Thursday, September 3, 2009



To know Parihaaspora , it is important to know king Lalitaditya Mukhtapida ( 699-736 AD ) of Karkota Dynasty ,who ruled Kashmir in early eighth centaury.   Chinese  traveler   Hieun Tsiang visited Kashmir during the reign of king DurlabhVardhana ( 625-661 ) from this Dynasty . DurlabhVardana was a Budhist and the revival of Hinduism had started gaining momentum during this period .The Karkota kings were liberal and gave equal respect to Budhism and Hinduism .
 Emperor Laitaditya  believed in Hindu practices and  was a great conqueror who defeated many central Asian kings (especially Yashovarman) , Turks, Arabs of Sindh and Tokharians  from  present Day Badakhshan. His  astute minister Cankuna hailed from present day Badakshan  area only.   Lalitaditya is considered to be the most illustrious kings of Kashmir by Kalhana who also paints him in profuse colours for having built the SUN TEMPLE OF MARTANDA as also for  having founded the city of PARIHASPORA in Kashmir . Kalhana makes repeated mention of the conquests of this king over Jalamdhara (Jalandhar ) ,Lohara ( Loren in Poonch area ), Kannauj , Kambhoj ( eastern Afghanistan ), Vindhyas , Karnat ( Present Karnatka ), Konkanas ( Present Konkan area ), Gauda ( Bengal )Dard Desh ( Gilgit and Baltistan ) and Bhuttas Desh ( Tibbet and ladakh area ). This worthy Monarch died in one of his Central Asian expeditions . The coins of this illustrious king have also been discovered in Kanauj , Banda , Faizabad , Varanasi , Nalandha and Monghyr which indicate the path lalitaditya followed during his expeditions .
Parihaspora lies on a plateau about three kms from main highway on Srinagar Baramulla road near Pattan. After travelling about 20 kms towards Baramulla on the highway, one has to take a right turn and cover a distance of about 3 kms by a village link road . The steep Plateau of Parihaspora provided excellent protection from recurring floods in Vitasta to the king and his subjects . Except remains of three structures ,. Entire area which used to be the capital city founded by emperor  Lalitaditya is presently rubble heaps scattered all over. The three monuments presently fall under protected Heritage category  of ASI. The ruins of these three monuments known as Temple complex , Raj Vihara and the Budhist Chaitya are still impressive .The Plateau commands a magnificient view of the entire Srinagar city and the adjoining reclaimed area used for agricultural purposes . As a matter of fact this site had a commanding view of confluence of Vitasta and Sindh river . It is a well known historical fact that  Sindh and Vitasta would previously meet at Trigam and During the reign of king Avantivarman ( 855-883 AD ) , Suyya ( an able engineer in king ‘s court ) shifted the confluence to Shadipora to protect entire area from the fury of recurring floods as also to reclaim land for rice cultivation .

Once you enter the ParihaasPora ruins site , the first structure on the left side is the temple complex.As per verses  136 to 216 of Taranga fourth of Kalhana’s Rajtaringini, this temple complex had images of Parihaskeshwa , Mukta keshwa and Goverdhanadhara all done in shining silver and gold with a Garuda ( an emblem of Vishnu ) at the top of the complex . Verses 201 and 202 of fourth Taranga of Kalhana’s Rajtaringini explicitly mention that 84000 tolas of gold were used for the statue of Mukta Keshwa. And an equal silver by weight was used for the statue of ParihasKeshwa.The statue of Goverdhandhara was also cast in pure silver . Presently the base of this mighty structure is partially intact . One is amazed to see the size of the central stone in the sanctum sanctorum of this temple complex . I have personally verified the dimension of this stone to be about 14 feet by 12 feet by 7 feet . I have failed to arrive at any fair idea as to how this mighty stone in one piece would have been brought to the Temple complex. Broken stones with images can be seen spread in and around the Temple complex. This Temple complex resembles the Sun temple Of Martanda testifying the stamp of King Lalitaditya ‘s architecture

The second ruins in this rubble city are the ruins of Raj Vihara falling on left side once one enters the main gate .The outer wall base and the inner structure’s base is still intact. A heap of broken stones of this structure lies nearby . some images are also visible I have also seen a Central water tank for the complex intact and it is made of one piece stone. Foundations of rooms of the Raj Vihara are also visible .As per verses 200 and 203 of fourth Taranga of kalhana’s Rajtaringini, the structure was large Quadrangle with lofty Chapels with a colossal Statute of Budha . kalhana mentions that the king used many thousands Prasthas of brass for this statue. One Prastha is equal to 128 Tolas . Enough provisions were stored in Raj Vihara .

The third and imposing structure facing the entry gate of this rubble city is the Budhist CHAITYA . The base and the platform of this 54 feet high ( Originally) Stupa is till intact . The Chaitya is a masterpiece of Mahayana Budhist Architecture . Dragons and Mahayana Budhist images are distinctly visible on the stones and pillars of this Chaitya . Many images lie scattered and broken on the ground near the Chaitya .The one piece Chaitya door that has fallen on the central platform is 8 feet by 6 feet by 5 feet as per measurement done by me on my visit to this site.

Apart from this, the City of Parihaspora had many temples , Viharas and seven thousand dwellings for the ministers and the subjects .Temple of Kubera , kartikeya ,Vipulkeshwa , Ramaswamin , Shiva , Kamalkeshwa , and Mitreswara were also built in the city . Cankuna the minister brought from Tuhkhara and who was possibly a Budhist also built Cankuna Vihara wherin he placed gold image of the Jinas . Lalitaditya was fond of dance , music , wine and fruits especially cherries ( verse  220 Taranga fourth ).The king would organize annual festival of Music and dance in Parihas pora . kalhana also mentions that Gauda( Bengal ) king’s troops took their revenge and entered Kashmir ostensibly to perform Pilgrimage of Goddess sharda . The troops of Gauda king wanted to plunder and carry the Gold and silver statue of ParihasKeshwa . They pulled down the statue of Ramaswamin mistaking it for Parihaskeshwa . Though king lalitaditya was away on another expedition yet his troops camping in Srinagar city  drove them away and the city was filled with corpses of these men from Gauda kingdom. As per verse  334 of Taranga fourth of Rajtaringini of Kalhana The holy Parhaskeshwa loved by the king was thus preserved by the sacrifice of statue of Ramaswamin .

 Shashi Shekhar Toshkhani  ,Noted  Poet , Writer and Scholar from Kashmir  adds

“Laitaditya was not only a great conqueror but also an equally great patron of the arts. It was during his time that Kashmir evolved an indigenous style of temple architecture marked for its grandeur. We can not forget that it was Lalitaditya who brought  Great Shaiva scholar Abhinavagupta's ancestor Atrigupta from Antarvedi in modern Uttar Pradesh.”

To this write up on Parihaaspra , I add lines from a poem of African American poet Maya Angelou,

"I say, the night has been long,
The wound has been deep,
The pit has been dark
And the walls have been steep.

But today, voices of old spirit sound
Speak to us in words profound,
Across the years, across the centuries,
Across the oceans, and across the seas.
They say, draw near to one another,
Save your race.
The hells we have lived through and live through still,
Have sharpened our senses and toughened our will.
The night has been long.
This morning I look through your anguish
Right down to your soul.
I know that with each other we can make ourselves whole.
I look through the posture and past your disguise,
And see your love for family in your big brown eyes.
The night has been long,
The pit has been deep,
The night has been dark,
And the walls have been steep."

( Autar Mota )
CHINAR SHADE by Autarmota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.
Based on a work at http:\\\. )

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