Situated by the side of the Arabian sea in state of Gujarat, is the Somnath temple, the first of the 12 holy Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva. The temple has gone through many changes through the many chapters of history, being destroyed and rebuilt in various eras and under various rulers. Though when and who built the original shrine is unknown, the first records show that temple was rebuilt by the Yadava kings of Vallabhi around 649 CE. In 725 CE, Al-Junayd, the Arab governor of Sindh is said to have destroyed this temple during his invasions. The Gurjara-Pratihara king Nagabhata II is said to have constructed the third temple in 815 CE, a large structure of red sandstone. In 1024, the structure was again destroyed by Afghan ruler Mahmud of Ghazni. Kumarpal, rebuilt the structure sometime around 1160. In 1299, Alauddin Khilji's army under the leadership of Ulugh Khan ransacked the Somnath temple and destroyed the Linga. The temple was rebuilt by Mahipala Deva, the Chudasama king of Saurashtra in 1308 and the Linga was installed by his son Khengar sometime between 1326 and 1351. In 1395, the temple was destroyed by Zafar Khan, which was followed by a Portuguese invasion in 1546. By 1665, the temple, was once again destroyed by Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. Later the temple was rebuilt adjacent to the ruined one by the joint efforts of the Marathas. Vallabhai Patel, Deputy Prime Minister in 1947, ordered the reconstruction of the Somanath temple. The move was blessed by Gandhiji. However, soon both Gandhi and Sardar Patel died and the task of reconstruction of the temple continued under Munshi, who was the Minister for Food and Civil Supplies in the Nehru Government. In May 1951, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, the first President of the Republic of India, performed the installation ceremony for the temple.
According to mythology, Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu had an argument over supremacy of creation. To test them, Lord Shiva penetrated the three worlds as an infinite pillar of light,the Jyotrilinga. Brahma and Vishnu, asked to find the end of the light set forth in either directions. While Vishnu conceded defeat Brahma lied that he found the end of the light. Lord Shiva angry at the lie, cursed Brahma that he will not be worshipped on earth. ...View more
he Jyothirlinga shrines are temples where Shiva appeared as a blazing column of light. Though there were believed to be 64 Jyothirlingas, 12 of them are considered to be especially auspicious. Somnath is considered to be first of the 12 Jyothirlingas. The Moon God is said to have been relieved from the curse of his father-in-law Daksha Prajapati by the blessings of Lord Somnath. Hence, the name Somnath. As per the Hindu ancient tradition, Moon built a golden temple, Ravana built a silver temple, Lord Krishna is believed to have built Somnath temple with Sandalwood, and King Bhimadeva built the temple with stone. It is also believed that this is the place where Krishna ended his lila on earth and left for His heavenly abode.This Temple is part of famous 12 Jyotirlinga Darsan Yatra.
The present temple is built in the Chalukya style of temple architecture and exemplifies the artisanship of the Sompura Salats, one of Gujarat's master masons. The temple's shikhara, or main spire, is 15 metres in height, with tall flag pole at the top. The temple is situated in such a manner that no mass of land can be seen from Somnath seashore till Antarctica. Splendid architecture, beautiful stone carvings and breath-taking sculptures a...View more
e visible in this shrine. The Linga of Lord Shiva, inside the sanctum is adorned with gold, silver and flowers. Picture Courtesy: commons.wikimedia.org
Somnath is very well connected via road and rail network. The nearest airports is Diu, at a distance of 95kms from the Somnath temple. Bus services are available from Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Rajkot, Dwarka etc to Somnath shrine. Somnath Railway station is hardly a half kilometre away and regular buses, taxis, and rickshaws are available.
Somnath Temple has become a legend, not only because of its mythological or religious connection, but also because of its story of being invaded and resurrected. The community here takes pride in century old traditions. Temple architecture boasts of the knowledge and prosperity of the community there. Invasion of foreign rulers in past, has left an indispensable devotion in Hindu culture. Although, there is no animosity towards other religions, the community here,ardently follows the ancient Hindu rituals.
A predominantly Hindu Gujrati community, people here are very religious and you must expect strict adherence to scriptures. Being a city established along the coastline, you will be able to enjoy a variety of coastal food too.
Gir Somnath includes the Gir Sanctuary which is a home of many wildlife creatures including lions, deer, and monkeys. Asiatic Lions can be only be found in the Gir Forest. The place is also famous for Bhalka Tirtha, where Lord Krishna is believed to have left for his heavenly abode, after being shot by a hunter accidentally.
Language Spoken:Gujarati, Hindi
There are 3 aarti daily at the Somnath Temple; in the morning at 7:00 AM, at 12:00 PM and in the evening at 7:00 PM
Various abhisheka like milk abhisheka, rudra abhisheka etc.
One may choose to carry their own Lingas and Idols to be touched with the Jyotirlinga by the priests. It is considered as an act of sanctification and empowering small idols & lingas.