The Somnath temple is located in Sowrashtra along the western coast of Gujarat, India. The temple is known as "The Shrine Eternal". Somanath is considered as the first Among the 12 Jyotir Lingas. It is the primary one because the Somnath linga is believed to be Swayanbhu (self-born) and is always awake. This temple has been a pilgrimage place from ancient times on account of being a triveni sangamam (the joining of three rivers Kapila, Hiran and Saraswati). The major festivals celebrated in the temple are Karthick Purnima on full moon day in November / December and Maha Shivrathri in the month of March. Somnath Temple is usually visited by millions of people throughout the year but, the best time is between the month of October and March.
About the temple
The Somnath Temple or Prabhas Patan is situated near Veraval in the state of Gujarat along the Arabian Sea. This holy temple has been destroyed and rebuilt several times by Islamic kings and Hindu kings respectively. The research based on ancient Indian classical texts shows that the first Somnath Jyotirling Pran-Pratistha was built in 4th AD , some 7,99,25,105 years ago as derived from the traditions of Prabhas Khand of Skand Puran. It is said that the original temple was built by the Moon God and was made of gold. Then it was rebuilt by Ravana with silver. When the silver temple razed down, it was rebuilt in wood by Lord Krishna and when this was pulled down, an edifice of stone was erected by Bhimdev. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was instrumental in the construction of the present construction. Renowned temple architect Prabhas Chandar designed it and Dr. Rajendra Prasad, the first President of India installed the linga in the new temple on May 11, 1951. The temple is open daily from 6 A.M to 9 P.M. There are 3 aarthi daily by 07:00 A.M,12:00 P.M and 7:00 P.M. Non-Hindus have to get special permission to enter the Temple Other spots in the temple are Shri Hanuman Temple, Shri Kapardi Vinayak and Vallabhghat. Vallabhghat is a beautiful sunset point. The temple is illuminated every evening along with the Sound and Light Show “Jay Somnath” which is displayed every night between 8.00 P.M and 9.00 P.M.
The present temple is built in the Kailash Mahameru Prasad Style and reflects the skill of Gujarat's master mason the Sompura Salats. The temple's main spire is 15 meters in height, and it has a 37 feet tall flag pole at the top which is changed three times a day. The temple is situated at such a place that there is no land in straight-line between Somnath seashore till Antarctica, such an inscription in Sanskrit is found on the Arrow-Pillar called Baan-Stambh erected on the sea-protection wall at the Somnath Temple. It says that the pillar stands at a point on the Indian landmass, which happens to be the first point on land in the north to the south-pole on that particular longitude.
About The Deity
The Shiva linga is called as Someshwar which appears as a fiery column of light. Somnath means "Lord of the Soma", an epithet of Shiva and soma meaning to moon.
The twelve jyotirlinga shrines are the places where Lord Shiva is believed to have appeared as a fiery column of light. Each of the twelve Jyotirlinga shrines takes the name of a different incarnation of Shiva. At all these places, lingam represents the beginningless and endless stambha pillar, symbolizing the infinite nature of Shiva.
Legend and Stories
According to Skanda Purana, the legend narrates that Moon God married the twenty seven daughters (stars) of Daksha, but showed more love and affection to Rohini. The remaining wives felt neglected and they were disappointed with their husband. So, they made a complain to their father Daksha who tried to convince the Moon God to change himself, but it went in vain. So, he put a curse on him that he would be loosing his brightness.
The Devas were worried at Moon God's plight and went to Brahma. On the advice of Lord Brahma Moon went on a penance for six months and prayed to Lord Shiva, at the end of which he gave him the boon that in a month, he would grow for fifteen days in one half and loose the shade in the other half. He was pleased with the Devas and Lord Shiva Himself came to be known as Someshwar, meaning moon (Soma) in that holy place. The Devas established a Someshwar Kund there. By taking a holy bath in this pond or Kund, it is believed that one would obtain release from all his sins.
It is also believed that this is the place where Lord Krishna ended his lila on earth and left for his heavenly abode.
Prasad and offering
For worship of the Lord and Abhishek, sandalwood scented water is brought from Haridwar, Prayag Kashi every day. Flowers for special festivals are imported from Kashmir. One thousand Brahmins are appointed for the daily routine. About three hundred and fifty girls are appointed for the regular music and dance concerts.
This religious place of worship earns the produce of ten thousand villages. Offerings made by many devotees amounted to millions of rupees that kept the Temple always rich and abundant. The Parsis or the Sun worshiping foreigners also contributed a part of their profits to the temple treasury.
The Shiva linga in the temple is believed to be safely hidden in the hollowness of famous Syamantak Mani which is the Philosopher's stone of Lord Krishna. It is a magical stone, capable of producing gold. This stone has alchemical and radioactive properties. The linga floats above ground due to the magnetic field around it.
The nearby airport Keshod which is 55k away from Somnath and is linked to Mumbai.
Through railways connecting cities of Gujarat with Veraval which is 7km from the temple.
From Keshod regular buses are available. Somnath is directly connected to the nearby places such as Veraval, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Bhavnagar, Junagarh, and Porbandar.
Somnath Prabhas Patan,
Junagadh, Gujarat, India,
Pincode – 362268.
Devotees visit this temple to seek fulfillment of the following:-
- To be blessed by the miraculous power of the Somnath idol
Kailaasarana Shiva Chandramouli Phaneendra Maathaa Mukutee Zalaalee Kaarunya Sindhu Bhava Dukha Haaree Thujaveena Shambho Maja Kona Taaree
Meaning -Oh Lord Shiva who is seated on Mount Kailash, where the moon decorates his forehead and the king of serpents crown his head, who is merciful and removes delusion, You alone can protect me. I surrender to thee.
Aum Trayambakam Yajaamahey Sugandhim Pusti Vardhanam Urvaarukamiva Bandhanaath Mrutyor Muksheeya Maamritaat
Meaning -We worship the fragrant Lord Shiva, who has 3 eyes and who cultivates all beings. May He free me from death, for immortality, as even a cucumber is separated from its bond with the vine.
6.00am to 9.00p.m.