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Reserve Jangal Masrur Joni-I, India

Masrur Temple

15 monolithic temples emulate an eroding sand castle. 

Intricately carved from one single piece of sandstone, almost nothing is known about the Masrur Temples. Besides conjecture and legend, there are no hard facts connecting the complex to a people or even a time period.

When the temples were first constructed, there were 19 in total, all ranging in size and complexity. Over the years, invasion and natural disaster has left only 15 ruins standing, but the high concentration and unique architecture make it one of the most intriguing temple sites in India.

According to legend, as good a source as any with the given information, the temples were built by the pandava, five brothers who engaged in a massive war with their cousins in the Hindu epic Mahābhārata. Later archeological speculation supposed the temples were built in the 9th century by wealthy traders, who built the complex as a shrine to Siva, Rama, Lakshamana and Sita. A number of stone statues depicting these deities still exist inside of the larger temples.

Along with the actual structures, a 50 meter-long reservoir that is also hollowed from sandstone lies in front of the main structure, and reflects the stone-carved mystery in its waters.