was only in December 1922 that Munshi could visit Somanatha for the first time. He has put
down his impressions of his visit:
burnt and battered, it still stood firm-a monument to our humiliation and
ingratitude. I can scarcely describe the burning shame which I felt on that early
morning as I walked the broken floor of the once-hallowed sabhamantap littered with broken
pillars and scattered stones. Lizards slipped in and out of their holes at the sound of my
unfamiliar steps, and-Oh! the shame of it-an inspector's horse, tied there, neighed at my
approach with sacrilegious impertinence."
The dreamer in Munshi saw the temple as it was in 1024, its
spire rising to the sky, mighty acharyas and kings laying their heads in humility at the
door-step of the sanctum. He heard the jingling anklets of the temple dancers as they sang
to the joyous rhythm of drumbeats.
He saw vast crowds anxious to have darshan of the deity,
hope in their hearts and humility in their souls. And he also saw the invader, his sword
gory with the blood of innocent worshippers, break the image into three parts. It was out
of this dream that came his most famous novel Jaya Somanatha, most of which was written in
Pahalgam in Kashmir with the Shishnaga dancing from stone to stone with endless exuberance
in front of him.