Veer Hamirji Gohil: The Heroic Defender of Somnath's Legacy

Veer Hamirji Gohil: The Heroic Defender of Somnath's Legacy

In 1299 A.D., in the western lands of Gujarat, a young Rajput chieftain named Veer Hamirji Gohil, only 16 , the youngest son of King Bhimji Gohil of Arthila, had just returned to his homeland. Unaware of Zafar Khan’s impending assault on Somnath temple, Veer Hamirji arrived at Darbargarh on the same day after enjoying the company of friends in the garden, including brave Rajputs of neighbouring regions Chhatrapala Sarvaiya, Patalji Bhatti, Saghdevji Solanki, and Jani Brahmin Nanji Maharaj of Sihor.

"The Arthila king Bhimji Gohil sired three sons. Dudaji, Arjanji, and Hamirji. Among the three sons, Dudaji oversaw Arthila and Lathi ‘Gadi,’ Arjanji governed 11 villages in Gadhali and Hamirji, and the youngest son Hamirji was responsible for Samadhiala."

Famished, Veer Hamirji and his friends rushed to the dining room. It was there that his sister-in-law, also Dudaji's wife, offhandedly remarked, “Why are you in such haste, Diyarji? Do you want to rescue Somaiya?” Confused, Hamirji inquired, “Why did you state that? Is Somaiya in peril?” She revealed the dire news of the Sultanate's march towards Somnath.

Enraged, Hamirji vowed, “Whether anyone comes or not, come with me, but I will go to protect the Somnath temple.” He rallied young Rajput soldiers from nearby regions, and together they marched to Somnath. As they awaited the Sultanate's forces, the tension was palpable. The priests and citizens of the nearby town stood on high alert.

The army of the Delhi Sultanate is approaching the frontiers of Sorath. Nobody appeared to resist the forces of the Sultanate.Vegdaji’s camp was stationed outside Somnath’s holy shrine. Vegdaji was the king of Bhil. Hamirji Gohil took care of this situation involving Prabhas and Somnath. In his crazed pursuit of triumph, Zafar Khan eventually made his way to within striking distance of Prabhas. The arrows of the Bhil army of Vegdaji annihilated the Delhi Sultanate army.In the meantime, a commander of Zafar Khan’s troops has slain Vegdaji. To put an end to him, he deployed an elephant.

To repel Zafar Khan’s initial assault, Veer Hamirji Gohil, mindful of his troops, employed defensive measures such as flaming arrows, stone balls, and boiling oil. He shared the strategy with everyone while the evening Aarti was recited at the temple. On the opposite side, besides the seaside, Zafar Khan encircled Somnath completely. The following morning, Veer Hamirji and his warriors mounted their horses and launched lance strikes on the invaders and their elephants. The Khilji’s army was left in a state of severe unease due to this sudden attack. Zafar Khan attempted to dig a trench in the fort to gain entry, but Veer Hamirji Gohil thwarted his efforts by pouring water into the trench. As a result, the conflict persisted for a total of nine consecutive days.

On the ninth day, with only a handful of his warriors remaining, Hamirji executed a daring ambush, driving the attackers back. However, the cost was great. Returning to the fort, they found many of their comrades gravely injured some of their warriors had suffered severe injuries, losing both legs or hands, with protruding intestines. Only 250 of their warriors survived.

With a heavy heart but unwavering spirit, Veer Hamirji and his men prepared for their final stand. They cleansed the Shivling in the temple with water, exchanged embraces, and stepped onto the battlefield for one last time. As the sun set, only Hamirji and a few knights remained, fighting until their last breath. Zafar Khan's forces eventually overwhelmed them and desecrated the Somnath Temple.

Veer Hamirji Gohil's sacrifice at such a young age, defending the revered Somnath Temple against overwhelming odds, immortalized him as a hero. His descendants continue to honor him as their Surapura, placing the flag of Somnath Mahadev at his cenotaph before installing it above the temple, a symbol of their eternal respect for a brave ancestor

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