Somnath is not only the holiest shiva temple in India but is an architectural marvel. Built using fine carvings, finely detailed engravings and beautiful designs complete with images, paintings and sculptures of various gods and goddesses, this temple is more than a spiritual place. It is a complete experience for the mind, body and soul. Located right next to the crashing waves of the Arabian Sea and just next to the Somnath beach, this temple is filled with awe-inspiring experiences that will rejuvenate you from within. The entire temple complex is dotted with various interesting sights and vistas. For example, the evening sound and light show depicting the entire story about Somnath Mahadev Mandir is excellently shown and a must-visit for people with kids!
No matter how fascinating this place may seem, there are several things about the temple that remain interesting even till this day. Here are some other interesting facts about Somnath that you may or may not have known:
The Legend Of Floating Shivling
The original Shivling is believed to have been floating above the current spot where it sits. According to legends the philosopher’s stone or Syamantak Manik which is closely associated with Lord Krishna and is said to be hiding within the hollowness of the shivling. This magical stone is believed to have powers like producing gold, alchemy and radioactive capacity that has the ability to create a magnetic field which enabled the Shivling to float above the ground. The temple is worth visiting especially because of this fact.
Mention In Ancient Texts
The temple is so grand and ancient that you can find its mention in various holy Hindu texts like Skand Puran, Rig Veda, Shreemad Bhagavad Gita and Shiv Puran. This goes on to show that this site of Lord shiva worship has always attracted pilgrims and devotees from all over the world. This also proves that the actual construction of the temple remains unknown.
Was Always An Ancient Pilgrimage Site
The temple site of Somnath has always been an important place of shiva worship not just because of the temple but also because it is placed on a very holy spot. The temple is constructed near the confluence point of 3 holy rivers of Kapila, Hiran and the mythical river of Saraswati. This confluence is named as the Triveni Sangam which should not be confused with the Triveni Sangam in Allahabad. This Sangam is also said to be the place where lord soma or the moon god is said to have taken a bath and regained his lost Lustre making it all the more auspicious and holy.
The First Temple Was Constructed By The Moon God
Legend has it that the very first temple structure of Somnath was constructed by the moon god or Lord Som himself. He is also said to have constructed the temple with gold, while the sun god had contributed silver and Lord Krishna had provided sandalwood for construction purposes. All these contributions together creates a wonderful rhythm of spirituality, oneness and piousness.
No Straight Line Between The Temple And Antarctica
This is probably one of the most baffling facts of Somnath that cannot be ignored and in fact deserves some much-needed attention. The Baan Stambh or the arrow pillar near the temple and on the Somnath seashore stands tall on the Indian landmass. This pillar is in complete straight line from here to the Antarctica continent. There is no other piece of land or even an island in between them. It is appalling to know that this proves about the level of science and research that was done by the scholars of that era.
Temple Name Changes Every Time With The World Reconstructs
According to our reliable ancient books and historical accounts recorded in the holy text of Skand Puran, the name of Somnath Temple will change every time the world is re constructed. It is said that when lord brahma reconstructs the world after the destruction of the world we are currently in, Somnath’s temple’s name will change to Pran Nath Temple.
The Temple Has Suffered Numerous Destructions
Situated in Prabhas Patan of the Saurashtra region in Gujarat, the current temple occupies a prime location that has attracted numerous traders and rulers from all over the world. Due to this, the temple was the first thing that they saw and destroyed it any time a new ruler would invade and loot. Somnath has suffered destruction over 15 times and each time by a different ruler including Mahmud of Ghazni, Muzaffar Shah, Khilji’s Army and Aurangzeb among a plethora of others. However, each time it was reconstructed keeping the spirit of religion and spirituality alive.
Unique Temple Structure
The temple is primarily made of a main building along with another precinct. This means that there are several other small temples within the large temple complex or under the dome structure, much like an igloo. There are several different regions and parts to the temple that are very unique in their own way and will make for a great day out with the family full of spirituality and fun.
It Had Million Dollar Worth Of Wealth
During the peak of Somnath mandir’s popularity, it had several million worth of gold, jewels and other precious treasure. Sadly, these were looted by the robbers and rulers who would rob the place and leave the temple with nothing.
Proclamation Of The Gates By The British
When the British troops were ordered to come back from Afghanistan, they were instructed to bring back the sandalwood Somnath gate that was taken away by Mahmud of Ghazni. On their way back, as a sign of triumph, they carried back the gates to Gujarat, however, this gate was a fake one and was in fact made out of deodar and not sandalwood. The fake gate is now stored in the basement storage of Agra fort where you can go and check it out.
These were the 10 popular and not so popular interesting facts about the holy Somnath Mahadev Mandir. There are several other things that continue to baffle historians, archeologists and devotees alike.