The Somanatha Temple from the south-east, Somnath (Prabhas Patan)
Photographer: Sykes, D.H.
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the Somanatha Temple at Somnath, Prabhas Patan, in Gujarat, from the south-east, from the Archaeological Survey of India, taken by D.H. Sykes in c.1869. Prabhas Patan is an important Hindu pilgrimage centre, considered to be one of the sights of Shiva's Jyotirlingas. The Somanatha Temple was originally founded in the 10th century on the shore of the Arabian Sea. The wealth of the temple attracted many raiders, such as Mahmud of Ghazni who destroyed the sanctuary in 1026. Later the temple was rebuilt during the Solanki period by Kumarapala (r.1143-72). The description below reflects the state of the building when this photograph was taken, as supposed to the current temple building which is a modern reconstruction in the traditional Solanki style.
In the report, 'Somanatha and other mediaeval temples in Kathiawad' of 1931, Henry Cousens wrote, “ 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...The interior of the temple having being used as a mosque, the Muhammadans...re-erected many of the fallen pillars, roughly rebuilt the dome, and strengthened the cracked lintels with roughly constructed arches, beneath them...”.