Avantishvara - Shiva temple is the prime attraction of Avantipur and is renowned among tourists for the massive walls that surround its site. This temple is the bigger of the two major temples of Avantipur, the Shiva-Avantishvara temple and the Avantisvami-Vishnu temple.
It was constructed by Avantivarman, the son of Sukhvarman; the first Utpala king, to commemorate the Hindu god of destruction, Shiva, also known as Mahadev. This pilgrimage site was buried underground for years and was later unearthed in the 18th century by the British.
Some of the statues were taken away by the British from the excavation sites. At present, some of the artefacts excavated from the temples of Shiva-Avantishvara and Avantisvami-Vishnu can be seen at the Shri Pratap Singh Museum in Srinagar.
This temple showcases the architectural style of the region that was prevalent during ancient times. However, over the years, Shiva-Avantishvara temple has to rubble. An attack by Sultan Sikander also referred to as Butshiken, who is recoded to have ruled this place, lead to the destruction of the structure.
Moreover, the raw materials used for its construction could not bear the assaults of time and nature. The temple displays idols of various gods and goddesses in different forms and positions. Closer observation will reveal that the walls of the Shiva-Avantishvara Temple had once been coated with a layer of plaster.