Somnath Temple Gujarat

Somnath Temple Gujarat

The Somnath temple located in Prabhas Patan near Veraval in Saurashtra on the western coast of Gujarat, is believed to be the first among the twelve jyotirlinga shrines of Shiva. It is an important pilgrimage and tourist spot of Gujarat. Reconstructed several times in the past after repeated destruction by several Muslim invaders and rulers as well as the Portuguese, the present temple was reconstructed in Chaulukya style of Hindu temple architecture and completed in May 1951. The reconstruction was started under the orders of first Home Minister of India Vallabhbhai Patel and completed after his death.

Etymology of Somnath Temple

The temple is considered sacred due to the various legends connected to it. Somnath means “Lord of the Soma”, an epithet of Shiva.

The Somnath temple is known as “the Shrine Eternal”, following a book of K. M. Munshi by this title and his narration of the temple’s destruction and reconstruction many times in history.

Jyotirlinga in Somnath Temple, Gujarat

According to tradition, the Shivalinga in Somnath is one of the 12 jyotirlingas in India, where Shiva is believed to have appeared as a fiery column of light. The jyotirlingas are taken as the supreme, undivided reality out of which Shiva partly appears.

Each of the 12 jyotirlinga sites take the name of a different manifestation of Shiva. At all these sites, the primary image is a lingamrepresenting the beginning-less and endless stambha (pillar), symbolizing the infinite nature of Shiva. In addition to the one at Somnath, the others are at Varanasi, Rameswaram, Dwarka, etc.

Somnath Temple History, Gujarat

The site of Somnath has been a pilgrimage site from ancient times on account of being a Triveni sangam (the confluence of three rivers: Kapila, Hiran and Sarasvati). Soma, the Moon god, is believed to have lost his lustre due to a curse, and he bathed in the Sarasvati River at this site to regain it. The result is the waxing and waning of the moon, no doubt an allusion to the waxing and waning of the tides at this seashore location. The name of the town Prabhas, meaning lustre, as well as the alternative names Someshvar and Somnath (“The lord of the moon” or “the moon god”) arise from this tradition.

Somnath Temple Pictures

Somnath Temple Pictures

History of the Somnath temple

According to popular tradition documented by J. Gordon Melton, the first Shiva temple at Somnath is believed to have been built at some unknown time in the past. The second temple is said to have been built at the same site by the “Yadava kings” of Vallabhi around 649 CE. In 725 CE, Al-Junayd, the Arab governor of Sindh is said to have destroyed the second temple as part of his invasions of Gujarat and Rajasthan. The Gurjara-Pratihara king Nagabhata II is said to have constructed the third temple in 815 CE, a large structure of red sandstone.

However, there is historical record of an attack on Somnath by Al-Junayd. Nagabhata II is known to have visited tirthas in Saurashtra, including Someshvara (the Lord of the Moon), which may or may not be a reference to a Siva temple because the town itself was known by that name. The Chaulukya (Solanki) king Mularaja possibly built the first temple at the site sometime before 997 CE, even though some historians believe that he may have renovated a smaller earlier temple.

Ruined Somnath temple, 1869

In 1024, during the reign of Bhima I, the prominent Turkic ruler Mahmud of Ghazni raided Gujarat, plundering the Somnath temple and breaking its jyotirlinga despite pleas by Brahmins not to break it. He took away a booty of 20 million dinars. Historians expect the damage to the temple by Mahmud to have been minimal because there are no records of pilgrimages to the temple till 1038, for 12 years no pilgrim due to damages However, powerful legends with intricate detail developed in the Turko-Persian literature regarding Mahmud’s raid, which “electrified” the Muslim world according to scholar Meenakshi Jain. They later boasted that Mahmud had killed 50,000 devotees. The devotees had tried to defend the temple from being vandalised and looted.

The temple at the time of Mahmud’s attack appears to have been a wooden structure, which is said to have decayed in time (kalajirnam). Kumarapala (r. 1143–72) rebuilt it in “excellent stone and studded it with jewels,” according to an inscription in 1169. During its 1299 invasion of Gujarat, Alauddin Khalji’s army, led by Ulugh Khan, defeated the Vaghela king Karna, and sacked the Somnath temple. Legends in the later texts Kanhadade Prabandha (15th century) and Khyat (17th century) state that the Jalore ruler Kanhadadeva later recovered the Somnath idol and freed the Hindu prisoners, after an attack on the Delhi army near Jalore. However, other sources state that the idol was taken to Delhi, where it was thrown to be trampled under the feet of Muslims. These sources include the contemporary and near-contemporary texts including Amir Khusrau’s Khazainul-Futuh, Ziauddin Barani’s Tarikh-i-Firuz Shahi and Jinaprabha Suri’s Vividha-tirtha-kalpa. It is possible that the story of Kanhadadeva’s rescue of the Somnath idol is a fabrication by the later writers. Alternatively, it is possible that the Khalji army was taking multiple idols to Delhi, and Kanhadadeva’s army retrieved one of them.

Somnath Temple Images

Somnath Temple Images

The temple was rebuilt by Mahipala I, the Chudasama king of Saurashtra in 1308 and the lingam was installed by his son Khengara sometime between 1331 and 1351. As late as the 14th century, Gujarati Muslim pilgrims were noted by Amir Khusrow to stop at that temple to pay their respects before departing for the Hajj pilgrimage.

In 1395, the temple was destroyed for the third time by Zafar Khan, the last governor of Gujarat under the Delhi Sultanate and later founder of Gujarat Sultanate. In 1451, it was desecrated by Mahmud Begada, the Sultan of Gujarat.

In 1546, the Portuguese, based in Goa, attacked ports and towns in Gujarat including Somnath and destroyed several temples and mosques.

By 1665, the temple, one of many, was ordered to be destroyed by Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. In 1702, he ordered that if Hindus revived worship there, it should be demolished completely.

‘Proclamation of the Gates’ incident during the Maratha period

In 1782-83, Maratha Shinde king of Gwalior, Mahadaji Shinde, victoriously brought back three silver gates from Lahore after defeating Mahmud Shah Abdati, to Somnath. After refusal from priests of Gujarat and the then ruler Gaekwad to put them back on Somnath temple, these silver gates were placed in the temples of Ujjain. Today they can be seen in two temples of India, Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga and Gopal Mandir of Ujjain.

The Gates from the tomb of Mahmud of Ghazni stored in the Arsenal of Agra Fort – Illustrated London News, 1872

In 1842, Edward Law, 1st Earl of Ellenborough issued his Proclamation of the Gates, in which he ordered the British army in Afghanistan to return via Ghazni and bring back to India the sandalwood gates from the tomb of Mahmud of Ghazni in Ghazni, Afghanistan. These were believed to have been taken by Mahmud from Somnath. Under Ellenborough’s instruction, General William Nott removed the gates in September 1842. A whole sepoy regiment, the 6th Jat Light Infantry, was detailed to carry the gates back to India in triumph. However, on arrival, they were found not to be of Gujarati or Indian design, and not of Sandalwood, but of Deodar wood (native to Ghazni) and therefore not authentic to Somnath. They were placed in the arsenal store-room of the Agra Fort where they still lie to the present day. There was a debate in the House of Commons in London in 1843 on the question of the gates of the temple and Ellenbourough’s role in the affair. After much crossfire between the British Government and the opposition, all of the facts as we know them were laid out.

In the 19th century novel The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins, the diamond of the title is presumed to have been stolen from the temple at Somnath and, according to the historian Romila Thapar, reflects the interest aroused in Britain by the gates.

Reconstruction during 1950–1951 of Somnath Temple

K. M. Munshi with archaeologists and engineers of the Government of India, Bombay, and Saurashtra, with the ruins of Somnath Temple in the background, July 1950.

Before independence, Prabhas Patan was part of the Junagadh State, whose ruler had acceded to Pakistan in 1947. After India refused to accept his decision, the state was made a part of India and Deputy Prime Minister Patel came to Junagadh on 12 November 1947 to direct the stabilization of the state by the Indian Army and at the same time ordered the reconstruction of the Somnath temple.

When Patel, K. M. Munshi and other leaders of the Congress went to Mahatma Gandhi with their proposal to reconstruct the Somnath temple, Gandhi blessed the move, but suggested that the funds for the construction should be collected from the public and the temple should not be funded by the state. He expressed that he was proud to associate himself to the project of renovation of the temple. However, soon both Gandhi and Sardar Patel died and the task of reconstruction of the temple continued under Munshi, who was the Minister for Food and Civil Supplies, Government of India headed by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

The ruins were pulled down in October 1950 and the mosque present at that site was shifted few kilometres away by using construction vehicles. In May 1951, Rajendra Prasad, the first President of the Republic of India, invited by K M Munshi, performed the installation ceremony for the temple. The President said in his address, “It is my view that the reconstruction of the Somnath Temple will be complete on that day when not only a magnificent edifice will arise on this foundation, but the mansion of India’s prosperity will be really that prosperity of which the ancient temple of Somnath was a symbol.”. He added: “The Somnath temple signifies that the power of reconstruction is always greater than the power of destruction.”

Architecture of the present Somnath Temple

Bāṇastambha (Arrow Pillar)

The present temple is built in the Chaulukya style of temple architecture or “Kailash Mahameru Prasad” style and reflects the skill of the Sompura Salats, one of Gujarat’s master masons. The temple’s śikhara, or main spire, is 15 metres in height, and it has an 8.2-metre tall flag pole at the top.

The temple is situated at such a place that there is no land in a straight line between Somnath seashore until Antarctica, such an inscription in Sanskrit is found on the Bāṇastambha erected on the sea-protection wall. The Bāṇastambha mentions that it stands at a point on the Indian landmass that is the first point on land in the north to the South Pole at that particular longitude.

Quotes On Somnath Temple, Gujarat

  • Perhaps no other pilgrimage in India combines the eternal with the historical as vividly as that to the Somnath temple…. Whenever I have visited Prabhas Patan and watched the waves of the sea lapping up the feet of the Somnath temple, I have wondered how much of India’s timeless history has been witnessed by this imposing and lonely-looking shrine.
    • L.K. Advani, My Country My Life (2008). ISBN 978-81-291-1363-4
  • bout the lesson of medieval iconoclasm in India’s history. ‘Temple after temple was broken down by the foreign conqueror, but no sooner had the wave passed than the spire of the temple rose up again. Some of these old temples of South India, and those like Somnath in Gujarat, will teach you volumes of wisdom, which will give you a keener insight into the history of the race than any amount of books. Mark how these temples bear the marks of a hundred attacks and a hundred regenerations, continually destroyed and continually springing up out of the ruins, rejuvenated and strong as ever! That is the national mind, that is the national life-current. Follow it and it leads to glory.’
    • L.K. Advani, My Country My Life (2008). ISBN 978-81-291-1363-4
  • The Somnath Mahadev Temple is an important place of worship in Daman. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the temple situated in the village Dabhel. It is believed that the Shiva Linga originated at its present place on the request of a monk who was a devotee of Shiva. The miraculous incident is believed to have taken place in the 19th century, which induced people to hold this place as holy and they built a small temple. It was rebuilt in the year 1972-73 with glass decorative. Every year there is a fair organized here known as “Gangaji Fair”. Other location of interest are Devka beach and Jampore Beach.
    • S. Gajrani, in History, Religion and Culture of India, Volume 3, p. 35-36
  • I don’t like your trying to restore Somnath. It is Hindu revivalism.
    • J. Nehru. The Somnath Saga Daily Pioneer
  • He (Ranjit Singh) worshipped as much in Hindu temples as he did in gurudwaras…. When he had the Afghans at his mercy and wrested Kashmir from them, he wanted the gates of the temple of Somnath back from them. Why should he be making all these Hindu demands? Whatever the breakaway that had been achieved from Hinduism, this greatest of our monarchs bridged in 40 years.
    • Khushwant Singh, quoted in Elst, Koenraad (2002). Who is a Hindu?: Hindu revivalist views of Animism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and other offshoots of Hinduism. ISBN 978-8185990743

Attack on Somnath during Ghaznavid era (Mahmud of Ghazni)

  • There are various accounts of why and how Mahmood Ghazni attacked Somnath. In his book Pakistan or The Partition of India, Dr B.R. Ambedkar refers to the raids on Somnath and quotes the description given by Al’Utbi, the historian of Mahmood Ghazni: ‘He demolished idol temples and established Islam. He captured…cities, and destroyed the idolaters, gratifying Muslims. He then returned home and promulgated accounts of the victories obtained for Islam…and vowed that every year he would undertake a holy war against Hind.’
    • L.K. Advani, My Country My Life (2008). ISBN 978-81-291-1363-4
  • Munshi’s novel provides a poignant account of how Somnath was both a witness to, and a target of, foreign invasions during the medieval period. Mahmood Ghazni, a Turkish sultan of the province of Ghazni in Afghanistan, attacked India seventeen times in a span of twenty-five years between the years AD 1001-26. Somnath was a particularly coveted target for him. Muslim chronicles indicate that 50,000 Hindus died in the battle for Somnath in AD 1024. The Shiva lingam was destroyed by the sultan himself. After the battle, Mahmood and his troops are believed to have carried away vast amounts of gold and other riches stored in the temple. They are also said to have taken Hindu statues and buried them at the entrance of a mosque in Ghazni so that the faithful could trample on them. Munshi’s novel describes not only the destruction and pillage of the Somnath temple, and the betrayal by some Hindus on account of petty caste considerations, but also the heroic defence by its devotees, who would reconstruct it after each successive attack.
    • L.K. Advani, My Country My Life (2008). ISBN 978-81-291-1363-4
  • The linga he raised was the stone of Somnath, for soma means the moon and natha means master, so that the whole word means master of the moon. The image was destroyed by the Prince Mahmud, may God be merciful to him! – AH 416. He ordered the upper part to be broken and the remainder to be transported to his residence, Ghaznin, with all its coverings and trappings of gold, jewels, and embroidered garments. Part of it has been thrown into the hippodrome of the town, together with the Cakrasvamin, an idol of bronze, that had been brought from Taneshar. Another part of the idol from Somanath lies before the door of the mosque of Ghaznin, on which people rub their feet to clean them from dirt and wet.
    • E.C. Sachau (tr.), Alberuni’s India, New Delhi Reprint, 1983. Also quoted in Jain, Meenakshi (2011). The India they saw: Foreign accounts.
  • At that date, the Mohammedan conqueror, Mahmoud of Ghizni, crossed India; seized on the holy city of Somnauth; and stripped of its treasures the famous temple, which had stood for centuries–the shrine of Hindoo pilgrimage, and the wonder of the Eastern world.
    • The Moonstone, A Romance by Wilkie Collins
  • “The destruction of the temple of Somnãth, was looked upon as the crowning glory of Islam over idolatry, and Sultãn Mahmûd as the champion of the Faith, received the applause of all the Muslim world. Poets vied with each other in extolling the real or supposed virtues of the idol-breaker and the prose writers of later generations paid their tribute of praise to him by making him the hero of numerous ingenious stories.”
    • Muhammad Nãzim. The Lift and Times of Sultãn Mahmûd of Ghazna, second edition, 1971, p. 219. quoted from Goel, S. R. (1993). Hindu temples: What happened to them. (Second Enlarged Edition)
  • While rejecting the offer of the BrãhmaNas to ransom the idol of Somnath with its weight in gold, Mahmûd is supposed to have said, “I am afraid that on the Day of Judgment when all the idolaters are brought into the presence of Allãh, He would say, ‘Bring Ãdhar and Mahmûd together one was idol-maker, the other idol-seller’… The Sultãn… then ordered a fire to be lighted round it. The idol burst and 20 manns of precious stones poured out from its inside. The Sultãn said, ‘This (fire) is what Lãt (by which name ATTãr calls Somnãth) deserves; and that (the precious stones) is my guerdon from my God.”
    • Mahmud of Ghazni is made to show his preference for the title of idol-breaker to that of idol-seller. Shykh Farîdu’d-Dîn ATTãr:ManTiqu’t-Tair cited by Muhammad Nãzim. The Lift and Times of Sultãn Mahmûd of Ghazna, second edition, 1971, quoted from Goel, S. R. (1993). Hindu temples: What happened to them. (Second Enlarged Edition)
  • “It is stated, that shortly after the birth of Mahmûd, the astrologers of India divined that a prince had been born at Ghazna who would demolish the temple of Somnãth. They therefore persuaded Rãjã Jaipãl to send an embassy to Mahmûd while he was still a boy, offering to pay him a large sum of money if he promised to return the idol to the Hindûs whenever he captured it. When Mahmûd captured Somnãth the Brahmins reminded him of his promise and demanded the idol in compliance with it. Mahmûd did not like either to return the idol or to break his promise. He therefore ordered the idol to be reduced to lime by burning and when, on the following day, the Brahmins repeated their demand, he ordered them, to be served with betel-leaves which had been smeared with the lime of the idol. When the Brahmins had finished the chewing of the betel-leaves they again repeated their demand, on which the Sultãn told them that they had the idol in their mouths.”
    • Futûhu’s-Salãtîn cited by Muhammad Nãzim. The Lift and Times of Sultãn Mahmûd of Ghazna, second edition, 1971, quoted from Goel, S. R. (1993). Hindu temples: What happened to them. (Second Enlarged Edition)
  • Even a sufi of the stature of Fariduddin Attar relates with great approval the following tale in his Mantiq-ut-Tãir: “It is said that when the Sultan (Mahmud Ghaznavi) captured Somnath and wanted to break the idol, the Brahmins offered to redeem it with its weight in gold. His officers pointed out to him the advantage of accepting the offer, but he replied: ‘I am afraid that on the day of judgement when all the idolaters are brought into the presence of God, He would say, bring Adhar and Mahmud together; one was an idol-maker, the other an idol-seller.’ The Sultan then ordered a fire to be lighted round it. The idol burst and 20 manns of precious stones poured out from its inside.”
    • Fariduddin Attar quoted from Goel, Sita Ram (2001). The story of Islamic imperialism in India. ISBN 9788185990231
      • Lane Poole quoted in B.R. Ambedkar, Pakistan or The Partition of India (1946)
  • Dr. Mishra has also given a detailed account of Hindu heroism in defence of Somanath which Mahmud had attacked in AD 1026. According to Firishta, “The battle raged with great fury, victory was long doubtful.” According to another Muslim account, “Fifty thousand infidels were killed round about the temple.” Dr. Misra comments: “The like of this faith which inspired these fifty thousand sons of the soil to embrace death will be hard to find in the annals of any other land.”
    • Ram Gopal Misra, Indian Resistance to Early Muslim Invaders Upto 1206 A.D., Anu Books, Shivaji Road, Meerut city, 1983. Quoted by: Goel, S. R. (1984). History of heroic Hindu resistance to Muslim invaders, 636 AD to 1206 AD.
  • Mahmud’s sack of Somnath is too well-known to be retold here. What needs emphasising is that the fragments of the famous Šivaliñga were carried to Ghazni. Some of them were turned into steps of the Jama Masjid in that city. The rest were sent to Mecca, Medina, and Baghdad to be desecrated in the same manner.
    • Sita Ram Goel: The Story of Islamic Imperialism in India.
      • Asaru-l Bilad of Zakari’ya Al Kazwini (b. in Kazwin, Persia; written c. 1270 CE) In The History of India as Told by its own Historians. Vol I, 97-99. Also quoted in Jain, Meenakshi (2011). The India they saw: Foreign accounts.
    • Somnath Temple Gujarat Images

      Somnath Temple Gujarat Images

  • The city of Taneshar is highly venerated by Hindus. The idol of that place is called Cakrasvamin, i.e. the owner of the cakra, a weapon which we have already described. It is of bronze, and is nearly the size of a man. It is now lying in the hippodrome in Ghazna, together with the Lord of Somanath, which is a representation of the penis of Mahadeva, called Linga.
    • E.C. Sachau (tr.), Alberuni’s India, New Delhi Reprint, 1983 p. 117.
  • The link with Manat added to the acclaim for Mahmud. Not only was he the prize iconoclast in breaking Hindu idols, but in destroying Manat he had carried out what were said to be the very orders of the Prophet.
    • Romila Thapar, quoted from Ayodhya: The Case Against the Temple (2002) by K. Elst.

Attack on Somnath by Ulug Khan (Alauddin Khalji)

  • “The Mlechchha (asura) stone breakers climbed up the shikhar of the Temple and began to rain blows on the stone idols on all three sides by their hammers, the stone pieces falling all around. They loosened every joint of the Temple building, and then began to break the different layers (thara) and the sculptured elephants and horses carved on them by incessant blows of their hammers. Then, amidst loud and vulgar clamour, they began to apply force from both the sides to uproot the massive idol by means of wooden beams and iron crowbars”
    • Kanhadade Prabandha, Canto I, vss. 94-96
  • “On Wednesday, the 20th of Jamadi-ul Awwal in AH 698 (23 February, 1299), the Sultan sent an order to the manager of the armed forces for despatching the army of Islam to Gujarat so that the temple of Somnat on its shore could be destroyed. Ulugh Khan was put in charge of the expedition. When the royal army reached that province, it won a victory after great slaughter. Thereafter the Khan-i-‘Ãzam went with his army to the sea-shore and besieged Somnat which was a place of worship for the Hindus. The army of Islam broke the idols and the biggest idol was sent to the court of the Sultan.”70
    • Amir Khusrow Khazainu’l-Futuh., About Sultan ‘Alau’d-Din Khalji (AD 1296-1316) and his generals conquests in Somnath (Gujarat) Amir Khusrow , in S.A.A. Rizvi, Khalji Kalina Bharata, Aligarh, 1955, pp. 159
  • “So the temple of Somnath was made to bow towards the Holy Mecca; and as the temple lowered its head and jumped into the sea, you may say that the building first said its prayers and then had a bath… It seemed as if the tongue of the Imperial sword explained the meaning of the text: ‘So he (Abraham) broke them (the idols) into pieces except the chief of them, that haply they may return to it.’ Such a pagan country, the Mecca of the infidels, now became the Medina of Islam. The followers of Abraham now acted as guides in place of the Brahman leaders. The robust-hearted true believers rigorously broke all idols and temples wherever they found them. Owing to the war, ‘takbir,’ and ‘shahadat’ was heard on every side; even the idols by their breaking affirmed the existence of God. In this ancient land of infidelity the call to prayers rose so high that it was heard in Baghdad and Madain (Ctesiphon) while the ‘Ala’ proclamation (Khutba) resounded in the dome of Abraham and over the water of Zamzam… The sword of Islam purified the land as the Sun purifies the earth.”
    • Amir Khusrow Khazainu’l-Futuh. About Sultan ‘Alau’d-Din Khalji (AD 1296-1316) and his generals conquests in Somnath (Gujarat). Amir Khusrow , in Mohammed Habib’s translation quoted by Jagdish Narayan Sarkar, The Art of War in Medieval India, New Delhi, 1964, pp. 286-87.
  • Somanath: “They made the temple prostrate itself towards the Kaaba. You may say that the temple first offered its prayers and then had a bath (i.e. the temple was made to topple and fall into the sea)… He (Ulugh Khan) destroyed all the idols and temples, but sent one idol, the biggest of all idols, to the court of his Godlike Majesty and on that account in that ancient stronghold of idolatry, the summons to prayers was proclaimed so loudly that they heard it in Misr (Egypt) and Madain (Iraq)” (Tarikh-i-Alai).
    • Amir Khusru. The instances cited relate to the doings of Jalalud-Din Firuz Khalji, Alaud-Din Khalji and the letter’s military commanders. Quoted in The Tip of An Iceberg (Indian Express, February 19, 1989) and in Shourie, A., & Goel, S. R. (1990). Hindu temples: What happened to them.
  • Alauddin became Sultan in 1296 AD. In 1298 AD he equipped an expedition to Gujarat under his generals Ulugh Khan and Nusrat Khan. The invaders plundered the ports of Surat and Cambay. The temple of Somnath, which had been rebuilt by the Hindus, was plundered and the idol taken to Delhi for being trodden upon by the Muslims. Kamala Devi, the queen of Gujarat, was captured along with the royal treasury, brought to Delhi and forced into Alauddin’s harem.
    • Sita Ram Goel: The Story of Islamic Imperialism in India.
      • Wassaf, Mahdi Husain, Quoted from Lal, K. S. (1994). Muslim slave system in medieval India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 5
  • Minhaj Siraj writes that “Ulugh Khan Balban’s taking of captives, and his capture of the dependents of the great Ranas cannot be recounted”. Such was the scale of slave-taking by Muslims in Hindustan that information about it travelled abroad, so that Wassaf writes that in the sack of Somnath in 1299 the Muslim army “took captive a great number of handsome and elegant maidens, amounting to 20,000 and children of both sexes”.
    • Minhaj Siraj, Wassaf, quoted in Lal, K. S. (1999). Theory and practice of Muslim state in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 4
  • “At the beginning of the third year of the reign, Ulugh Khan and Nusrat Khan, with their amirs and generals, and a large army marched against Gujarat… All Gujarat became a prey to the invaders, and the idol, which after the victory of Sultan Mahmud and his destruction of (the idol) of Manat, the Brahmans had set up under the name of Somanat, for the worship of the Hindus, was carried to Delhi where it was laid for the people to tread upon…”
    • Tarikh-i-Firuz Shahi by Barani. About Sultan ‘Alau’d-Din Khalji (AD 1296-1316) conquests in Somnath (Gujarat) Elliot and Dowson, History of India as told by its own historians, Vol. III, p. 163
  • “And in the year AH 698 (AD 1298) he appointed Ulugh Khan to the command of a powerful army, to proceed into the country of Gujarat… Ulugh Khan carried off an idol from Nahrwala… and took it to Dihli where he caused it to be trampled under foot by the populace; then he pursued Rai Karan as far as Somnat, and a second time laid waste the idoltemple of Somnat, and building a mosque there retraced his steps.”
    • Sultan ‘Alau’d-Din Khalji (AD 1296-1316) Patan and Somnath (Gujarat)
  • “In the third year after the accession, the Sultãn sent Ulugh Khãn and Nasrat Khãn, with large armies to invade Gujarãt. They ravaged and plundered Nahrwãlah, and all the cities of the province… Ulugh Khãn and Nasrat Khãn also brought the idol, which the Brãhmans of Somnãth had set up, and were worshipping, in place of the one which Sultãn Mahmûd had broken to pieces, to Delhi, and placed it where the people would trample upon it…”
    • Tabqãt-i-Akharî. Sultãn ‘Alãu’d-Dîn Khaljî (AD 1296-1316) Somnath (Gujarat)

Attack on Somnath by Zafar Khan and by Mahmud Begada

  • In AH 797 (AD 1394-95) he proceeded for the destruction of the temple of Somnãt. On the way he made Rajpûts food for his sword and demolished whatever temple he saw at any place.
    • Zafar Khan. Sultan Muzaffar Shah I of Gujarat (AD 1392-1410), Tabqat-i-Akhari, Translated from the Hindi version by S.A.A. Rizvi included in Uttar Taimur Kalina Bharata, Aligarh 1959, Vol. II., p.178
  • “…On the return of Moozuffur Khan to Guzerat, he learnt that in the western Puttun district the Ray of Jehrend, an idolater, refused allegiance to the Mahomedan authority. To this place Moozuffur Khan accordingly marched, and exacted tribute. He then proceeded to Somnat, where having destroyed all the Hindoo temples which he found standing, he built mosques in their stead; and leaving learned men for the propagation of the faith, and his own officers to govern the country, returned to Puttun in the year AH 798 (AD 1395).”
    • Zafar Khan. Sultãn Muzaffar Shãh I of Gujarat (AD 1392-1410)Somnath (Gujarat)

Attack on Somnath by Aurangzeb

  • The temple of Somnath was demolished early in my reign and idol worship (there) put down. It is not known what the state of things there is at present. If the idolaters have again taken to the worship of images at the place, then destroy the temple in such a way that no trace of the building may be left, and also expel them (the worshippers) from the place.’
    • Aurangzeb: Kalimat-i-Tayyibat, quoted in Sarkar, Jadu Nath, History of Aurangzeb, Vol. III, pp. 185-86.

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