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Somnath Mahadev Temple, Junagadh

Somnath Mahadev Temple Overview

The Someshwar Mahadev temple stands tall among the temples of India. The construction of the present temple in Junagadh district began in 1950. It is the seventh temple built to commemorate the glory of Lord Somnath. Soma constructed the temple as a gesture after Lord Shiva cured him of his illness. This illness was caused by his father-in-law Daksha Prajapati's curse. Daksha cursed him to wane as he was infatuated with Rohini and was neglecting the other 26 wives, all 26 of whom were the daughters of Prajapati. It is said that Brahma advised him to build the temple in honour of Shiva. In the first phase of construction the shikhar portion, the sanctum sanctorum and the sabha mandap (assembly hall) were built. The nritya mandap (the dancing hall) was built later. The temple has been constructed in the Solanki style. The pinnacle rides to a height of 155 feet. The kalash atop the shikhar weighs 10 tonnes. The flag- mast is 37 feet long. These details give an idea of the size of the temple. Legend Legend has it that the Somnath Temple was originally built out of gold by Somraj, the moon god. Then, it was rebuilt by Ravana in silver and then again by Krishna in wood and yet again by King Bhimdev Solanki in stone in the 10th century. The temple was so rich that it had over 300 musicians, 500 dancing girls and even 300 barbers - just to shave the heads of pilgrims. Mahmud of Ghazni, upon hearing the description of the temple by an Arab traveller by the name Al Biruni, raided the temple in 1024 AD and after looting it, carried away camel loads of jewels and gold. Somnath was destroyed six times and rebuilt on every occasion. After the 1706 AD demolition by the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, it was rebuilt the seventh time in 1950 AD with the support of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.

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