You are on page 1of 5

The Somnath Temple (Gujarati: Sanskrit: ) located in

the Prabhas Kshetra near Veraval in Saurashtra, on the western coast o


Gujarat, !ndia, is the "rst amon# the twelve $%otirlin#a shrines o the #od
Shiva& !t has currentl% become a tourist spot or pil#rims& The temple is
considered sacred due to the various le#ends connected to it& Somnath
means 'The Protector o (the) (oon #od'& The Somnath Temple is known as
'the Shrine )ternal', havin# been destro%ed man% times b% !slamic kin#s and
rulers&*+, (ost recentl% it was rebuilt in -ovember +./0, when Sardar
Vallabhbhai Patel visited the area or the inte#ration o $una#adh and mooted
a plan or restoration& 1ter Patel2s death, the rebuildin# continued under K&
(& (unshi, another minister o the Government o !ndia&*3,*4,
5ontents
+ 6istor%
+&+ 7e#end
+&3 Timeline
+&4 8econstruction o the Somnath Temple
3 1rchitecture
4 2Proclamation o the Gates2 !ncident
/ Galler%
9 See also
: 8eerences
0 -otes
; )<ternal links
6istor%
7e#end
1s per Shiv (ahapuran, once =rahma (the 6indu God o creation) and Vishnu
(the 6indu God o protection) had an ar#ument in terms o supremac% o
creation&*/, To test them, Shiva pierced the three worlds as a hu#e endless
pillar o li#ht, the j%otirlin#a& Vishnu and =rahma split their wa%s to
downwards and upwards respectivel% to "nd the end o the li#ht in either
directions& =rahma lied that he ound out the end, while Vishnu conceded his
deeat& Shiva appeared as a second pillar o li#ht and cursed =rahma that he
would have no place in ceremonies while Vishnu would be worshipped till the
end o eternit%& The j%otirlin#a is the supreme partless realit%, out o which
Shiva partl% appears& The j%othirlin#a shrines, thus are places where Shiva
appeared as a "er% column o li#ht&*9,*:, >ri#inall% there were believed to be
:/ j%othirlin#as while +3 o them are considered to be ver% auspicious and
hol%&*/, )ach o the twelve j%othirlin#a sites take the name o the presidin#
deit% ? each considered di@erent maniestation o Shiva&*0, 1t all these sites,
the primar% ima#e is lin#am representin# the be#innin#less and endless
Stambha pillar, s%mboliAin# the in"nite nature o Shiva, &*0,*;,*., The twelve
j%othirlin#a are Somnath in Gujarat, (allikarjuna at Srisailam in 1ndra
Pradesh, (ahakaleswar at Bjjain in (adh%a Pradesh, >mkareshwar in (adh%a
Pradesh, Kedarnath in Bttarakhand, =himashankar in (aharastra, Viswanath
at Varanasi in Bttar Pradesh, Triambakeshwar in (aharastra, Vaid%anath
$%otirlin#a, Ceo#arh in Ceo#har, $harkhand, -a#eswar at Cwarka in Gujarat,
8ameshwar at 8ameswaram in Tamil -adu and Grishneshwar at 1uran#abad
in (aharastra&*/,*+D,
Timeline
The second temple, built b% the Eadava kin#s o Vallabhi in Gujarat, replaced
the "rst one on the same site around :/. 5)&*++,
!n 039 5) $una%ad, the 1rab #overnor o Sind, sent his armies to destro% the
second temple&*++, The Gurjara Pratihara kin# -a#abhata !! constructed the
third temple in ;+9, a lar#e structure o red sandstone&
Somnath temple, +;:.
!n +D3/, the temple was destro%ed b% the (uslim prominent ruler, (ahmud
o GhaAni,*+3,*+4, who raided the temple rom across the Thar Cesert& The
temple was rebuilt b% the Gujjar Paramara Kin# =hoj o (alwa and the Solanki
kin# =himadev ! o 1nhilwara (now Patan) between +D3: and +D/3& The
wooden structure was replaced b% Kumarpal (r&++/4?03), who built the temple
o stone&*+/,*+9,
!n +3.:, the temple was once a#ain destro%ed b% 1llauddin Khilji2s arm%,*++,
*+3,*+9, and 8aja Karan o Gujarat was deeated and orced to Fee& 1ccordin#
to Taj?ul?(a2sir o 6asan -iAami, the Sultan boasted that '"t% thousand
in"dels were dispatched to hell b% the sword' and 'more than twent%
thousand slaves, and cattle be%ond all calculation ell into the hands o the
victors,'&*++, The temple was rebuilt b% (ahipala Ceva, the 5hudasama kin#
o Saurashtra in +4D; and the 7in#a was installed b% his son Khen#ar
sometime between +43: and +49+&*+9,
!n +409, the temple was once a#ain destro%ed b% (uAa@ar Shah ! o Gujarat
Sultanate&*++,*+9,
!n +/9+, the temple was once a#ain destro%ed b% (ahmud =e#ada, the
Sultan o Gujarat&*++,*+3,*+9,
=% +::9, the temple, one o man%, was once a#ain ordered destro%ed b%
(u#hal emperor 1uran#Aeb&*+:, 7ater the temple was rebuilt to its same
#lor% adjacent to the ruined one&
7ater on a joint e@ort o Peshwa o Pune, 8aja =honsle o -a#pur, 5hhatrapati
=honsle o Kolhapur, Gueen 1hil%abai 6olkar o !ndore H Shrimant Patilbuwa
Shinde o Gwalior rebuilt the temple in +0;4 at a site adjacent to the ruined
temple&
8econstruction o the Somnath Temple
=eore independence, Prabhas Pattan was part o the princel% state o
$una#adh, whose ruler had acceded to Pakistan in +./0& 1ter !ndia reused to
accept his decision, the state was made a part o !ndia, and the Ceput% Prime
(inister o !ndia, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel came to $una#adh on -ovember
+3, +./0 to direct the stabiliAation o the state b% the !ndian 1rm% and at the
same time ordered the reconstruction o the Somanath temple&*+0,
Ihen Sardar Patel, K& (& (unshi and other leaders o the 5on#ress went to
Gandhi with the proposal o reconstructin# the Somnath temple, Gandhi
blessed the move, but su##ested that the unds or the construction should
be collected rom the public and the temple should not be unded b% the
state& 6e e<pressed that he was proud to associate himsel to the project o
renovation o the temple*+;, 6owever, soon both Gandhi and Sardar Patel
died and the task o reconstruction o the temple continued under K& (&
(unshi, who was the (inister or Jood and 5ivil Supplies in the -ehru
Government&*+;,
The ruins were pulled down in >ctober +.9D and the mosKue present at that
site was shited ew kilometres awa%&*+., o !n (a% +.9+, 8ajendra Prasad,
the "rst President o the 8epublic o !ndia, invited b% K ( (unshi, perormed
the installation ceremon% or the temple&*3D, 8ajendra Prasad said in his
address '!t is m% view that the reconstruction o the Somnath Temple will be
complete on that da% when not onl% a ma#ni"cent edi"ce will arise on this
oundation, but the mansion o !ndia2s prosperit% will be reall% that prosperit%
o which the ancient temple o Somnath was a s%mbol&'&*3+, 6e added 'The
Somnath temple si#ni"es that the power o reconstruction is alwa%s #reater
than the power o destruction'*3+,
This episode created a serious rit between the then Prime (inister $awaharlal
-ehru, who saw the movement or reconstruction o the temple as an
attempt at 6indu revivalism and the President 8ajendra Prasad and Bnion
(inister K& (& (unshi, who saw in its reconstruction, the ruits o reedom and
the reversal o past injustice done to 6indus&*3+,
The present temple, which was built b% Patel and (unshi, is mana#ed b%
Shree Somnath Trust&
1rchitecture
sanctum sanctorum o the temple
1rrow Pillar or =aan?Stambh
The present temple is built in the 5haluk%a st%le o temple architecture or
Kailash (ahameru Prasad St%le*33, and reFects the skill o the Sompura
Salats, one o Gujarat2s master masons& The temple2s shikhara, or main spire,
is +9 metres in hei#ht, and it has an ;&3?metre tall Fa# pole at the top&*33,
The temple is situated at such a place that there is no land in strai#ht?line
between Somnath seashore till 1ntarctica, such an inscription in Sanskrit is
ound on the 1rrow?Pillar called =aan?Stambh erected on the sea?protection
wall at the Somnath Temple& This =aan?Stambh mentions that it stands at a
point on the !ndian landmass, which happens to be the "rst point on land in
the north to the south?pole on that particular lon#itude&*34,
2Proclamation o the Gates2 !ncident
!n +0;3?;4 1C, (aratha kin#, (ahadaji Shinde (8uler o -orth !ndia: BjjainL
GwaliorL (athura) victoriousl% brou#ht the Three Silver Gates rom 7ahore,
ater deeatin# (uhammad Shah o 7ahore& 1ter reusal rom Pundits o
GuArath and the then ruler Gaekwad to put them back on Somnath temple,
these silver #ates were placed in temples o Bjjain& Toda% the% can be seen in
Two Temples o !ndia (ahakaleshwar $%otirlin#a (andir H Gopal (andir o
Bjjain&*3/,
!n +;/3, )dward 7aw, +st )arl o )llenborou#h issued his amous
2Proclamation o the Gates2 in which he ordered the =ritish arm% in
1#hanistan to return via GhaAni and brin# back to !ndia the sandalwood
#ates rom the tomb o (ahmud o GhaAni in GhaAni, 1#hanistan& These
were believed to have been taken b% (ahmud rom Somnath& There was a
debate in the 6ouse o 5ommons in 7ondon in +;/4 on the Kuestion o the
#ates o the Somanatha temple&*39, 1ter much cross?"re between the =ritish
Government and the opposition, the #ates were uprooted and brou#ht back in
triumph& =ut on arrival, the% were ound to be replicas o the ori#inal&*3/, So
the% were placed in a store?room in the 1#ra Jort where the% still lie to the
present da%&
!n the +.th centur% novel The (oonstone b% Iilkie 5ollins, the diamond o
the title is presumed to have been stolen rom the temple at Somnath and,
accordin# to the historian 8omila Thapar, reFects the interest aroused in
=ritain b% the #ates