This temple that has survived the tests of time, holds a lot of importance for the followers of the Hindu religion. The history states that this temple was looted of its wealth and structure by several conquerors. There are various stories about the origin and subsistence of the temple.
|Somnath Temple, Gujarat by BeautifulEyes - Photo courtesy Wikipedia|
Somnath Temple - Fast facts
Location - 79 kilometres from Junagadh in the Prabhas Kshetra near Veraval
Built by – Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel (present structure)
Built in -1951 (present structure- 7th reconstruction)
Highlights – 4-day Kartik Purnima Fair, ‘Jay Somnath’ Sound and Light Show : 8.00 pm to 9.00 pm and Aarti : 7.00 am, 12.00 noon and 7.00 pm
Best time to visit - October to March.
Entry fee – No entry fee
Timings - All days of the week between 6.00 am to 9.30 pm
Nearby attractions- Prabhas Patan Museum, Bakhla Tirth, Somnath Beach, Triveni Tirth, Veraval Beach, Ahilya Mandir and Surya Mandir
How to Reach Somnath
By Road: Somnath is 79 km from Junagadh and 25 km from Chorwad. State-run buses and private luxury coaches are available from several places in Gujarat to Somnath.
By Rail: Somnath is located at a distance of 6 km from the nearest railway station placed at Veraval
By Air: The nearest domestic airports are at Koshed (55 km; 31 mi) and Diu (90 km; 56 mi). Connecting flights to Diu are available from Mumbai (Sahar International Airport) and Ahmedabad. Taxi fare from Diu to Somnath is roughly 2000 INR.
Also known as Prabhas Pattan, Deo Pattan or Somnath Pattan, this temple is an excellent example of typical ancient temple architecture of India. It was famed for being a treasure of wealth, which was looted by Muslim rulers from 11th to 18th century. Being one of the 12 Jyotirlingas, it is considered to be one of the popular religious sites of the followers of Hinduism and Lord Shiva.
Renowned as a timeless shrine, it is every year visited by a decent number of devotees from all around the country. If the legends are to be believed, during the ancient times revenue was collected from the nearby 10,000 villages for the maintenance of the Somnath temple.
History of the Somnath Temple
It is believed that originally the Somnath Temple was built by Moon God Soma in gold, by Ravana of epic Ramayana in Silver, in wood by Lord Krishna and then during the 11th century in stone by Solanki Rajput rulers.
The present structure is 7th reconstruction that was done in the year 1951 by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. The riches of this temple invited several invasions but after every invasion, the temple was given back its glory by one or the other Hindu devotee or devotees.
Considered one of the top 10 temples in India, Somnath is erected in the Chalukyan architecture style or Kailash Mahameru Prasad Style with 50 m tall Shikhara, forming a beautiful sight with the view of the Arabian sea and the tip of the Saurashtra peninsula.
This magnificent temple consists of silver doors, a Nandi bull idol, delicate detailed carvings and the main Shivlinga. A huge mandapa or hall and the main temple are placed in the enormous courtyard.
Some interesting facts about Somnath
- Somnath is not only a pilgrimage or historical site, but it also offers a beach vacation with scenic beauty.
- Shri Kapardi Vinayak and Shri Hanuman Temple are 2 of the other prime tourist attractions of the temple complex.
- The Somnath temple is illuminated every evening.
- Vallabhghat is a location in the complex from where one can enjoy a beautiful sunset.
- Every night ‘Sound & Light Show “Jay Somnath” is organized between 8.00 to 9.00 pm.
- Maha Shivaratri is one of the most important festivals of the temple.
- The 4-day Kartik Purnima Fair every year attracts pilgrims in huge numbers.
- The Kalash on the top of the Shikhar weighs around 10 tonnes while the flag- mast is around 37 feet in length.
- The temple was looted of its wealth by Muslim rulers like Sultan Mohammad of Ghazni, Sultan Allauddin and Mohammad Begda.
- The arrow of the temple tells about the location of the temple that it is placed in such a manner that there is no land up till the South Pole.
- The Somnath temple finds its mention in the Puranas and Mahabharata, the Hindu epic.
Also check out the Top 10 Heritage Caves Temples of India?
Contributed by by Geetika Handa