Indian Family Donates $1.8 Million Gold Altarpiece to Somnath Temple

December 27th, 2012 by

The Times of India reports that a New Delhi businessman and his extended family have donated a 35 kg (77 lb) gold Jyotirlinga to the ancient Somnath Temple, one of the 12 holiest sites dedicated to Shiva in India. The altar base, which measures 22.6 meters (74 feet) across, was cast by expert goldsmiths in New Delhi and is estimated to have cost Rs 10 crore (100 million rupees, or $1,823,320 US dollars) just for the gold content.

The Hindu businessman was originally from Sindh, which is now in Pakistan. When India and Pakistan split apart after independence from Britain, the businessman fled to Delhi. Upon a recent visit to Somnath on pilgrimage, he noticed that the base to the main altar was silver instead of gold, and vowed to replace it.