Somnath Temple stands as a symbol of rich cultural heritage of India. The mention of this ancient temple has been made in the scriptures like 'Rig Veda' of the Hindu origin. The term Somnath suggests 'the protector of Moon God'. Lord Shiva is depicted here in the form of a Jyotirlinga (linga of light), as the protector. The incredible temple of Somnath is called as 'the Shrine Eternal' since, the temple has been shattered for not less than six times and every time, it has been reconstructed.
Somnath Temple has a legend behind its establishment. It is believed that Lord Chandra (Moon God) was very proud of his beauty. Due to this reason, he was cursed by his father-in-law Daksha, to get smaller. In order to get rid of this curse, Moon God prayed to Lord Shiva at Prabhas. Lord Shiva became happy with the penance of the Moon and reduced the curse to an extent. This incident led to the periodic waning of moon.
Maintaining the original site, the present temple is said to have built for the seventh time. The first temple of Somnath is regarded as a structure in Gold, made by Moon God himself. In the 7th century, Somnath Temple was reconstructed by Maitraka kings of Vallabhi in Gujarat. The second structure was destroyed by the Arab governor of Sind by the name of Junayad in 725. Again in 815, the third structure was built by Nagabhata II, who was a Pratihara King.
This structure was erected out of red sandstone. In 1024, the temple was raided by Mahmud Ghazni, who took camel-loads of jewels and valuables from here. The Paramara King Bhoj of Malwa and the Solanki King Bhima of Gujarat (Anhilwara) took the initiative to rebuild the temple during 1026-1042. For the fifth time, the wooden structure was replaced with a stone structure by Kumarpal.
Consequently, the temple was destroyed in 1297 by the Sutanat of Delhi and once again in 1394. The last attack was made by the Mughal Emperor, Aurangzeb in 1706. The present temple was built in 1995 by Shree Somnath Trust in the company of the Government of India. Today, Somnath Temple is under the maintenance of Shree Somnath Trust.
The seven-storied structure of Somnath is tall to 155 feet. Constructed in the Chalukya style of architecture, Somnath Temple reflects the expertise of the Sompuras that are master masons of Gujarat. The temple is sited in such a manner that no mass of land can be seen from Somnath seashore till Antarctica. This information is presented in an inscription, written in Sanskrit, on the Arrow-Pillar of the sea-protection wall at the temple.
In the words of Dr. Rajendra Prasad (the first president of India), "Somnath Temple signifies that the power of creation is always greater than the power of destruction". The great history and religious importance of Somnath temple attracts pilgrims as well as tourists from India and abroad.
Attractions Around Somnath TempleVeraval Beach
Just about 5 km away from the Somnath temple is the pleasant Veraval beach. The sprawling sands along with the swaying palm trees, the pleasant sound of the sea waves combine to provide a truly enchanting experience. The beach is situated at a distance of a few miles away from the city that lends it a secluded charm...a complete dose of refreshment for mind, body and soul.
A short distance from the temple is the place where Lord Krishna is believed to have been struck by an arrow from a tribal, thousands of years ago. The Lord is then said to have come to Somnath and prayed before departing for his heavenly abode. The place is known as the Bakhla tirth and is revered like a holy pilgrimage by the followers of the Hindu religion.
Other AttractionsNumerous other temples and holy places have been built around Somnath, prominent among those being the Ahaleyshwar Mahadev Temple, Gita Mandir, Laxmi Narayan Temple, Baldev Gufa, Triveni Sangam, Sun Temple and the Shashibhushan Temple.
Accommodation facilities in the form of guest houses and dormitory are provided by the Somnath trust which can be availed by the pilgrims at affordable prices. The total number of rooms are in excess of two hundred.
Getting ThereAir - The nearest airport from Somnath is Keshod 55 km away and linked to Mumbai. There are regular buses and taxis plying between Keshod and Somnath.
Rail - The nearest railhead is seven km away at Veraval, which is connected by train to Ahmedabad and some other cities in Gujarat.
Road - State transport corporation buses and private coaches run regular service to other cities in the region. Somnath is connected by a good road network to the other nearby places like Veraval 7 km, Mumbai 889 km, Ahmedabad 400 km, Bhavnagar 266 km, Junagarh 85 km, and Porbandar 122 km.