ABSTRACT

The 30 May 1885 Kashmir earthquake with an estimated magnitude of Mw 6.3 is known to have caused widespread damage in the Kashmir valley (Jammu and Kashmir). This earthquake caused nearly 3400 causalities and also damaged prominent buildings, particularly in the northern part of the Kashmir valley. The most important buildings that were damaged are the ancient twin temples of Pattan, a small town in north Kashmir. The twin temples of Sankaragaureshwara and Sugendhesha were built during the reign of King Sankaravarman from A.D. 883 to 902. Comparison of pre‐earthquake photographs, the detailed damage reports soon after the earthquake, and present day photographs provide us the unique opportunity to reconstruct the damage caused by the 1885 earthquake. Repairs visible on the pre‐1885 photographs suggest that the temples had also been damaged prior to the 1885 earthquake, possibly by other major earthquakes that affected the Kashmir valley, such as the 1555 Kashmir earthquake (Mw 7.6), of which the shaking in the Kashmir valley should have been much stronger than that of the 1885 Kashmir earthquake. The earthquake damage to the Pattan twin temples is a reminder that the cultural heritage in earthquake‐prone regions is constantly under seismic threat.

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