Rudra Mahalaya Temple

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Fourteen storeys rise above the earth and seven thousand pillars,
In row after row, while eighteen hundred statues studded with emeralds adorn it.
It is endowed with thirty thousand flagstaffs with stems carved and leaves of gold.
Seven thousand sculptured elephants and horses stand in attendance on Rudra.
Seeing it all, Gods and men get struck with wonder and are greatly charmed - Lalla Bhatta
Main Portal of the Ruins of the Rudramala at Sidhpur Gujarat 1905.jpg

The Rudra Mahalaya Temple, also known as Rudramal, is a destroyed/desecrated temple complex at Siddhpur in the Patan district of Gujarat, India. Its construction was started in 943 AD by Mularaja and completed in 1140 AD by Jayasimha Siddharaja, the rulers of the Chaulukya dynasty. The temple was destroyed by Alauddin Khalji, and later Ahmed Shah I (1410–44) desecrated and substantially demolished this temple, and also converted part of it into the congregational mosque (Jami Masjid) of the city. Two torans (porches) and four pillars of the former central structure still stand along with western part of the complex used as a congregational mosque.

Quotes[edit]

  • Fourteen storeys rise above the earth and seven thousand pillars,
    In row after row, while eighteen hundred statues studded with emeralds adorn it.
    It is endowed with thirty thousand flagstaffs with stems carved and leaves of gold.
    Seven thousand sculptured elephants and horses stand in attendance on Rudra.
    Seeing it all, Gods and men get struck with wonder and are greatly charmed,
    JayasiMha has built a temple which excites the envy of emperors.
    The sculptured elephants and lions trumpet and roar, all around, again and again,
    The golden kalašas glitter on the maNDapa upheld by numerous pillars.
    The statues sing and dance and roll their eyes,
    So that even the Gods jump with joy and blow their conches.
    The ecstatic dance of Gods is watched by Gods and men who crowd around,
    That is why the Bull, O Sidha! O King of Kings! is feeling frightened.
    • Lalla BhaTTa: Poem written in praise of Rudramãla temple by Lalla BhaTTa, cited in Muñhatã NaiNasîrî Khyãta, edited by Badrîprasãda Sãkariyã. Vol. 1, second edition, Jodhpur, 1984. pp. 261-62. quoted from Goel, S. R. (1993). Hindu temples: What happened to them. (Second Enlarged Edition) [1]
  • He marched under divine inspiration,
    For the destruction of temples at Saiyidpur,
    Which was a home of the infidels,
    And the native place of accursed fire-worshippers.
    There they dwelt, day and night,
    The thread-wearing idolaters.
    It had always remained a place for idols and idol-worshippers,
    It had received no injury whatsoever from any quarter.
    It was a populous place, well-known in the world,
    This native place of the accursed infidels.
    Its foundations were laid firmly in stone,
    It was decorated with designs as if drawn from high heaven.
    It had doors made of sandal and ûd.
    It was studded with rings of gold,
    Its floors were laid with marble,
    Which shone like mirrors.
    Ûd was burnt in it like fuel,
    Candles of camphor in large numbers were lighted in it.
    It had arches in every corner,
    And every arch had golden chandeliers hanging in it.
    There were idols of silver set up inside,
    Which put to shame the idols of China and Khotãn.
    Such was this famous ancient temple,
    It was famous all over the world.
    By the effort of Ahmad, it was freed from the idols,
    The hearts of idol-worshippers were shattered with grief.
    He got mosques constructed, and mimbars placed in them,
    From where the Law of Muhammad came into force.
    In place of idols, idol-makers and idol-worshippers,
    Imãms and callers to prayers and khatîbs were appointed.
    Ahmad’s good grace rendered such help,
    That an idol-house became an abode of Allãh.
    • Poem cited in S.A.A. Rizvi’s Uttara Taimûra Kãlîna Bhãrata, Aligarh, 1959, Vol. II, pp. 268-69. quoted from Goel, S. R. (1993). Hindu temples: What happened to them. (Second Enlarged Edition) [2]
  • In a part of the town, is located what is known as Rudramahãlaya complex. This complex was built by Siddhraj Jayasimha in the 12th century… This temple seems to have been destroyed partly by Ulugh Khan in AD 1297-98 and partly by Ahmedshah in AD 1415. Some of the cubicles and a number of pillars on the Western side of the temple it would appear were later converted into a mosque.
    • Fourth Annual Report of the Minorities’ Commission for the Period 1.1.1980 to 31.3.1981, New Delhi, 1983, quoted from Goel, S. R. (1993). Hindu temples: What happened to them. (Second Enlarged Edition) [3]
  • This temple, ... seems to have been destroyed partly by Ulugh Khan in AD 1297-98 and partly by Ahmadshah in AD 1415. Some of the cubicles and a number of pillars on the Western side of the temple, it would appear were later converted into a mosque. The prayer hall of the mosque so converted has three domes. In the Western (Qaba) waft of the mosque Mimbar and Mehrabs were provided by using the doors of the shrines which were then filled with debris. The exact date of conversion of this part of Rudramahalaya complex is not known.
    • Fourth Annual Report of the Minorities’ Commission for the Period 1.1.1980 to 31.3.1981, New Delhi, 1983, quoted from Goel, S. R. (1993). Hindu temples: What happened to them. (Second Enlarged Edition) [4]
  • Sidhpur is a pleasant city. It was founded by Sidharão after his own name. He invited from the East one thousand Udîchya BrãhmaNas who were well-versed in the Vedas and gave them seven hundred villages around Sidhpur… He had built a big temple named Rudramãla. That was razed to the ground by Sultãn Alãuddîn. Even so, several temples survive today. Beyond the city, towards the east, there is the river Sarasvarî. A temple dedicated to Mãdhava had been built on its bank. A ghãTa [flight of steps leading to the river] has also been constructed. The temple was destroyed by the Mughals but the ghãTa can still be seen… A Turk has built his bungalow on the ghãTa.”
    • Muñhatã NaiNasîrî Khyãta, edited by Badrîprasãda Sãkariyã. Vol. 1, second edition, Jodhpur, 1984. pp. 261-62. , quoted from Goel, S. R. (1993). Hindu temples: What happened to them. (Second Enlarged Edition) [5]
  • As the obsequial offerings to the paternal ancestors must be made at Gaya, so corresponding offerings to the maternal ancestors have to be performed at Sidhpur.
    • B.L. Nagarch: Recent Archaeological, Discoveries from Rudramahãlaya and Jãmi Masjid, Sidhpur’, Kusumãñjali: Shri Sivarãmamûrti Commemoration Volume, Delhi, 1987, Vol. II, quoted from Goel, S. R. (1993). Hindu temples: What happened to them. (Second Enlarged Edition) [6]
  • Rudramahãlaya is the grandest and the most imposing conception of a temple dedicated to Šiva. Only a few fragments of the mighty shrine now survive, namely, four pillars in the north and five in the eastern side, porches of the three storeyed maNDapa. Four pillars in the back of it, a toraNa and a cell at the back remain in situ after being dismantled in the 13th century AD. With its adjacent shrines, possibly eleven, part of which was converted into Jami mosque later in the Mughal period, it must have formed part of a grand conception dedicated to Ekãdaša Rudras. ... Originally it covered an area of 100 x 66 mtrs. The central building itself occupies an area of about 50 x 33 mtrs. The mighty pillars of this temple are the tallest so far known in Gujarat.
    • B.L. Nagarch: Recent Archaeological, Discoveries from Rudramahãlaya and Jãmi Masjid, Sidhpur’, Kusumãñjali: Shri Sivarãmamûrti Commemoration Volume, Delhi, 1987, Vol. II, , quoted from Goel, S. R. (1993). Hindu temples: What happened to them. (Second Enlarged Edition) [7]
  • Ahmad Shãh like his grandfather,... was a bigot and seized every opportunity to demolish Hindu temples. In 1414, he appointed one Tãj-ul-Mulk to destroy all temples and to establish Muslim authority throughout Gujarat. According to Firishta, the task was ‘executed with such diligence that the names of Mawass and Girass (i.e. Hindu zamindãrs) were hereafter unheard of in the whole kingdom.’ Next year Ahmad attacked the celebrated city of Sidhpur in north Gujarat where he broke the images in the famous Rudramahalaya temple and converted it into a mosque.”
    • A.K. Majumdar in R.C. Majumdar (ed.), The History and Culture of the Indian People, Vol. VI, The Delhi Sultanate, quoted from Goel, S. R. (1993). Hindu temples: What happened to them. (Second Enlarged Edition) [8]
  • The Rudramahãlaya, like many other magnificent Hindu temples, is a heap of ruins at present. But it reminds us of a past when it was one of the most magnificent temples ever built in India. The Jãmi‘ Masjid, like many other historical mosques, stands as a dilapidated structure now. But it reminds us of a regime under which it symbolised the might of Islam... The destruction of the Rudramahãlaya at Sidhpur in Gujarat was not an isolated event; it was only a link in the long chain which stretches from the middle of the seventh century, when the first Islamic invaders stepped on the soil of India, to the closing years of the eighteenth century when Tîpû Sultãn led his expedition into Malabar. The vast land which is spread from Transoxiana, Khurasan and Seistan in the West to Assam in the East, and from Sinkiang in the North to Tamil Nadu in the South, is literally littered with the ruins of temples belonging to all Hindu sects- Bauddha, Jaina, Šaiva, Šãkta VaishNava, and the rest.
    • Goel, S. R. (1993). Hindu temples: What happened to them. (Second Enlarged Edition) [9]
  • The Solãñkî tradition maintains a rich and prolific output in the twelfth century AD which saw two eminent royal patrons of building art in Siddharãja JayasiMha and Kumãrapãla. With the former is associated the completion of an imposing conception, the Rudra Mãlã or Rudra Mahãlaya, at Siddhapur (Gujarãt). Unfortunately it is now completely in ruins but a picture of its former splendour seems to have survived in a Gujarãtî ballad which speaks of the temple as covered with gold, adorned with sixteen hundred columns, veiled by carved screens and pierced lattices, festooned with pearls, inlaid with gems over the doorways and glistening with rubies and diamonds. Much of this is, no doubt, exaggeration full of rhetoric; but the impressive character of the conception is evidenced by the scanty, though co-lossal, remains. They consist of groups of columns of the pillared maNDapa, which seems to have been in more than one storey, and had three enterance porticos on three sides. The surviving foundations suggest that the conception with the usual appurtenances occupied a space nearly 300 feet by 230 feet. In front there stood a kîrti-toraNa of which one column still remains. From the dimensions the Rudra Mãlã seems to have been one of the largest architectural conceptions in this area. The rich character of its design is fully evident in the few fragments that remain.
    • Dr. S.K. Saraswati, in R.C. Majumdar (ed.), The History and Culture of the Indian People, Vol. V, The Struggle For Empire, Third Edition, Bombay, 1976, pp. 595-96. , quoted from Goel, S. R. (1993). Hindu temples: What happened to them. (Second Enlarged Edition) [10]
  • Soon after his return to Ahmadabad, Ahmad marched to Sidhpur, which was one of the most ancient pilgrim centres in north Gujarat. It was studded with beautiful temples, some of which were laid low.
    • S.A.I. Tirmizi, in Mohammad Habib (ed.), A Comprehensive History of India, Vol. V, The Delhi Sultanat, First Reprint, New Delhi, 1982, p. 853. quoted from Goel, S. R. (1993). Hindu temples: What happened to them. (Second Enlarged Edition) [11]
  • Among Indian secularists, the done thing is to deny the long history of Islamic temple-destruction. Government policy is to sweep the topic under the carper whenever it raises its head, as by fortuitous archaeological discoveries. Thus, at the Rudramahalaya complex in Siddhpur, Gujarat, ASI excavation work was stopped under Muslim pressure, when temple remains came to light. When a flood brought Hindu sculptures under and around the Bijamandal mosque in Vidisha (where four successive Hindu temples had been destroyed by Shamsuddin Iltutmish, Alauddin Khilji, Bahadur Shah of Gujarat and Aurangzeb) to the surface in 1991, the ASI was likewise prevented from excavating further.
    • The argumentative Hindu (2012) by K. Elst
  • “In the year 817, eight hundred and seventeen Hijri, he resolved to march with intent of jihad against the unbelievers of Girnar, a famous fort in Sorath. Raja Mandalik fought with him but was defeated and took refuge in the fort. It is narrated that even though that land (region) this time did not get complete brightness form the lamp of Islam, yet the Sultan subdued the fort of Junagadh situated near the foot of Girnar mountain. Most of the Zamindars of Sorath became submissive and obedient to him and agreed to pay tribute. After that, he demolished the temple of Sayyedpur in the month of Jamadi I of the year 818, eight hundred and eighteen Hijri… In the year 823, eight hundred and twenty-three Hijri, he attended to the establishment of administrative control over his dominion. He suppressed refractoriness wherever it was found. He demolished temples and constructed masjids in their places…”364
    • Sidhpur (Gujarat) Mir’at-i-Ahmadî, Mirat-i-Ahmdi, translated into English by M.F. Lokhandwala, Baroda, 1965, pp. 37-38.
  • When Raja Sidhraj Jaisingh Solanki became the king, he extended his conquest as far as Malwa and Burhanpur etc. and laid foundation of lofty forts such as the forts of Broach and Dabhoi etc. He dug the tank of Sahastraling in Pattan, many others in Biramgam and at most places in Sorath. His reign is known as 'Sang Bast', the Age of Stone Buildings. He founded the city of Sidhpur and built the famous Rudramal Temple. It is related that when he intended to build Rudramal, he summoned astrologers to elect an auspicious hour for it. The astrologers said to him that some harm through heavenly revolution is presaged from Alauddin when his turn comes to the Saltanat of Dihli. The Raja relied on the statement of astrologers and entered into a pledge and pact with the said Sultan. The Sultan had said. 'If I do not destroy it under terms of the pact, yet I will leave some religious vestiges.' When, after some time, the turn of the Sultan came to the Saltanat of Delhi, he marched with his army to that side and left religious marks by constructing a masjid and a minar...[Sidhpur (Gujarat)]
    • Mirat-i-Ahmadi by Ali Muhammad Khan, in Mirat-i-Ahmdi, translated into English by M.F. Lokhandwala, Baroda, 1965, P. 27-29. Quoted in S.R. Goel: Hindu Temples What Happened to them. Sita Ram Goel adds the following comment "This account is obviously a folktale because ‘Alau’d-Din Khalji became a Sultan two hundred years after Siddharaja JayasiMha ascended the throne of Gujarat. Moreover, ‘Alau’d-Din never went to Gujarat; he sent his generals, Ulugh Khan and Nasrat Khan."

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