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1st Jyotirling-Somnaath-2

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1-Somnaath Temple-2

Ransacking and Rebuilding of Somnaath Jyotirling

The present temple is the seventh temple reconstructed on the original site. The first temple of Somnaath is said to have existed before the beginning of the Christian era. The second temple, built by the Maitrak kings of Vallabhee in Gujaraat, replaced the first one on the same site around 649. In 725 Junayad, the Arab governor of Sindh region, sent his armies to destroy the second temple. The Pratihaar King Naagbhatt II constructed the third temple in 815, a large structure of red sandstone. In 1024, Mahmood Ghazanee raided the Temple from across the Thaar Desert. During his campaign, Mahmood was challenged by Ghogha Rana, who at the ripe age of 90, sacrificed his own clan fighting against this iconoclast. The temple and its citadel were ransacked, and more than 50,000 defenders were massacred; Mahmood Ghazanee personally hammered the temple's gilded lingam to pieces and the stone fragments were carted back to Ghazanee, where they were incorporated into the steps of the city's new Jamiah Masjid (Friday mosque).

The fourth temple was built by the Paramaar King Bhoj of Maalavaa and the Solankee king Bheem of Gujaraat (Anhilwara) or Patan between 1026 and 1042. The wooden structure was replaced by Kumarpal who built the temple of stone. The temple was raised in 1297 when the Sultanat of Delhi conquered Gujaraat, and again in 1394. the Mugal Emperor Aurangzeb destroyed the temple in 1706.

Sardaar Vallabh Bhai Patel, then Home Minister and the first Deputy Prime Minister of India took a pledge on November 13, 1947 for its reconstruction for the seventh time. A mosque present at that site was shifted a few miles away. It was completed on December 1, 1995 and President of India, Dr Shankar Dayal Sharma dedicated it in the service of the nation. The present temple was built by the Shree Somnaath Trust which looks after the entire complex of Shree Somnaath and its environs. The following extract is from "Wonders of Things Created, and marvels of Things Existing" by Asaru-L Bilad, a 13th century Muslim geographer. It contains the following description of Somnaath Temple and its destruction: The following is a long quotation:---

"Somnaath: celebrated city of India, situated on the shore of the sea, and washed by its waves. Among the wonders of that place was the Temple in which was placed the idol called Somnaath. This idol was in the middle of the Temple without anything to support it from below, or to suspend it from above. It was held in the highest honor among the Hindu, and whoever beheld it floating in the air was struck with amazement, whether he was a Muslim or an infidel.

The Hindu used to go on pilgrimage to it whenever there was an eclipse of the Moon, and would then assemble there to the number of more than a hundred thousand. They believed that the souls of men used to meet there after separation from the body, and that the idol used to incorporate them at its pleasure in other bodies, in accordance with their doctrine of transmigration. "The ebb and flow of the tide was considered to be the worship paid to the idol by the sea.

Everything of the most precious was brought there as offerings, and the Temple was endowed with more than 10,000 villages. There is a river (the Ganges) which is held sacred, between which and Somnaath, the distance is 200 parasang. They used to bring the water of this river to Somnaath every day, and wash the temple with it. A thousand Braahman were employed in worshipping the idol and attending on the visitors, and 500 damsels sung and danced at the door-all these were maintained upon the endowments of the temple.

The edifice was built upon fifty-six pillars of teak, covered with lead. The shrine of the idol was dark. hut was lighted by jeweled chandeliers of great value. Near it was a chain of gold weighing 200 Man (mounds, 1 mound=40 Seer). When a portion (watch) of the night closed, this chain used to be shaken like bells to rouse a fresh lot of Braahman to perform worship. "When the Sultan Yaminu-d Daula Mahmud Bin Subuktigin went to wage religious war against India, he made great efforts to capture and destroy Somnat, in the hope that the Hindu would then become Muhammadans. He arrived there in the middle of Zi-l k´ada, 416 Hijaree year (December, 1025 AD). "The king looked upon the idol with wonder, and gave orders for the seizing of the spoil, and the appropriation of the treasures. There were many idols of gold and silver and vessels set with jewels, all of which had been sent there by the greatest personages in India. The value of the things found in the temples of the idols exceeded twenty thousand thousand Deenaars.

(Elliot´s footnote: The enormous treasures found at Somnaath have been a theme of wonder for all who have written on that conquest.) "When the king asked his companions what they had to say about the marvel of the idol, and of its staying in the air without prop or support, several maintained that it was upheld by some hidden support. The King directed a person to go and feel all around and above and below it with a spear, which he did, but met with no obstacle. One of the attendants then stated his opinion that the canopy was made of loadstone, and the idol of iron, and that the ingenious builder had skillfully contrived that the magnet should not exercise a greater force on anyone side-hence the idol was suspended in the middle. Some coincided, others differed. Permission was obtained from the Sultan to remove some stones from the top of the canopy to settle the point. When two stones were removed from the summit the idol swerved on one side, when more were taken away it inclined still further, until at last it rested on the ground."

Ahilyaabaaee's Somnaath Temple or Old Somnaath Temple:

This Temple is adjacent to the present temple. As the main Somnaath Temple witnessed series of attacks and destruction in the medieval period, Mahaaranee Holkar who was a great devotee of Lord Shiv, built this temple in 1783. She felt that the older place was inauspicious as there were series of attacks. She built the temple in basement as a security measure. Above it on the ground a small temple of Lord Shiv is built. Unlike the new, there is no restriction on Poojaa by devotee in this temple. So, many can be seen performing Poojaa here. It is known as old Somnaath Temple and it is also managed by Shri Somnath Trust.

Geetaa Mandir -
Geetaa Mandir campus comprises of Geetaa Mandir, Balaraam Jee nee Gufaa, Lakshmeenaaraayan Temple, Dehotsarg place, Shree Kaashee Vishwanaath Temple, Mahaprabhuji Baithak and Bheemnaath Mahaadev Temple. Geetaa Temple, also known as Birla temple, is marvelous architectural beauty in Marbles. The images of Geetaa Hymns are depicted in the inscriptions of marble walls. The Temple is constructed in such a way that one can hear the echo of his voice inside the Temple, so that the Krishn Bhajan by the devotees are echoed in the environments.

Balaraam Jee nee Gufaa :--
Bheemeshwar temple / Panch Paandav ni Gufaa /Bheemnath Mahadev Temple :
Panch Paandav Gufa is a temple situated near Laalghaatee in Somnaath. Late Baba Narayandas founded it in the year 1949. This temple is dedicated to five Paandav brothers. This temple at an elevated place, offers a beautiful view of surrounding holy city.

Bhalka Teerth :--->
There is a beautiful idol of Lord Shri Krishna in meditating form. The Peepal tree is also seen outside the main temple. Near the main temple is Mahaadev Temple. This is the place where the arrow of Jaraa poacher hit Lord Krishn while he was meditating under the Peepal tree. He had taken the shining mark of the foot of Krishn as an animal and shot arrow. Krishn pardoned Jaraa and walked away to the bank of Hiren river and left the mundane world there only. This sacred Teerth is located 5 km on Prabhaspatan-Veraaval road, Bhalka Teerth, where Krishn was shot on the feet by Jaraa, the Bheel hunter.

Shree Krishna Nij Dhaam Prasthaan Teerth (Dehotsarg Teerth) :--
This Teerth is located on the banks of Hiran at a distance of 1.5 km from Somnaath Temple. Krishn took his divine journey to Nij Dham from this sacred soil. Rich accounts of this event of Krishn are maintained by the authentic traditions of Mahaabhaarat, Bhaagvat Puraan, and Vishnu Puraan etc. Swami Shri Gajananand Saraswati Ji has critically examined the previously mentioned classical Indian traditions and suggested the time of Nij Dhaam Prasthaan of Krishn. He suggested that Krishn departed on the first day of bright fortnight of Chaitra month (which corresponds with 18 February of English calendar) in the year 3102 BC at 2:27:30 hours.

The footprint of Krishn is carved here to mark the memory of Krishn Nij Dhaam Prasthaan Leelaa. Baladevji, the elder brother of Krishn also took his last journey from here in his original serpent form. This is marked by an ancient holy cave called "Daaooji-ni Gufaa".

Trivenee Sangam Snaan Ghaat
Trivenee Ghaat in Somnaath is situated on the confluence of three holy rivers Kapil, Hiran and a mystical River Saraswatee (also known as Gupt Saraswatee). It is believed that the rivers flow to the ultimate destination of Sea from here. This symbolizes the human birth, life and death. This is a sacred place. It is believed that the bath in the waters at this Ghaat offers relief from all curses and ills happened. It is an important place to pay homage to ancestors, Pitri Tarpan. as it holds high religious importance for Tarpan for the ancestors. In Chaitra and Bhaadrapad months of Hindu calendar huge crowds are seen here. In Hindu mythology feeding fish is regarded as a Talismaan for getting wealth and prosperity. People can be seen feeding fish here.



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Created and Maintained by Sushma Gupta
Created on March 15, 2003 and Updated on May 29, 2012