This Day in History (8-Jan-1025) – Mehmud of Ghazni completely destroyed the Temple of Somnath

Until the rise of the west, India was possibly the richest country in the world. Such a country presented an irresistible target for the ravening Mongols and their descendants who settled in present day Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan, all within comparatively easy reach of north-western India. The northwest was, at this time, a mish-mash of warring kingdoms, more interested in sending scores with their neighbours than in unifying against the Mongols. It is then unsurprising that Mahmud Ghazni’s armies so handily defeated those of the Indian kings. Mahmud began a series of seventeen raids into northwestern India at the end of the 10th century. Nonetheless, he did not attempt to rule Indian Territory except for Punjab, which was his gateway to India.

Somnath Temple located in the Kathiarwar region of Gujarat, is one of the twelve Jyotiriings symbols of the God Shiva. It is mentioned in the Rig Veda. Somnath mean “The Protector of Moon God’. It is known as “the Shrine Eternal’ as although the temple has been destroyed six times it has been rebuilt every single time. The first temple of Somnath is said to have existed before the beginning of the Christian era. The second temple, built by the Maitraka kings of Vallabhi in Gujarat, replaced the first one on the same site around 649 AD. In 725 Junayad, the Arab governor of Sind sent his armies to destroy the second temple. The Pratihara king Nagabhata II constructed the third temple in 815 AD, a large structure of red sandstone.

Mahmud of Ghazni attacked this temple in 1025 AD, and looted it of gems and precious stones. He then massacred the worshippers and had the temple burnt. It was then that the famous Shiva lingam of the temple was entirely destroyed. The temple and citadel were sacked, and most of its defenders massacred; Mahmud personally hammered the temple’s gilded lingam to pieces and the stone fragments were carted back to Ghazni, where they were incorporated into the steps of the city’s new Jamiah Masjid.

However as very little evidences or descriptions of said era are available, there are multiple versions of this raid and what was probably looted during the raid.

 

Reference:

http://www.indianage.com/search.php

http://www.winentrance.com/general_knowledge/history/mahumud-ghazni.html

This Day in History (21-Sep-1995) – Rumors that statues of Ganesh were drinking milk spread in New Delhi

The Hindu milk miracle was a phenomenon reported to have occurred on September 21, 1995. Before dawn, a worshipper at a temple in south New Delhi made an offering of milk to a statue of Lord Ganesha. When a spoonful of milk from the bowl was held up to the trunk of the statue, the liquid was seen to disappear, apparently taken in by the idol. Word of the event spread quickly, and by mid-morning it was found that statues of the entire Hindu pantheon in temples all over North India were taking in milk, with the family of Shiva (Parvati, Ganesha, and Kartikeya) apparently the “thirstiest”.

By noon the news had spread beyond India, and Hindu temples in Britain, Canada, Dubai, and Nepal among other countries had successfully replicated the phenomenon. The apparent miracle had a significant effect on the areas around major temples; vehicle and pedestrian traffic in New Delhi was dense enough to create a gridlock lasting until late in the evening. Many stores saw a massive jump in sales of milk, with one Gateway store in England selling over 25,000 pints of milk, and overall milk sales in New Delhi jumped over 30%. Many minor temples struggled to deal with the vast increase in numbers, and queues spilled out into the streets.

Seeking to explain the phenomenon, scientists from India’s Ministry of Science and Technology travelled to a temple in New Delhi and made an offering of milk containing a food coloring. As the level of liquid in the spoon dropped, it became obvious that after the milk disappeared from the spoon, it coated the statue beneath where the spoon was placed. With this result, the scientists offered capillary action as an explanation; the surface tension of the milk was pulling the liquid up and out of the spoon, before gravity caused it to run down the front of the statue.

The miracle occurred again on 20-21 August 2006 in almost exactly the same fashion, although initial reports seem to indicate that it occurred only with statues of Ganesh, Shiva, and Durga. The phenomenon had reappeared only days after reports of sea water turning sweet that led to mass hysteria in Mumbai.

 

Reference:

http://www.indianage.com/show.php

http://www.crystalinks.com/milkmiracle.html