Situated on the western coast of Gujarat in Prabhas Patan Kshetra near Veraval, Somnath Jyotirlinga Temple is the first temple of the Jyotirlingas Shrines of Shiva amongst 12 in total. There are many stories, myths, and interesting facts about Somnath Temple. Aka as Eternal Shrine has an extraordinary structural design that portrays ancient history.
The temple name has been mentioned in ancient books like Shrimad Bhagavad Gita, Skand Puran, Shiv Puran, Mahabharata, and Rig-Veda. It is one of the popular pilgrimage sites among Hindus in India. The temple stands on Triveni Sangam (Kapila, Hiran, and Saraswati rivers). The legendary temple has been vandalized by different anti-Hindu forces 17 times but with the support and help of Hindu Kings, the temple was reconstructed each time.
Related Stories & History of Somnath Temple
It is said that Lord Moon known as “Som” had lost his charm and shine due to the curse that was given by Daksha that Moon’s brightness will decrease every day. And after worshiping Lord Shiva for 4000 years at Somnath Temple, he was partially blessed by Lord Shiva and got rid of the curse and Moon God regained his shine and charm back. But Lord Shiva told “Som” that your brightness will decrease for 15 days and after that, you will start increasing your brightness for 15 consecutive days. After the removal of the curse, God Somnath constructed this temple now known as Somnath Temple.
There is no historical evidence available about which time the Somnath temple was built for the first time, but still, it is found that in 649 AD, it was rebuilt by the friendly kings of Vallabhbhai. In 725 AD this temple was defeated by Muslim al-Junaid of Sindh.
The Shiva Linga in the temple was believed to secure Syamantak Mani. This mani is related to “Lord Krishna” having magical powers of producing gold. This stone/mani is capable of creating a magnetic field around itself.
Since it is a religious sacred tourist place for “Hindus”, so non-Hindus are required to take special permission from the temple trust office to enter the temple.
Attacks, Demolition, and Reconstructions on Somnath Jyotirlinga
The temple was destroyed many times by Muslim emperors like Mahmud of Ghazni in 1024 from the breaking of the statue and all the gold or silver jewels, all the ornaments belonging to it were looted. Not only that, he took away the diamond and jewels and took his country Ghazni. At the same time, Mahmud also tried to break Shivling. However, he had set the fire around without breaking the Shivling.
Alauddin Khilji attacked the temple when he defeated Karandev II of the Vaghela dynasty in 1296. In 1308 the temple was rebuilt by Mahipala Deva, the Chudasama king of Saurashtra. In 1395, the temple was subject to destruction for the third time by Zafar Khan, Gujarat’s last Governor under the Delhi Sultanate.
The Sultan of Gujarat, Mahmud Begada desecrated the temple in 1451. In 1546, the Portuguese army destroyed the Somnath temple in an attack along with many ports and other temples.
Mughal emperor Aurangzeb planned the devastation of the temple in 1665.
Restoration, Renovation of Somnath Mandir Gujarat
The last time it was repaired was in November 1947, when Vallabhbhai Patel came to Junagadh, then it was decided to repair it and it took 5 years (1951) to repair it. After Patel’s death, the work of repairing it was done by Kanaiyalal Maneklal Munshi, who was then the minister of the Government of India.
The Great Architecture of Somnath Jyotirlinga Temple
Somnath is a perfect structural example of Architectural Excellence. The structural design of the present temple exhibits the architectural pattern of Chalukya’s period. The complex yet flawless carvings reflect the expertise of the Sompuras, the master masons of Gujarat. The temple has an incredible metaphorical ceiling; walls decorated with beautifully painted images.
There’s a small museum within the property of the temple and it exhibits splendid leftovers from ancient Somnath. A message written on an arrow on the top of the pillar facing south indicates that there is no piece of land between the point where the temple stands and Antarctica which makes its placement a unique feature. This gallery of the temple display photographs telling the tale of the ancient temple’s carcass, restoration, and excavations.
The temple’s architecture is simply impressive and is adorned the walls of the temple have beautiful carvings and sculptures of Lord Shiva, Lord Brahma, and Vishnu.
The height of the pinnacle of the seven-storied temple is 155 feet. The magnificent “Kalash” at the top of the roof weighs 10 tonnes. The flag pole is 37 feet long.
The grandeur of this temple is such that millions of foreign tourists come from different religions with devotees from abroad and abroad. Watching “Aarti” is a real treat for the visitors. The temple is open daily from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. There are three “Aarti” daily, at 7 in the morning, 12 noon, and 7 in the morning.
Light Sound Show and Pooja at Somnath Temple
Light & Sound Show at Somnath temple is one of the major attractions, this is one hour show that starts from 7:30 to 8:30 pm. In which the history of Somnath, tales of Somnath and Bhalka Tirth are described very beautifully. The light and sound show at Somnath temple is decided by the climatic conditions and can be canceled if case there are heavy rains.
How to Reach Somnath Temple Gujarat
The temple is 63 Km away from the nearest airport of Diu and is 114 km away from Porbandar Airport in Gujarat and 160 km away from Rajkot Civil Airport. From there you can get a taxi or get a public bus to reach there.
You can directly reach Somnath (SMNH) railway station; it is well connected with all the major cities in the country.
Best Time to Travel and Visit Jyotirlinga Somnath
The Suggested best time to visit Somnath Temple is winter when the temperature remains quiet, cool, and pleasant and is travel worthy. The temperatures during this time are around 10-24 degree centigrade.
From July to September avoid making the plan in monsoon as the visitors may face major turbulence due to the monsoon winds and moderate rains making it quite humid.
From March to June, the temperature is too high about 42 degrees Centigrade which can make you worn out, unwell, and physically weak.
The ancient most beautifully crafted temple and Somnath Temple should be in your must-visit Jyotirlinga list.