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 in 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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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.
Legend Of Somnath Temple
Live Webcast: Somnath jyothirlinga
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.
SignificanceAccording 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.
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-QazwiniThe 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."