Masroor rock cut Temple
Masroor temple happens to be just 45 km from Dharamshala-Mcleodganj in Himachal Pradesh, India. This mystery temple known for its unique history from Mahabharata to king Yeshoverdhan of the oldest world ruling dynasty. A perfect view of snow laden Dhauladhar range of Himalayas from Masroor temple is a great attraction. Similarly, worldwide its rare archaeological worth is comparable only to the Angkor Wat temple in Cambodia.
What the Scholars say?
Research to unearth the mystery of this now world famous temple began as late as 1875. Some Europeans and Archaeological Survey of India officials started visiting the Masroor rock cut temple around this time. Consequently, scholars, including Shuttlework, Hargreaves and Professor N.K. Singh agree that Masroor temple is of 6th -8th Century origin. These findings have made it possible to include Masroor rock cut temple for nomination of UNESCO world heritage site.
During that period a powerful Katoch king Yeshoverdhan, having huge resources at his command, ruled at Kangra fort. He was an ardent Shiva worshiper. By all accounts Yeshoverdhan built this magnificent monument. For that reason, the entire theme of architecture and carvings revolve around festivity and coronation of Lord Shiva. Similarly, Shiva idol is at the center of all other gods and goddesses in the Sanctum.
Why Masroor temple is miracle?
Furthermore, During those bygone days prior to invaders of 10th-11th Century, there was no road network. Only crude inter-hamlet tracks connected villages in the difficult terrain. Mode of transport was also different being animal ride for high gentry and trekking for the common man. Therefore, construction of Masroor rock cut temple at inaccessible village like Masroor during those times is noteworthy.
A devastating earthquake in Kangra valley in 1905 badly hit the monument. Sculptures of many deities became ruins. A huge mandapa and portico lost its pillars in the earthquake. There was damage to the texture with cracking of some portions.
In contrast, the main structure of Masroor temple stands erect majestically on the sacred hilltop. Certainly, it is soliciting visitors, nature lovers and researchers to share the beauty of this unique ancient creation.
A per local belief, Pandva princes of Mahabharata fame when banished by Kaurvas to live incognito came to Masroor. They had to keep their identity and location secret or face further banishment. Pandvas preferred Masroor as their abode. They chose Haripur Guler-Raadballi jungle route to reach the place from Hastinapur, 5000 years ago. They opted for this route considering abundance of wildlife, herbs and wild fruit in this Himalayan Beas basin belt. These gifts of nature constituted their daily basic needs. According to Nisar Khan, when construction of Masroor rock cut temple was nearly complete, their identity and location became public. They had therefore to leave the place abruptly. Consequently, the construction of Masroor rock cut temple remained incomplete.