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Also called Patan-Somnath, or Somnath-Patan, this ancient ruined city is the site of the temple of Shiva as Somnath ("lord of the soma," a sacred intoxicating drink, and, by extension, "lord of the moon"). The temple was sacked by the Turkic Muslim invader Mahmud of Ghazna in 1024-25 CE. Reconstructed in 1169, it was destroyed again in the final Muslim invasions of the late 13th century. Subsequently rebuilt and destroyed on several occasions, it was reconstructed again beginning in 1951. According to an ancient tradition in the Indian epic Mahabharata, Somnath was the scene of the internecine massacre of the Yadava clan and of the subsequent death of Krishna, the eighth incarnation of Vishnu. Recent excavations there have revealed a settlement dating from about 1500 BCE. [Adapted from Encyclopedia Britannica; Apr 06]
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