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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Somnath Temple , Gujarat


 

Somnath Temple in Gujarat

Somnath Temple is a significant temple, comprising one of the twelve Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva. Located in Prabhas Kshetra near Veraval, Somnath Mandir falls in Saurashtra region that lies on the western coast of Gujarat. The temple of Somnath can be easily reached from anywhere in Gujarat. Bus services to Somnath are available from all the cities and towns of Gujarat. To ensure a comfortable journey, one can also opt for taxis that can be hired throughout the state of Gujarat.
Somnath Temple stands as a symbol of rich cultural heritage of India. The mention of this ancient temple has been made in the scriptures like ‘Rig Veda’ of the Hindu origin. The term Somnath suggests ‘the protector of Moon God’. Lord Shiva is depicted here in the form of a Jyotirlinga (linga of light), as the protector. The incredible temple of Somnath is called as ‘the Shrine Eternal’ since, the temple has been shattered for not less than six times and every time, it has been reconstructed.
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                                               Legend Of Somnath Temple
As per Shiv Mahapuran, once Brahma (the Hindu God of creation) and Vishnu (the Hindu God of protection) had an argument in terms of supremacy of creation.To test them, Shriva pierced the three worlds as a huge endless pillar of light, the jyotirlinga. Vishnu and Brahma split their ways to downwards and upwards respectively to find the end of the light in either directions. Brahma lied that he found out the end, while Vishnu conceded his defeat. Shiva appeared as a second pillar of light and cursed Brahma that he would have no place in ceremonies while Vishnu would be worshipped till the end of eternity. The jyotirlinga is the supreme partless reality, out of which Shiva partly appears. The jyothirlinga shrines, thus are places where Shiva appeared as a fiery column of light.Originally there were believed to be 64 jyothirlingas while 12 of them are considered to be very auspicious and holy. Each of the twelve jyothirlinga sites take the name of the presiding deity - each considered different manifestation of Shiva. At all these sites, the primary image is lirngam representing the beginningless and endless Stambha pillar, symbolizing the infinite nature of Shiva.The twelve jyothirlinga are Somnath in Gujarat, Mallikarjuna at Srisailam in Andra Pradesh, Mahakaleswar at Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh, Omkareshwar in Madhya Pradesh, Kedarnath in Himalayas, Bhimashankar in Maharastra, Viswanath at Varranasi in Uttar Pradesh, Triambakesrhwar in Maharastra, vaijanath temple in maharashtra, Nageswar at Dwarka in Gujarat, Rameshwar at Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu and Grishneshwar at Aurangabad in Maharastra.
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located in the Prabhas Kshetra near Veraval in Saurashtra, on the western coast of Gujarat, India



        » Aarti Time Today:  7.00 AM IST  * 12.00 PM IST * 7.00 PM IST     
Somnath temple stands at the shore of the Arabian ocean on the western corner of Indian subcontinent in Gujarat State. This pilgrimage is one of the oldest and finds its reference in the ancient texts like Skandpuran, Shreemad Bhagavat, Shivpuran etc. The hymn from Rig-Veda quoted below mention the Bhagvan Someshwar along with the great pilgrimage like Gangaji, Yamunaji and Eastward Saraswati. This signifies the ancient value of this Tirthdham.
Somnath is in Prabhas Patan very near to Veraval.  
The Moon God is said to have been relieved from the curse of his father-in-law Daksha Prajapati by the blessings of Bhagvan Somnath.  In   the Shiva  Purana  and Nandi  Upapurana, Shiva  said, `I  am  always  present everywhere  but  specially  in  12  forms  and places as  the   jyotirlingas`. Somnath is one of  these 12 holy places. This is the first among the twelve holy Shiva Jyotirlings. 
The  shore  temple of Somnath is  believed  to  have  been  built  in  4  phases-in  gold  by  Lord Soma,  in  silver  by  Ravi,  in wood  by  lord  Krishna  and  in  stone  by  King Bhimadeva. 
It has withstood the six-repeated desecration by the Muslim invaders. The very existence of this temple is symbol of reconstructive spirit and cultural unity of our society.
The seventh existing temple is built in the Kailas Mahameru Prasad style. The Iron man of India Sardar Shri Vallabhbhai Patel is the pioneer of the existing temple.
The temple is consisting of Garbhgruh, Sabhamandap and Nrityamandap with a 150 feet high Shikhar.
The  Kalash at the top of the Shikhar weighs 10 tons and the Dhwajdand is 27 feet tall and 1 foot in circumference. The  Abadhit Samudra Marg, Tirsthambh (Arrow) indicates the unobstructed sea route to  the South Pole. The nearest land towards South Pole is about 9936 km.  away. This is a wonderful indicator of the ancient Indian wisdom of  geography and strategic location of the Jyotirling. The temple renovated by Maharani Ahalyabai is adjacent to the main temple complex.
Hari Har Tirthdham is here in Somnath. This is the holy place of Bhagvan Shri Krishna's Neejdham Prasthan Leela. The place where Bhagvan Shri Krishna was hit by an arrow of a poacher is known as Bhalka Tirtha. After being hit by the arrow, Bhagvan Shri Krishna arrived at the holy confluence of Hiran, Kapila and Saraswati and their Sangam with the ocean. He performed his divine Neejdham Prasthan Leela at the sacred and peaceful banks of river Hiran.
The Geetamandir is built here where the divine message of Shrimad Bhagavat Geeta is carved on eighteen marble pillars. Shri Lakshminarayan Mandir is close by. The Balramjiki Gufa is the place from where Bhagvan Shrikrishna's elder brother Balaramji took journey to his nijdham-patal.
Here is the Parshuram Tapobhumi, where Bhagvan Parshuramji carried out penance and he was relieved from the sin of Kshatriya killings. The Pandavas have said to have visited this place and taken holy bath in the Jalprabhas and built five Shiv temples.
 The Somnath Trust has endeavored to develop the whole Shri Krishna Neejdham Prasthan Tirtha in an wholesome manner.
Significance
According to the legend, Soma or the Moon God built the temple in gold, Ravana in silver, and Shri Krishna in wood. Soma was cursed by his father-in-law Daksha to wane because Soma loved only one of his wives Rohini, all of whom happened to be Daksha's daughters. His other wives complained about this negligent behavior of Soma to their father Daksha, and thus the curse. He then built a Shivlinga at the Prabhas tirth (a Hindu pilgrimage) and prayed to Lord Shiva who removed the curse partially because asked upon by Soma's one wife (the one that he loved more than others). Thus, causing the periodic waning of moon. Pleased by the prayers Soma (Moon god), Lord Shiva decided to rest in that Lingam till eternity, and thus the Jyotirlingam.

Timeline
Somnath_temple_ruins_(1869) The first temple of Somnath is said to have existed before the beginning of the common era. The second temple, built by the Yadava kings of Varllabhi in Gujarat, replaced the first one on the same site around 649 CE. In 725 CE Junayad, the Arab governor of Sind, sent his armies to destroy the second temple.The Gurjara Pratihara king Nagabhata II constructed the third temple in 815, a large structure of red sandstone. In 1024 CE, the temple was once visited by Mahmud of Ghazni who raided the temple from across the Thar Desert. The temple was rebuilt by the Gujjar Paramara King Bhoj of Malwa and the Solanki king Bhimadev I of Anhilwara, Gujrat (present day Patan) between 1026 and 1042. The wooden structure was replaced by Kumarpal (r.1143-72), who built the temple of stone. In 1296 CE, the temple was once again destroyed by Sultan Allauddin Khilji's army. According to Taj-ul-Ma'sir of Hasan Nizami, Raja Karan of Gujarat was defeated and forced to flee, "fifty thousand infidels were dispatched to hell by the sword" and "more than twenty thousand slaves, and cattle beyond all calculation fell into the hands of the victors". The temple was rebuilt by Mahipala Deva, the Chudasama king of Saurashtra in 1308 AD and the Linga was installed by his son Khengar sometime between 1326 and 1351 AD. In 1375 CE, the temple was once again destroyed by Muzaffar Shah I, the Sultan of Gujarat. In 1451 CE, the temple was once again destroyed by Mahmud Begda, the Sultan of Gujarat. In 1701 CE, the temple was once again destroyed by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. Aurangzeb built a mosque on the site of the Somnath temple, using some columns from the temple, whose Hindu sculptural motifs remained visible. Later on a joint effort of Peshwa of Pune, Raja Bhonsle of Nagpur, Chhatrapati Bhonsle of Kolhapur, Queen Ahilyabai Holkar of Indore & Shrimant Patilbuwa Shinde of Gwalior rebuilt the temple in 1783 AD at a site adjacent to the ruined temple which was already converted to a mosque.
Zakariya al-Qazwini
The following extract is from “Wonders of Things Created, and marvels of Things Existing” by Zakariya al-Qazwini, a 13th-century Arab geographer. It contains the description of Somnath temple and its destruction:
“Somnath: celebrated city of India, situated on the shore of the sea, and washed by its waves. Among the wonders of that place was the temple in which was placed the idol called Somnath. This idol was in the middle of the temple without anything to support it from below, or to suspend it from above. It was held in the highest honor among the Hindus, and whoever beheld it floating in the air was struck with amazement, whether he was a Musulman or an infidel. The Hindus used to go on pilgrimage to it whenever there was an eclipse of the moon, and would then assemble there to the number of more than a hundred thousand."
“When the Sultan Yaminu-d Daula Mahmud Bin Subuktigin went to wage religious war against India, he made great efforts to capture and destroy Somnat, in the hope that the Hindus would then become Muhammadans. As a result thousands of Hindus were converted to Islam. He arrived there in the middle of Zi-l k’ada, 416 A.H. (December, 1025 A.D.). “The king looked upon the idol with wonder, and gave orders for the seizing of the spoil, and the appropriation of the treasures. There were many idols of gold and silver and vessels set with jewels, all of which had been sent there by the greatest personages in India. The value of the things found in the temples of the idols exceeded twenty thousand dinars."

After Independence

Before indeprendence, Prabhas Pattan was part of the princely state of Junagadh. After integration of Jungadh in to Union of India, the Deputy Prime Minister of India, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel came to Junagadh on November 12, 1947 to direct the stabilization of the state by the Indian Army and at the same time ordered the reconstruction of the Somanath temple. When Sardar Patel, K. M. Munshi and other leaders of the Congress went to Gandhi with the proposal of reconstructing the Somnath temple, Gandhi blessed the move,but suggested that the funds for the construction should be collected from the public and the temple should not be funded by the state. He expressed that he was proud to associate himself to the project of renovation of the temple. But soon both Gandhi and Sardar Patel died and the task of reconstruction of the temple continued under K. M. Munshi, who was the Minister for Food and Civil Supplies in the Nehru Government. The ruins were pulled down in October 1950 and the mosque present at that site was shifted few miles away. In May 1951, Rajendra Prasad, the first President of the Republic of India, invited by K M Munshi, performed the installation ceremony for the temple. Rajendra Prasad said in his address "It is my view that the reconstruction of the Somnath Temple will be complete on that day when not only a magnificent edifice will arise on this foundation, but the mansion of India's prosperity will be really that prosperity of which the ancient temple of Somnath was a symbol.". He added "The Somnath temple signifies that the power of reconstruction is always greater than the power of destruction" This episode created a serious rift between the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, who saw the movement for reconstruction of the temple as an attempt at Hindu revivalism and the President Rajendra Prasad and Union Minister K. M. Munshi, who saw in its reconstruction, the fruits of freedom and the reversal of past injustice done to Hindus. The present temple, which was built by Patel and Munshi, is managed by Shree Somnath Trust.  
Architecture
The present temple is built in the Chalukya style of temple architecture or Kailash Mahameru Prasad Style and reflects the skill of the Sompura Salats, Gujarat's master masons. The temple is situated at such a place that there is no land in straight-line between Somnath seashore till Antarctica, such an inscription in Sanskrit is found on the Arrow-Pillar called Baan-Stambh erected on the sea-protection wall at the Somnath Temple. This Baan-Stambh mentions that it stands at a point on the Indian landmass, which happens to be the first point on land in the north to the south-pole on that particular longitude.
'Proclamation of the Gates' Incident
In 1782-83 AD, Maratha king, Mahadaji Shinde (Ruler of North India: Ujjain/ Gwalior/ Mathura) victoriously brought the Three Silver Gates from Lahore, after defeating Muhammad Shah of Lahore. After refusal from Pundits of Guzrath and the then ruler Gaekwad to put them back on Somnath temple, these silver gates were placed in temples of Ujjain. Today they can be seen in Two Temples of India Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga Mandir & Gopal Mandir of Ujjain. In 1842, Edward Law, 1st Earl of Ellenborough issued his famous 'Proclamation of the Gates' in which he ordered the British army in Afghanistan to return via Ghazni and bring back to India the sandalwood gates from the tomb of Mahmud of Ghazni in Ghazni, Afghanistan. These were believed to have been taken by Mahmud from Somnath. There was a debate in the House of Commons in London in 1843 on the question of the gates of the Somanatha temple. After much cross-fire between the British Government and the opposition, the gates were uprooted and brought back in triumph. But on arrival, they were found to be replicas of the original. So they were placed in a store-room in the Agra Fort where they still lie to the present day. In the 19th Century novel, The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins, the diamond of the title is presumed to have been stolen from the temple at Somnath and, according to the historian Romila Thapar, reflects the interest aroused in Britain by the gates. somnath_jyothirling Somnath 1 somnath_jyothirling_1 somnathjyotirlinga Somnath-Temple-Awsome-View Suvarna_dwar_somnath_jyothirling temple1 temple2 temple3


                                       Attractions Around Somnath Temple


Veraval Beach Just about 5 km away from the Somnath temple is the pleasant Veraval beach. The sprawling sands along with the swaying palm trees, the pleasant sound of the sea waves combine to provide a truly enchanting experience. The beach is situated at a distance of a few miles away from the city that lends it a secluded charm…a complete dose of refreshment for mind, body and soul. Bakhla Tirth A short distance from the temple is the place where Lord Krishna is believed to have been struck by an arrow from a tribal, thousands of years ago. The Lord is then said to have come to Somnath and prayed before departing for his heavenly abode. The place is known as the Bakhla tirth and is revered like a holy pilgrimage by the followers of the Hindu religion.
Other Attractions :
Numerous other temples and holy places have been built around Somnath, prominent among those being the Ahaleyshwar Mahadev Temple, Gita Mandir, Laxmi Narayan Temple, Baldev Gufa, Triveni Sangam, Sun Temple and the Shashibhushan Temple.
Stay At :
Accommodation facilities in the form of guest houses and dormitory are provided by the Somnath trust which can be availed by the pilgrims at affordable prices. The total number of rooms are in excess of two hundred.
Getting There :
Air - The nearest airport from Somnath is Keshod 55 km away and linked to Mumbai. There are regular buses and taxis plying between Keshod and Somnath. Rail - The nearest railhead is seven km away at Veraval, which is connected by train to Ahmedabad and some other cities in Gujarat. Road - State transport corporation buses and private coaches run regular service to other cities in the region. Somnath is connected by a good road network to the other nearby places like Veraval 7 km, Mumbai 889 km, Ahmedabad 400 km, Bhavnagar 266 km, Junagarh 85 km, and Porbandar 122 km. Location : Gujarat Dedicated to : Lord Shiva Temple Timings : 6 AM to 9 PM Best time to Visit : October to March Attractions Around : Veraval Beach, Bakhla Tirth


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3 comments:

  1. I have read recently one of the well written posts like somnath temple, Awesome Collection of Pics and great captures. Really Ia appreciate the post for posting information about the past years about temple. Thanks for sharing. See more information about Travel to Somnath Temple

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  2. Great post, i am visiting somnath temple next month and you have provide a very good information with some very good pictures, i hope this knowlwdge can also be of great value in quiz competitions

    ReplyDelete