One of the famous pilgrimage centers, Somnath Temple is the first among the 12 holy Jyotirlingas and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The word Somnath refers to The Lord of the Moon which is a form of Lord Shiva. The temple is situated in Prabhas Patan, near the Veraval port in Saurashtra, Gujarat. The Somnath temple is also called The Shrine Eternal because the temple was looted a lot and destroyed six times in the past. But that doesn’t matter, because the temple was gloriously rebuilt every single time after destruction.
The word mentioned above Prabha Patan is the holy place of the junction of three great mythological rivers Saraswati, Kapila, and Hiranya. It is also the place where Lord Krishna was hit by an arrow while resting under a tree, where Lord Krishna ended his life after hitting by an arrow.
There are millions of people across the world who come every year to visit this temple. It is said that the Syamantak Mani means the Philosopher’s Stone associated with Lord Krishna and is hidden inside Shiva Linga in the temple. According to legends and their beliefs, this magical stone has the ability to produce gold and it is also responsible for creating a magnetic field around itself which keeps the Linga floating in the air or above the ground.
The Shiva Linga present there consists of iron, and the roof of the temple is made up of loadstone. The builder who constructs this temple assured that the magnetic force exerted by that stone kept the Linga floating in the air. And people believe that a person can wash away their all the sins by taking a holy dip in the holy water of the Someshwar Kund.
Let’s talk about some history, the exact time period and how the temple was first made is still unknown, but it is said that the second temple or the reconstruction of this temple was built by the Seuna kings of Vallabhi, who were the Yadavas of Devagiri in around 649 CE. Temple faced many attacks, among them, the first attack on the temple was by AI- Junayd, the governor of Sindh in around 725 CE, and during the time of invasions of Rajasthan, and Gujarat. King Nagabhata II rebuilt the third temple in 815 CE. Then in 1024, the Turkic Sultan, Mohammad Ghazni cannonade the Somnath temple and destroyed the Jyotirlinga, and killed all the devotees who tried to save the temple. Later on, the king Bhoja of Malwa and king Bhimdev I of Patan again restored the temple as a tribute to Lord Someshwara.
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Again, the attack happened on the temple and was by Alauddin Khilji’s forces. The idol of the god was stolen from the temple. King Mahipala I, the king of Saurashtra, again rebuilt the temple in 1308. Temple also faced the reign of Aurangzeb in 1665. Finally, in 1783 the Peshwas, Bhosle, queen Ahilyabai, and Shrimant Patlibuwa Shinde of Gwalior together rebuilt the temple. And the present structure of the temple is fashioned in the Chalukya style.
Furthermore, over a period of time, many attackers took the temple. Even the three silver gates, originally belonging to the Somnath temple were brought back to India from Lahore. This was after the time when the Maratha King Mahadaji Shinde defeated Muhammad Shah. After many unsuccessful attempts to re-install them in the Somnath temple, they were gifted to two temples in Ujjain. The Mahalakeshwar temple and Gopal Mandir where are still present.
There is another story behind the Someshwar Kund, there was king Prajapati Daksha who had the 27 Nakshatras born in the form of his daughters. All of his 27 daughters married Lord Chandra at once (The Moon). Whereas, lord Chandra only loved Rohini and neglected his other 26 wives. This angered their father Daksha and he cursed Chandra to decrease in size every day. To overcome this curse, Chandra offered atonement to Lord Shiva who granted him a boon. And that boon that the lord shiva would place Chandra on his head, this way he would lose its illumination every day and decrease in size for 15 days and grow back in the next 15 days. When the moon fully fades, it is called the new moon day or Amavasya. And when the moon grows fully back in its size, called the full moon day or Purnima. Thus, these are called Krishna Paksha and Shukla Paksha, each Paksha of 15 days. As a result, shiva was also called Someshwara, the lord of the Moon.
How to reach Somnath Temple?
By Air- The nearest airport is Diu, Gujarat which is 85 km away from the temple.
By Train- The nearest railway station is Somnath which is just 0.5 km.
By Road- Somnath is well connected to the major cities in Gujarat such as Ahmedabad, Dwarka, Junagadh, and Chorwad by state roadways bus connectivity.
Stay tuned for more information and updates!