India is a diverse country where people of all religions stay together. This magnificent land called India is known for its great heritage, civilization, culture, and spiritual significance.
Here we will know about one of the great significant and holy place of Hindus. This pilgrims place of Hindus is known as Somnath Temple.
This temple is too splendid that everyone coming from outside has eyes on this temple. Its magnificence is the primary cause that outsiders had tried to attack and demolish this symbol of Hinduism and our rich heritage. But every time it had rebuilt. And today even after centuries, its grandeur is as attractive as it was before.
Let's know every aspect of this significant temple and also don't miss some facts about Somnath Temple in the end:
Location of the Somnath Temple
For Hindus, it is one of the holiest pilgrimage destinations. They believe it to be the first of Shiva's twelve Jyotirlinga shrines. The full name of Somnath Temple is Somnath Jyotirlinga. Its location also makes this place more significant. It is situated at the bank of the Arabian Sea in Gujrat. It is located in Prabhas Patan, Veraval in Gujarat, India.
Story of built-destroy-rebuilt
The temple of Somnath in Gujarat could be described as "indestructible." Many times the outside rulers who ruled here caused a lot of damage to this temple, but some kings together got this religious place rebuilt.
A glance at the history of the Somnath temple reveals that it has been destroyed 17 times and resurrected each time. Unbelievable right! But this temple is as firm as a rock even today, after facing all the attacks.
Attacked by Mohamad Ghazni
- It is believed that a Chaulukya ruler constructed the first temple sometime before 997 AD. But within 3-4 decades after the construction, the majority of us believe that Mahmud Ghazni (1025-1026) was the first to desecrate and steal this treasured Indian temple. He was too desperate to loot all the wealth of the temple.
- In 1024, The temple was destroyed by Mahmud Ghazni. He went back to his country after looting gold, silver, diamonds, and jewels from the temple.
- It is said that when Mahmud Ghazni could not break that Shivling, he set fire to the temple at that time Somnath temple.
- At that time, 56 pillars of sapphire were installed in the Somnath temple, in which different types of gems were studded besides diamonds, but the robbers looted the precious gems and also destroyed the temple.
- Ghazni's attack was the most talked-about because he did not know how many people were slaughtered during the attack. He attacked the Somnath temple with about 5000 soldiers, it is said that at that time about 25000 people had come to worship in the temple.
Some historians believe Mahmud of Ghazni was responsible for the temple's third great demolition (rather than the first, as most of us assume)! Some unknown Arab invader demolished the first temple!
Somnath attacked by other Muslim Rulers
- After breaking the temple of Mahmud Ghazni, King Bhima re-established this temple. In 1093, King Siddharaj Jai Singh also consecrated the temple and fully cooperated in its sanctification.
- When Visheshwar Kumar Pal visited Somnath with Jain Acharya Hemchandra Sari in 1168, he also got a lot of improvements done in the temple.
In this way, while the Indian kings were repeatedly engaged in rebuilding the temple, the same Muslim rulers were adamant about destroying it again and again.
- Alauddin Khilji destroyed the Somnath temple in 1297 AD, his general Nusrat Khan looted the temple a lot.
- In 1395 AD, Sultan Muzaffar Shah of Gujarat also got involved in destroying the temple. Following his father's footsteps, Ahmed Shah again destroyed the Somnath temple in 14 to 13 AD, thus the Muslim rulers attacked this temple continuously.
However, each time the Somnath Mandir was demolished, a new temple with greater beauty and splendor arose in its place.
Rebuilt after the Independence
After too much destructions, when India got independence, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel took the responsibility to build this Temple again. The latest revival of the Somnath temple took place under the supervision of Sardar Vallabhai Patel, the "Iron Man of India" (between 1947 and 1951).
Somnath Temple, as it stands now (situated in Prabhas Patan near Veraval). Somnath Jyotirlinga is one of the twelve sacred Jyotirlingas, and millions of religious pilgrims visit this temple to pay their respects to Lord Shiva. So, let's find out more about this magnificent temple.
Architecture & Design of Somnath Temple
It is said that first Somdev built the original temple of Somnath in gold. After this, the Lord Sun or Ravi (others claim Lord Ravana) cast silver and in the Dwapar era, when Shri Krishna settled in Gujarat, he built it with wood.
In modern times, finally, Maharaja Bhimdev got this temple built with stones.
The Outer Architecture
- The architecture of the Somnath temple is similar to that of the Chalukyas. The sounds of the sea waves breaking against the coasts may be heard from inside this seaside temple!
- The temple's outward attractiveness is accentuated with a tall spire and flagpole. From afar, you can see the dark Saffron flag blowing in the sea air.
The center of attraction in Somnath Temple is the Somnath Jyotirlinga. Somnath Jyotirlinga is believed to be one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva.
- There are many mythological stories behind its establishment. It is said that this holy Jyotirlinga was established where Lord Shiva had appeared.
- The word Jyotirlinga is a Sanskrit word made up of two words Jyoti means light and Linga means sign or symbol. Jyotirlinga is worshiped as Lord Shiva, it is said that in these 12 places Lord Shiva appeared.
- We don't know who carved this idol, but we do know that whoever did it was a metallurgical genius. According to legend, the Shiva Linga or Shivalaya is made of a unique metal that allows it to float in water.
Baan Stambha (Arrow Pillar)
- Another masterpiece in the temple is the 'Ban Stambha' or 'Arrow Pillar'. This pillar is a symbol of the great intelligence of the people of that time. It carries lots of mysterious facts.
- There is a pillar in the courtyard of that temple which is known as Baan Pillar. There is a secret is hidden in this pillar that surprises everyone.
- There is an arrow made at the top of the pillar and this arrow pillar is a direction guiding pillar whose mouth points towards the Arabian sea.
- There is one verse (stanza) also written in Sanskrit on the lower part of the pillar which means that there is not a single obstacle in the straight line from this point of the sea to the south pole. It means if you draw a straight line from this point till the south pole, there will be no glacier, island, mountain, etc in the way.
Now the biggest question is; how people even in that era know that where the South Pole is and the Earth is round? And without any ships how would they have discovered that there is no obstacle even in the straight line?
Many historians and researchers are still discovering the mystery of this temple and pillar. This pillar and the verse is written on it contain many mysteries in themselves.
The Mythology of Somnath Temple
Somnath Temple is tied with a fascinating mythical story. There are many stories linked with the origin and significance of this temple. Let's see some mythological significance of Somnath Temple:
Lord Shiva: The God of Somdev
- According to a mythological story and Hindu Scriptures 'Rigveda', Somdev or Chandra Dev had married 27 daughters of King Daksha, but he used to give more love and respect to Rohini.
- That's why, the rest of the wives complained about it to their father Daksha Prajapati. Seeing the injustice done to the rest except one girl, King Daksha got angry and cursed Chandra dev.
- According to the curse, his brightness will gradually decrease and will end for one day. To get rid of this curse, Lord Moon started worshipping Lord Shiva.
- In the end, Lord Shiva was pleased and removed the curse of Chandra Dev. In this way, Lord Shiva, who removed the troubles of Soma, was established, as Somnath.
- So, Lord Shiva became famous in the world as Somnath. In this temple, Shiva appeared in the form of a Linga.
Where Lord Krishna left his body
Somnath temple is a holy place. It is said that Lord Krishna gave up even after killing Yaduvansh, Somnath Temple is the place where Krishna leave this mortal body and world.
Mysterious Facts about Somnath Temple
Here are a few unheard and mysterious facts about Somnath Temple:
- Nobody knows about the origin of Somnath Temple. It means nobody knows when and by whom it was built.
- This precious temple of India was attacked many times. Mughals and British Emperors had tried several times to destroy this temple. This temple was attacked 17 times by foreign invaders, yet each time it was restored to its former splendor. But every time, it had been protected and rebuilt by great kings.
- The temple that we now worship was built in 1951, and it was the temple's seventh construction. According to the Hindu Scripture "Rigveda", this temple was built by Chandra Dev. That's why it is known as Somnath Temple.
- In the temple, there is an arrow that symbolizes some connection between the temple and the south pole of the earth.
- But in modern times, after the independence of India, this temple was reconstructed by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in 1951.
- The archaeological of IIT Gandhinagar and other organizations have researched the temple. When they started searching under the temple courtyard, they found a network of many caves there.
- And according to those archaeologists, there is a building under the temple from where the entrance of the cave is.
- When the Mughal ruler Mohammad Ghazni attacked the Somnath Temple, he looted all the precious gems and gold. And destroyed the temple very badly.
- There must have been all the storms, cyclones, and floods in the Arabian Sea. But it is said that this ocean never took its limits and never did any damage to the temple. Rather in the west of India, this sea is the protector of the Somnath temple.