The so called “Sandalwood gates of the Somnath temple”

Somnath temple gates

1842 (c): The painting by James Atkinson showing the door which was removed from the mausoleum of Sultan Mahmood of Ghazni by the British invaders. The latter believed it to be “sandalwood gates of Somnath temple”.

British invaders desecrated the tomb and removed the door in 1842 to restore their injured pride and ego, to upset the sentiments of Pashtuns (British erroneously thought that Sultan Mahmud was a Pashtun) and to gratify the Hindus.

James Atkinson writes:

” This is the relic which the Sikh Chieftain Runjeet Sing so much coveted as to wish to make its restoration a condition to his affording aid to the cause of Shah Shoojau, but that Monarch replying that his compliance with the demand would disgrace in the eyes of his nation, the request was not insisted on. It has now, however, been brought to India under orders from the Governor General, Lord Ellenborough, by Major General Sir William Nott’s force, as a record of the triumph of the British arms, and the humiliation of the Afghans. It is to be restored to the Temple whence it was originally taken.”

Somnath gate

“The Supposed Gates of Somnauth, in the arsenal of the fort at Agra,” from the Illustrated London News, 1872.
Somnath temple
The gates of the tomb of Sultan Mahmud are still placed in Agra fort. Source



1 thought on “The so called “Sandalwood gates of the Somnath temple””

  1. On a slightly unrelated note, the temple of Somnath was sacked 4 times.

    The first time by the Turkic sultan Mahmud Ghaznavi ibn Sebuktegin.

    The second time by the Turco-Afghan (or possibly just Afghan) general Almas Beg (Ulugh Khan).

    The third time by the Punjabi (either Tanka, Khatri or Jat) sultan Zafar Khan (Muzaffar Shah).

    And the final time by the Rajputized Turco-Mongol emperor Muhiuddin (Aurangeb Alamgir).

    Insha’Allāh, the next time the Muslims capture the lands of Somnath, they will ensure that the temple is either converted into a masjid, or is never rebuilt again. Verily, idolatry is the worst of evils.


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