Why were Temples Targeted?
Temples and mosques were constructed by rulers because they were places of worship.
These structures and buildings were symbol of pride and power of the rulers.
That is why enemy rulers often used to target these buildings while attacking the rival kingdoms.
Let’s See the Reasons for Targeting Temples
In the past, many kings built temples to show their devotion to God, as well as their power and wealth.
Therefore, the temples had more wealth which attracted other kings to target them.
During the early ninth century, the Pandyan King Shrimara Shrivallabha invaded Sri Lanka.
He then defeated the Sinhalese ruler, Sena I (831-851).
King Shrivallabha removed and seized all the valuables attached to the statues of Buddha.
Later, the next Sinhalese ruler, Sena II invaded Madurai which was the capital of the Pandyas.
Sena II and his army made all efforts to restore the gold statues of Buddha.
Similarly, in the 11th century, the Chola king Rajendra I built a Shiva temple in his capital.
In this temple, he kept all the prized and valuable statues which he seized from the defeated rulers.
Some of the valuables were a Sun-pedestal from the Chalukyas, a Ganesha statue and several statues of Durga.
The list continues with a Nandi statue from the eastern Chalukyas.
An image of Bhairava and Bhairavi from the Kalingas of Orissa and a Kali statue from the Palas of Bengal.
A Kali statue from the Palas of Bengal.
A contemporary of Rajendra I, Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni attacked the temples of the defeated kings.
He then used to loot their wealth and idols.
He tried to win credit as a great hero of Islam especially by destroying the temple at Somnath.
Most of the rulers during that time showed political and military success by attacking and looting the places of worship.
Many kings built religious places to demonstrate their devotion to God and symbolise their power and wealth.
Enemy rulers often used to target these places of worship while attacking the rival kingdoms.
In the ninth century, the Pandyan King Shrimara Shrivallabha invaded Sri Lanka. He removed all the valuables attached to the statues of Buddha.
In the 11th century, the Chola king Rajendra I built a Shiva temple where he keep all the prized statues from the defeated rulers.
Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni attacked the temples of the defeated kings and looted their wealth and idols to win credit as a great hero of Islam.