ancient indian history

The Hindu Pride _The Somnath temple

 The Somnath temple located in Prabhas Patan near veraval  on the western coast of Gujrat. The temple is believed to be the first among the twelve Jyotirlinga shrines of Shiva. It is an important pilgrimage and tourist spot of Gujarat. Destroyed and reconstructed several times in the past, the present temple was reconstructed in Chalukiya style of Hindu temple architecture and completed in May 1951. The  temple we see standing  today  was ordered to be reconstructed by Sardar Patel in 1948. The remains of earlier temple was removed and mosque was shifted a few kilometers away, (No one dared protesting for shifting of mosque built on temple as Ballab Bhai Patel was an iron leader)
The temple was destroyed several times by the hands of different Muslim rulers and was again erected just to be glorious than the previous one.
In this process of demolition and reconstruction not only Islamic fascists destroyed it to ground but also plundered all its wealth (even gates were taken along)
They massacred thousands of innocent Hindus. The level of hatred and extremism was so much that, in one of his expeditions, temple was put to floor and Shivling being crushed and stones were taken back to Ghazini just to put in the floor of the mosque there, so that Muslims could walk over them and disgrace it. And yet people try to blame
It was sacked 16 times. Thrice it was smashed to the ground. Six times the Shiv Ling itself was torn out & desecrated. The original one made of half a ton of solid gold-by some accounts, believed to have been consecrated by the gods themselves-was taken to Samarkand where half of it was melted down & the other half embedded under the steps of a mosque so that Muslims could walk over it.
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 was said to be built at the same site by the Seuna kings of 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 and Rajasthan. The Gurjara-Pratihara king Nagabhata II is said to have constructed the third temple in 815 CE, a large structure of red sandstone.

There is no historical record of an attack on Somnath by Al-Junayd. However, Nagabhata II is known to have visited tirthas in Saurashtra, including Someshvara (the Lord of the Moon) at Somnath, which may or may not be a reference to a Siva temple.

The Solanki king Mulraj 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 in 1024, the temple built by Mularaja was destroyed by the prominent Afghan ruler,Mahmud of Ghazni,who raided the temple from across the Thar Desert. The temple was rebuilt by the Paramara king Bhoja of Malwa and the Solanki king Bhimdev I of Anhilwara (now Patan, Gujarat) between 1026 and 1042. This appears to have been a wooden structure, which was replaced by a stone temple by Kumarpal.

In 1296, the temple was once again destroyed by Alauddin Khilji’s army. Raja Karan of Gujarat was defeated and forced to flee. According to Taj-ul-Ma’sir of Hasan Nizami, the Sultan boasted that “fifty thousand infidels were dispatched to hell by the sword” and “more than twenty thousand slaves, and cattle beyond all calculation fell into the hands of the victors.”

The temple was rebuilt by Mahipala Deva, the Chudasama king of Saurashtra in 1308 and the Linga was installed by his son Khengar sometime between 1326 and 1351.

In 1375, the temple was once again destroyed by Muzaffar Shah I of the Gujarat Sultanate.

In 1451, the temple was once again destroyed by Mahmud Begada, the Sultan of Gujarat.

By 1665, the temple, one of many, was once again ordered destroyed by Mughal emperor Aurangzeb.

Later the temple was rebuilt to its same glory adjacent to the ruined one. Later on a joint effort of Peshwa of Pune, Raja Bhonsle of Nagpur, Chhatrapati Bhonsle of Kolhapur, Queen Ahilyabai Holkar of Indore & Shrimant Patilbuwa Shinde of Gwalior rebuilt the temple in 1783 at a site adjacent to the ruined temple.

Before independence, 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 and Deputy Prime Minister Patel came to 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 Somanath temple.

When Patel, K. M. Munshi and other leaders of the Congress went to Mahatma Gandhi with their proposal to reconstruct the Somnath temple, Gandhi  suggested that the funds for the construction should be collected from the public and the temple should not be funded by the state for the reasons better known to Gandhi.  Consequent to death of  Sardar Patel  the task of reconstruction of the temple continued under Munshi, who was the Minister for Food and Civil Supplies in the Nehru Government.

The ruins were pulled down in October 1950 and the mosque present at that site was shifted few kilometres away.

In May 1951, Dr.Rajendra Prasad, the first President of the Republic of India, invited by K M Munshi, performed the installation ceremony for the temple.

The President said in his address, “It is my view that the reconstruction of the 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 was a symbol.”.

He added “The Somnath temple signifies that the power of reconstruction is always greater than the power of destruction”.



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