Krimchi Temples Of Jammu And Kashmir Celebrate The Cultural Confluence Of The Hellenistic World And Local Faith!

Krimchi is one of the main sites of some of the oldest temple complexes of Jammu. Some of these temples are deemed to have been erected during the 11th-12th century. The temples are dedicated to one of the gods of the Hindu Trinity, Lord Shiva.

As per the legends, Raja Kichak of Mahabharat was said to be the creator of town Krimchi and the Kingdom. It is also said that Pandavas while in exile remained there for a long period. Another legend states that the Pandavas called the region home for a substantial amount of time during their exile. Some scholars date these temples to second century AD built by Kushan ruler on way to Kashmir. It is believed that Kushan ruler was moved to pity at the sight of sufferings and misery caused by long wars. He became a Buddhist. More realistically these temples appear to have been built at some later date.

Initially, the temples might have been constructed by Pandavas and ruined by the ravages of time and got constructed again in 8th or 9th century AD. The architecture of the temples in the complex display distinct influences of the Hellenic or Greek kingdom. Abstract designs combined with sculptures of Hindu gods, including Ganesha, Parvati and Shiva line the walls.

The ASI asserts that the temples were built around the 8th or 9th centuries CE. While five of the seven temples are constructed on a common platform, the rest are based on one much higher than these. Although the temples in the complex are in ruins, they are maintained well by the Archaeological Survey of India. Close to the temple complex runs a small river that adds to the beauty of its surroundings. The Complete group of temples were not constructed at a time but in different periods.


Krimchi was a halt station on Jammu-Kashmir trade route. Kichak king a contemporary of Pandavas is said to have laid the foundation of Krimchi. Kichak was killed by Pandavas and Krimchi remained kingless for many centuries. According to revenue records Bhupal Singh of village Landhar came to Krimchi and constructed his palace within the walls of fort on Garh top. He had no off springs and Krimchi became kingless again. According to Diwan Narsingh Dass Nargis king Puran Karan sent his son Dayakaran to Kashmir on the demand of people. His successors ruled Kashmir for fifty five generations.

King Som Dutt of same clan came to Krimchi and established his Principality namely Bhuti. The area up to village Landhar was included with Bhuti with its capital at Krimchi. After ruling for next twelve generations by his successors Bhatyal Rajputs, there was a large expansion in the family and many of them settled down at other places. King Bhadur Singh of same lineage ruled Bhuti during the period Ranjit Dev of Jammu. Himmat Singh was the last ruler of Bhuti and principality was merged with Jammu by Maharaja Gulab Singh in 1834 AD.

All temples, except one, face east and are built on a similar plan comprising a Garbhagriha with curvilinear shikara and antarala with sukanasika. The temples have pillared mandala in front of astarala. The garbhagriha is built on triratha and Pancharatha plan externally and square internally.

Sharanya Alva


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