The ancient temples at Kiramchi near Udhampur in the state of Jammu and Kashmir

The ancient temples at Kiramchi near Udhampur in the state of Jammu and Kashmir

If I ‘discovered’ the ancient temples at Kiramchi, it was only because I was told they exist. Not that anyone – including the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) – knows much about these. For anyone with even a passing interest in ancient structures, this site is a must-see. They are a work of art. And hats off to ASI for maintaining the surrounding gardens so well.

[Click on any image for a larger view]

Where: Drive 60 km from Jammu to Udhampur and look for a crossing calling ‘Supply Chowk’ – turn in and drive 8 km along a winding road till you reach Kiramchi village. Park and hike on a dirt track for 1 km to reach the temples. Watch your steps as you walk along the Birunala rivulet – these were dry when I went though.

History: Official versions are only theories and guesses at best. Possibly dated circa 8th-9th century A.D. Kiramchi may have been founded by Raja (King) Kichack, a contemporary of the Pandavas of the Mahabharata. The latter are said to have spent a long time here during their exile. Kiramchi is also believed to have been the capital of Bhuti, one of the principalities of Jammu region ruled by the successors of King Daya Karan who founded the Bhutial dynasty. The last Bhutial ruler, Himmat Singh, gave up Bhuti to Raja Gulab Singh in 1834 whose descendants ruled Kashmir till India’s independence in 1947.

About the temples: Devoted to Hindu Lord Shiva, but only one of the seven temples has a small Shivaling. Another is used by devotees of Maa (Mother) Durga. While some of these temples have been restored, others are in their original state. Excavations have unearthed many terracotta figures, copper coins, iron arrow heads, beads of semi-precious stones, pestles and earthen pots on this site. I saw a few of these figures in a store; once again, the officials had no clue what or who they represented.

More than worth the effort – check these out whenever you can.

This trip was sponsored by TripAdvisor.in and Yatra.com.

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The ancient temples at Kiramchi near Udhampur in the state of Jammu and Kashmir

The ancient temples at Kiramchi near Udhampur in the state of Jammu and Kashmir

The ancient temples at Kiramchi near Udhampur in the state of Jammu and Kashmir

The ancient temples at Kiramchi near Udhampur in the state of Jammu and Kashmir

The ancient temples at Kiramchi near Udhampur in the state of Jammu and Kashmir

The ancient temples at Kiramchi near Udhampur in the state of Jammu and Kashmir

The ancient temples at Kiramchi near Udhampur in the state of Jammu and Kashmir

The ancient temples at Kiramchi near Udhampur in the state of Jammu and Kashmir

The ancient temples at Kiramchi near Udhampur in the state of Jammu and Kashmir

The ancient temples at Kiramchi near Udhampur in the state of Jammu and Kashmir

5 Comments

  1. Niyeti Rana Paruthi says:

    The temple of Kiramchi looks like a very interesting site………..it is surprising that they havnt been able to decipher the how, what, why, when of it!

  2. Purplesphinx says:

    Fabulous frames of ‘secret’ temples! Having made it to the nearby Sun Temple at Martand (8th century; Karkota Period) with a friend last May, can well imagine your excitement at these rarely-visited and little-known finds. Great to see the greco-roman influence, evident also at Martand, continued in these arches and columns.

    Good wishes in the rest of your intrepid (and, may i add, most inspiring) travels.

    best –
    Ps

  3. Thanks PS. Yes, it was so exciting as if I was an explorer who has discovered something for the world to see. :) Thanks for your wishes.

  4. Samvit Rawal says:

    Hi,rnI am surprised that there is someone else other than me who has visited this place. I visited this place with my family in April 2010. The temperature was 45 degrees. It was a memorable visit. I will surely go back in winter. I think the ASI including Mr Kachroo and Mr Kaul have done some amazing work there.

  5. Hi Samvit, It’s really fun to discover something few people have. Even I was there in April 2010 – and boy, was it hot. Yes the ASI are doing a great job.

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