Somnath Temple is one of the most significant temples in India. It has an extensive history. The Temple is also known as Prabhas Pattan and the Shrine of Lord Shiva. It is one of the 12 Jyotir Linga Shrines of the God Shiva. Somnath means the Protector of God’s moon. So here, Lord Shiva protects the God Moon.
Somnath Temple in History:
Somnath Temple is located in the Kathiawar region of Gujarat. The Temple and the glory are mentioned in Rig Veda. Six times, the Temple has been destroyed and rebuilt every single time. The first Temple of Somnath was built before the Christian era. The second Temple replaced the first one on the same site around 649 AD by the Maitraka Kings of Vallabhi in Gujrat. During the rule of Maitraka Kings, nearly 2000 Brahmins served in the temple activities daily, and many devote visited the Temple to pay their tribute to Lord Shiva. The king collected the Temple’s revenue from the priests and used the payment to maintain the villages. When prayer time occurred, the priests announced prayers by ringing the bell and the bell attached to the golden chain.
Destroy History of Somnath Temple:
In 725 AD, the Arab governor of Sind Junayad sent his armies to destroy the second Somnath temple. After 90 years, in 895 AD, the Pratihara king Nagabhata II constructed the third Temple. The third time, the Temple was built with large sandstone and restored the glory of the Temple.
But in 1025 AD, the Afghanistan King Mahmud Ghazni attacked the Temple and looted the precious stones and gems. He slathered all the worshipers and the priests and burnt the Temple. Then the famous Shiva lingam was eradicated. Gazania was personally involved in this attack and hammered the Lingam to pieces.
Again Malwa and Solanki Kings Paramara King Bhoj and Bhima of Gujarat built the fourth Temple between 1026 AD and 1042 AD. From the lessons of the Temple’s destruction, King Kumarpal replaced the wooden structure of the Temple with complete stone. In 1297 AD Sultanate of Delhi conquered Gujarat, destroyed the Somnath Temple, and again destroyed it in 1394 AD. In 1706 AD, Aurangzeb, the Mughal emperor, invaded Gujarat and destroyed the Temple again.
Somnath Temple After Independence:
Finally, in 1947, After India gained Independence, the President of India, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, wanted to renovate the Temple and started the work. Finally, the present Somnath Temple renovation was completed on December 1, 1995. Then the President of India, Dr Shankar Dayal Sharma, dedicated this Temple in the service of the Nation.
Shree Somnath Trust gathered the funds for the present Somnath Temple construction. Still, the trust has been looking after the entire Somnath Complex. The present Somnath temple was constructed in the Chalukya style. The Temple is famous for its unique sculptures and architecture.