19th July 2024

The coverage of the Consecration ceremony of Somnath temple in The Hindu Newspaper

So many things are being in air about the Consecration of the Somnath Temple which was held on 10th May 1951. Here we are trying to bring you the coverage of that ceremony as it was published in the leading english newspaper The Hindu. Just go through it for the clear understanding of the ceremony.




Somnath, hitherto a forlorn sandy tract, is attracting people from all parts of India in connection with the consecration of the historic shrine here. Thousands, including prominent officials of Saurashtra and the Government of India, are pouring in. Dr. Rajendra Prasad, President of the Indian Union, accompanied by his wife, arrived here today. Mr. U. N. Dhebar, Chief Minister of Saurashtra, was one of the earliest to arrive. His Highness the Jamsaheb of Nawanagar, Rajpramukh of Saurashtra, Mr. K. M. Munshi, Food Minister, and Mr. N. V. Gadgil, Minister for Power, Works and Supply, have also arrived.

Elaborate preparations have been made for the installation of the Jyotirlingam on Friday. The residents of Saurashtra State look upon this event as a national festival. Special trains are run by the authorities to facilitate travel to Somnath from all parts of the State. Accommodation has been arranged in special camps all along the five mile route from Veraval to Somnath. The road from the modern part of Veraval to the old time part of Prabhas Patan (Somnath) runs through historic and dilapidated tiny temples, deserted mosques, ruins of Muslims grave yards, each having a tale to narrate. In Somnath itself, there is a lofty but dilapidated fort. At the south-western end of the fort is a sacred spot where the historic temple dedicated to Lord Somnath existed. The walls of the temple are washed by the waters of the Arabian Sea. The remnants of the old temple are no longer there and the compound wall has been strengthened by stones and cement. The entire dilapidated structure has now been removed.The sculpture and architectural beauties of the temple have been preserved in a special museum. The rest has been pulled down with the aid of bulldozers. The temple area is thus converted into a maidan where ine new structure is slowly lifting its turiets into the skies. There is a raised stone platform.

The garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum) has been constructed exactly on the same spot as the garbhagrtha or the original temple desecrated by Muhamed Ghazni and has been designed on the model of the original one, with the Lingan in the centre. It is built of white stone from Dhrangadhra. The The inside walls and floor of the garbhagriha are paved with well polished Italian marble with a marble threshold. In the centre of the present garbhagriha has been installed the Jyotiringam made of ebony-coloured touch-stone from Jaipur. The Linga is made up of two pieces and measures six feet six inches high and six feet nine inches wide. According to Stipa Sastra, the base of the Linga measures two feet eleven inches above the ground, The Brahmaslia is nine feet three inches long. In the centre of the platform on which the dwaja mandopam is scheduled to be constructed are a Rishadham in white marble, a fine specimen of sculpture and a tiny tortone (Kurma). This platform measures seventy two feet by ninty six feet but is shaped as an octagon.


The present programme of the Reconstruction Committee is to construct a gopuram 100 feet high, with nine decks and an octagonal gudha mandapam, further funds are available, the construction of a nritya mandapam will be taken up! later. The construction of the present temple may take nearly a decade for completion. Another addition is the Jyotir Margu, a structure placed on a rectangular block of marble. On the eastern and western sides of rectangular blocks is carved a picture of Saurashtra with the Somnath temple marked on the southern coast. Down below is depicted a picture of sunrise. In the site reserved for a nritya mandapam are erected temporarily the yagnasala and the prathista vedi. The overall direction of the the installation ceremony is in the hands of the 75 year-old ascetic and scholar Sri Kevalananda Saraswati. He is the guru of Sri Lakshman Sastri Joshi who is conducting the pratishtha ceremony.

There are five jagna kundails where offerings were made today to Agni the four entrances of this mandapam, recitations from the four Vedas are being made by 51 learned Sanskrit Pandits drawn from various parts of India. In a separate Yagashala, 121 Sanskrit Pandits performed Maha Rudra Homam. Wednesday was the second ceremony. In Pancha Kundi Mandapam at the end of a yangna of navadanyas is placed a tiny gold image of Lord Shiva on a velvet cushion. Round the Pancha Kundi Mandapam are placed jars of various descriptions numbering 108, containing holy waters from the seven seas and celebrated rivers and parcely of earth from all parts of the world.

On Friday morning, prathista will be done by inserting a tiny gold image in the ebony coloured Lingam, in a cavity specially carved for the purpose and it would be sealed off. Dr. Rajendra Prasad. Union President, Babu Purshottamdas Tandon, President of the Congress, the Rajpramukh of Saurashtra and other distinguished visitors will attend this function. After prathista regular daily worship will be offered to the Lingam.


Dr. Rajendra Prasad, President, arrived by air from Delni at the Keshod aeгodrume at 11:30 AM today. He was accompanied by his wife. Rajbansi Devi and other members of his family. They were received by the Jamsaheb of Nawanagat, Mr. U. N. Dhebat and Mr. Kanhaiya lal Munshi. The President was presented with an address by the Kesnod municipality. The President and his party travelled by special train to Veraval where he was received by Kathiawar rulers and State Ministers. With the arrival of President Rajendra Prasad, the stage is now set for the great évent of prathista.

The preliminary ceremonies were completed at the Sommath shrine this morning. After the morning rituals of Homa and Rudra Japam, sacred waters from the seas and rivers were transferred from metal jars to earthen pots, Punctually at half past ten the chorye coloured lingam was bathed, Mr. Rege, Regionai Conimissioner of Saurashtra, performed the sankulp and the bathing ceremony. Mr. N. V Gadgil, Mr. Purshottamdas Tandon and others were present.

After the bathing ceremony which lasted nearly two hours, the deity was clothed and kept ready for the prathista tomorrow. In the evening thousands of pilgrims heard in pindrop silence the Congress President, Mr Purshottamdas Tandon, speak in Hindi on the significance of Somnath’s renovation. Sitting crosslegged on a platform of the shrine, he toid the audience that the Somnath installation ceremony was “a symbolic expres- sion of the religious sentiments of people.” The people suffered because the past they sometimes gave more importance to the symbol than to its significance. It was now necessary, he added, that religion should show the true path of love. He asked the people give up selfishness and to cultivate the spirit of love and amity.

Mr. N. V Gadgil, Central Minister of Public Works and member of the Somnath Trust, said that with the renovation of the Somanath temple, destruction was being transferred into creation and the era of renaissance had started. India was a secular State but that did not mean that people should forget their religion


The Saurashtra Government is reported to have donated 350 acres of plantations fetching an annual income of Rs 60,000 to Somnath temple for its maintenance. History records that the oiginal temple had 1000 villages for its maintenance. Trustees of the temple appointed by Sardar Vellabhbhai Patel have already collected Rs. 30 lakhs. They have spent nearly Rs.10 lakhs so far in renovating the tempie. A spot on the big wall round the temple, protecting it from the sea, has been nemed Vallabhbhai Ghat which runs down flight of steps right into the sea. Inspite of food scarcity attempts have been made for feeding one lakh visitors on non-rationed articles consisting of grains, vegetables and fruits.

The Annapurna Cafeterias run in Delhi by the All-the directions Mrs Leelavati Munshi taking charge of the all canteen arrangements all over Vetlraval and Somnath. After the prathista ceremony Babu Rajendra Prasad Prasad wiil tour Saurashtra for three days.The trustees of the Somnath temple expressed a desire today that on the occasion of the installation of the Siva lingam at 9:37am tomorrow (Friday) worshippers in all the Hindu temples In the country should congregate at 9:35 am. and offer prayers for two minutes. This would synchronise with the installation of the deity in the ancient temple.

The Hindu/11-05-1951/4

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