'Interior of the Temple at Somnath Kattywar. 4 January 1857. Fanny Keatinge sketching and Col. W. Anderson reading'.
Artist: Lester, John Frederick (1825-1915)
Water-colour painting of the interior of the Somnath Temple in Kathiawar by John Frederick Lester (1825-1915), 4th January 1857. This image is from an album of 30 watercolours made between 1865 and 1877 in Kathiawar, Bombay, Poona, Mahabaleshwar and Savantvadi State. The album cover is lettered in gold with the word: 'Sketches' and inscribed inside cover: 'J.F. Lester'.
The Somnath Temple is believed to have been erected by the Vallabhi Kings in around 480 to 767 AD and is dedicated to Somraj, the Moon God. It is said that the temple attracted devotees from all over India, that money was raised from 10,000 villages for it’s upkeep and that it was attended by 2,000 priests. The temple was continually subjected to Muslim attacks, most devastatingly in 1024 by Mahmud of Ghazni. Sculpture fragments found near to the site including carved doorways, sculptured Nandis and goddesses give an impression of the former grandeur of the temple. In 1950 reconstruction work began on the temple and is still ongoing.