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History of Somnath

Another legend connected to Somnath is that the Moon God (Chandra or Soma) was married to the 27 daughters of King Daksha. He used to favoured only one queen Rohini, out of other 26 wives. All this enraged King Daksha. Further, Moon God or Soma became arrogant of his radiant beauty so Daksha cursed him that he would lose his beauty and radiance and wane into darkness. Repentant Soma then prayed to Lord Shiva for deliverance from this curse at the Jyotirlinga, after which he was blessed by Lord Shiva to regain his radiance every time it was lost. Likewise the Moon would wane, but then grow and shine again, in an eternal cycle. As Lord Shiva protected Soma, he came to be known as Somnath. Then Somnath temple is originally believed to be built by Soma or Moon God in respect and as a tribute to the benevolence of Shiva.

According to Mahabharata, Somnath was the scene of massacre of the Yadava race and of the subsequent death of Krishna, the eighth incarnation of Vishnu. Patan, a port on the old site, is now overshadowed by the adjacent port of Veraval.

The Somnath temple was sacked by the Muslim invader Mahmud of Ghazna and then reconstructed in 1169. Then the temple was destroyed again during the final Muslim invasions of the late 13th century. Somnath temple was subsequently rebuilt and destroyed several times and then was again reconstructed in 1951.

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