Lord Shiva's 12 Jyothirlingas "Somnath Temple" Gujarat
Somnath Temple ,Gujarat
The Somnath temple is dedicated to Someshwara, another name of Lord Shiva with moon on his head. The temple is situated in Saurashtra. It is believed that Somraj, the Moon God himself had originally built the temple out of gold. Somnath is the first of all the 12 jyotirlingas. Though thetemple is of Hindu origin, the Architecture has Jain influences. The Somnath temple has been destroyed six times and have been rebuilt. The temple faces the east direction. Externally the Somnath temple resembles the Rudramala temple at Siddhapur. The dome of the temple is the biggest ever made in this century. The temple has large central hall with entrances on three sides, each protected by a lofty porch. The temple carvings and the sculptures speak about the great artistic endeavor made by the craftsmen of that era. At a certain interval in the balconied corridor is a deformed Nataraja statue. Somnath is also known by different names like- Deo pattan, Prabhas Pattan or Pattan Somnath. It is believed that 2000 priests served the idol of the temple. The Somnath temple has a long history attached to it. The first temple of Somnath is believed to have existed before the christian era. The second temple was built by the Maitraka Kings of Vallabhi in Gujarat. The Pratihara King- Nagabhata II constructed the third temple. The fourth temple was built by the Paramara King Bhoj of Malwa and the Solanki King. Kumarpal built the fifth temple and was again destroyed by Mughal emperor Aurangazeb. The present temple is the seventh temple and has been rebuilt and taken care by Shree Somnath trust. Legend
Skanda Purana, in a chapter on Prabhasa Khanda, describes the emergence of this Jyotirlinga. Legend goes that the moon was married to the 27 daughters of Daksha Prajapati. Amongst all his wives, he had special love towards Rohini and neglected the others. Seeing the negligence of Chandra towards his other wives Prajapati Daksha cursed Chandra that he would lose his beauty and radiance. But because of a moon devoid of radiance and beauty the entire world became lifeless. 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. Brahma, one of the trinity, installed the Brahmashila, and paved way for the construction of the temple. On the request of the Chandrama and other gods Bhagwan Shankar assumed the name Somchandra (Jyotirlinga) and resided there eternally. He became famous by the name Somnath in the three worlds. Since, it was the Prabhas Kshetra where Bhagwan Shri Krishna performed all his Lilas. In this temple there is a small cave in which a lamp burns continuously. 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.It is believed that the Somnath temple here was originally built by Somraj, the Moon God himself, out of gold, and then rebuilt by Ravana in silver and then by Krishna in Wood, then by Bhimdev in stone. Places of Interest
Prabhas Patan (Bhalka Tirtha) - "Bhalka" is the name of the village, and "Tirtha" indicates that it is a holy place. After the destruction of the Yadu and Bhoja dynasties in Dwarka, Lord Krishna left his palaces and came to this area called Prabhasaksetra. Uddhava accompanied him. When he was absorbed in deep thought, a hunter named Jara shot an arrow that accidentally hit Krishna?s foot, apparently wounding him.There is a temple built by the tree that is said to be the same tree under which Krishna was sitting. On the altar there is a white Deity of Krishna in a sitting posture. One can see the bottom of Krishna?s foot, pink colored with different auspicious symbols. Nearby is the hunter, Jara, with folded hands and one knee on the floor. This place is a few km east of Veraval on the road to Somnath.
Gita Mandir- is located at the confluence of three rivers, or Triveni Tirtha, about 1km south of the Somnath Temple by the sea. It is said that Lord Krishna walked about 4km from Bhalka Tirtha to this place after he was s hot in the foot by the hunter, and left the planet at this point. There are a few other temples here and the place where Lord Balarama is said to have left the planet.
Suraja Mandir- Its a very Ancient Temple and dedicated to the sun god, was half broken by Mahmud of Ghazni. It has some carving on it
Getting there and Around
By Air- The nearest airport is at Keshod, 47 kilometres, which is connected with Bombay.
By Rail- Veraval (5 kilometres) is nearest railway station .
By Road- State Transport buses and private luxury coaches connect various centres of Gujarat.
You might not find a major hotel chain near Somnath. For the pilgrims and tourists, there are guest houses, rest houses and inns etc. Services are simple but reasonable for a comfortable stay. Accommodation options are also available in Veraval.