About: The Somnath or the Deo Patan Temple

About: The Somnath or the Deo Patan Temple

  • About:
    • It is located in Veraval (Saurashtra) on the western coast of Gujarat, India.
    • It is believed to be the first among the twelve Jyotirlinga shrines of Lord Shiva, and is an important pilgrimage and tourist spot of Gujarat.
    • It was reconstructed several times in the past after repeated destruction by several Muslim invaders and rulers, including Ghaznu and Khalji.
    • The present temple was reconstructed (under the orders of Vallabhbhai Patel) in the Chalukya style of Hindu temple architecture and completed in May 1951.


  • A brief history of construction, destruction and reconstruction:
    • According to popular tradition, the second temple (history of the first is unknown) is said to have been built by the Yadava kings of Vallabhi around 649 CE.
      • It is said to have been destroyed (in 725 CE) by Al-Junayd, the Arab governor of Sindh.

    • The Gurjara-Pratihara king Nagabhata II is said to have constructed the third temple (in 815 CE) – a large structure of red sandstone.
    • The Chaulukya (Solanki from Gujarat) king Mularaja possibly built a temple at the site around 990 CE.
    • In 1024, Mahmud of Ghazni raided Gujarat (during the reign of Chalukyan Bhima I), plundering the Somnath temple.
    • According to an inscription, Chalukyan (Solanki) Kumarapala(1143–72 CE) rebuilt it in excellent stone and studded it with jewels.
    • In 1299, Alauddin Khalji’s army (led by Ulugh Khan) defeated the Vaghela king Karna and sacked the Somnath temple.
      • The temple was rebuilt by Mahipala I, the Chudasama king of Saurashtra in 1308.

    • In 1395, the temple was destroyed for the third time by Zafar Khan, the last governor of Gujarat under the Delhi Sultanate and later founder of Gujarat Sultanate.
    • In 1702, the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb once again attacked the temple.
    • In 1783, with the rise of Marathas, Ahilyabai Hokar of Indore, along with the Peshwa of Pune, built a separate temple near the demolished temple.
    • During British rule, the area was part of the princely state of Junagarh, ruled by the Nawab of Junagadh.
    • After independence, the temple was rebuilt under the leadership of K. M. Munshi, the Minister for Food and Civil Supplies, with the backing of Vallabhbhai Patel and President Rajendra Prasad.

News Summary:

  • While inaugurating new projects at the famous Somnath temple (Gujarat), India’s Prime Minister reminded the world that the reign of terror cannot last long.
  • This has come at a time when the world is concerned about the Taliban assuming control of Afghanistan.

Themes of PM’s speech:

  • The Somnath temple – an assurance to the world:
    • The PM said that forces that follow the idea of establishing empires out of terrorism may rule for a time, but they will never be able to suppress mankind indefinitely.
    • The best illustration and assurance to the world was the Somnath temple. It has been razed and plundered countless times in the past, only to be revived with greater splendor each time.

  • Generating employment by promoting tourism:
    • Tourism could be tied to the local economy, allowing youth to participate in tourism-related activities, thus generating employment.
      • For this, the Government of India, under the ‘Swadesh Darshan’ programme is developing tourist circuits based on 15 different themes.
      • Similarly, under the PRASHAD Scheme, the Tourism Ministry is developing 40 major places of pilgrimage.

    • All of these measures have resulted in the country not just connecting citizens through tourism, but also progressing forward.
    • As a result, the country has risen from 65th place in 2013 to 34th in 2019, on the Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index.

  • Building the new India on the legacy of ancient history: By constructing modern infrastructure, the country was restoring ancient greatness.

About: Swadesh Darshan Scheme

  • About: It is a scheme of the Ministry of Tourism under Government of India, launched in 2015, to promote, develop and harness the potential of tourism in India.
  • Funding: This is a central sector scheme (100% Central Government funding). The funding available for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives of Central Public Sector Undertakings (CPSUs) and Corporate Sector is also used in this scheme.
  • Circles – theme-based tourism:
    • The entire scheme is based on theme-based tourism, where each theme is called a “circuit” and composed of various tourist destinations.
    • Tourist Circuit is defined as a route having at least three major tourist destinations which are distinct and apart. A tourist who enters a circuit should get motivated to visit most of the places identified in the circuit.
    • Some of the important circles (out of 15) under the scheme – Buddhist circle, Coastal circle, Himalayan circle, Krishna circle, North-East circle, Ramayana circle, Tribal circle, Wildlife circle, etc.

About: National Mission on Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual, Heritage Augmentation Drive (PRASHAD)

  • It was launched by the Ministry of Tourism in the year 2014-15 with the objective of integrated development of identified pilgrimage and heritage destinations.
  • In 2017, the scheme’s name was changed from PRASAD to PRASHAD (National Mission on Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual Heritage Augmentation).
  • The scheme aimed at infrastructure development such as entry points (Road, Rail and Water Transport), last mile connectivity, basic tourism facilities like Information or interpretation centers, eco-friendly modes of transport, telecom facilities, internet connectivity, etc.
  • The Central Government provides 100% funding for the project components undertaken for public funding.
    • This scheme seeks to leverage the voluntary funding available for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) for improved sustainability of the projects under this scheme.

 History & Culture

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