SOMNATH FACTS & FIGURES
- Location: State of gujarat on the Arabian Sea, India
- Best time to Visit: October to March
- Significance: First among the twelve Jyotirlings.
Somnath is a temple town of ancient history. The town itself has the Somanatha temple, Swayambhu Kali Mandir, Swayambhu Madhusudan Mandir. The place where Krishna left his mortal coil – DEHOTSARJAN STHAL is just two kilometres from the Shiva temple. The famous Gir forest, which has the only known population of Asiatic lions, is 60 Kilometers away. It is in this forest is the sacred Girnar hill. A steep 10,000 steps would lead to the Dattatreya Mandir on top of the hill.
The Somnath Temple located in the Prabhas Kshetra near Veraval in Saurashtra, on the western coast of Gujarat, India is one of the twelve Jyotirlings (lingas of light) symbols of the God Shiva. It is mentioned in the Rig Veda. Somnath means “The Protector of Moon God”. The Somnath Temple is known as ‘the Shrine Eternal’, as although the temple has been destroyed six times it has been rebuilt every single time.
It is said that the original temple of Somnath was built by the Moon God and was made of gold. After it was razed to the ground, it was rebuilt with silver by Ravana. When the silver temple was knocked down, it was reconstructed in wood by Krishna. And when this was pulled down, an edifice of stone was erected by Bhimdev.
Pilgrim/Tourist Attractions in Somnath
There are plenty of places of tourist interest around Somanth. A museum containing photographs of old temple, old sculptures, Bhalkatirth where Lord Krishna was struck by the arrow of a junter, temple of Hinglaj mata where he was cremated, Suryanarayan temple, Siddhnath Mahadev temple, temples of Shri Ramchandraji and Lord Krishna, Bhimeshvar Mahadev, Narsinhji temple, Triveni Sangam and the holy water kund of Adiprabhas and jai prabhas.
Sea beach of Chorwad, just 25 kms away and Sasan Gir, 45 kms, are other major tourist attractions.
The present temple, Kailash Mahameru Prasad is built in the Chalukya style of temple architecture and reflects the inherent skill of sompuras, Gujarat’s master masons. It has the shikhara, the Garbhagriha, the sabha mandap and the nritya mandap. It has been built in such a position that there is no land between the Somnath temple and Antarctica. This fact finds mention in the inscription found on the protection wall of the temple.
The Bhalka Tirth is the place where Lord Krishna was mistaken for a deer and wounded by an arrow while sleeping in a deerskin. The place is situated on the confluence of three rivers. There is a sun temple (Suraj Mandir) nearby that was also knocked down by Mahmud of Ghazni.
The Junagarh Gate is a very ancient triple gate that Mahmud of Ghazni broke through to take the town.
The Mai Puri was once a Sun temple but was later converted into a mosque during Mahmud of Ghazni’s time.
The Ahilyabai Temple was built as a substitute for the original Somnath Temple. Just behind the temple is the Somnath beach with pleasant sands, great sea view, camel and pony rides, coconut stalls, and snack shops.
Other places of interest are Jama Masjid, Bhidiyo Pagoda, and several smaller temples.
FAIRS & FESTIVALS
Somnath celebrates a large fair on the day of the full moon of Kartik Purnima in November/December. Maha Shivratri in the month of March is also a major festival here.
How to Reach Somnath
- Air: The nearest Airport is at Keshod, (47 kms.) which is connected with Mumbai.
- Rail: Veraval, (5 kms.) is the closest Railway station.
- Road: State transport buses and private luxury coaches connect various centres of Gujarat to Somnath.