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Did you know: Mahmud Ghazni had the Islamic ‘Kalma’ inscribed on the Shivling of Neelkanth Mahadev Temple in Gorakhpur

As Mahmud of Ghazni could not destroy the Shivling despite several attempts, he ordered to inscribe the Kalma on it so that Hindus won't worship it, but Hindus ignored and continued to worship the Shivling due to its divine powers

On Saturday, the festival of Mahashivratri was celebrated with great religious fervour across the country. Thousands of devotees thronged at Shiv temples to seek blessings from Mahadev. The Shivling is the representation of Shiva, and the primary murti in Shiva temples. Therefore, the Shivling is one of the primary symbols of Hinduism. But, there is a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva where the Islamic phrase ‘Kalma’ is engraved on the Shivling. Here is the story about the famous Neelkanth Mahadev Temple in the Gorakhpur district of Uttar Pradesh, where the Islamic ‘Kalma’ is inscribed on the Shivling.

Mahmud of Ghazni, the Islamic fanatic and invader who led multiple expeditions in India, destroyed and desecrated countless temples, plundered riches, and killed non-Muslims, had once invaded the Neelkanth Mahadev temple at the Saraiya Tiwari village in Khajani where a self-manifested (Swamyambhu) Jharkhandi Shivling is present since many centuries. Mahmud of Ghazni, who harboured a deep-seated animosity for Hindus who worshipped idols, decided to destroy the Shivling. But, despite his tenacious attempts, the stone Shivling remained intact. 

Failed attempts at destroying the Shivling

Locals claim that Mahmud of Ghazni wanted to dig out the wealth buried under the Jharkhandi Shivling and for doing so attempts were made to uproot the Shivling, however, it is said that the more the invaders would dig the higher the Shivling would emerge. It is said that a stream of blood would flow from the Shivling after every strike. Following this, the Muslim clerics who had accompanied Gaznavi informed him that he would not be able to break this Shivling since it contains divine powers. The Muslim clerics advised him that it would be best for him to depart.

After several unsuccessful attempts, an enraged Mahmud of Ghazni ordered his soldiers to inscribe the Islamic Kalma (la illaha ill Allah, mohammedu rasool allah) on the Shivling in a bid to prevent Hindus from worshipping the Jharkhandi Shivling. It is said by the locals that, while the Shivling couldn’t be destroyed, the temple was destroyed by Mahmud of Ghazni and his commander Bakhityar Khilji. 

Ghanavi had intended to have Kalma engraved on it so that Hindus would not worship it, but even after hundreds of years of Mahmud Ghaznavi’s attack, Hindu devotees still visit to this temple to perform Jalabhishek on Shivling and pooja as per Hindu traditions.

No roof on the temple

This temple has no roof over it. Several attempts were made to construct a roof here, but every time it collapsed. Devotees arrive at this temple in large numbers during Mahashivratri and in the month of Sawan. It is said that 10 feet tall human skeletons have been recovered from here during excavations, demonstrating the cruelty inflicted by the Muslim invader.

The male skeletons discovered during the excavation of the mounds surrounding this temple ranged in length from 10 to 12 feet. They were also discovered with several spears and other weapons which may reach 18 feet. People come and take holy baths here on five Tuesdays and Sundays to get rid of skin ailments since it is said that a king who had leprosy was cured by touching the Pokhara water, which is near this temple.

Mahmud Ghazni and the destruction of the Somnath Temple

Destroying the temples and idols of the Kafirs was upheld by the invaders as their “religious duty” during the Islamic invasions of India. The famous Somnath Temple in Gujarat was attacked and desecrated 17 times by Mahmud of Ghazni. 

In 1025, he plundered the holy idol of Somnath during his sixteenth expedition to India. “Somnath” is Sanskrit for “moon master.” The Somnath temple located in Gujarat, India, is the first of the twelve jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva. 

According to historical records, he smashed and broke the Lord Somnath idol into four pieces during his 16th invasion of the Somnath Temple. Mahmud of Ghazni entered the temple after defeating the temple’s guardians and saw the magnificent idol of Lord Somnath there. He took his mace and attacked with such vigor that the Lord Somnath idol, which was reportedly five yards long, was shattered into pieces after he became enraged upon seeing the idol.

After the protectors of the Somnath temple were defeated, it is stated in Tariki-e-Alfi, a historical work compiled by a committee formed by Akbar, that Brahmins offered Mahmud of Ghazni an unheard-of amount of wealth in exchange for leaving the idol of Somnath undamaged. Mahmud, in response, said that after he died, he would rather love to be known in the presence of Allah as Butshikan (the destroyer of idols) rather than ButParast (the devotee of idols). He rejected the Brahmins’ offer and demolished the Somnath idol.

Reference from Tarikh-i-Alfi

The fragments of the Somnath idol were buried inside the Jama Masjid in Ghazni and beneath the entrance to Sultan’s palace, according to Al-Beruni, an Islamic scholar active during the reign of Mahmud of Ghazni, so that people would step on them while visiting the mosque and the palace and continue to humiliate the idol worshippers.

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