Somnath temple situated at the seashore of the Arabian ocean on the western corner of Indian subcontinent in Gujarat State. This pilgrimage is one of the oldest and finds its reference in the earliest texts like Skandpuran, Shreemad Bhagavat, Shivpuran etc. The hymn from Rig-Veda quoted below mention the Bhagvan Someshwar along with the immense pilgrimage like Gangaji, Yamunaji and Eastward Saraswati. This signifies the ancient value of this Tirthdham.
According to legend, Som, the Moon God constructed the Somnath Temple from gold, Ravan made it from silver, Lord Krishna made the temple from wood and King Bhimdev of Anhilwad made the temple from stone.
Som erected the temple out of admiration after Lord Shiva cured his disease that was caused by Som’s father-in-law Daksha Prajapati’s curse. Daksha Prajapati had cursed Som as he was charmed by Rohini and was not giving adequate attention to his other 26 wives who were all girls of Prajapti. It is accepted that Lord Brahma advised Som to construct the temple to respect Lord Shiva.
The Somnath Temple is the seventh temple constructed to honour Lord Somnath, who was famous called Bhairaveshwar, Shravanikehswar and Shrilingeshwar, in Sat Yug, Treta Yug and Dwapar Yug separately.
As per Shiv Mahapuran, once Brahma and Vishnu had an dispute in terms of superiority of creation. To test them, Shiva pierced the three worlds as a huge endless pillar of light, the jyotirlinga. Vishnu and Brahma divide their ways to downwards and upwards correspondingly to find the end of the light in either direction. Brahma lied that he found out the end, while Vishnu accepted his defeat. Shiva appeared as a second pillar of light and cursed Brahma that he would have no place in ceremonies while Vishnu would be worshipped till the end of time without end. The jyotirlinga is the supreme partless truth, out of which Shiva partly appears. The jyothirlinga shrines thus are places where Shiva appeared as a blistering column of light. Originally there were supposed to be 64 jyothirlingas while 12 of them are considered to be very auspicious and sacred. Each of the twelve jyothirlinga sites takes the name of the presiding deity – each considered diverse manifestation of Shiva. At all these places, the primary image is lingam demonstrating the beginningless and endless Stambha pillar, symbolizing the never-ending nature of Shiva. The twelve jyothirlinga are Somnath in Gujarat, Mallikarjuna at Srisailam in Andra Pradesh, Mahakaleswar at Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh, Omkareshwar in Madhya Pradesh, Kedarnath in Himalayas, Bhimashankar in Maharastra, Viswanath at Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, Triambakeshwar in Maharastra, Vaidyanath Jyotirlinga, Deogarh in Deoghar, Jharkhand, Nageswar at Dwarka in Gujarat, Rameshwar at Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu and Grishneshwar at Aurangabad in Maharastra.
The seond somnath temple was built and replaced first on same location around 649 CE by Vallabhi Yadava kings in Gujrat. The temple was ruined by Muslim king Mahmud Ghazni in 1024, who raided the temple from the thar desert. It was again built by Gujjar Paramara King Bhoj and the Solanki king Bhimadev I of Anhilwara during 1026 to 1042. The wooden temple design was changed by Kumarpal, who made the temple by stone.
The temple was again destroyed by army of Allauddin Khilji on 1296. Gujrat Raja Karan was conquered and forced to flee by Allauddin Khilji. According to Taj-ul-Ma’sir of Hasan Nizami, the Sultan boasted that “fifty thousand infidels were dispatched to hell by the sword” and “more than twenty thousand slaves, and cattle beyond all calculation fell into the hands of the victors”. Somnath temple was re-created by his son Khengar sometime between 1326 and 1351.
The current temple is built in the Chalukya technique of temple architecture or Kailash Mahameru Prasad approach and reflects the talent of the Sompura Salats, one of Gujarat’s master masons. The temple’s shikhara height is 15 metre, and it has an 8.2-metre high flag pole at the top.
The somnath temple is positioned at such a position that there is no land in straight-line between Somnath seasides till Antarctica, such an writing in Sanskrit is found on the Arrow-Pillar called Baan-Stambh erected on the sea-protection barricade at the Somnath Temple. This Baan-Stambh describes that it 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 specific longitude
Somnath Temple Schedules
Somnath Temple Live Darshan: 6.00am to 9.00pm
Aarti : 7.00 am, 12.00 pm and 7.00 pm
The Jay Somnath Sound and Light Show : 8.00 pm to 9.00 pm Do not miss it if you are in Somnath during the evening hours.
How to reach Somnath Temple
Nearby airport to Somnath is Diu, which is 90 km away from Somnath city. This airport is connected to Mumbai only. International travellers have to get connecting flights from Mumbai international airport, which is at a distance of 890 km from Somnath. Mumbai is well linked with all main cities in India and many cities in abroad.
Somnath is well connected to other major cities of the country via regular trains.
You can easily get regular buses to Somnath from other main cities of the country.