Anantnag is a city and a municipality, capital of the Anantnag district in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. It is a large business and trading centre of Kashmir Valley. The name Anantnag is derived from the Sanskrit term Ananta, meaning "infinite", and Nag means "snake". Anantanag is another name of Shesha Nag, which is the Divine Serpent of Mahavishnu. Nag also means "water spring" in the Kashmiri language. Thus, Anantnag is believed to mean "numerous springs" because there are many springs in the town, such as Nag Bal, Salak Nag and Malik Nag. According to Marc Aurel Stein, the name of the city comes from the great spring Ananta Nag issuing at the centre of the city. This is also corroborated by almost all local historians, including Kalhana, according to whom the city has taken the name of this great spring of Cesha Nag or Ananta Nag. Anantnag, like the rest of the Kashmir Valley, has witnessed many vicissitudes and experienced many upheavals from time to time. Charles von Hügel found here some monuments of the Mughal period in ruins when he visited Jammu and Kashmir in 1835. No significant ancient building or archaeological site is found in the district today, except for the Martand temple, as most of the ancient architectural monuments in the area were destroyed during the rule of Sultan Sikander Butshikan. What must have once been magnificent architectural show pieces like the Martand complex of temples, or the temples of Lalitaditya, the Emperor of Kashmir, and King Awantivarman at Awantipora (which lie midway between Srinagar and Anantnag), are now in grand ruins. The Martand temple is one of the important archaeological sites of the country. It was built around 500 AD. This temple has the typical Aryan structure as was present in Aryan Kashmir. The temple was attacked by Sikander Butshikan. It took one year for Sikander Butshikan to fully damage and destroy this Martand temple. Even today one gets surprised over art and skill of the builders of this world famous Martand temple by looking at its ruins. Its impressive architecture reveals the glorious past of the area. After Independence, the government developed many beauty spots of the district, but of their noble and magnificent edifices only faint traces survive.

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