#OnThisDay, in 1951, the famous Somnath Temple in #Gujarat was restored to its former glory. In the words of the then President of India, Dr Rajendra Prasad, it proved that “the power of reconstruction is always greater than the power of destruction". 1/9
#Indianhistory Image
The Somnath #Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva as ‘Lord of the Moon’, has been one of the most sacred shrines in #India for over 1,500 years. Due to its fame as a centre of wealth, it was attacked and plundered by Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni in 1026 CE. 2/9
#Hindu #religion Image
A few years after this infamous sack, the temple was restored and continued to serve as an important pilgrimage centre. But over the centuries, the temple was attacked and plundered repeatedly. 3/9
The last destruction of the Somnath Temple took place in 1665 CE, when it was partially demolished and converted into a mosque, on the orders of #Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. For almost three centuries, the shrine lay abandoned, appearing occasionally in old #British images. 4/9 Image
Following India’s independence in 1947, the Nawab of Junagadh, who ruled the region where Somnath is located, fled to #Pakistan with his jewels and dogs. Sardar Patel visited the Somnath Temple, and proposed to restore it to its former glory. 5/9 Image
#MahatmaGandhi suggested that the temple be restored, not with government funds, but through donations from ordinary Indians. With the funds collected, the ruins of the old temple were pulled down and construction began in October 1950. 6/9 Image
Noted temple builder Prabhashankar Oghadji Sompura (1896–1979), whose family had been constructing temples in Gujarat for centuries, was the architect of the new temple. The temple followed the Chalukyan style of #architecture and took elements from the old temple ruins. 7/9
It was noted #Congress leader K M Munshi, who took a lead in the reconstruction of the temple, despite vehement opposition from #JawaharlalNehru, who dubbed it ‘Hindu Revivalism’. The new temple was completed in 1951. 8/9 Image
On 11th May 1951, Dr Rajendra Prasad, the then President of India, inaugurated the new temple. It marked a new epoch in the history of Indian temples. 9/9 Image

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More from @LiveHIndia

May 14
#DidYouKnow that the modern version of badminton originated in ‘Poona’, or Pune in Maharashtra? It was a pastime for bored British army officers, their families and friends, and was first played in the backyards of their sprawling bungalows. 1/7
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Invented in the mid-19th century, badminton was named ‘Poona’ after the city of its origin. But its earliest version goes back 2,000 years to a game called jeu de volant, played in #Greece and #China. Here, a shuttle-like object was smacked with the feet. 2/7
In Poona, #British officers changed the sport radically by introducing a net to divide the court. They also used a leather shuttlecock, which they hit with wooden racquets. This version of the game was first played in 1867. 3/7 #Indianhistory Image
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May 13
#DidYouKnow that the Nassak #Diamond, one of the 20 greatest diamonds in the world, is named after the city of Nashik in Maharashtra? Emerging from the famed Golconda mines, it adorned the crown of Lord Shiva in the Trimbakeshwar #Temple near Nashik. 1/4
#jewellery #minerals Image
As with most of the world’s most valuable #gems, the Nassak too has a dramatic story. It was originally with the #Mughals, who acquired it during their conquest of Golconda in the 17th century. Then they surrendered it as war booty to the #Marathas. 2/4
The Nassak was probably donated to the Trimbakeshwar temple by the Peshwas. In 1817, it was removed by Peshwa Bajirao II, who kept it in his personal treasure. Bajirao II surrendered it to the #British, who seized it when they defeated the Marathas a year later. 3/4 Image
Read 4 tweets
May 13
For over 400 years, history has been haunted by Anarkali, the beautiful court dancer who was buried alive by Emperor Akbar, for her love affair with Prince Salim (Akbar’s son and the future Emperor Jahangir). But is the story fact or #fiction? The truth will surprise you! 1/11 Image
This tragic love story has many modern retellings, including the 1960s classic Hindi film Mughal-e-Azam. But if Anarkali is just #folklore, whose grave lies in the magnificent ‘Tomb of Anarkali’ in the heart of #Lahore, the former Mughal capital? 2/11 Image
The grave bears the couplet in #Persian: ‘Ah! If I could behold the face of my beloved once more, I would thank God until the day of resurrection’. It is signed by ‘Majnun Salim Akbar’ ('Enamoured Son of Akbar'). It’s the only clue we have. 3/11
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May 12
What are hundreds of skeletons doing at the bottom of a lake in an icy Himalayan wasteland? When the snow melts, it pulls back a frozen curtain, exposing 600-800 skeletons, some 1,200 years old! What spooky secrets does Roopkund Lake in Uttarakhand hold? 1/5 #Archaeology Image
At an elevation of 5,029 m, Roopkund Lake is very remote. One theory is that these are the remains of a King, his family and attendants, who died here while on a pilgrimage 1,000 years ago. Other theories include fallen soldiers during war and victims of an epidemic. 2/5 Image
The mystery deepened recently, when studies revealed some astonishing results. The deceased were from diverse ethnic groups. More incredible, they belonged to different time periods! This means they did not all die from a single catastrophic event. 3/5 Image
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May 4
Rockets were once a deadly weapon of war but did you know that high-end rockets were invented by Tipu Sultan, the ruler of Mysore, who died #OnThisDay in 1799 CE? His rockets were so effective, they even left a mark on the American national anthem, the Star Spangled Banner. 1/8
Rockets had been used in #war by the Chinese and Arabs in medieval times but their casings were made of bamboo, wood and cardboard. They were no more than fireworks used in battle to light up the night sky or to frighten enemy horses. 2/8
What made Tipu’s rockets deadly was the use of iron casing, which allowed for greater compression, which created greater thrust and gave them a long range (2.4 km). The Mysorean Rocket was the deadliest missile in the world at the time. 3/8
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May 3
Science or sorcery? The #IronPillar of Delhi had everyone stumped for ages, till scientists solved its metallurgical mystery. The question was: how could an iron pillar be exposed to Delhi’s heat, dust, cold and rains for 1,600 years without the slightest trace of rust? 1/6 Image
Standing in the Qutb Complex, the #IronPillar is a 4th century CE, Gupta-era monument. An inscription in #Sanskrit and the Brahmi script reveals that it was erected by King Chandra (probably Chandragupta II) and that it celebrates his victories in battle. 2/6
But #DidYouKnow that the #IronPillar was originally erected in Udayagiri, in Vidisha, in present-day Madhya Pradesh? It is said to have been brought to #Delhi as a trophy by Sultan Iltutmish (r. 1211 - 1236) of the Slave Dynasty, after he conquered Vidisha. But there’s more. 3/6 Image
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