Somnath Temple in Gujarat is considered to be the first of Lord Shiva's 12 Jyotirlinga temples and is a popular pilgrimage and tourism destination. In Gujarat, the Somnath Temple Trust is gold plating approximately 1,400 kalash (urns) in the temple. The process starts with cleaning the urns with a chemical solution and then applying several layers of gold until they are bright enough to be worn as jewelry.
Also known as "The Golden Temple", Somnath Temple is one of India's most important Hindu sites. It stands on an island in the Arabian Sea near the city of Saurashtra on the western coast of India. Construction on the original temple was started in AD 973 but wasn't completed until about 10 years later. The temple has been expanded many times since then but it remains one of the largest Jain and Hindu temples in the world.
Inside the main sanctum sanctorum is the golden statue of Lord Shiva, which is said to be worth millions of dollars. The original statue was built by Raja Jaisingh of Sindhia dynasty in 1731-1732. But due to financial problems, the temple authorities had to sell the statue to buy sandals for the priests who were consecrating themselves at that time. The current statue was built around 1870. It too is made of gold and has been cleaned using a special chemical solution before being plated.
The Somnath Temple in Gujarat will be adorned with 1400 gold-plated kalashes. Each kalash weighs about 2 kg and measures about 0.6 m in height. The total weight of all the kalashes is approximately 12 tonnes.
Kalasha is a vessel used by Indian priests for religious ceremonies. It looks like a large water jug with a spout at one side. The priest wears sacred beads around his neck as he recites prayers during rituals. As soon as the prayer is over, another priest comes to take away the kalasha.
There are two types of Kalas: One made out of silver and the other out of gold. The Somnath Temple celebrates its victory over the Muslims by housing these gold-plated Kalas. The weight of each kalal can range from 1 to 4 kilograms. They are decorated with fine gold threads and have many jewels attached to them.
The temple also houses a thousand-handed statue of Vishnu called "Somnath Yantra". It is one of the three surviving yantras (tools) used by early Hindu mathematicians. The remaining two tools are kept in Mathura and Varanasi.
Shankaracharya, Adi Shankara It was erected by Adi Shankaracharya and is one of India's 12 jyotirlingas. The famed Char Dham Yatra in Uttarakhand includes a visit to the Kedarnath shrine.
Kedarnath Temple is one of the most revered Hindu temples in India and is located in the Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is one of the four major Shiva temples in Uttarakhand. Its importance is further enhanced by being one of the few temples where you can find all nine forms of Shiva worshipped by Hindus - Mahadev, Bhairav, Ugra, Anantashiva, Kalagnirudha, Pratyangira, Nataraja, and Dakshinamurthi.
The temple sits on a hillock at an altitude of 2134 meters above sea level and is surrounded by thick forests full of deer. Kedarnath Temple is also known as Shiva's Pancha Ratna (five-jeweled) temple because it houses five sacred objects used in religious ceremonies: a potrait of Shiva, a bell, a drum, an axe, and a flute. The original structure was built by Shalivahan in 1528 but it was later destroyed by a fire.
In 815, King Nag Bhatt II rebuilt the temple for the third time with red stone (sandstone). Mahmud Ghazni lent Mahmud the rare gems and property of the Somnath temple in 1026. After stealing, murdering many pilgrims to the shrine, then burning and demolishing the temple, he built a mosque instead.
The temple stands on an island in the Ganga River. The original structure was built during the reign of King Dhana deo I (788-821), but it was destroyed by fire about 15 years later. It was subsequently restored by King Jayavarman II (891-944).
During the 12th century, the temple again suffered damage when the area was invaded by the Khmers. In 1771, the British annexed Bengal; they took over the building of temples such as Somnath because they needed skilled workers for their army and navy. The next year, the first Marquess of Hastings gave orders to rebuild the temple. The current appearance of the temple was achieved through restoration work done between 1813 and 1840 by British architects under the supervision of Lord William Bentinck (1764-1839), the Governor-General of India at that time.
Somnath is one of the best preserved Hindu temples in India. Its exterior is covered with fine sculptures depicting various deities.