Somnath is the 1st shiva jyotirlinga out of 12 that is spread all across the Indian subcontinent. Located in Gujarat this temple is a true testament to the sheer hard work and persistent ambition to honor Indian culture. Having been through an extremely tumultuous past with several loots and plunders, today Somnath stands tall by the crashing waves of the Arabian Sea, as one of the most exquisite and pious places of Shiva worship.
The Mythology of Somnath Temple
The light and sound show that is featured during the nighttime tells the spiritual and mythological background of this majestic pilgrimage place. The term som translates into the moon, meaning the temple is dedicated to the moon lord. The moon lord himself had prayed to lord shiva at the very place where the temple stands now. The story starts off with the moon being married to 27 of Raja Daksha’s daughters. Instead of giving his time equally to all his wives, he devoted most of his time to just one wife – Rohini. This made the father, Daksh, very angry. He cursed the moon that it would lose all its glowing lustre and would fade away. Sadly, the moon started fading away.
A worried moon made its way to this spot in Somnath along with Rohini and started praying to lord shiva. Happy with his dedication and devotion the Lord freed him from the curse. The moon then took a dip in the holy Saraswati River which revived his faded glow and lustre. The first temple structure was built by the moon god himself who had dedicated it to lord shiva.
History of Somnath Temple
There is no exact date for the construction of the very first structure of Somnath temple. The earliest history of this 1st Shiva Jyotirlinga dates back to 649 CE during the reign of the Yadava kings i.e. the Vallabh is. This was destroyed by the Arab governor of Sindh during his invasions in Rajasthan and Gujarat. He broke the jyotirlinga and took away 20 million dinars. Another plundering took place in 1299 by Alauddin Khilji’s army led by Ulugh Khan. The temple was again built in 1308 before getting destroyed once again during the late 14th century. In 1665 Mughal emperor Aurangzeb demolished the temple and passed the law that if Hindus tried to erect it again, it should be demolished completely. During 1950-51 the temple was rebuilt (current structure) due to the efforts made by Sardar Patel and Mahatma Gandhi.
What to Expect?
The temple is covered all over with fresh, bright flowers among other gold and silver ornaments. This gives a very traditional, spiritual, and holy vibe to the whole complex. This is also done keeping in mind the legend related to the temple. Som or the moon god built the temple using gold, later on, Ravan built it by silver and Lord Krishna built the temple by wood. Every feature symbolizes some aspect of our rich cultural heritage. Going there in the evening time will make you see one of the most pretty and positivity evoking evening aarti. Also, deeply peaceful prayers keep on happening throughout the day. You can see some pictures of lord Somnath inside the temple adorning the walls.
Frequently Asked Questions About Somnath Temple
When Is the Best Time to Visit Somnath?
The climate in Somnath remains fairly moderate throughout the year. The temperature ranges from 28 to 34-degree Celsius during the summer months. Winter months are very pleasant with the temperature ranging from 20 to 28-degree Celsius. The months of October to February are the best times to visit Somnath temple and enjoy it with your family and loved ones.
How to Reach Somnath?
If you are traveling from somewhere faraway then the nearest airport to the temple is called Keshod which is around 55 kms away from the main temple. There are buses and taxi services available to cover the distance. The nearest train station is located around 7 kms away from the temple. It is well connected to several cities big and small like Ahmedabad, Bhavnagar, Porbandar, etc. The best way would be to travel by road in a private car. The roads are well made and well connected as well.
What Is the Temple Location?
Somnath temple is the landmark of Gujarat and can be easily reached no matter where you are traveling from. It is just 7 kms from Veraval and 79 kms from Junagadh. The best way to travel would be to travel in a private car rather than any other local transportation modes especially if you are traveling with your family.
What Is the Temple Darshan Timing?
The temple timings are – 6 am to 9:30 pm. Aarti timings are: 7 am, 12 noon, and 7 pm. The Light and sound show is scheduled to take place for an hour from 8 pm to 9 pm every day. Avoid going there on a rainy day or during the monsoon season because the show doesn’t take place then.
Is There an Online Darshan Option Available for Somnath Temple?
Yes, there is an online darshan option available on the official website of Somnath. To get the darshan you will have to register and pay some amount to get the darshan.
Is Photography Prohibited?
Yes. being an extremely spiritual place of worship, in order to preserve the sanctity of the place photography is strictly prohibited. You can purchase some pictures or memories and souvenirs from the gift shop in the temple complex.
What Are Some Places I Can Visit Around Somnath?
Being the land of god, Gujarat is steeped and dotted all over with numerous places of tourist interest. Here are some places you can visit in a 20 km radius of the temple complex. These include Ahilyabai Temple, Bhalka Tirtha, Triveni Sangam, Golokdham Tirth, and Shashibhushan Temple.
What Are Some Major Festivals, Fairs, or Functions That Take Place in Somnath?
Somnath lights up during the time of any festival. But it’s a sight to behold especially during the time of Mahashivratri, Shravan Month, Kartik Purnima Fair, Golokdham Festival, and Somnath Sthapana Divas.
Interesting Facts About Somnath Mandir:
- Gujarat is known as the kingdom of Lord Krishna. It was in Somnath Mahadeva Mandir that the lord had ended his Lila and departed for his heavenly abode. This fact along with a host of other legends and myths makes this majestic temple hundred times more pious.
- The Current Somnath temple was built over a duration of 5 years from 1947 to 1951. After its completion, it was inaugurated by the then president of India Dr. Rajendra Prasad.
- A famous special stone that is associated with Lord Krishna, called Syamantaka Mani, or the philosopher’s stone has been kept in the hollowness of the Shivling. The stone is known for producing gold and due to its alchemic and radioactive properties remains floating just slightly above the water and seems to hover in the air.
- Apart from the obvious religious and spiritual values associated with the temple, it has also found its mention in some of the holiest Hindu books and texts like Shrimad Bhagavad Gita, Skanda Purana, and Rigveda.
- Did you know that the temple is located in such a unique spot that there is no landmass present in a straight line from the temple seashore to Antarctica? Call it a mere coincidence or the expert calculations of our bygone scholars and intellectuals.
- If the ancient holy book of Skand Puran is to be believed, then Somnath Temple gets reconstructed every time a new world is to be constructed. Lord Brahma makes it his responsibility to create a new world after ending the one we are currently living in and the new Somnath that will get built will have the name of Pran Nath Temple.
- It is also one of those rare temples in India where you can see the 3 holy Trinity or Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh together sculpted on the walls together.