Some Quick Facts:
Name of Location : Masroor (Nagrota Suriyan)in District Kangra
Other name(s) : Ekasham Shailkritya Mandir Samooh
Distance from Kangra : 38 km
Driving directions : From Gaggal, follow the Nagrota- Surian link road to reach Masroor. The co-ordinates of the place are : 32°4′22″N 76°8′14″E.
Best time to visit : Between March and October
Road condition : Excellent
Timings : 6:00 am to 6:00 pm, open all days
Entry Fee : Rs 5/- per person
Masroor Rock-cut temple is a little known magnificent temple complex that dates back to 8th century. A group of 15 monolithic rock-cut temples are carved out by hand in Indo-Aryan style. The entire structure is richly carved and is situated on the top of a 2500 feet hillock. The temple has a rectangular water pond in the foreground and is surrounded by the gorgeous Dhauladhar flora.The temple is rare for a reason that it is the only shrine of its kind in the sub-Himalayan region of Northern India; even though it possesses striking resemblance with the Ellora caves in Maharashtra. Hence it is also famously known as Ellora of North India.
The main shrine (at the centre) is known as Thakurdwara and has black stone idols of Ram, Laxman and Sita facing east. Also there’s a presence of figurine of Shiva that suggests the worshipping of Lord Mahadeva initially. Although little is known about the story behind their formation, the locals believe that the temple is built by Pandavas during their exile. According to the Art historicists, the temple is constructed in late Gupta style in the second half of 8th century having spatial arrangement in Nagara style of architecture.
After the 1905 earthquake, there was severe damage to this rock structure and hence the temple is partly ruined. However, some of the temple’s beautifully carved panels were shifted to State Museum, Shimla for display.The temple is already considered as protected monument by Indian Government (since 1914) and is in the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The temple complex will leave one awestruck with its rich carving and beautiful sculpturing. However the carving is getting eroded due to various environmental factors like weather and vegetation. Nevertheless, the quaint temple complex and its ruins evoke a feeling of wonder and mystery.
The place is remote but worth every mile. The unique structure of this site that’s hewn out of a live rock leaves a lasting impression on the observer. One is bound to be mystified by this extraordinary formation.