The Gop temple is a Sun temple located at Zinavari village in Jamjodhpur Taluka of Jamnagar district, Gujarat, India. The Hindu temple is dated to the 6th century and is one of the earliest surviving stone temples in Gujarat.[2][3] The original temple had a square plan, a mandapa and covered circumambulation passage which are lost, and a pyramidal masonry roof which is ruined but whose partial remains have survived.[2] The temple has a height of 23 feet (7.0 m) which includes a small tower. The roof of the tower is decorated with arch-like gavaksha window shapes below an amalaka cogged wheel-shaped crown.

Gop Temple
ગોપનું મંદિર
6th century Gop temple in Gujarat
6th century Sun temple
Religion
AffiliationHinduism
DistrictJamnagar district
DeitySurya, Skanda, others[1]
Location
LocationZinavari village, Jamjodhpur Taluka
StateGujarat
CountryIndia
Gop Temple is located in India
Gop Temple
Shown within India
Gop Temple is located in Gujarat
Gop Temple
Gop Temple (Gujarat)
Geographic coordinates22°1′43″N 69°55′44″E / 22.02861°N 69.92889°E / 22.02861; 69.92889Coordinates: 22°1′43″N 69°55′44″E / 22.02861°N 69.92889°E / 22.02861; 69.92889
Architecture
StyleHindu temple architecture
Completed6th century CE[2]

LocationEdit

It is located on the bank of Vartu river and south-west of the Gop hill of Barda Hills. The Zinavari village is also known as Juna or Nana Gop and is located east of Gop village. It is located north of Ghumli, on a hill top.[4][3]

HistoryEdit

East view
Southeast view
Northwest view

The ancient temple of Gop is considered the earliest surviving stone temple of Saurashtra, Gujarat.[3][4] Burgess in 1876 estimated it not later than 6th century.[4] Sankalia states that the temple belongs to 5th century but not earlier than Uparkot caves of Junagadh based on the Kahu-Jo-Darro stupa of Mirpurkhas.[5] The temple is generally dated to late 6th century (575-600 CE).[2][6]

K. V. Soundara Rajan assigned the first half of the 7th century.[7][8] The most probable date considered now is the last quarter of 6th century (Maitraka period) to the first half of the 7th century.[9] The temple is protected monument by Archeological Survey of India and is designated as Monument of National Importance (N-GJ-133).

DescriptionEdit

 
The small, 23 feet tall Gop temple has a square plan.

The temple has a square plan to which were added bricked double courtyards centuries later. The temple was bigger and included a mandapa and a roofed pradakshina-patha (circumambulation passage), but most of it was damaged and has fallen away leaving a peculiar looking skeletal structure. The sanctum walls remain standing and parts above the shikhara.[A] The shrine is 10 feet 9 inches square from inside. It is 23 feet high and has 2 feet 6 inches thick walls. The walls are plain without any ornamentation and perpendicular to height till 17 feet and over it survives the pyramidal shikhara. Each course is about 8 inches deep and is jointed. Thus it is built from stones without any kind of cement. At 11 feet from the floor, there are four holes in the front and back walls, each 14 inches high, probably for joists; and over them, in side walls, are six smaller holes, probably for rafters. The sanctum faces the east. Its front wall fell and seems rebuilt at someone with the inner sides of the stones turned out, showing the sockets of the clamps with which the stones had been secured. There is an inscription on the left jamb of the door which Burgess was unable to decipher.[4][10]

 
Sketch of ruined roof (north side). The arch shaped motifs include reliefs.
 
Inscription on the left jamb of the door

The shikhara (spire) is formed by six or seven courses having beveled edges followed by square faces and at last the apex covered by single slab. It follows corbel principle, the interior is hollow. From outside, it rises in tiers having three clear divisions. The lowest division has two gavakshas or arch-shaped motifs on each side, with some images carved in. The apex is crowned by a single stone amalaka (stone disc) on it. Some figures on the Shikhara are identifiable. There is Ganesha figure still visible in the west side and another Deva figure on the north side. There are a series of holes 212 feet below the string-course which supported beams that once supported the roof of inner courtyard.[4][10][11]

Of two courtyards, the inner courtyard is mostly broken. It was 35 feet 2 inches square with bay on the east side 18 feet 4 inches by 7 feet 3 inches. It may have served as parikrama path so it is sandhara (with circumambulatory path) type of temple. The basement of it was decorated on all four sides by one niche in centre and one each at the corners. These are empty, but likely had sculpture inside. The stretch between these niche was ornamented with small figures such as dwarfs. The outer courtyard was about 912 feet wide. It was probably open above or at least laterally.[4][10]

There are two figures of deities in yellow stone inside the shrine. It can not be decided who are they exactly. They are locally known as Rama and Lakshaman. The Ram figure has high square Mukuta or head-dress while Lakshamana has low crown, long ear-rings, ringlets and holds spear in right hand.[4] The temple features iconography of Vishnu, Skandha, Surya (the solar deity) and the temple has been locally called Surya Mandir. The site also shows iconography of Shivaism, with evidence that Hindu monks lived here.[4][11]

Influences and resemblancesEdit

The temple is an unusual architectural variation on the Nagara style. It has resemblances with early Dravidian temples of Pattadakal and Aihole. It also have similarities with temples of Kashmir in arrangement of roof and the trefoil niches on outside wall of inner courtyard.[12] Such temples include Martand Sun Temple, Pandrethan and Payar temples though all of them are later than 8th century. Gupta period temples, the temple is on high and square plinth, jagati, with a projection on the east. But the plinth is much higher and is made of heavy blocks of stone which is characteristic local form.[13] The temple has chaitya-windows similar to Uparkot caves of Junagadh but they had lost their use as vedika so they must have evolved later. The sculpture of Kahu-Jo-Darro stupa of Mirpurkhas has similarities with sculptures of Gop temple. As it is dated 4th to 5th century, the Gop temple may belonged to similar period.[4] The radiocarbon dating of wood beam from the temple dating has confirmed its age of 550 AD.[11]

Notes and referencesEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ In south India, this part is called vimana, a term virtually not used in north India and Gujarat. So shikhara is used here to describe the spire.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Sara L. Schastok (1985). The Śāmalājī Sculptures and 6th Century Art in Western India. BRILL Academic. pp. 75 with footnotes. ISBN 90-04-06941-0.
  2. ^ a b c d Ulrich Wiesner (1978). Nepalese Temple Architecture: Its Characteristics and Its Relations to Indian Development. BRILL Academic. pp. 47–48 with footnotes. ISBN 90-04-05666-1.
  3. ^ a b c Susan Verma Mishra; Himanshu Prabha Ray (5 August 2016). The Archaeology of Sacred Spaces: The Temple in Western India, 2nd Century BCE–8th Century CE. Routledge. pp. 108–109. ISBN 978-1-317-19374-6.; Quote: "The earliest image in the region can be dated to the fourth century CE and a worn out figure at the temple of Gop dates to between 525 and 550 CE".
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i James Burgess (1876). Report on the Antiquities of Kutch & Kathiawar: Being the Result of the Second Season's Operations of the Archaeological Survey of Western India, 1874-1875. London: India Museum. p. 187. Retrieved 27 August 2016.   This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain. Alt URL
  5. ^ Hasmukh Dhirajlal Sankalia (1941). The Archaeology of Gujarat: Including Kathiawar. Natwarlal & Company. pp. 55–59. Alt URL
  6. ^ Jutta Jain-Neubauer (1 January 1981). The Stepwells of Gujarat: In Art-historical Perspective. Abhinav Publications. p. 14. ISBN 978-0-391-02284-3.
  7. ^ K. V. Soundara Rajan (1980). A Note on the Age of Gop Temple in Glimpses of Indian Culture: History & Archaeology. Sundeep. pp. 196–199.
  8. ^ Annual Bibliography of Indian Archaeology. Brill Archive. p. 90. ISBN 90-04-03691-1.
  9. ^ Sompura, Kantilal F. (1968). The Structural Temples of Gujarat, Upto 1600 A.D. Gujarat University. pp. 75–76.
  10. ^ a b c Ulrich Wiesner (1 January 1978). Nepalese Temple Architecture: Its Characteristics and Its Relations to Indian Development. BRILL. pp. 47–48. ISBN 90-04-05666-1.
  11. ^ a b c Nanavati, J. M.; Dhaky, M. A. (1969). "The Maitraka and the Saindhava Temples of Gujarat". Artibus Asiae. Supplementum. JSTOR. 26: 33–40. doi:10.2307/1522666. JSTOR 1522666. Retrieved 31 December 2016.
  12. ^ Kallidaikurichi Aiyah Nilakanta Sastri (1982). A Comprehensive History of India: pt. 1-2. A.D. 300-985. Orient Longmans. pp. 1156–1158.
  13. ^ Prithvi Kumar Agrawala (1968). Gupta temple architecture. Prithivi Prakashan. p. 57.