Deo Pattan, Prabhas Pattan, Pattan Somnath (some of the other names of this sea side town in Gujarat, India) would have all been erased from public memory. But instead of that this place has made a distinctive place for itself primarily because of this brilliant structure. The History of Somnath (as in referring to the city) is so completely dominated by the History of Somnath Temple that it would not be exaggeration in the least to say that they are synonymous.
Not much is known about the early History of Somnath temple. However it is popularly believed that the first temple existed even before the commencement of the Christian era. The second was built in the period 480-767 A.D. by the Vallabhi kings. This was again replaced by the Pratihara king Nagabhattta II in 815 A.D.
The Somnath temple which enshrines one of the twelve Jyotirlingas was so highly revered that people from various nook and corners of the country came to offer their prayers here.
As many as 2000 Brahmin priests were engaged in temple activities and the revenue collected from ten thousand villages were used for its maintenance. Prayers were announced by ringing the bell which was attached to a golden chain. Its walls were nothing less than pages of History. The exquisite sculptures were a reflection of the times and the pillars even had the names of the sculptors carved on them.
Unfortunately what happened in the year 1025 was a very unfortunate event in the Somnath temple history. Muhammad of Ghazni invaded the city and in spite of the valiant resistance put up by fifty thousand Shaivites, the temple was looted and razed to the ground. What was regarded as an architectural masterpiece was demolished brutally.
King Bhima of Gujarat and King Bhoja of Malwa then took upon themselves the noble task of renovating this fine edifice in red sandstone. However it was fated to be destroyed once again by Alaf Khan in 1300 A.D. This time King Mahipala belonging to the Chudasama dynasty renovated it.
Thereafter also the History of Somnath is punctuated with episodes of destruction and reconstruction at various points of time in the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries. Finally the temple was once again ruined in 1706 by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. After that more than two hundred years passed before Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel finally took upon himself the responsibility of constructing it once again in the year 1947. Much to the glory and pride of not just Somnath but of the whole of India this stunning temple was once again reincarnated. Presently this "Shrine Eternal" is visited by a large number of pilgrims as well as by common tourists. So without further delay you too can plan your Tour to Somnath to witness this majestic temple.
Troubled times and Hindu Resilience in rebuilding the grat temple of Somnath :This grand temple of Somanath came under the attack of the Muslims several times. In the year 722, Junamad, the Sindh Subedar attacked it for the first time and looted innumerable items from its treasure.
The beautiful statue of Somanath, can be seen from the center because of the miraculous magnetic power. Ghajni Mohammed, destroyed this statue on Friday, the 11th of May 1025 AD. From then onwards, Ghajni Mohammed came to be known as the “Statute Destroyer” (Iconoclast). On that day, he plundered and looted a treasure worth 18 crores.
In 1297 AD, Allauddin Kkhiji sent his Sardar Altaf Khan to Somanath on a mission of destroying and putting down the Somanath Mandir. The Somanath Temple was subjected to series of attacks starting in 1479 AD by Mohammad Begada, Mujaffar Shah, II, in 1503 AD, and finally by Aurangazeb, known to be the most intolerant towards other religions, in 1701 AD, where in, the temple was totally destroyed, plundered and looted in a most horrible way. A large number of people were killed mercilessly and a lot of money stolen.
In 1783 AD Sadhvi Alalya devi Holkar, a great devotee of Siva, built a new temple for Somanath after India become independent, the lion of Gujarat, Sardar Vallabhai Patel renovated the Somanath Temple on the advice of Kakashaheb Gadgil of Maharashtra with its revived Indian architectural beauty for which it became an unique example. It drew the attention of the world.
The Somanath JyotirLinga statue was reinstated (Pran Pratishta) on Friday the 11th May 1951 at 9.46 A.M. It was done by the then President of India, Honourable Dr. Rajendra Prasad, to the tune of the Veda chanting of Vedamurti Tarka Teertha Lakshman Shastri Joshi, in a grand manner.
This primary JyotirLinga located in India, is the cynosure of all Indian pilgrims. It is always crowded with lakhs of devotees. A large number of Sadhus and pious men can be met there. With the offerings of devotees, the Somanath Temple’s grandeur is revived. In spite of being subjected to destruction by intolerants, the faith of Indian devotees, dedication and their love was never destroyed. Shri Somanath JyotirLinga stands as the legendary example of the same.
The temples 15th memorial and the ancient monument located on the sea side of Kahiavad near Prabhaspattan. There are many famous mythological stories attached to them. The sun temple is the most ancient of all. There is no presiding deity in it, but the architecture of temple is so exquisite, that even by seeing the ruins one can imagine.
Saint Agastya, is supposed to have drunk the entire sea near Prabhasapattan. Mythological heroes like Janamejaya, Pandavas, Ravana are supposed to have visited Prabhasapattan Teerth. In the month of Magha (sometime in February) on the day of Shivaratri, Somanath JyotirLinga festival is celebrated with great aplomb.
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