[Detail of the carvings on the wall of Somanatha Temple.]
Photographer: Nelson, F.
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the carvings on the wall of the Somanatha Temple at Somanatha, in Gujarat, taken F. Nelson in the 1890s, part of the Lee-Warner Collection: 'Photographs of Junagadh'. In the report, 'Somanatha and other mediaeval temples in Kathiawad' of 1931, Henry Cousens wrote, “Of all the shrines of Western India...there has been none so famous in the annals of Hinduism as the temple of Somanatha at Somanatha-Pattan, on the southern shore of Kathiawad, one of the twelve pre-eminent jotyir-lings which are scattered throughout India...In history it is chiefly noted for the great expedition that was led against it by Mahmud of Ghazni, in A.D. 1025. The old temple of Somnatha is situated is situated in the town, and stands upon the shore towards its eastern end, being separated by a heavily built retaining wall…Little now remains of the walls of the temple; they have been, in great measure, rebuilt and pached with rubble to convert the building into a mosque. The great dome, indeed the whole roof and the stumpy minars…are portions of the Muhammadans additions…The great temple, which faces the east, consisted, when entire, of a large central closed hall, or gudhamandapa, with three entrances, each protected with a deep lofty porch, and the shrine – the sanctum sanctorum – wich stood upon the west side of the hall, having a broad pradakshina or circumambulatory passage around it...Most [of the sculptures on the exterior of the temple]...are on the walls of the south west corner of the temple, amongst which are a number of devi's, or goddesses, and their female attendants...".