Somnath Temple Historical Significance
Lord Shiva’s sacred temples are known as Jyotirlingas, and it is thought that Lord Shiva visited these places; therefore they occupy a special place in the hearts of devotees. They are 12 in number in India. Sanskrit meaning “light column or pillar” is Jyotirlinga. The absence of a beginning and an end is indicated by the ‘Stambha’ symbol.
The Jyotirlingas symbolize infinity in Shiva’s form, whose magnificence has enchanted devotees since the dawn of humanity. Devotees flock from all around the world to worship Lord Shiva and find spiritual calm in his hallowed sanctuaries.
The 12 Jyotirlingas are:
- Somnath Temple, Gujarat
- Mallikarjuna Temple, Andhra Pradesh
- Mahakaleshwar Temple, Madhya Pradesh
- Omkareshwar Temple, Madhya Pradesh
- Baidyanath Dham, Jharkhand
- Bhimashankar Temple, Maharashtra
- Ramanathaswamy Temple, Rameshwaram
- Nageshwar Temple, Gujarat
- Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Uttar Pradesh
- Trimbakeshwar Temple, Maharashtra
- Kedarnath Temple, Uttarakhand
- Grishneshwar Temple, Maharashtra
The Triveni Sangam – the convergence of the legendary Saraswati, Hiranya, and Kapila rivers – is where the Somnath temple is situated in Prabhas Patan, Saurashtra, West Gujarat, India.
It is the first of the jyotirlingas or the area where Lord Shiva showed himself.
It is referenced in ancient literature such as the Shreemad Bhagavat Gita, Skandpuran, Shivpuran, and Rig-Veda, indicating the temple’s prominence as a popular pilgrimage destination.
The history of the finely carved honey-colored historic temple can be dated back to 649 BC, although it is thought to be older. The first temple was created of gold by the Moon, the second temple was made of silver by Ravana, and the third temple was constructed of sandalwood by Krishna during the Dwapara Yuga, as per the light and sound display.
Various conquerors, including Mahmud of Ghazni (1024), Afzal Khan, Ala-ud-din Khilji’s commander (1296), and Muzaffar Shah (1375), Mahmud Begada (1451), and subsequently Aurangzeb, have looted and ruined this shrine (1665). It has had 17 restorations. In 1951, the current shape was rebuilt. Because of how well it has endured the test of time, it is also renowned as “The Eternal Shrine.”
The current Somnath temple was created by the Compare community, which specializes in temple construction, under the supervision of Prabhashankar Sompura. The temple is split into three sections: the inner sanctum, center hall, and dancing hall, and is built in the Chalukya or Kailash Mahameru Prasad form of temple building.
The temple’s Shikhar is erected just above the Garbh Gruh, with a 10-ton Kalash set at the summit of the 150-foot Shikhara. Dhwajadand, a 27-foot tower with Trishul, towers over the shrine. The orientation of the South Pole is indicated by a column in the temple complex. Since there is no landmass from Temple Seashore to the South Pole, the linear path would come to a stop in Antarctica.
The old architecture and ruins of Somnath Temple are housed in a museum within the temple grounds. The government has over 1638 exhibits ranging from the seventh to the fifteenth centuries. These exhibit India’s exquisite architecture and highly respected culture during the period of the Vallabhi and Chalulya rulers.
The northern end of the temple lawn is lined with colorful figurines depicting the Shiva legend, although visibility is limited due to the cloudy glass.
Moon God is the actual meaning of ‘Soma,’ and the Moon God’s defender is ‘Somnath.’ According to legend, Soma married 27 of King Daksha’s daughters. He did, however, prefer Rohini above the others. This enraged Prajapati, who insisted on being unbiased in his feelings. Prajapati cursed Soma and caused him to lose his brilliance when he disobeyed his warnings. The world grew gloomy without moonlight, so all the gods begged Prajapati to lift his curse. Soma was advised by Daksha to worship Lord Shiva, hence the Lord is known as Somnath, Lord of the Moon.
- Somnath is very well linked by train and road to Gujarat’s major towns. From Ahmedabad and Dwarka, overnight buses are available.
- The closest airport is Keshod, which is 55 kilometers away.
- Veraval is the nearest railway station, which is 7 kilometers away.
Though the temple is accessible all year, the perfect time to visit Somnath Temple is during the colder months of October to February. Shivratri (typically in February or March) and Kartik Purnima (around Diwali) are both widely observed here.
Top places to visit:
- Bhalka Tirth
- Somnath Beach
- Paanch Pandav Gufa
- Laxminarayan Temple
- Triveni Sangam Temple
Arrive in Somnath before midday, have lunch, and rest. Around 4:00 p.m., you may leave your hotel and begin touring all of the neighboring temples, beginning with the Panch Pandava Gufa temple and concluding with the Somnath temple. You can rest on the beach and enjoy the view after visiting the temple.
The Somnath Trust conducts a twice-daily local sight-seeing tour called “Somnath Tirth Darshan.” Buses leave at the Somnath Temple gate at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Each seat costs Rs.20. You may also take a tour of the city in an autorickshaw.
Somnath doesn’t have a lot of restaurants or opulent fine dining experiences. Around the temple, there are a few prominent dining establishments, as well as various local eateries and Dhabas. Lassi, Buttermilk, Chaas, and ice creams are famous and widely accessible dairy products.
Gujarati snacks such as Dhokla, Khakra, Fafda, Sev, Khandvi, and Khaman, as well as sweets such as Ghevar, Malpua, Shrikhand, Puran Poli, and others, are available in the region.
- The aarti sessions are wonderful, and the ambiance within the mandapa instills spiritual zeal.
- The light and sound show reflecting the temple’s history and mythology is a fantastic experience.
- Inside the temple complex, there is a well-guarded security cover, clean surroundings, manicured landscaping, and a ticketing counter offering various Abhishek pujas, a souvenir shop, a prasad shop, and basic amenities such as toilets and water, and a museum.
- Free camera, cellphone, and shoe supports are offered at the temple’s main gate, as these items are not permitted inside. Proper attire is expected. Half-pants are therefore not acceptable.
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