Somnath Temple

Somnath Temple

Somnath Temple Video

Planning to visit this temple? Explore our Somnath Tour here.

The majestic Somnath Temple, also known as “The Shrine Eternal” is located at Prabhas Pattan near Veraval port in Saurashtra, Gujarat. No pilgrimage is complete without visiting this magnificent shrine built in honor of Lord Shiva. The word Somnath literally translates to “Lord of the Soma”, Soma being the Moon God. It is one of the oldest temples of India finding mentions in Rig Veda, Skandpuran, Shivpuran and Shreemad Bhagavad Geeta. It is believed to be the first Jyotirlinga among the 12 Holy Jyotirlingas.

The temple is divided into three main areas – the  Garbhagraha, the Sabhamandapam and the Nrityamandapam. The Shikhar of the temple is 150 feet high. The Kalasam or the Kalash weighs 10 tonnes. The flag pole at the top is 8.2 mt long. The temple reflects the skills of the Sompura Salats, Gujarat’s famed stone masons.

Somnath Temple History 

  • According to the legend, Chandra was cursed to decrease in size every day by his father-in-law Daksha because he showed more affection to his wife Rohini and ignored his other 26 wives who were all daughters of Daksha. After paying penance to Lord Shiva at the site, he was granted a boon by Shiva that he would grow for 15 days and then lose one Kala (shade) every day and decrease in size for 15 days. As a result, Someshwar Kund was established to honour Shiva for removing the curse.
  • As per the historians, the time of construction for the first temple at Somnath is unknown. However, it is recorded that the second temple was built at the site around 649 CE by the Seuna kings of Vallabhi better known as the Yadavas of Devagiri. They ruled parts of present-day Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka.
  • Al-Junayd, the Governer of Sindh destroyed the temple in around 725 CE during invasions of Gujarat and Rajasthan. The King Nagabhata ll is said to have constructed the third temple in 815 CE.
  • In 1024, the Somnath Temple was again attacked by Mahmud of Ghazni. The reconstruction was done by King Bhoja of Malwa and King Bhimdev I of Patan.
  • The temple again became the target of destruction by Alauddin Khilji’s forces. The temple was built again by King Mahipala, the then king of Saurashtra in 1308.
  • Repeated assaults on the temple were made in 1375 and 1451 by Muzaffar Shah I of the Gujarat Sultanate and Mahmud Begada, the Sultan of Gujarat respectively.
  • The temple also faced the ire of Aurangzeb in 1665. The temple was rebuilt in 1783 by the combined effort of the Peshwas, Bhonsles, Queen Ahilyabai of Indore and Shrimant Patilbuwa Shinde of Gwalior.
  • The present temple is said to be built in the Chalukya style or the  “Kailash Mahameru Prasad” style. The masonry work was done by Sompura Salats.
  • According to the legends, the grandeur of the temple can be assessed by the fact that the inner temple or the Garbhashay was initially studded with gems. These were looted in the repeated invasions.The Sandalwood water for Abhishekam was brought from Haridwar. Flowers for Poojas were brought from Kashmir.
  • Three silver gates originally belonging to the Somnath temple were brought back to India from Lahore after defeating Muhammad Shah by the Maratha king Mahadaji Shinde. After unsuccessful attempts to re-install them in the Somnath temple, they were then gifted to two temples in Ujjain – the Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga and Gopal Mandir where they can still be seen.
  • Edward Law, 1st Earl of Ellenborough, ordered the British army in Afghanistan to bring back the Sandalwood gates taken by Mahmud of Ghazni. On arrival, in 1843, they were found to be fake. They are currently stored in the Agra Fort.
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Significance of Somnath temple

  • The Somnath Temple is believed to be the Primary or the First Jyotirlinga among the 12 Jyotirlingas in Hindu mythology. Lord Shiva is said to have appeared in a fiery column of light from this Linga. The Linga is also believed to be Swayanbhu (self – born) in nature and is worshiped by millions of people in India and around the world.
  • An inscription in Sanskrit found in the Banastambha also known as the “Arrow Pillar”, Abadhit Samudra Marg and Tirstambh indicates that there is no land in a straight line between the seashore until Antarctica.
  • It is called the “Shrine eternal” because it was destroyed six times in history but still every time, was rebuilt in glory. The Consecration ceremony for the present structure was held under Dr. Rajendra Prasad with the words ” The Somnath Temple signifies that the power of creation is always greater than the power of destruction.”
  • The temple was built in gold first by the Moon God (Chandra). When it was demolished, it was rebuilt in silver by Ravana. After that had been razed down, the temple was built in wood by Lord Krishna. Eventually, Bhimdev reconstructed the temple with stone.
  • Syamantak Mani, the Philosopher’s stone associated with Lord Krishna is hidden inside Shiva Linga in the temple. This stone is supposed to be magical with the ability to produce gold. It is believed that it is responsible for creating a magnetic field around itself which keeps the Linga floating above the ground.
  • The Linga is made of iron, and the roof of the sanctum is made of loadstone. Builder of the shrine assured that the magnetic force exerted by the loadstone kept the Linga floating in the air.
  • It is believed that you can wash away your sins by taking a dip in the holy water of the Someshwar Kund. This Kund was built in honour of Lord Shiva after he removed the curse on Chandra.
  • Prabhas Pattan has been a pilgrimage since ancient times because this is the holy site of Sangam or confluence of three great mythological rivers – the Saraswati, the Hiranya and the Kapila.
  • It is also believed that Prabhas Pattan is the site where Lord Krishna was struck by an arrow while resting under a tree. He started his final journey in life from here.
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Somnath Temple Timings

  • Somnath Temple opens for darshan at 6 AM and closes at 10 PM.
  • The Aarti at the main shrine happens at 7 AM, 12 Noon and 7 PM.
  • A Light and Sound show titled “Jay Somnath” is performed daily between 8 PM and 9 PM. this show is subject to good weather conditions and may be cancelled on rainy days.
  • Items such as Belts, Mobile phones, Cameras and Shoes are not allowed inside the temple. Free stalls are available for shoes. Lockers are available for storing Cameras and Phones at the entrance of the temple.
  • Wheelchair facilities for disabled and senior citizens are available at the gate of the temple, and Lift facilities are available inside the temple.
  • Online darshan facilities are available. Please visit official website for details.

Somnath Temple Dress code

It is advised by the Somnath Temple management that dresses such as mini-skirts, revealing tops, shorts, etc. should be avoided. Smoking is not allowed inside and around the temple premises.

Festivals celebrated at Somnath Temple

  • Shravan month – Shravan Maas falls on the fifth month of the Hindu calendar, starting late July and ending by the third week of August
  • Shivratri – It is celebrated as a day when Lord Shiva marries Goddess Parvati. It usually occurs in late February to early March.
  • Golokdham Utsav  – It signifies the birth of Lord Krishna, more popularly known as Janmashtami.
  • Kartik Purnima Fair for five days
  • Somnath Sthapana Divas

Poojas and Rituals at Somnath Temple

About 30 main types of Poojas and Abhishekams are performed at the Somnath Temple. Below are the main poojas performed at the shrine:

  • Homatmak Atirudra – This yagna is considered to be the most powerful and the most sacred yagna out of all the Mahayagnas. It is believed that conducting this Yagna washes away your sins and brings peace and prosperity. Atirudra consists of eleven recitations of Maha Rudra. One Maharudram is completed every day, hence the Atirudra yagna is completed in eleven days.
  • Homatmak Maharudra – This Pooja involves 56 highly learned Vedic Pandits reciting Rudras in one place. Recitations of Rigveda, Samveda, Yajurveda and Atharva Veda is done in front of the deities of the temple.
  • Homatmak Lagurudra – This Abhishek is done to resolve issues related to health and wealth. It is also done to remove the evil effects of planets in the horoscope.
  • Savalaksha Samput Mahamrityunjaya Jaap – This Abhishek is done to increase longevity and immortality of the person.
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Other Poojas and Abhishekams include Savalaksha Bilva Pooja, Kalsarpa yog Nivaran Vidhi, Shivpuran Path, Mahadugdh Abhishek, Gangajal Abhishek and Navagraha Jaap.

How to reach the Somnath Temple

  • By Road – Somnath is well connected by State Transport buses to major cities in Gujarat like Ahmedabad, Junagadh, Dwarka and Chorwad.
  • By Train – The nearest railway station is Somnath (0.5 km). Regular train service is available from all major cities in Gujarat.
  • By Air – The nearest airport is Diu, which is 85 km away.

Where to stay at Somnath Temple

  • Rooms operated by the Somnath Temple management are available at nominal rates. Accommodations can be booked in the Sagar Darshan Atithi Gruh, Lilavati Atithi Bhavan, Maheshwari Atithi Bhavan by visiting the website www.somnath.org
  • Private hotels are abundant near the Somnath Temple complex. Make sure that you carry a valid Identity proof for booking a room

Where to eat at Somnath Temple

  • All the Guesthouses managed by the Somnath Temple trust hosts a Restaurant, which serves various cuisines like Gujarati, Punjabi and Chinese.
  • Small eateries are abundant around the temple complex.

Nearby temples

  • Bhalka Tirth – It is located at about 5 km from the Prabhas – Veraval highway. At this location, the arrow fired by the poacher Jara hit Sri Krishna, who was resting under a Peepal tree. The Lord Sri Krishna then walked and reached the banks of River Hiran from where his last journey started.
  • Shree Golokdham Tirth or Shree Neejdham Prastham Tirth – It is located on the banks of River Hiran, 1.5 km away from the Somnath Temple. The footprint of Lord Krishna is carved here to mark the site of Neejdham Prasthan Leela.  Baldev,  the elder brother of  Lord Krishna also took his last journey from here in his original serpent form.
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