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Avantipur: The Pilgrim Centre Of Jammu And Kashmir

By Aishwarya Mishra

PC: Prasad Mantri

When somebody mentions Jammu and Kashmir, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? Is it the gorgeous Kashmir valley and the pristine landscapes surrounding Leh? Or is it the beautiful Dal Lake which leaves you flattered?

The religious shrines in Jammu irk every traveller's mind and this destination certainly has a lot of places for attracting tourists. Its cuisine and culture, if you notice, is equally mind-blowing. Today, let us talk about one of the lesser-known towns located in the wonderful state of Jammu and Kashmir, named Avantipur and its beauty that every traveller would love to explore.

BEST TIME TO VISIT AVANTIPUR

BEST TIME TO VISIT AVANTIPUR

PC: Mariiamir

The tinsel town awaits most visitors in the months between April and November. Be sure to carry woollen clothes during the winters as the cold is quite harsh and temperature might go below 0 °C. The sunny summer temperature is around 25°C and thus light cotton clothes could become your best friend!

HOW TO REACH AVANTIPUR

By Air: Srinagar is the nearest airport and about 29 km away from Avantipur. There are regular connecting flights from Delhi, Chandigarh and Jammu.

By Rail: If you wish to travel by train, the Jammu railway station will be your best bet, though you should know it located about 235 km away from Avantipur. You may need to book a cab or travel by bus from here.

By Road: Let regular buses guide you on your trip to Avantipur as they connect Avantipur to the state capital, Srinagar. The distance between Srinagar and Avantipur is about 35 km.

PLACES TO VISIT IN AVANTIPUR

PLACES TO VISIT IN AVANTIPUR

PC: Varun Shiv Kapur

The most mesmerizing monument situated here is the Avantiswami Temple which was constructed during 855 TO 883 AD. There is yet another temple which is fondly built for the devotees of Lord Shiva and is addressed as the Avantishvara Temple! It towers lower than the Avantiswami Temple and is just a km away. However, both the temples were merrily constructed in the 9th century by a certain King Awantivarman. It also sports a Tulian Lake which remains clad in a carpet of snow all through the winter season.

1) Avantiswami Temple:

1) Avantiswami Temple:

PC: Varun Shiv Kapur

The Greek architectural style is definitely praiseworthy and reflected in the construction of this temple. It was built for the devotees of Lord Vishnu and comprises of a central shrine with four other shrines in its vicinity. The main shrine comprises of a staircase which consists of an open-sided mandapa with pillars: located right in front of it.

When it comes to describing exquisite architecture and art, the carvings and sculptures showcased by the temple are stunning. Would you believe that the temple has gone around 20 ft deep into the mud and only its topmost point is visible to the naked eye? This temple which took birth in the banks of the Vitasta river now comprises of only architectural richness in the form of fragments on the Srinagar-Jammu road.

The temple bases are intact but the bad news is that the shrine has almost become invisible. The entire temple was built out of sandstone which is why it could not withstand the marks left by time, any longer!

2) Avantishvara Temple:

2) Avantishvara Temple:

PC: Varun Shiv Kapur

This temple was fondly built for the devotees of Lord Shiva. The temple gate is beautifully constructed out of stone. Heard about a small village called Jaubror? This temple lies in the vicinity of this village. You shall love the spectacular view of a central shrine and four smaller shrines which are spread in the extreme corners of the courtyard but are pleasing to the eye. The magnificence of the orifice might have lessened with time and it has come down to only remnants, though the devotees are completely loyal and continue worshipping here!

When you enter, the entrance shall greet you with enchanting sculptures adorning the walls as well as the flank walls of the stairs. That is not all! A generous coat of lime plaster mixed with a tinge of colour adds to the beauty of the decoration. The base consists of a black square block with its upper edge rounded off or molded to perfection.

3) Tulian Lake:

3) Tulian Lake:

PC: Raqueeb Mir

Located at an altitude of 3353 m above sea level, this is a snowy paradise which is 16 km from Pahalgam and 11 km from Baisaran. This glittering pool of water lies within the Zanskar and Pir Panjal mountain ranges and you can take in the stunning views of peaks that are about 300 m above its level. Can't get enough of the brilliant Kashmir valley? Tulian Lake Expedition is your ideal answer to appreciate its beauty. If you plan to access it from Baisaran, the way is tough with no significant trekking trails. You can join the expedition via Pahalgam as well.

TOURIST PLACES AROUND AVANTIPUR:

TOURIST PLACES AROUND AVANTIPUR:

PC: Madhumita Das

Still so hooked to the place that you still want to look around? Well, well, well! Let's speculate on places nearby Avantipur. Visit Srinagar, which was discovered by Emperor Ashoka; the state capital now on the banks of river Jhelum. It resides in the amazing Kashmir valley and its waterfront is the dazzling Dal Lake.

You shall also fall in love with the Mughal gardens, Shalimar Bagh, Nishat Bagh, Chasm-e-Shahi and Pari Mahal. About 70 km from Avantipur, is the exotic hill station called Pahalgam. Does shrine of Amarnath ring a bell? The trail to Amarnath starts from Pahalgam. If time permits visit them all and make your trip simply worth it!

Also read: Beautiful Lakes of Jammu and Kashmir

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