LAKE MANASBAL: SUBMERGED TEMPLE
Manasbal Lake has an ancient temple built during the reign of Avantiverman or Shankaraverman between the 8″ or 9 century. It was also the time when the Verman Kings built the Shiva temple of Mani Mahesh in Bharmour. This was the time when some Brahmins moved from Kashmir to Chamba Valley, Himachal Pradesh to assist the temple rituals. Most scholars on Kashmir mention very little temple building activity after the 12″ century. The 8th century temples of Kashmir were constructed of evenly dressed ashlar masonry. Built of mammoth boulders, the joints were put together with lime water, which is seen at Wangat and also using steel dowels, used in the Martand temple.
One of the shikharas of the submerged temple is visible today. The temple is constructed in local grey stone much like the temple at Avantipura. The temple has engravings at the corners resembling Corinthian or floral motif. The shikhara seems to be resting on a square base about four feet from each side. RC Kak has also mentioned about the submerged temple of Manasbal Lake in his chronicle ‘Monuments of Kashmir’ published from London in 1896. The small temple is now partially submerged during the greater part of the year.
It is a very small structure, and only its two pyramidal roofs are visible in the driest seasons. The cornice of the lower roof, and the horizontal band which divides it from the upper storey, are decorated. Only the upper part of the pediment of the entrance is visible, which faces West. At present, the temple is submerged in a water body around it with a retaining wall. This could be potentially due to the low ground water in the lake or the presence of a spring around it.