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. Destroyed and reconstructed several times in the past, the present temple was reconstructed in Chaulukya style of Hindu temple architecture and completed in May 1951.
- 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.
- Describing Somnath temple as a symbol of national faith, the President elaborated: ‘By rising from its ashes again, this temple of Somnath is to say proclaiming to the world that no man and no power in the world can destroy that for which people have boundless faith and love in their hearts… Today, our attempt is not to rectify history. Our only aim is to proclaim anew our attachment to the faith, convictions and to the values on which our religion has rested since immemorial ages.’
It is not out of place here to mention that the news of the reconstruction of the Somnath temple met with angry condemnation in Pakistan. A public meeting was held in Karachi to denounce the Indian government’s action.
The Somnath temple today stands as a sobering reminder that a weak nation that cannot defend itself against external attacks stands to lose much more than its political freedom; it risks losing its cultural heritage, which is the heart and soul of India. By reconstructing the Somnath temple, as one of the early acts of the Government of India, Sardar Patel and Munshi, with the blessings of Mahatma Gandhi and Rajendra Prasad, made it a proud testimony of India’s determination to erase the history of bigoted alien attacks and regain its lost cultural treasure....
- L.K. Advani, My Country My Life (2008). ISBN 978-81-291-1363-4
- It is appropriate for me to quote here what Swami Vivekananda said about 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
- Muslims must realize and admit the wrongs perpetrated under the Islamic rule.
- Mahatma Gandhi, 25 December 1947, in reaction to a Urdu poem protesting against the planned rebuilding of the Somnath temple and calling for "a new Ghaznavi to avenge the renovation of the Somnath temple", quoted by Rajmohan Gandhi: Revenge and Reconciliation, p. 237 and quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2014). Decolonizing the Hindu mind: Ideological development of Hindu revivalism. New Delhi: Rupa.
- Munshi, who visited the site of the desecrated temple in the twentieth century, wrote,
“The Third Temple of beautiful thin-grained red sandstone was thus destroyed. I saw the steps of the temple, the base of the pillars burnt and the debris of its south wall sloping seaward imbedded in the earth”.
- K.M.Munshi 1965: 37). quoted from Jain, M. (2019). Flight of deities and rebirth of temples: Espisodes from Indian history.
- But so far as the Hindus are concerned, this period was a prolonged spell of darkness which ended only when the Marathas and the Jats and the Sikhs broke the back of Islamic imperialism in the middle of the 18th century. The situation of the Hindus under Muslim rule is summed up by the author of Tãrîkh-i-Wassãf in the following words: “The vein of the zeal of religion beat high for the subjection of infidelity and destruction of idols… The Mohammadan forces began to kill and slaughter, on the right and the left unmercifully, throughout the impure land, for the sake of Islãm, and blood flowed in torrents. They plundered gold and silver to an extent greater than can be conceived, and an immense number of precious stones as well as a great variety of cloths… They took captive a great number of handsome and elegant maidens and children of both sexes, more than pen can enumerate… In short, the Mohammadan army brought the country to utter ruin and destroyed the lives of the inhabitants and plundered the cities, and captured their off-springs, so that many temples were deserted and the idols were broken and trodden under foot, the largest of which was Somnãt. The fragments were conveyed to Dehlî and the entrance of the Jãmi‘ Masjid was paved with them so that people might remember and talk of this brilliant victory… Praise be to Allah the lord of the worlds.”
- Wassaf quoted in Sita Ram Goel, The Story of Islamic Imperialism in India (1994)
- I don’t like your trying to restore Somnath. It is Hindu revivalism.
- Allãh the Exalted may assign this (reward) to one who builds a house in the path of Allãh… [This auspicious mosque was built]. on the twenty-seventh of the month of RamaDãn, year [sixty-two]. and six hundred from migration of the Prophet (23rd July AD 1264), in the reign of the just Sultãn and [die generous king]. Abu’l-Fakhr (lit., father of pride), Ruknu’d-Dunyã wa’d-Dîn (lit., pillar of State and Religion), Mu’izzu’l-Islãm wa’l-Muslimîn (lit. source of glory for Islãm and the Muslims), shadow of Allãh in [the lands], one who is victorious against the enemies, (divinely) supported prince, Abi’n-Nusrat (lit., father of victory), Mahmûd, son of Ahmad, may Allãh perpetuate his… and may his affair and prestige be high, in the city of Somnãt (i.e. Somnath), may God make it one of the cities of Islãm and [banish?]. infidelity and idols…
- English translation of Arabic inscription on a mosque in Prabhas Patan. Z.A. Desai :Epigraphia Indica-Arabic and Persian Supplement, 1961, quoted from Goel, S. R. (1993). Hindu temples: What happened to them. (Second Enlarged Edition) 
- Brothers and sisters, our religious books have mentioned Somnath Mandir as one of the twelve Jyotirlingas (the radiant representation of Lord Shiv). Hence, this temple happened to be the centre of religion, culture and wealth in ancient India and was known all around the world. However, although a centre of faith and worship can be demolished, its source can never wither away. And this is the reason why the flame of worship remained illuminated in the hearts of the Indian people despite the temple being vandalised. The dream of those people is now being met as the PRAN-PRATISTHA is being carried out in the presence of people who have come from different parts of the country. The Somnath temple stands today with its head held high proclaiming that one who is loved by the people, and for whom people carry faith and belief in their hearts can never be destroyed by anyone in this world. Come what may, this temple will stand erect till the time people carry faith for this temple in their heart..... On this holy day, we should learn from the PRAN-PRATISHTA of this Somnath Mandir, and all of us should vouch for the re-establishment of the dominance of India in terms of prosperity in the world. ... I think that this PRAN-PRATISHTA will only be completed on the day, we reclaim that dominance and do justice to the Somnath Mandir. Moreover, we should also strive to achieve the level of cultural brilliance which we had in the ancient times so that when people judge us by today's culture, they should know that we are still far better than them. Sardar Vallabhai Patel started this work of re-establishment. He played a vital role in uniting the fragmented states of India and wished in his heart that with that re-establishment, we should also re-establish this ancient heritage of India. God has fulfilled his dream today, but his vision will only be completed when India achieves the cultural glory which it had in the primitive era. LONG LIVE INDIA”
- 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.
- Persian poet, Sadi visited Somnath in the thirteenth century. He described his experience in Tale 140 titled, “The idol of Somanth”.
“An ivory idol I saw in Somnath,
Encrusted as Manat in pagan days;
Its form the sculptor so had fashioned
That no form fairer could be fancied;
From every region caravans would make their way
To gain sight of that form without spirit...
To humble themselves before that tongueless one.
The inwardness of this I failed to fathom...
I mildly asked: ‘O Brahmin!
At the doings in this locality I am amazed!
These folk are bemused by this impotent image
And fettered fast within the pit of error:
His hand has no power, his foot cannot walk,
And if you cast him down, he'll not rise up again;
See you not his eyes are amber?
It’s a mistake to see good-faith from those with stony eyes!’
That friend at what I said became my enemy;
In rage, like fire he grew and seized upon me;
And down into a pit I cast him...
So with a stone, stone-dead I killed that foul fellow,
For tales no more are heard from one who's dead;
But, seeing I had roused a tumult,
I left that land and fled...”
- (Sadi 1974: 214-219). quoted from Jain, M. (2019). Flight of deities and rebirth of temples: Espisodes from Indian history.
- Somnat - A celebrated city of India, is situated on the shores of the sea, and washed by its waves. Among the wonders of that place was the temple in which was placed the idol called Somnat' When the Sultan Yaminu-d Daula Mahmud bin Subuktigin went to wage religious war against India, he made great efforts to capture and destroy Somnat, in the hope that Hindus would become Muhammadans. He arrived there in the middle of Zil K'ada AH 416 (December AD 1025). The Indians made a desperate resistance' The number of slain exceeded 50,000.
- Elliot and Dowson, Vol. I : Elliot and Dowson, History of India as told by its own Historians, 8 Volumes, Allahabad Reprint, 1964. pp. 97-98
- "This temple of Somnat was built upon fifty-six pillars of teak wood covered with lead. The idol itself was in a chamber; its height was five cubits and its girth three cubits. This was what appeared to the eye but two cubits were (hidden) in the basement. Yaminu'd daula seized it, part of it he burnt, and part of it he carried away with him to Ghazni, where he made it a step at the entrance of the Jami'-masjid.
- Ali ibn al-Athir: Kamilu’t-Tawarikh, in Elliot and Dowson, Vol. II : Elliot and Dowson, History of India as told by its own Historians, 8 Volumes, Allahabad Reprint, 1964. pp. 469-471
- The temple and town of Somniith, Biruni's Somniit, differs from Mathura and Kanauj in that it was not located on either of the sacred rivers of the Yamuna and Ganges. Away from the land- routes, on the peninsula of Kathiawar, it was thought to be relatively safe from Muslim interference. Not being on a sacred river, fresh Ganges water was brought daily for the god's bath.142 On a narrow strip of land, it was fortified on one side, and washed on three sides by the sea, while the tide was looked upon as the worship paid to the god by the sea.I43 Somniith (Skt Soma-niitha, 'lord of the moon') owed its name to the ebb and flow of the sea.144 During lunar eclipses, the crowd of pilgrims visiting the temple could swell to 200,000 or 300,000.14.... It is not possible any longer to identify the exact site of the icon which was thus destroyed, as the whole coastline of this area is littered with ruins. Moreover, there has been a succession of later Muslim invaders who tried to raze the temple to the ground. Time and again the Hindus started rebuilding the monument. This went on for 400 years, until the shrine was finally abandoned. In 1842, the British, after attacking the Mghans at Ghazna, decided to bring back 'the gates of Somnath' to India. Lord Allenborough proclaimed, on that occasion, that he had restored to the princes of India their honour by presenting them with these gates. The gesture, how- ever, merely angered the Muslim princes, while the Maharajas did not want the 'polluted' portal.
- Wink A. Al-Hind-The-Making-of-the-Indo-Islamic-World-Vol-2-The-Slave-Kings-and-the-Islamic-Conquest-11th-13th-Centuries
- 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.’
- 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.
- From the time Muslims started arriving, around 632 AD, the history of India becomes a long, monotonous series of murders, massacres, spoliations, and destructions. It is, as usual, in the name of 'a holy war' of their faith, of their sole God, that the barbarians have destroyed civilizations, wiped out entire races. Mahmoud Ghazni was an early example of Muslim ruthlessness, burning in 1018 of the temples of Mathura, razing Kanauj to the ground and destroying the famous temple of Somnath, sacred to all Hindus.
- Alain Danielou: Histoire de l' Inde
- The most famous anecdote of Mahmud at Somanatha involved the priests’ attempt to ransom their idol. The twelfth-century mystic poet Farid al-Din “Attar first narrated this tale in his Mantik al-Tayr. It was repeated in the authoriative account of Firishta, and then in the West by Edward Gibbon, James Mill, and many others up to the present... Most important, it provided the theme for the issue of Mahmud’s motivation, answering a question historians have long since debated. Were his campaigns primarily concerned with plunder and economic gain, or did he attach real importance to the iconoclastic policy prescribed as proper to an Islamic warrior faced with the objects of polytheism?!” Refusing to view the Somanatha icon as a commodity reducible solely to an economic value, Mahmitid insisted that it was primarily a Hindu religious object, and his first duty as a Muslim was to destroy it. The story then rewarded his righteousness with wealth, just as Allah bestowed his mercy on those who acted as his servants.
- ‘Lives of Indian Images’ by Richard Davis, 1999 (Princeton University Press). 104-5
- 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
- It is said by Lane Poole that Muhammad of Ghazni " who had vowed that every year should see him wage a holy war against the infidels of Hindustan " could not rest from his idol-breaking campaign so long as the temple of Somnath remained inviolate. It was for this specific purpose that he, at the very close of his career, undertook his arduous march across the desert from Multan to Anhalwara on the coast, fighting as he went, until he saw at last the famous temple: "There a hundred thousand pilgrims were wont to assemble, a thousand Brahmins served the temple and guarded its treasures, and hundreds of dancers and singers played before its gates. Within stood the famous linga, a rude pillar stone adorned with gems and lighted by jewelled candelebra which were reflected in rich hangings, embroidered with precious stones like stars, that decked the shrine..... Its ramparts were swarmed with incredulous Brahmins, mocking the vain arrogance of foreign infidels whom the God of Somnath would assuredly consume. The foreigners, nothing daunted, scaled the walls; the God remained dumb to the urgent appeals of his servants; fifty thousand Hindus suffered for their faith and the sacred shrine was sacked to the joy of the true believers. The great stone was cast down and its fragments were carried off to grace the conqueror's palace. The temple gates were setup at Ghazni and a million pounds worth of treasure rewarded the iconoclast "
- 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.
- 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.
- The later Muslim chronicler Firishta portrays the same vandalism of the Somanatha Temple in this fashion: Having now placed guards round the walls and at the gates, Mahmud entered Somnat accompanied by his sons and a few of his nobles and principal attendants. On approaching the temple, he saw a superb edifice built of hewn stone.... In the center of the [Temple] hall was Somnat, a stone idol, five yards in height, two of which were sunk in the ground. The King, approaching the image, raised his mace and struck off its nose. He ordered two pieces of the idol to be broken off and sent to Ghazni so that one might be thrown at the threshold of the public mosque, and the other at the court door of his own palace [emphasis added]. These identical fragments are to this day (now six hundred years ago) to be seen at Ghazni. Two more fragments were reserved to be sent to Mecca and Medina…. The next blow broke open the belly of Somnat, which was hollow, and discovered a quantity of diamonds, rubies, and pearls.
- Firishta in Briggs, History of the Rise of the Mahomedan Power in India till the Year A.D. 1612, Vol. 1, 72. in Sandeep Balakrishna - Invaders and Infidels_ From Sindh to Delhi_ The 500-Year Journey of Islamic Invasions. Bloomsbury India (2020)
- A sacred city like … Somanatha armoured principally by the devotion and reverence of the whole country, fell prey to an army pledged to fanatic destruction of alien shrines.
- K Munshi, Somanatha: The Shrine Eternal, 7. in Sandeep Balakrishna - Invaders and Infidels_ From Sindh to Delhi_ The 500-Year Journey of Islamic Invasions. Bloomsbury India (2020)
Asaru-l Bilad of Zakari’ya Al Kazwini
- SOMNAT. A celebrated city of India, situated on the shore of the sea, and washed by its waves. Among the wonders of that place was the temple in which was placed the idol called Somnat. This idol was in the middle of the temple without anything to support it from below, or to suspend it from above. It was held in the highest honour among the Hindus, and whoever beheld it floating in the air was struck with amazement, whether he was a Musulman or an infidel.
- The Hindus used to go on pilgrimage to it whenever there was an eclipse of the moon, and would then assemble there to the number of more than a hundred thousand. They believed that the souls of men used to meet there after separation from the body, and that the idol used to incorporate them at its pleasure in other bodies in accordance with their [p. 134] doctrine of transmigration. The ebb and flow of the tide was considered to be the worship paid to the idol by the sea. Everything of the most precious was brought there as offerings, and the temple was endowed with more than 10,000 villages. There is a river (the Ganges) which is held sacred, between which and Somnat the distance is 200 parasangs. They used to bring the water of this river to Somnat every day, and wash the temple with it. A thousand brahmans were employed in worshipping the idol and attending on the visitors, and 500 damsels sung and danced at the door-all these were maintained upon the endowments of the temple. The edifice was built upon fifty-six pillars of teak, covered with lead. The shrine of the idol was dark, but was lighted by jewelled chandeliers of great value. Near it was a chain of gold weighing 200 mans. When a portion (watch) of the night closed, this chain used to be shaken like bells to rouse a fresh lot of brahmans to perform worship.
- When the Sultan Yaminu-d Daula Mahmud bin Subuktigin went to wage religious war against India, he made great efforts to capture and destroy Somnat, in the hope that the Hindus would then become Muhammadans. He arrived there in the middle of Zi-l k'ada, 416 A.H. (December, 1025 A.D.). The Indians made a desperate resistance. They would go weeping and crying for help into the temple, and then issue forth to battle and fight till all were killed. The number of the slain exceeded 50,000. The king looked upon the idol with wonder, and gave orders for the seizing of the spoil, and the appropriation of the treasures. There were many idols of gold and silver and vessels set with jewels, all of which had been sent there by the greatest personages in India. The value of the things found in the temples of the idols [p. 135] exceeded twenty thousand thousand dinars. When the king asked his companions what they had to say about the marvel of the idol, and of its staying in the air without proper support, several maintained that it was upheld by some hidden support. The king directed a person to go and feel all around and above and below it with a spear, which he did, but met with no obstacle. One of the attendants then stated his opinion that the canopy was made of loadstone, and the idol of iron, and that the ingenious builder had skilfully contrived that the magnet should not exercise a greater force on anyone side-- hence the idol was suspended in the middle. Some coincided, others differed. Permission was obtained from the Sultan to remove some stones from the top of the canopy to settle the point. When two stones were removed from the summit the idol swerved on one side, when more were taken away it inclined still further, until at last it rested on the ground.
- 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.
Habibu-s Siyar by Khondamir
- When Mahmud returned victorious from this expedition to the royal residence of Ghaznin, he built a general mosque and a college, and endowed them with pious legacies. Some years after these events, Sultan Mahmud, of praiseworthy virtues, formed the design of taking Somnat, and of slaying the detestable idolators. ... Sultan Mahmud went from that place towards Nahrwala,8 and he killed and plundered the inhabitants of every city on the road at which he arrived, until in the month of Zi-l ka’da of the above year, he arrived at Somnat. Historians agree that Somnat is the name of a certain idol, which the Hindus believe in as the greatest of idols, but we learn the contrary of this from Shaikh Faridu-d din’ Attar, in that passage where he says: “The army of Mahmud obtained in Somnat that idol whose name was Lat.” According to historians, Somnat was placed in an idol-temple upon the [p. 155] shore of the sea. The ignorant Hindus, when smitten with fear, assemble in this temple, and on those nights more than 100,000 men come into it. From the extremities of kingdoms, they bring offerings to that temple, and 10,000 cultivated villages are set apart for the expenses of the keepers thereof. So many exquisite jewels were found there, that a tenth part thereof could not be contained entirely in the treasury of any king. Two thousand Brahmans were always occupied in prayer round about the temple. A gold chain, weighing 200 mans, on which bells were fixed, hung from a comer of that temple, and they rang them at appointed hours, so that by the noise thereof the Brahmans might know the time for prayer. Three hundred musicians and 500 dancing slave girls were the servants of that temple, and all the necessaries of life were provided for them from the offerings and bequests for pious usages..
- In short, when Mahmud encamped at Somnat, he saw a large fort on the shore of the sea, and the waves reached up to the earth underneath that castle. Many men having come upon the top of the rampart, looked down upon the Musulmans, and imagined that their false god would kill that multitude that very night.
“The next day, when this world, full of pride,
Obtained light from the stream of the sun;
The Turk of the day displaying his golden shield,
Cut off with his sword the head of the Hindu night.” [p. 156]
The army of Ghaznin, full of bravery, having gone to the foot of the fort, brought down the Hindus from the tops of the ramparts with the points of eye-destroying arrows, and having placed scaling-ladders, they began to ascend with loud cries of Allah-u Akbar (i.e… God is greatest). The Hindus offered resistance, and on that day, from the time that the sun entered upon the fort of the turquoise-coloured sky, until the time that the stars of the bed-chambers of Heaven were conspicuous, did the battle rage between both parties. When the darkness of night prevented the light of the eye from seeing the bodies of men, the army of the faithful returned to their quarters...
The next day, having returned to the strife, and having finished bringing into play the weapons of warfare, they vanquished the Hindus. Those ignorant men ran in crowds to the idol temple, embraced Somnat, and came out again to fight until they were killed. Fifty thousand infidels were killed round about the temple, and the rest who escaped from the sword embarked in ships and fled away.11 Sultan Mahmud, having entered into the idol temple, beheld an excessively long and broad room, insomuch that fifty-six pillars12 had been made to [p. 157] support the roof. Somnat was an idol cut out of stone, whose height was five yards, of which three yards were visible, and two yards were concealed in the ground. Yaminu-d daula having broken that idol with his own hand, ordered that they should pack up pieces of the stone, take them to Ghaznin, and throw them on the threshold of the Jami’ Masjid.13 The sum which the treasury of the Sultan Mahmud obtained from the idol temple of Somnat was more than twenty thousand thousand dinars, inasmuch as those pillars were all adorned with precious jewels. Sultan Mahmud, after this glorious victory, reduced a fort in which the governor of Nahrawala had taken refuge.
Mirati Mas’udi by ‘Abdur Rahman Chishti
- It happened that Mahmud had long been planning an expedition into Bhardana, and Gujerat, to destroy the idol temple of Somnat, a place of great sancity to all Hindus.
- Afterwards he invited Salar Sahu to a private audience, and asked his advice about leading an army against Somnat. “Through the favour of Allah,” said that officer, “the power and grandeur of your Majesty have struck such terror into the hearts of the unbelievers, that not one of them has the daring to oppose you. The best plan is at once to commence the enterprise. “
- When the Sultan Mahmud Subuktigin had gone on the expedition to Somnat, they suggested to Khwaja Abu Muhammad of Chisht that he ought to go and help him. The Khwaja, though he was seventy years old, set out with some darweshes, and when he arrived made war upon the pagans and idolator; with all his sacred soul. One day the idolators made a successful assault, and the army of the Faithful, nearly overwhelmed, fled to the Shaikh for protection. Khwaja Abu Muhammad had a disciple in the town of Chisht, Muhammad Kalu by name. He called out’ ‘Look, Kalu!’ At that moment Kalu was seen fighting with such fury, that the army of the Faithful proved victorious. The unbelievers were routed. At that very time Muhammad Kalu was seen in Chisht, striking upon the wall with a pestle, and when he was asked the reason, he said, “When the Almighty commanded a man of Abu Mnhammap of Chisht’s exalted piety to go to the assistance of the Sultan, who could stand before him?”
- It is related in the Tarikh-i Mahmudi that the Sultan shortly after reached Ghazni, and laid down the image of Somnat at the threshold of the Mosque of Ghazni, so that the Musulmans might tread upon the breast of the idol on their way to and from their devotions. As soon as the unbelievers heard of this, they sent an embassy to Khwaja Hasan Maimandi, stating that the idol was of stone and useless to the Musulmans, and offered to give twice its weight in gold as a ransom, if it might be returned to them. Khwaja Hasan Maimandi represented to the Sultan that the unbelievers had offered twice the [p. 118] weight of the idol in gold, and had agreed to be subject to him. He added, that he best policy would be to take the gold and restore the image, thereby attaching the people to his Government. The Sultan yielded to the advice of the Khwaja, and the unbelievers paid the gold into the treasury.
- One day, when the Sultan was seated on his throne, the ambassadors of the unbelievers came, and humbly petitioned thus: “Oh Lord of the world we have paid the gold to your Government in ransom, but have not yet received our purchase, the idol Somnat.” The Sultan was wroth at their words, and, falling into reflection, broke up the assembly and retired, with his dear Salar Mas’ud, into his private apartments. He then asked his opinion as to whether the image ought to be restored, or not? Salar Mas’ud, who was perfect in goodness, said quickly. “In the day of the resurrection, when the Almighty shall call for Azar, the idol-destroyer, and Mahmud, the idol-seller, Sire! what will you say?” This speech deeply affected the Sultan, he was full of grief, and answered, “I have given my word; it will be a breach of promise”. Salar Mas’ud begged him to make over the idol to him, and tell the unbelievers to get it from him. The Sultan agreed; and Salar Mas’ud took it to his house, and, breaking off its nose and ears, ground them to powder.
When Khwaja Hasan introduced the unbelievers, and asked the Sultan to give orders to restore the image to them, his majesty replied that Salar Mas’ud had carried it off to his house, and that he might send them to get it from him. Khwaja Hasan, bowing his head, repeated these words in Arabic. “No easy matter is it to recover anything which has fallen into the hands of a lion.” He then told the unbelievers that the idol was with Salar Mas’ud, and that they were at liberty to go and fetch it. So they went to Mas’ud’s door and demanded their god.
That prince commanded Malik Nekbakht to treat them courteously, and make them be seated; then to mix [p. 119] the dust of the nose and ears of the idols with sandal and the lime eaten with betel nut, and present it to them. The unbelievers were delighted, and smeared themselves, with sandal, and ate the betel leaf. After a while they asked for the idol, when Salar Mas’ud said he had given it to them. They inquired, with astonishment, what he meant by saying that they had received the idol? And Malik Nekbakht explained that it was mixed with the sandal and betel-lime. Some began to vomit, while others went weeping and lamenting to Khwaja Hasan Maimandi and told him what had occurred.The Khwaja writhed like a snake, and said, “Verily the king is demented, since he follows the counsel of a boy of yesterday I will leave the service of the Sultan for your sakes, and do you also go and attack his country. We will open his Majesty’s eyes.” Accordingly the unbelievers returned with the news to the Hindu princes. And Khwaja Hasan, from that day resigned the office of Wazir, became disaffected, and left off attending to the duties of his office.
Afterwards the image of Somnat was divided into four parts, as is described in the Tawarikh-i Mahmudi. Mahmud’s first exploit is said to have been conquering the Hindu rebels, destroying the forts and the idol temples of the. Rai Ajipal (Jaipal), and subduing the country of India. His second, the expedition into Harradawa and Guzerat, the carrying off the idol of Somnat, dividing it into four pieces, one of which he is reported to have placed on the threshold of the Imperial Palace while he sent two others to Mecca and Medina respectively. Both these exploits were performed at the suggestion, and by the advice, of the General and Salar Mas’ud; but India was conquered by the efforts of Salar Mas’ud alone, and the idol of Somnat was broken in pieces by his sole advice as has been related, Salar Sahu was Sultan of the army and General of the forces in Iran.
- “It is said that the temple of Somnat was built by one of the greatest Rajas of India. The idol was cut out of solid stone, about five yards in height, of which two were buried in the earth. Mahmud, as soon as his eye fell on this idol, lifted up his battle-axe with much anger, and struck it with such force that the idol broke into pieces. The fragments of it were ordered to be taken to Ghaznin, and were cast down at the threshold of the Jami’ Masjid’, where they are lying to this day. It is a well-authenticated fact that when Mahmud was about to destroy the idol, a crowd of Brahmans represented (to his nobles) that if he would desist from the mutilation they would pay several crores of gold coins into his treasury. This was agreed to by many of the nobles, who pointed out to the Sultan that he could not obtain so much treasure by breaking the image, and that the proffered money would be very serviceable. Mahmud replied, “I know this, but I desire that on the day of resurrection I should be summoned with the words, ‘where is the Mahmud who broke the greatest of the heathen idols’ rather than by these: ‘Where is that Mahmud who sold the greatest of the idols to the infidels for gold?’ ” Then Mahmud demolished the image, he found in it so many superb jewels and rubies, that they amounted to, and even exceeded as hundred times the value of the ransom which had been offered to him by the Brahmans.
“According to the belief of the Hindus, all the other idols in India held the position of attendants and deputies of Somnat. Every night this idol was washed with ‘fresh’ water brought from the Ganges, although that river must be more than two hundred parasangs [p. 54] distant. This river flows through the eastern part of India, and is held very sacred by the Hindus. They throw the bones of their dead into it.
- It is related in many authentic historical works that the revenue of ten thousand populated villages was set apart as an endowment for the expenses of the temple of Somnat, and more than one thousand Brahmans were always engaged in the worship of that idol. There hung in this temple a golden chain which weighed two hundred Indian mans. To this were attached numerous bells, and several persons were appointed whose duty it was to shake it at stated times during day and night, and summon the Brahmans to worship. Amongst the other attendants of this temple there were three hundred barbers appointed to shave the heads of the pilgrims. There were also three hundred musicians and five hundred dancing-girls attached to it; and it was customary even for the kings and rajas of India to send their daughters for the service of the temple. A salary was fixed for every one of the attendants, and it was duly and punctually paid. On the occurrence of an eclipse multitudes of Hindus came to visit this temple from all parts of Hindustan. We are told by many historians that at every occurrence of this phenomenon there assembled more than two hundred thousand persons, bringing offerings. It is said in the history of Ibn Asir and in that of Hafiz Abru that the room in which the idol of Somnat was placed was entirely dark, and that it was illumined by the refulgence of the jewels that adorned the candelabra. In the treasury of this temple there were also found numberless small idols of gold and silver. In short, besides what fell into the hands of his army from the plunder of the city, Mahmud obtained so much wealth in gold jewels, and other [p. 55] valuables from this temple, that no other king possessed anything equal to it.
“When Mahmud had concluded his expedition against Somnat, it was reported to him that Raja Bhim, chief of Nahrwara, who at the time of the late invasion had fled away, had now taken refuge in the fort of Kandama,1 which was by land forty parasangs distant from Somnat. Mahmud immediately advanced towards that place,2 and when his victorious flags drew near the fort, it was found to be surrounded by much water, and there appeared no way of approaching it. The Sultan ordered some divers to sound the depth of the water, and they pointed him out a place where it was fordable. But at the same time they said that if the water (the tide) should rise at the time of their passing it would drown them all. Mahmud, having taken the advice of religious persons, and depending upon the protection of the Almighty God, proceeded with his army, and plunged with his horse into the water. He crossed over it in safety, and the chief of the fort having witnessed his intrepidity, fled away. His whole property, with numerous prisoners, fell into the hands of the army of Islam. All men who were found in the fort were put to the sword.
Tabakat-i Nasiri of Abu ‘Umar Minhaju-d din, ‘Usman ibn Siraju-d din al Juzjani
- Sultan Mahmud was a great monarch. He was the first Muhammadan king who received the title of Sultan from the Khalif. He was born on the night of Thursday, the tenth of Muharram, A.H. 3611 (2nd October 971), in the seventh year after the time of Bilkatigin. A moment (sa’ at) before his birth, Amir Subuktigin saw in a dream that a tree sprang up from the fire-place in the midst of his house and grew so high that it covered the whole world, with its shadow. Waking in alarm from his dream, he began to reflect upon the import of it. At that very moment a messenger came bringing the tidings that the Almighty had given him a son. Subuktigin greatly rejoiced, and said, I name the child- Mahmud. On the same night that he was born, an idol temple in India in the vicinity of Parshawar, on the banks of the Sind, fell down.
Mahmud was a man of great abilities, and is renowed as one of the greatest champions of Islam. He ascended the throne in Balkh in the year 387 H. (997 A.D.) and received investiture by the Khalifa Al Kadir bi-llah. His influence upon Islam soon became widely known, for he converted as many as a thousand idol temples into mosques, subdued the cities of Hindustan, [p. 14] and vanquished the Rais of that cpuntry. He captured Jaipal, who was the greatest of them, kept him at Yazd (?) in Khurasan, and gave orders so that he was bought for eighty dirhams. He led his armies to Nahrwala and Gujarat, carried off the idol (manat) from Somnat, and broke it into four parts. One part he deposited in the Jami Masjid of Ghazni, one he placed at the entrance of the royal palace, the third he sent to Mecca and the fourth to Medina. ‘Unsuri composed a long Kasida on this victory. He died in the year- 421 H. (1030 A.D.) in the thirty-sixth year of his reign, and at sixty-one years of age.
Kamilu-t Tawarikh of Ibn Asir
- Kamilu-t Tawarikh of Ibn Asir (b. 555 H., 1160 CE). It is a general history of the world ending in 628 H. (1230 CE), the date of the work’s completion. In The History of India as Told by its own Historians. The Posthumous Papers of the Late Sir H. M. Elliot. John Dowson, ed. 1st ed. 1867. 2nd ed., Calcutta: Susil Gupta, 1956, vol. 12, pp. 100-108.also in   
- "In the year 414 H. Mahmud captured several forts and cities in Hind, and he also took the idol called Somnat. This idol was the greatest of all the idols of Hind. Every night that there was an eclipse the Hindus went on pilgrimage to the temple, and there congregated to the number of a hundred thousand persons. They believed that the souls of men after separation from the body used to meet there, according to their doctrine of [p. 50] transmigration, and that the ebb and flow of the tide was the worship paid to the idol by the sea, to the best of its power. Everything of the most precious was brought there; its attendants received the most valuable presents, and, the temple was endowed with more than 10,000 villages. In the temple were amassed jewels of the most exquisite quality and incalculable value. The "people of India have a great river called Gang, to which they pay the highest honour, and into which they cast the bones of their great men, in the belief that the deceased will thus secure an entrance to heaven. Between this river and Somnat there is a distance of about 200 parasangs, but water was daily brought from it with which the idol was washed. One thousand Brahmans attended every day to perform the worship of the idol, and to introduce the visitors. Three hundred persons were employed in shaving the heads and beards of the pilgrims. Three hundred and fifty persons sang and danced at the gate of the temple. Every one of these received a settled allowance daily. When Mahmud was gaining victories and demolishing idols in India, the Hindus said that Somnat was displeased with these idols, and that if he had been satisfied with them no one could have destroyed or injured them. When Mahmud heard this he resolved upon making a campaign to destroy this idol, believing that when the Hindus saw their prayers and imprecations to be false and futile, they would embrace the faith.
- "So he prayed to the Almighty for aid, and left 'Ghazni on the 10th Shaban, 414 H., with 30,000 horse besides volunteersm and took the road to Multan, which place he reached in the middle of Ramazan. The road from thence to India was through a barren desert, where there were neither inhabitants nor food. So he collected provisions for the passage, and loading 30,000 camels with water and corn, he started for Anhalwara. After he had crossed the desert, he perceived on one side a fort full of people, in which place there were wells. People came [p. 51] down to conciliate him, but he invested the place, and God gave him victory over it, for the hearts of the inhabitants failed them through fear. So he brought the place under the sway of Islam, killed the inhabitants, and broke in pieces their images. His men carried water away with them from thence and marched for Anhalwara, where they arrived at the beginning of Zi-l Ka'da.
- The chief of Anhalwara, called Bhim, fled hastily, and abandoning his city, he went to a certain fort for safety and to prepare himself for war. Yaminu-d daula again started for Somnat, and on his march he came to several forts in which were many jmages serving as chamberlains or heralds of Somnat, and accordingly he (Mahmud) called them Shaitan. He killed the people who were in these places, destroyed the fortifications, broke in pieces the idols, and continued his march to Somnat through a desert where there was little water. There he met 20,000 fighting men, inhabitants of that country, whose chiefs would not submit. So he sent some forces against them, who defeated them, put them to flight, and plundered their possessions. From thence they marched to Dabalwarah, which is two days' journey from Somnat. The people of this place stayed resolutely in it, believing that Somnat would utter his prohibition and drive back the invaders; but Mahmud took the place, slew the men, plundered their property, .and marched on to Somnat.
- "He reached Somnat on a Thursday in the middle of Zi-l Ka'da, and there he beheld a strong fortress built upon the sea shore, so that it was washed by the waves. The people of the fort were on the walls amusing themselves at the expense of the confident Musulmans, telling them that their deity would cut off the last man of them, and destroy them all. On the morrow, which was Friday, the assailants advanced to the assault, and when the Hindus beheld the Muhammadans fighting, they abandoned their posts, and left the walls. The Musalmans planted their ladders against the walls and [p. 52] gained the summit: then they proclaimed their success with their religious war-cry, and exhibited the prowess of Islam. Then followed a fearful slaughter, and matters wore a serious aspect. A body of Hindus hurried to Somnat, cast themselves on the ground before him, and besought him to grant them victory. Night came on, and the fight was suspended.
- "Next morning, early, the Muhammadans renewed the battle, and made greater havoc among the Hindus till they drove them from the town to the house of their idol, Somnat. A dreadful slaughter followed at the gate of the temple. Band after band of the defenders entered the temple to Somnat, and with their hands clasped round their necks, wept and passionately entreated him. Then again they issued forth to fight until they were slain, and but few were left alive. These took to the sea in boats to make their escape, but the M usulmans overtook them, and some were killed and some were drowned.
- “This temple of Somnat was built upon fifty-six pillars of teak wood covered with lead, The idol itself was in a chamber; its height was five cubits and its girth three cubits. This was what appeared to the eye, but two cubits were (hidden) in the basement. It had no appearance of having been sculptured, Yaminu-d daula seized it, part of it he burnt, and part of it he carried away with him to Ghazni, where he made it a step at the entrance of the jami'-masjid. The shrine of the idol was dark, but. it was lighted by most exquisitely jewelled chandeliers. Near the idol was a chain of gold to which bells were attached. The weight of it was 200 mans. When a certain portion of the night had passed, this chain was shaken to ring the bells, and so rouse a fresh party of Brahmans to carry on the worship. The treasury was near, and in it there were many idols of gold and silver. Over it there were veils hanging, set with jewels, everyone of which was of immense value. The worth of what was found in the temple exceeded [p. 53] two millions of dinars, all of which was taken. The number of the slain exceeded fifty thousand."-lbn Asir.
- Kamilu-t Tawarikh of Ibn Asir (b. 555 H., 1160 CE). It is a general history of the world ending in 628 H. (1230 CE), the date of the work’s completion. In The History of India as Told by its own Historians. The Posthumous Papers of the Late Sir H. M. Elliot. John Dowson, ed. 1st ed. 1867. 2nd ed., Calcutta: Susil Gupta, 1956, vol. 12, pp. 100-108.also in   
Attack on Somnath by Ulug Khan (Alauddin Khalji)
- “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.  also in Jain, M. (2019). Flight of deities and rebirth of temples: Espisodes from Indian history. 190 ff. also in Elliot Dowson III.
- 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.
- Jalaluddin’s nephew and successor Alauddin Khalji (1296-1316) turned out to be a very strong king. He marched against Devagiri in 1296. On his way through Gondwana and Khandesh he took prisoners a large number of Mahajans and cultivators, and ransomed them for wealth.33 At Devagiri he enslaved a number of the Raja’s relatives, and Brahmans and Mahajans. He put them in shackles and chains and paraded them in front of the fort to pressure the besieged king. After victory, he released many of the captives because of compulsions of the situation. He was only a prince who had marched to the Deccan without the Sultan’s permission. But his taking of slaves in large numbers was in consonance with the policy of Muslim sultans and gave a foretaste of what was to follow during the course of his reign.... In 1299 he despatched a large army for the invasion of Gujarat. There all the major towns and cities like Naharwala, Asaval, Vanmanthali, Surat, Cambay, Somnath etc. were sacked. There the temples were broken, wealth looted and large numbers of captives of both sexes captured, including the famous Malik Kafur and the Vaghela king’s consort Kamala Devi. In the words of Wassaf, the Muslim army in the sack of Somnath “took captive a great number of handsome and elegant maidens, amounting to 20,000, and children of both sexes… the Muhammadan army brought the country to utter ruin, and destroyed the lives of inhabitants, and plundered the cities and captured their offspring…” In 1301 Ranthambhor was attacked and in 1303 Chittor. In the invasion of Chittor, 30,000 people were massacred in cold blood and obviously females and minors of their families were captured.38 Slaves were also taken in large numbers in the expeditions to Malwa, Sevana and Jalor (1305-1311); these will be referred to again in the course of this study. Maybe the number of captives obtained from Rajasthan was not that large knowing the bravery and chivalry of the Rajputs and their prevailing customs of Jauhar and Sati. But the highly successful Deccan campaigns of Malik Kafur must have supplied a large corps of captives. Besides, Alauddin did not confine to obtaining Hindu slaves....“The Mongol invaders were certainly infidels,” says Mahdi Husain.
- 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 idol temple of Somnat, and building a mosque there retraced his steps.”
- Muntakhab-ut-Tawarikh, `Abd al-Qadir Bada'uni. 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)
- Barni endorsed the statement that the image was taken to the imperial capital,
.. and the idol which after the victory of Sultan Mahmud and his destruction of (the idol) Manat, the Brahmans had set up under the name Somnath for the worship of the Hindus, was removed and carried to Dehli, where it was laid down for people to tread upon .
- (Elliot and Dowson Vol. III: 163). quoted ffrom Jain, M. (2019). Flight of deities and rebirth of temples: Espisodes from Indian history.190 ff
- Padmanabha, in his Kanhadade Prabandha, presented a noticeably different account of the attack on Somnath. He composed his work in 1455 ck, at the behest of the fifth in descent of Raval Kanhadade Chauhan of Jalor, who had fought the Khalji forces. "he work recounted the heroic tale of Kanhadade and the people of Jalor, who resisted the Delhi armies till the very end (Padmanabha 1991: vii-xxii). The text stated,
Profound calamity had fallen upon Lord Somanatha’s temple. The locks (of the doors) were broken open and the enemy rushed through the doors tumultuously, and took possession of the temple drum and Kansala. The Mlechchha (asura) stone-breakers climbed up the sikhara of the temple (to take off the golden kalasa) and began to rain blows on the stone idols on all the three sides (pasa) 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 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.
Such strange and improper happenings were taking place: the kaliyuga was, no doubt, showing its true temper: Lord Siva, leaving the earthly abode, went away to Kailasa.
Ulug Khan now ordered: ‘The temple will remain without its God idol! Despatch the idol (bhuta) to Delhi where I will have it crushed and made into lime.’
Half cart (Faraka i.e. Firg) and rekhala, with wheels fitted with iron rims, were brought to place the idol with the help of strong wooden beams. Dark coarse Bhoias loaded the linga on the huge cart to which were yoked three pairs of bullocks, and the idol was sent off towards Delhi (Padmanabha 1991: 10).
The next day, the Rauts surveyed the battlefield. The palhans of the horses, turrets (panjari) carried by the elephants, and slaughtered horses were lying scattered all over the ground... Also could be seen severed heads and torsos lying here and there. The ground had become wet and miry with flesh and gore of the slain.
The Raval secured back Lord Somanatha’s idol and then washed his weapons... No sooner the people of Jalor came to know of Kanhadade’s victory, they came to greet him and offer felicitations... (Padmanabha 1991: 25-27).
At Jalor, Kanhadade now worshipped Lord Somanatha, daily bathing the idol with panchamrita, performing all the sixteen rituals, and adorning the idol with sandal paste, flowers, tilaka, etc...
Of the Ekalinga, which saves one from falling into the hell and dire troubles and afflictions, five idols were carved out; there is no sixth one like them. One of these was ceremoniously installed at Soratha and another at Lohasing in Vagada. One was sent to a pleasant spot on the Abu hill for consecration, while one was installed at Jalor where the Rai built a temple and one was sent to Saivadi (Jalor district). At all these five places, worship of Lord Siva is performed
- Kanhadade Prabandha (Padmanabha 1991: 28-29). quoted from Jain, M. (2019). Flight of deities and rebirth of temples: Espisodes from Indian history. 190ff.
Tazjiyatu-l Amsar wa Tajriyata-l Asar by ‘Abdu-llah Wassaf
- When Sultan ‘Alau-d din, the Sultan of Dehli, was well established in the centre of his dominion and had cut off the heads of his enemies and slain them, and had imparted rest to his subjects from the fountain of his kindness and justice, the vein of the zeal of religion beat high for the subjection of infidelity and destruction of idols, and in the month of Zi’l-hijja 698 H. (1298 A,D.) his brother [p. 47] Malik Mu’izzu-d din3 and Nusrat Khan, the chief pillar of the state and the leader of his armies, a generous and intelligent warrior, were sent to Kambayat, the most celebrated of the cities of Hind in population and wealth. Its air is pure, its water clear, and the circumjacent country beautiful and charming both in scenery and buildings. With a view to holy war, and not for the lust of conquest. he enlisted under their banners about 14,000 cavalry and 20,000 infantry, which, in their language, are called dakk.”
They went by daily marches through the hills, from stage to stage, and when they arrived at their destination at early dawn they surrounded Kambayat, and the idolators were awakened from their sleepy state of carelessness and were taken by surprise, not knowing where to go, and mothers forgot their children and dropped them from their embrace. The Muhammadan forces began to kill and slaughter on the right and on the left unmercifully, throughout the impure land, for the sake of Islam, and blood flowed in torrents. They plundered gold and silver to all extent greater than can be conceived, and an immense number of brilliant precious stones, such as pearls, diamonds, rubies, and emeralds, etc., as well as a great variety of cloths, both silk and cotton, stamped, embroidered, and coloured.
They took captive a great number of handsome and elegant maidens amounting to 20,000, and children of both sexes, more than the pen can enumerate, and thirteen enormous elephants; whose motions would put the earth in tremor.” In short, the Muhammadan army [p. 48] brought the country to utter ruin, and destroyed the lives of the inhabitants, and plundered the cities, and captured their offspring, so that many temples were deserted, and the idols were broken and trodden under foot, the largest of which was one called Somnat, fixed upon stone, polished like a mirror, of charming shape and admirable workmanship. It stood seven yards high. Its position was such as if it was about to move, and its expression such as if it was about to speak. If the introducer of idolatry were to look on it he would become enamoured of its beauty. The infidels objected to people going near it. Its head was adorned with a crown set with gold and rubies and pearls and other precious stones, so that it was impossible for the eyes to trace the redness of the gold on account of the excessive lustre of the jewels, and a necklace of large shining pearls, like the belt of Orion, depended from the shoulder towards the side of the body.
The Muhammadan soldiers plundered all those jewels and rapidly set themselves to demolish the idol. The surviving infidels were deeply affected with grief, and they engaged to pay a thousand thousand pieces of gold as a ransom for the idol, but they were indignantly rejected, and the idol was destroyed, and its limbs, which were anointed with ambergris and perfumed, were cut off. The fragments were conveyed to Dehli, and the entrance of the Jami’ Masjid was paved with them, that people might remember and talk of this brilliant victory. “Praise be to God, the Lord of the worlds. Amen!”
After some time, among the ruins of the temples, a most beautiful jasper-coloured stone was discovered, on which one of the merchants had designed some beautiful figures of fighting-men and other ornamental figures of globes, lamps, etc., and on the margin of it were sculptured verses from the Kuran. This stone was sent as an offering to the shrine of the pole of saints, Shaikh Murshid Abu Is’hak Ibrahim bin Shahriar. At that time they were building a lofty octagonal dome to the [p. 49] tomb. The stone was placed at the right of the entrance. At this time, that is, in the year 707 H. (1307 A.D.), ‘Alau-d din is the acknowledged Sultan of this country. On all its borders there are infidels, whom it is his duty to attack in the prosecution of a holy war, and return laden with countless booty.
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.
- About this time the (new?) temple of Somnath on the south coast of the Kathiawar peninsula was demolished, and the offering of worship there ordered to be stopped. The smaller religious buildings that suffered havoc were beyond count.
- ‘Anecdotes of Aurangzib and Historical Essays’ by Jadunath Sarkar
- Neither age nor experience of life softened Aurangzib’s bigotry. When an old man of over eighty, we find him inquiring whether the Hindu worship, which he had put down at Somnath early in his reign, had been revived through the slackness of the local governor...
- Jadunath Sarkar , History of Aurangzib, Vol III.