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Friday, October 1, 2010

SOMNATH TEMPLE SANDAL WOOD DOOR ~ WHICH MOMAMED GHAZNAVI TOOK WITH HIM TO CHAZNI



SOMNATH TEMPLE SANDAL WOOD DOOR ~ WHICH MOMAMED GHAZNAVI TOOK WITH HIM TO GHAZNI 

The folding doors shown were reputed to be the famous Sandalwood Doors, carried off in 1026 by Mahmud after his destruction of the Somnath Temple in Gujarat, during the last of his devastatingly successful forays in India. 

The British removed them from the tomb in 1842, laboriously transporting them to Agra Fort, where they were found to be replicas of the original.

Lane Poole, author of Medieval India, has said that Mahommad 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 Anhilwada on the coast, fighting as he went, until he saw at last the famous temple. Mahmud Ghazni attacked this temple in 1026 A.D. and after a week-long resistance, captured it. 

When the soldiers scaled the walls with ladders all they found inside were defenseless worshippers. Fifty thousand devotees praying to the linga and weeping passionately with hands clasped were massacred in cold blood. The Shiva Linga, adorned with gems and precious stones was broken and the temple burnt. 

After the battle, Mahmud and his troops are described as having carried away across the desert the equivalent of 6.5 tons of gold. The fragments of the idol were carried off to grace the conquerors' palace and the temple gates were set up at Ghazni.

Mahmud was hailed throughout the Islamic world as a second Mohammed and his smashing of Somnath was lauded in the Sufi poetry of Attar, Sanai and Omar Khayyam. These poets equated Somnath with the temples to the pagan goddess 

Al-Manat destroyed by Mohammed and viewed its destruction as the 'will of Allah' and the 'enlightened march of Islam.' The sack of Somnath made Mahmud of Ghazni a champion of the faith in the eyes of every Muslim.

Minhaj-as-Siraj tells us how Mahmud became widely known for having destroyed as many as thousand temples, and of his great feat in destroying the temple of Somnath and carrying off its idol, which he asserts was broken 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.

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