded basement of the temple consisting of 8 ft. long slabs at a depth of 4-1/2 ft below the ground revealed the original pavement of the temple courtyard. No steps to the courtyard were found. Observing further Stein remarks,“ At various depths in the ground fragments of sculptures were found which confirm my apprehension that this temple like most in Kashmir had been visited by Mohammaden iconoclasts”.

The sculpted pieces that Stein found at the site included a stone base relief showing human figure, lions, well carved feet of a statue and parts of richly moulded Pitha etc. The side porches of both the large and small temples showed bases intended to be receptacles for great stone statues.

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Small shrine of Siva Bhutesa (another view)


About these fragments, observed Stein, “It is therefore a proof of the thoroughness with which the destroyers of the temples had done their work that not more than fragments of sculpture could be found.”

Stein cleared the ground of another temple of not a very old date in the North that had steps leading from platform to the pavement. In front of the steps lay a base of about 4 feet square for Linga figure. Besides these Stein also excavated the interiors of 8 small temples which however yielded no worthy remains. All the temples except the large one possessed a Sanadronis (water spout ) that conduct water poured over the Lingas and hence indicated to be Siva temples.

From the absence of Sanadronis in the large temple Stein concluded that it was dedicated to Narayana (Vishnu) whose name was borne by the adjoining spring Naran Nag.

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Narantal Temple

On August 22 Stein started a visit to the spot of sacred lake of Gangabal. He inspected the areas of Nandikshetra, Haramukataganga and Bhramasaras. By August 26 Stein was back in Srinagar and two days later on 28 th he paid a visit to the spring of Jyetheir and neighbouring villages of Thed and Bhren. Here he found a Ziarat built from sculpted fragments of an old temple. Next on the 29 th he surveyed the ruins of Pandrethan followed by a visit to ancient shrine of Khandabhavan near Nava Kadal. Here he found only traces of the foundation wall. According to Stein, “the ground itself as usual in Kashmir has been appropriated to a Muhammedan Ziarat.” After a visit to the locality of Narvav, Stein proceeded to Mallayar Ghat on the river Vitasta. Here he found a much effaced Sanskrit inscription, difficult to read, walled to the foundation of a house. In this area Stein also identified the ancient temple of Sivavardhaminsa marked by a structure between Amirakadal and Habbakadal erected not much time earlier by the neighbourhood Pandits. Of this Stein observed, “The Linga which is old is said to have belonged to an ancient temple and has been recovered from neighbouring Mohammedan Ziarat where it had been used as a lamp shade.” In the interval Pandit Kashi Ram whom Stein had dispatched to make preliminary survey of the localities in the eastern part of the valley returned with a useful report. And Stein thus was enabled to begin a fresh tour.

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Notes on archaeological finds (letter of Pandit Kashiram to Aurel Stein)
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