Dhanapāla's hymn to the image of Mahāvīra at Sanchore, composed in Apabhramsha around the beginning of the eleventh century, has been recognized to contain the earliest reference in an Indian language to Maḥmūd of Ghazna's raids in northwestern India in 1024, culminating in his destruction of the temple of Shiva at Somnath, in Gujarat. This hymn has been read as referring to another act of iconoclasm—or rather attempted iconoclasm, since it was ultimately unsuccessful—by Maḥmūd of Ghazna. This article shows that the attempted iconoclasm in question is not Maḥmūd's, but rather that of an earlier king. These earlier events, together with the geography of conquest and pilgrimage provided by Dhanapāla, suggest a political subtext for the hymn; namely, a veiled critique of the inability of the Cauḷukya kings of Gujarat to protect the religious landscape, and a veiled praise of Dhanapāla's friend and patron, the Paramāra king Bhōja.

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