Religion & Spirituality

Somnath Jyotirlinga – The Twelve Jyotirlinga Shrines of Shiva

Somnath Jyotirlinga, Gujrat

The Somnath temple located in Prabhas Patan near Veraval in Saurashtra on the western coast of Gujarat, India, is the first among the twelve Jyotirlinga shrines of Shiva. It is an important pilgrimage and tourist spot. The temple is considered sacred due to the various legends connected to it. Somnath means “Lord of the Soma”, an epithet of Shiva.

Somnath Temple is known as “the Shrine Eternal”. This legendary temple has been destroyed and rebuilt several times by Islamic kings and Hindu kings respectively. Most recently it was rebuilt in November 1947, when Vallabhbhai Patel visited the area for the integration of Junagadh and mooted a plan for restoration. After Patel’s death, the rebuilding continued under Kanaiyalal Maneklal Munshi, another minister of the Government of India.

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 provided with elaborate security arrangements from all corners of the temple. All devotees are passed through security check before entering into main complex.

History of Somnath

Somnath Jyotirlinga, Gujrat
Somnath Temple

In 1656, the Mughal emperor appointed Raghab Dattaroy of Patuli as the zamindar of an area that includes the present-day Bansberia. Legend has it that Raghab’s son Rameshwar cleared a bamboo grove to build a fort, inspiring the name Bansberia.

The site of Somnath has been a pilgrimage site from ancient times on account of being a triveni sangam (the joining of three rivers — Kapila, Hiran and the mythical Sarasvati River). Soma, the Moon god, is believed to have lost his lustre due to a curse, and he bathed in the Sarasvati River at this site to regain it. The result is the waxing and waning of the moon, no doubt an allusion to the waxing and waning of the tides at this sea shore location. The name of the town Prabhas, meaning lustre, as well as the alternative names Someshvar and Somanath (“lord of the moon” or “moon god”) arise from this tradition.

The Skanda Purana, in a chapter on Prabhasa Khanda, describes Somnath. Legend has it that Shiva in the previo

Somnath Temple saved 16 times from attacks by Mahmud Ghaznvi

It was SACKED 16 times. Thrice it was smashed to the ground. Six times the Shiv Ling itself was torn out & desecrated. The original one made of half a ton of solid gold-by some accounts, believed to have been consecrated by the gods themselves-was taken to Samarkand where half of it was melted down & the other half embedded under the steps of the Great mosque so that Muslims could walk over it.

Some time later, Genghis Khan tore down the mosque, massacred the entire population, & wiped out the city from the map-so it kind of evened out-but it’s still a very prickly point for lots of Hindu nationalists.

Also Read : Sadhna For Lord Shiva As Explained By Swami Sivananda

 Somnath Temple Story

The Skanda Purana, in a chapter on Prabhasa Khanda, describes Somnath. Legend has it that Shiva in the previous aeons was referred to as Mrityunjaya, Kaalagnirudra, Amritesa, Anamaya, Kritivasa and Bhairavanatha at Somnath.

Legend has it that the Kalabhairava Shivalinga (Bhairavanatha) at Prabhasa was worshipped by the moon, and hence Shiva here is referred to as Somnatha. The Skanda Purana describes the Sparsa Linga of Somnath as one bright as the sun, the size of an egg, lodged underground. The Mahabharata also refers to the Prabhasa Kshetra and the legend of the moon worshipping Shiva.

Legend goes that the moon was married to the 27 daughters of Daksha Prajapati. He was partial to Rohini, his favorite and neglected the others. An angered Daksha cursed him to wane into nothingness. A disturbed Chandra, came down to Prabhasa with Rohini and worshipped the Sparsa Linga of Somnath after which he was blessed by Shiva to grow and shine in the bright half. As the moon regained his light here, this town came to be known as Prabhasa. Bhrama, one of the trinity, installed the Bhramasila, and paved way for the construction of the temple.

Also Read : Importance Of Applying Bhasma or Vibhuti & Its Benefits According to Hinduism

List of items not allowed inside the temple

West belt, Mobile phone, Camera , shoes.
There are free stalls available to deposit your shoe and other items. Lockers are available to keep your camera and phones before entering to temple complex.

Puja timings

The temple is open daily from 6AM to 9PM. There are 3 aarti daily; in the morning at 07:00, at 12:00 and in the evening at 19:00.

Some of the major festivals celebrated annually include Ram Navmi, Janmashtami, Shivratri, Holi, Ganesh Chaturthi and Diwali. Marking the Hindu New Year, Diwali is one of the grandest Hindu festivals, and attracts many visitors and devotees to the mandir.

Also Read : The Mystry Of Upa Lingas According To Shiv Purana

Events and Festivals at Somnath

  • Shravan month (Shavan) (July – August -September)
  • Navratri (September – October)
  • Diwali (Deepavali) (October – November)
  • Kartik Poornima Mela ( Deva-Diwali) (November-December)
  • Maha Shivaratri (February – March)
  • Holi (March)

Light & Sound show at 7.45 PM

Nearly one hour show , ticket cost is Rs 25/- per head and half ticket is Rs 15/- . This show tells about the mythological story and importance of the locations. It narrates about the Pravas tirtha where Lord Krishan left his mortal body and returned to heaven. The history of Somnath temple and the attacks ( demolition ) it suffered in the hands of various rulers. Many kings of Gujarat area tried to rebuild the temple at different stages and finally after independence on the leadership of Sardar Valav Bhai Patel and under the construction supervision of Mr … the present temple came into shape. There is a statue of Sri Valav Bhai Patel at the Main gate of the temple

Tourist Points around Somnath

The site of Somnath has been a pilgrimage site from ancient times on account of being a triveni sangam (the joining of three rivers — Kapila, Hiran and the mythical Sarasvati River). Soma, the Moon god, is believed to have lost his lustre due to a curse, and he bathed in the Sarasvati River at this site to regain it. The result is the waxing and waning of the moon, no doubt an allusion to the waxing and waning of the tides at this sea shore location. The name of the town Prabhas, meaning lustre, as well as the alternative names Someshvar and Somanath (“lord of the moon” or “moon god”) arise from this tradition.

Also Read : Lord Siva, in Reality is The Regenerator Not The Destroyer

List of Tourist Places around Somnath

  • Old Somnath temple ( Near main temple )
  • Triveni Sangam ( three rivers Hiran, Kapila & Saraswati ) joins Sea here
  • Sarada math
  • Surya temple ( sun temple ) & Mata Hinglaj Mataji Gufa
  • Geeta Temple
  • Baldev Ji Gufa ( cave )
  • Laxminarayan Mandir
  • Mahaprabhuji Bethak
  • Krishna Paduka
  • Sasivusan mahadev somnath
  • Bal Gangeshwar temple somnath
  • Veneshvar Mahadev temple

How to Reach

By Bus: Somnath visit by bus is pleasant and hassle free journey. It has regular buses to all the Major cities in India. Somnath being a popular tourist destination has a range of well-maintained and luxury buses. Somnath trip by bus should be planned and booked well in advance.

By Train: The specifics on how to reach Somnath by train is as follows. Somnath train travel is an experience of its own. Well-connected and regular trains make Somnath travel by train a pleasant experience. Somnath train timetable gives a whole lot of options of trains to choose from. Taking trains to Somnath is a spectacle as the Somnath railway station is a marvel of its own.

By Flight: Somnath travel by air can be considered as the last option as there are no regular flights to Somnath. The place does not have its own Somnath airport. Diu airport is the closest airport to Somnath. Flights to Somnath will arrive at this airport. A taxi or a bus can be taken from the airport to Somnath. Traveling by flight is a choice to make for last minute trips.

By Cab/Car: Filled with plush greenery and broad roads, Traveling to Somnath by road is a go-to option. Somnath, also known for its wildlife and national parks, is best visited and traveled by road. Travelling to Somnath by car lets you take your time around this place and allows you to explore its beauty. Somnath car rental services can be booked from all major cities or within Somnath itself.

Where to stay at Somnath

There is a complex maintained by Somnath trust and you can book online for accommodation. Close to the temple in narrow lanes there are several budget hotels available. You can walk to temple from here. Identity proof is required in all hotels. Hotel will retain one copy of your identity proof.

Accommodation provided by Somnath Trust

There are three hotels maintained by Shri Somnath trust. Two budget hotels LILAVATI ATHITHI BHAVAN & Shree Somnath Maheswari Samaj Atithi Gruh are located in front side of the Somnath temple ( Rs 600 & 700 ).

The third one Shri Sagar Darshan Atithigruh is the best location and hotel to stay at Somnath.

At a price of Rs 1500/- you will get specious rooms with all facilities. All rooms have sea facing balconies. Just at the back side of the temple you can easily walk into the temple complex. As you will be passing through the temple area take the vehicle pass by showing your booking receipt at the reception counter of Somnath trust at front side of the temple. You can watch sunset from your room balcony.

Duration of Stay at Somnath

One night stay is advisable. However if you are reaching in the morning hours then you can plan your return journey in evening or night.

Other Information

For photography morning time is best as sunlight falls on temple. However you can take photo of sunset along with temple here.