Pandrethan is few miles from Srinagar at Badambagh. It was originally an old capital of Kashmir, founded by King Pravarsena in the 6th century AD as mentioned by Kalhana in his work Rajatarangini. The word Pandrethan is formed of “Purana” meaning “old” and “adhishthan” meaning “capital”. At Pandrethan is a beautiful stone temple, located not far from the road in a very low spring fed tank though its plinth is now submerged.
The Pandrethan temple was built by Meru, minister to King Partha who ruled Kashmir from 921-931. The temple was dedicated to Lord Vishnu and was named Meru Vardhana Swami. The design and evidences illustrate that the temple must have been a popular seat of pilgrimage in ancient times. Pandrethan finds proud mention in the Amar Nath Mahatmva, but now has lost its sacred associations.
The pyramidal roof of the temple is divided into two portions by an ornamental band. The ceiling is formed of nine blocks of stone; four resting over the angles of the cornice, reduce the opening to a square, and an upper course of four stones still further reduces the opening, which is covered by a single block decorated with a large lotus.
Further reading I found that this temple when first brought to notice to the world by George Trebeck had lot of ornamental designs but covered by plaster. It was Alexander Cunningham in around 1848 who first decided to remove the plaster and draw the design on the ceiling. Later around 1865, W G Cowie presented a more detailed drawing of the ceiling design of this temple as made by one R T Burney in Journal of The Asiatic Society of Bengal (Volume 35, Part 1. 1866).