What is the story of Somnath Temple


The temple Somnath (Gujarati: સોમનાથ મંદિર) near Veraval in Saurashtra, on the west coast of Gujarat, India, is considered the holiest of the twelve Jyotirlinga shrines of the god Shiva. Somnath means: "Protector of the moon god". The temple was destroyed six times and rebuilt just as often, most recently from 1950 to 1953 after India gained independence.[1][2]


The first temple at Somnath is said to date from the time before the birth of Christ.[3] The second, built by the Yadava dynasty of Vallabhi, replaced it around 649.[3] In 725 Junayad, the Arab governor of Sindh, had it destroyed. King Nagabhata II of Gujarat had the third temple built in 815.

Another destruction took place in 1024 by Mahmud of Ghazni, who received much praise for it in the Islamic world[4][3] A renewed reconstruction took place 1026-1042, followed by the renewed destruction in 1296 by the army of Sultan Allauddin Khilji.[3][4]

Mahipala Deva, King of Saurashtra had the sanctuary rebuilt in 1308, Muzaffar Shah I, Sultan of Gujarat had it destroyed again in 1375.[3] Further destruction took place in 1451 and 1701, the latter by the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb.[3] Aurangzeb had a mosque built in his place using materials from the temple. Queen Ahilyabai Holkar of Indore had a new temple built next to this mosque in 1783.[3]

Somnath 1957

After gaining independence, the sanctuary was rebuilt in 1950. The mosque was moved a few kilometers.[5] Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru disapproved of this act of Hindu activism.


  • Christophe Jaffrelot: The Hindu Nationalist Movement and Indian Politics: 1925 to the 1990s. Columbia University Press, New York / Hurst / London and Penguin India, New Delhi 1996.
  • Peter van der Veer: Ayodhya and Somnath, Eternal Shrines, Contested Histories. In: Social Research 59: 1 1992, pp. 85ff.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Ghazni sacks Somnath Temple. on: indhistory.com
  2. Somanatha and Mahmud. on: flonnet.com
  3. abcdefGLeaves from the past. Retrieved February 15, 2011.
  4. abSomnath Temple. In: Official Gujarat State Portal.
  5. Somnath History. on: meriyatrra.com

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  • Hindu temple in India
  • Reconstructed building
  • Structure in Gujarat
  • Religion (gujarat)