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M?rtanda (Sanskrit: ?) in Hinduism is the eighth and last of the Vedic solar deities called Adityas. He is known as an Aditya by virtue of being born to Aditi.


Mârtânda is etymologically derived from mârta meaning "dead or undeveloped," (being connected with mrita, the past participle of mri to die) and ânda, an egg or a bird; and it denotes a dead sun, or a sun that has sunk below the horizon.[1]


Martand Sun temple, built in 8th-century CE in Anantnag, Jammu and Kashmir is dedicated to M?rtanda.

In the tenth chapter of Rigveda, it is mentioned that -

Eight are the Sons of Aditi who from her body sprang to life.
With seven she went to meet the Gods she cast Martanda far away.
So with her Seven Sons Aditi went forth to meet the earlier age. She brought Martanda thitherward to spring to life and die again.[2]

Aditi first had only seven sons but later gave birth to an eighth son named M?rtanda. Although many hymns in the Rigveda mention him along the other Adityas as a form of Surya, but as evident from the verse above, Aditi shunned him.

Surya temple at Martand, photographed by John Burke, 1868.

The Taittirîya Aranyaka reads - tat parâ Mârtândam â abharat (she set aside Mârtânda for birth and death).
The Aranyaka then proceeds to give the names of the eight sons, as Mitra, Varuna, Dhât?i, Aryaman, Amsha, Bhaga, Indra and Vivasvat. But no further explanation is added, nor is it told which of these eight sons represented Mârtânda.[3]

In the post-Vedic period, when the number of Adityas increased to twelve, another name Vivasvat was added to the canon. Vivasvat and Martanda are often used interchangeably.

Martand Sun temple in Anantnag, Jammu and Kashmir is dedicated to M?rtanda. However, the temple is in ruins and Martanda is not venerated as earlier.

See also


  1. ^ Arctic Home in the Vedas, B G Tilak
  2. ^ Chapter-10, Verse -72, The Hymns of the Rigveda, translated by Ralph T. H. Griffith
  3. ^ The Taittirîya Aranyaka, I, 13, 2-3

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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