Somnath Temple

Somnath Temple

Somnath Temple

Wherever you may roam in India, you will find a large number of temples that are dedicated to a God followed sanctimoniously by a section of people living in the nearby area. This tradition is a result of the upbringing that we and our forefathers have received and that which enlightens us about the presence of a supreme power that controls the heart of the universe and all its constituents.

While there are some temples that have been constructed in the recent times, some of the temples that exist in India have been at their place for thousands of years. One amongst the ancient temples of India is the Somnath Temple of Gujarat. With its beautiful structure and historical significance, it continues to be a centre of attraction and visitors from different parts of the world continue to visit this temple every year.

Where's Somnath Temple located?

The Somnath Temple is located in the state of Gujarat. It is in the Veraval city of the Saurashtra region.

The Diu airport in Daman and Diu is the closest to Somnath Temple, while the Porbandar airport ranks second in terms of proximity, followed by the Rajkot airport. All the three airports are domestic airports, and visitors arriving from abroad should opt for a flight to Mumbai, the closest international airport to the temple.

Veraval is well connected with many parts of the state through rail and road network, where government and private authorities continue to provide conveyance to the visitors from Gujarat and other neighboring states as well.

By roadSomnath is 79 km from Junagadh and 25 km from Chorwad. State transport buses and private luxury coaches connect various centres of Gujarat to Somnath.

By railSomnath is located 6 km from the nearest railway station at Veraval.

 

Best Time to Visit

The temple is open from 07:00 am to 08:00 pm everyday. The timings of aarti at the temple are 07:00 am, 12:00 pm, and 07:00 pm.

History

The legend associated with this temple is that when Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu were arguing regarding their supremacy, Lord Shiva intervened in between and to reach to a reasonable conclusion, he assigned them the task of finding the end of the light of the pillar he had pierced through the three spheres. While Brahma tried to lie that he had reached to the end of the light, Vishnu acknowledged his defeat. This led Shiva to curse Brahma that he would not be worshiped in any religious ceremonies, whereas Vishnu will be worshiped by the mankind till the end of time.

The column of light is now symbolic to Lord Shiva, commonly known as Jyotirlinga. Such structures were erected in 64 locations, out of which one is the Somnath Temple.

Another legend associated with this temple is that there were three different temples built by Soma or the Moon God, Ravana and Shri Krishna. While Soma had built the temple of gold, Ravana’s temple was made of silver, while that of Shri Krishna was made of wood. Soma was known to have cursed by none other than his father-in-law because Soma was known to love only one of the many daughters of Daksha whom he was married with. The curse was that the glow of Soma or the moon will decline. Soma then built the temple and prayed to Shiva. One of his wives whom he used to love the most then pleaded to Shiva to remove the curse. Shiva then removed the curse, partially though, which is said to be the reason why the intensity of moon decreases.

The temple has been destroyed not just once or twice, but for six times. Every time, it was rebuilt and thus it got the name “The Shrine Eternal”.

It is said that the very first temple was present at the site even before the common people existed, while the second temple is believed to be built by the rulers of Yadava Dynasty in the sixth century.

In the seventh century, the temple was destroyed by the armies sent by the governor of Sindh. The third temple, however, was built in the eight century by a ruler of the Pratihara Empire, Nagabhata II.

The temple was destroyed and rebuilt again for the coming centuries, as it was always under the radar of the conquerors of the state.

Another interesting incident related to this ancient temple is the “Proclamation of The Gates” incident. It is said that Mahadaji Shinde, a ruler of the Maratha Dynasty, brought along Three Silver Gates after he won the war against the ruler of Lahore, Muhammad Shah. He wanted these gates to be installed in the Somnath Temple, but was unable to do so as the pundits and the ruler of the state refused to do so. These gates were later placed at the Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga Temple and Gopal Temple of Ujjain city in Madhya Pradesh.

Around a century later, the 1st Earl of Ellenborough issued an order to reclaim these gates, which are said to have been taken by the Mahmud of Ghazni to be installed in his tomb. A lot of efforts were put to bring back the gates; however, the gates that were brought back to India were just replicas. The authorities sent these replicas to the Agra Fort, where they are still lying in the store-room.

The last restoration of the temple was done by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, who was the Deputy Prime Minister of India after independence. The initiative of merging Junagarh state into the newly established Union of India and reconstruction of Somnath Temple in a simultaneous order was administered by Vallabhbhai. Unfortunately, he died before the reconstruction of the temple was over, which was then supervised by K.M. Munshi.

Structure

The temple that you see today at the site is an example of the architecture style followed by Chalukya Dynasty for constructing temples.

A striking feature of the temple is that in between the seashore where the temple stands and the Antarctica, the space is devoid of any land.

What to See

The exterior and the interior of the temple is magnificent, and so is the seashore where it is located. The flow of the visitors is huge, especially during the festival of Mahashivratri in the month of February or March every year and in the month of November or December, when the Bhavnath festival is celebrated.

Images

Facts & Figuries

According to records, the site of Somnath has been a pilgrimage site from ancient times as it was said to be the junction of three rivers, Kapila, Hiran and the mythical Saraswati. The meeting point was called as Triveni Sangam and is believed to be the place where Soma, the Moon-god bathed and regained his lustre.

According to another reference in the Skanda Purana, there are about 6 Brahmas. This is the era of 7thBrahma who is called Shatanand.

Non hindus require special permission

to visit somnath temple. The decision was taken in view of security issues.

The Flag

The flag mast on the peak is 37 feet long and is changes 3 times a day.

Somnath Temple

On the walls of the temple, along with Shiva, Sculputures of Lord Brahma and Vishnu can also be seen.

When was built?

The present-day Somnath Temple was built in five years, from 1947 to 1951 and was inaugurated by then President of India Dr Rajendra Prasad

Virtual tour

Video

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