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The Somnath
Somnath
temple located in Prabhas Patan
Prabhas Patan
near Veraval
Veraval
in Saurashtra on the western coast of Gujarat, is believed to be the first among the twelve jyotirlinga shrines of Shiva.[1] It is an important pilgrimage and tourist spot of Gujarat. Destroyed and reconstructed several times in the past by several Muslim invaders [2][3][4][5][6] and Portuguese [7], the present temple was reconstructed in Chaulukya
Chaulukya
style of Hindu temple architecture and completed in May 1951. The reconstruction was envisioned by Vallabhbhai Patel
Vallabhbhai Patel
and was completed under K. M. Munshi, the then head of the temple trust.[8][9]

Contents

1 Etymology 2 Jyotirlinga 3 History

3.1 History of the temple 3.2 'Proclamation of the Gates' incident during the British period 3.3 Reconstruction during 1950–1951

4 Architecture of the present temple

4.1 Gallery

5 See also 6 Notes 7 References 8 External links

Etymology[edit] The temple is considered sacred due to the various legends connected to it. Somnath
Somnath
means "Lord of the Soma", an epithet of Shiva. The Somnath
Somnath
temple is known as "the Shrine Eternal", following a book of K. M. Munshi by this title and his narration of the temple's destruction and reconstruction many times in history.[10] Jyotirlinga[edit] According to tradition, the Shivalinga in Somnath
Somnath
is one of the 12 jyotirlingas in India, where Shiva
Shiva
is believed to have appeared as a fiery column of light. The jyotirlingas are taken as the supreme, undivided reality out of which Shiva
Shiva
partly appears.[11][12] Each of the 12 jyotirlinga sites take the name of a different manifestation of Shiva.[13] At all these sites, the primary image is a lingam representing the beginning-less and endless stambha (pillar), symbolizing the infinite nature of Shiva.[13][14][15] In addition to the one at Somnath, the others are at Varanasi, Rameswaram, Dwarka, etc.[16][17] History[edit] The site of Somnath
Somnath
has been a pilgrimage site from ancient times on account of being a Triveni sangam (the confluence of three rivers — Kapila, Hiran and Sarasvati). Soma, the Moon god, is believed to have lost his lustre due to a curse, and he bathed in the Sarasvati River at this site to regain it. The result is the waxing and waning of the moon, no doubt an allusion to the waxing and waning of the tides at this sea shore location. The name of the town Prabhas, meaning lustre, as well as the alternative names Someshvar and Somnath
Somnath
("The lord of the moon" or "the moon god") arise from this tradition.[18] History of the temple[edit] According to popular tradition documented by J. Gordon Melton, the first Siva temple at Somanath is believed to have been built at some unknown time in the past. The second temple is said to have been built at the same site by the "Yadava kings" of Vallabhi
Vallabhi
around 649 CE. In 725 CE, Al-Junayd, the Arab governor of Sindh is said to have destroyed the second temple as part of his invasions of Gujarat
Gujarat
and Rajasthan. The Gurjara-Pratihara
Gurjara-Pratihara
king Nagabhata II is said to have constructed the third temple in 815 CE, a large structure of red sandstone.[19] However, there is no historical record of an attack on Somnath
Somnath
by Al-Junayd. Nagabhata II is known to have visited tirthas in Saurashtra, including Someshvara (the Lord of the Moon), which may or may not be a reference to a Siva temple because the town itself was known by that name.[20] The Chaulukya
Chaulukya
(Solanki) king Mularaja
Mularaja
possibly built the first temple at the site sometime before 997 CE, even though some historians believe that he may have renovated a smaller earlier temple.[21]

Ruined Somnath
Somnath
temple, 1869

In 1024, during the reign of Bhima I, the prominent Turkic ruler Mahmud of Ghazni
Mahmud of Ghazni
raided Gujarat, plundering the Somnath
Somnath
temple and breaking its jyotirlinga. He took away a booty of 20 million dinars.[2][3] Historians expect the damage to the temple by Mahmud to have been minimal because there are records of pilgrimages to the temple in 1038, which make no mention of any damage to the temple.[22] However, powerful legends with intricate detail developed in the Turko-Persian literature regarding Mahmud's raid,[23] which "electrified" the Muslim world according to scholar Meenakshi Jain.[24] They later boasted that Mahmud had killed 50,000 devotees. The devotees had tried to defend the temple from being vandalised and looted.[25][26] The temple at the time of Mahmud's attack appears to have been a wooden structure, which is said to have decayed in time (kalajirnam). Kumarapala (r. 1143–72) rebuilt it in "excellent stone and studded it with jewels," according to an inscription in 1169.[27][28] During its 1299 invasion of Gujarat, Alauddin Khalji's army, led by Ulugh Khan, defeated the Vaghela king Karna, and sacked the Somnath temple.[29] Legends in the later texts Kanhadade Prabandha (15th century) and Khyat (17th century) state that the Jalore ruler Kanhadadeva
Kanhadadeva
later recovered the Somnath
Somnath
idol and freed the Hindu prisoners, after an attack on the Delhi
Delhi
army near Jalore.[30] However, other sources state that the idol was taken to Delhi, where it was thrown to be trampled under the feet of Muslims.[31] These sources include the contemporary and near-contemporary texts including Amir Khusrau's Khazainul-Futuh, Ziauddin Barani's Tarikh-i-Firuz Shahi and Jinaprabha Suri's Vividha-tirtha-kalpa. It is possible that the story of Kanhadadeva's rescue of the Somnath
Somnath
idol is a fabrication by the later writers. Alternatively, it is possible that the Khalji army was taking multiple idols to Delhi, and Kanhadadeva's army retrieved one of them.[32] The temple was rebuilt by Mahipala I, the Chudasama king of Saurashtra in 1308 and the lingam was installed by his son Khengara sometime between 1331 and 1351.[33] As late as the 14th century, Gujarati Muslim pilgrims were noted by Amir Khusrow
Amir Khusrow
to stop at that temple to pay their respects before departing for the Hajj
Hajj
pilgrimage.[34] In 1395, the temple was destroyed for the third time by Zafar Khan, the last governor of Gujarat
Gujarat
under the Delhi Sultanate
Delhi Sultanate
and later founder of Gujarat
Gujarat
Sultanate.[35] In 1451, it was desecrated by Mahmud Begada, the Sultan of Gujarat.[36] In 1546, the Portuguese, based in Goa, attacked ports and towns in Gujarat
Gujarat
including Somnath
Somnath
and destroyed several temples and mosques.[7] By 1665, the temple, one of many, was ordered to be destroyed by Mughal emperor Aurangzeb.[37] In 1702, he ordered that if Hindus revived worship there, it should be demolished completely.[38] 'Proclamation of the Gates' incident during the British period[edit] In 1782-83 AD, Maratha king Mahadaji Shinde, victoriously brought back three silver gates from Lahore
Lahore
after defeating Mahmud Shah Abdati, to Somnath. After refusal from priests of Gujarat
Gujarat
and the then ruler Gaekwad
Gaekwad
to put them back on Somnath
Somnath
temple, these silver gates were placed in the temples of Ujjain. Today they can be seen in two temples of India, Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga
Jyotirlinga
and Gopal Mandir of Ujjain.[39][40][41] In 1842, Edward Law, 1st Earl of Ellenborough
Edward Law, 1st Earl of Ellenborough
issued his Proclamation of the Gates, in which he ordered the British army in Afghanistan to return via Ghazni and bring back to India
India
the sandalwood gates from the tomb of Mahmud of Ghazni
Mahmud of Ghazni
in Ghazni, Afghanistan. These were believed to have been taken by Mahmud from Somnath. Under Ellenborough's instruction, General William Nott
William Nott
looted the gates in September 1842. A whole sepoy regiment, the 43rd Bengal Native Infantry, was detailed to carry the gates back to India[42] in triumph. However, on arrival, they were found not to be of Gujarati or Indian design, and not of Sandalwood, but of Deodar wood (native to Ghazni) and therefore not authentic to Somnath.[43][40] They were placed in the arsenal store-room of the Agra Fort
Agra Fort
where they still lie to the present day.[44][45] There was a debate in the House of Commons in London in 1843 on the question of the gates of the temple and Ellenbourough's role in the affair.[46][47] After much crossfire between the British Government and the opposition, all of the facts as we know them were laid out. In the 19th century novel The Moonstone
The Moonstone
by Wilkie Collins, the diamond of the title is presumed to have been stolen from the temple at Somnath
Somnath
and, according to the historian Romila Thapar, reflects the interest aroused in Britain by the gates.[48] Reconstruction during 1950–1951[edit]

K.M. Munshi with archaeologists and engineers of the Government of India, Bombay and Saurashtra, with the ruins of Somnath
Somnath
Temple in the background, July 1950.

Early picture of the present temple

Before independence, Prabhas Patan
Prabhas Patan
was part of the princely state of Junagadh, whose ruler had acceded to Pakistan in 1947. After India refused to accept his decision, the state was made a part of India
India
and Deputy Prime Minister Patel came to Junagadh
Junagadh
on 12 November 1947 to direct the stabilization of the state by the Indian Army and at the same time ordered the reconstruction of the Somnath
Somnath
temple.[49] When Patel, K. M. Munshi and other leaders of the Congress went to Mahatma Gandhi
Mahatma Gandhi
with their proposal to reconstruct the Somnath
Somnath
temple, Gandhi blessed the move, but suggested that the funds for the construction should be collected from the public and the temple should not be funded by the state. He expressed that he was proud to associate himself to the project of renovation of the temple.[50] However, soon both Gandhi and Sardar Patel died and the task of reconstruction of the temple continued under Munshi, who was the Minister for Food and Civil Supplies, Government of India
Government of India
headed by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.[50] The ruins were pulled down in October 1950 and the mosque present at that site was shifted few kilometres away by using construction vehicles.[51] In May 1951, Rajendra Prasad, the first President of the Republic of India, invited by K M Munshi, performed the installation ceremony for the temple.[52] The President said in his address, "It is my view that the reconstruction of the Somnath
Somnath
Temple will be complete on that day when not only a magnificent edifice will arise on this foundation, but the mansion of India's prosperity will be really that prosperity of which the ancient temple of Somnath
Somnath
was a symbol.".[53] He added "The Somnath
Somnath
temple signifies that the power of reconstruction is always greater than the power of destruction."[53] Architecture of the present temple[edit]

Bāṇastambha (Arrow Pillar)

The present temple is built in the Chaulukya
Chaulukya
style of temple architecture or " Kailash
Kailash
Mahameru Prasad" style[54] and reflects the skill of the Sompura Salats, one of Gujarat's master masons. The temple's śikhara, or main spire, is 15 metres in height, and it has an 8.2-metre tall flag pole at the top.[54] The temple is situated at such a place that there is no land in a straight line between Somnath
Somnath
seashore until Antarctica, such an inscription in Sanskrit
Sanskrit
is found on the Bāṇastambha (Sanskrit: बाणस्तम्भ, lit. arrow pillar) erected on the sea-protection wall. The Bāṇastambha mentions that it stands at a point on the Indian landmass that is the first point on land in the north to the South Pole
South Pole
at that particular longitude.[citation needed] Gallery[edit]

Somnath
Somnath
Temple in 1957

Somnath
Somnath
Temple in 2012

Somnath
Somnath
Temple at dawn

See also[edit]

Prabhas Patan Bhalka Conversion of non-Muslim places of worship into mosques Kashi Vishwanath Temple

Notes[edit]

^ " Somnath
Somnath
darshan". Official website of Somnath
Somnath
Temple. Retrieved 19 December 2016.  ^ a b Yagnik & Sheth 2005, pp. 39-40. ^ a b Thapar 2004, pp. 36-37. ^ Catherine B. Asher, Cynthia Talbot. India
India
before Europe. Sterling Publishers. p. 42.  ^ Thapar 2004, pp. 68–69 ^ Yagnik & Sheth 2005, p. 47-50. ^ a b Yagnik & Sheth 2005, p. 52. ^ Gopal, Ram (1994). Hindu culture during and after Muslim rule: survival and subsequent challenges. M.D. Publications Pvt. Ltd. p. 148. ISBN 81-85880-26-3.  ^ Jaffrelot, Christophe (1996). The Hindu nationalist movement and Indian politics: 1925 to the 1990s. C. Hurst & Co. Publishers. p. 84. ISBN 1-85065-170-1.  ^ Ranjan Ghosh (30 June 2012). A Lover's Quarrel with the Past: Romance, Representation, Reading. Berghahn Books. pp. 54–. ISBN 978-0-85745-485-0.  ^ Eck 1999, p. 107 ^ See: Gwynne 2008, Section on Char Dham ^ a b Lochtefeld 2002, pp. 324-325 ^ Harding 1998, pp. 158-158 ^ Vivekananda Vol. 4 ^ Venugopalam 2003, pp. 92–95. ^ Chaturvedi 2006, pp. 58–72. ^ Thapar 2004, p. 18. ^ Melton, J. Gordon (2014). Faiths Across Time: 5,000 Years of Religious History. ABC-CLIO. pp. 516, 547, 587. ISBN 1610690265.  ^ Dhaky & Shastri 1974, p. 32 cited in Thapar 2004, p. 23 ^ Thapar 2004, pp. 23-24. ^ Thapar 2004, p. 75. ^ Thapar 2004, Chapter 3. ^ Meenakshi Jain (21 March 2004). "Review of Romila Thapar's "Somanatha, The Many Voices of a History"". The Pioneer. Retrieved 2014-12-15.  ^ Catherine B. Asher, Cynthia Talbot. India
India
before Europe. Sterling Publishers. p. 42.  ^ Thapar 2004, pp. 68–69: But Mahmud’s legitimacy in the eyes of established Islam also derived from the constant reiteration that he was a Sunni who attacked the heretics, the Ismai‘ilis and Shi‘as in India
India
and Persia. The boast is always that their mosques were closed or destroyed and that invariably 50,000 of them were killed. The figure becomes formulaic, a part of the rhetoric for killing, irrespective of whether they were Hindu kafirs or Muslim heretics. ^ Thapar 2004, p. 79. ^ Yagnik & Sheth 2005, p. 40. ^ Yagnik & Sheth 2005, p. 47. ^ Ashok Kumar Srivastava (1979). The Chahamanas of Jalor. Sahitya Sansar Prakashan. pp. 39–40. OCLC 12737199.  ^ Kishori Saran Lal (1950). History of the Khaljis (1290-1320). Allahabad: The Indian Press. p. 85. OCLC 685167335.  ^ Dasharatha Sharma (1959). Early Chauhān Dynasties. S. Chand / Motilal Banarsidass. p. 162. ISBN 9780842606189. OCLC 3624414.  ^ Temples of India. Prabhat Prakashan. Retrieved 1 November 2014.  ^ Flood, Finbarr Barry (2009). Objects of Translation: Material Culture and Medieval "Hindu-Muslim" Encounter. Princeton University Press. p. 43. ISBN 9780691125947.  ^ Yagnik & Sheth 2005, p. 49. ^ Yagnik & Sheth 2005, p. 50. ^ Satish Chandra, Medieval India: From Sultanat to the Mughals, (Har-Anand, 2009), 278. ^ Yagnik & Sheth 2005, p. 55. ^ Amitabh Mishra (1 January 2007). Heritage Tourism in Central India: Resource Interpretation and Sustainable Development Planning. Kanishka Publishers, Distributors. p. 42. ISBN 978-81-7391-918-3.  ^ a b "Mosque and Tomb of the Emperor Sultan Mahmood of Ghuznee". British Library. Retrieved 1 November 2014.  ^ 101 pilgrimages. Outlook India
India
Pub. 2006. p. 79.  ^ "Battle of Kabul 1842". britishbattles.com. Retrieved 16 October 2017.  ^ Havell, Ernest Binfield (2003). A Handbook to Agra and the Taj. Asian Educational Services. pp. 62–63. ISBN 8120617118. Retrieved 16 October 2017.  ^ John Clark Marshman (1867). The History of India, from the Earliest Period to the Close of Lord Dalhousie's Administration. Longmans, Green. pp. 230–231.  ^ George Smith (1878). The Life of John Wilson, D.D. F.R.S.: For Fifty Years Philanthropist and Scholar in the East. John Murray. pp. 304–310.  ^ The United Kingdom House of Commons Debate, 9 March 1943, on The Somnath
Somnath
(Prabhas Patan) Proclamation, Junagadh
Junagadh
1948. 584-602, 620, 630-32, 656, 674. ^ "The Gates of Somnauth, by Thomas Babington Macaulay, a speech in the House of Commons, March 9, 1843". Columbia University in the City of New York. Retrieved 5 August 2016.  ^ Thapar 2004, p. 170 ^ Hindustan Times, 15 Nov, 1947 ^ a b Marie Cruz Gabriel, Rediscovery of India, A silence in the city and other stories, Published by Orient Blackswan, 1996, ISBN 81-250-0828-4, ISBN 978-81-250-0828-6 ^ Mir Jaffar Barkriwala, The Glorious Destruction of Hindoo Temples in Kathiawar and their replacement, Ul Akbari Publications, Bharuch, 1902 ^ Peter Van der Veer, Ayodhya
Ayodhya
and Somnath, eternel shrines, contested histories, 1992 ^ a b Kanaiyalal Maneklal Munshi, Indian constitutional documents, Published by Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, 1967 ^ a b "Shree Somnath
Somnath
Trust :: Jay Somnath". Somnath.org. Retrieved 1 November 2014. 

References[edit]

Chaturvedi, B. K. (2006), Shiv Purana (First ed.), New Delhi: Diamond Pocket Books (P) Ltd, ISBN 81-7182-721-7  Eck, Diana L. (1999), Banaras, city of light (First ed.), New York: Columbia University Press, ISBN 0-231-11447-8  Gwynne, Paul (2009), World Religions in Practice: A Comparative Introduction, Oxford: Blackwell Publication, ISBN 978-1-4051-6702-4 . Harding, Elizabeth U. (1998). "God, the Father". Kali: The Black Goddess of Dakshineswar. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 156–157. ISBN 978-81-208-1450-9.  Lochtefeld, James G. (2002), The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism: A-M, Rosen Publishing Group, p. 122, ISBN 0-8239-3179-X  Venugopalam, R. (2003), Meditation: Any Time Any Where (First ed.), Delhi: B. Jain Publishers (P) Ltd., ISBN 81-8056-373-1  Vivekananda, Swami. "The Paris Congress of the History of Religions". The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda. Vol.4.  Thapar, Romila (2004). Somanatha: The Many Voices of a History. Penguin Books India. ISBN 1-84467-020-1.  Yagnik, Achyut; Sheth, Suchitra (2005), The Shaping of Modern Gujarat: Plurality, Hindutva, and Beyond, Penguin Books India, p. 39, ISBN 978-0-14-400038-8  Dhaky, M. A.; Shastri, H. P., eds. (1974). The Riddle of the Temple at Somanatha. Bharata Manisha.  Henry, Cousens (1931), Somnatha and Other Mediaeval Temples in Kathiawad, India: Archaeological Survey of India, Vol XLV, Imperial Press 

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Somnath
temple.

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Somnath
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Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Bhuj
(New temple) Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Bhuj Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Dholera Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Gadhada Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Junagadh Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Vadtal Gorthiya Mahadev Temple Pimpleshwar Mahadev, Saldi Santram Mandir

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