The Hindu perspective

somnathFor sheer grandeur and exuberance – the Akshardham Swaminarayana Temple complex is the largest temple in the Indian state of Gujarat. However – for history, spiritual significance and emotional bonds that Hindus carry, Somnath is by far the most important temple in Gujarat, and indeed one of the most sacred sites in the whole of India. From 1026AD it has been destroyed (by Muslim invaders and rulers) and rebuilt seven times, before its final destruction in the 15th century, when Hindus finally abandoned the temple. It was the one holy site of Hindus which was successfully reclaimed and rebuilt after India’s Independence, due to the efforts of Sardar Vallabhai Patel, Jam Saheb and K. M. Munshi. The newly reconstructed temple was reopened in 1951.

The accounts of the destruction of the temple by the likes of Mahmood Gazni and Allaudin Khilji are well known, and has been one of the…

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