If you want to witness the rich glory, heritage and architecture of India over the course of time, a trip to Somnath temple deserves a place in your itinerary. The sacred temple is a living example of repeated plunders and its subsequent rejuvenation by various rulers and authorities from time to time. It clearly lives up to the statement of Dr Rajendra Prasad, the first President of India who inaugurated the temple in 1951 “The Somnath temple signifies that the power of reconstruction is always greater than the power of destruction.” Let us take a plunge in its rich legacy, architecture, history and other aspects for exploring this marvellous shrine in a better way.
Somnath Temple- An overview
The splendid temple is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva and it means “Lord of the Soma or Moon” which is used in reference to the Shiva. The Somnath Temple is situated in the Prabhas Patan region of Veraval in Saurashtra which lies on the western coast of Gujarat. It is considered as the first known Jyotirlinga among the total twelve such shrines. The spiritual temple finds elaborate mention in various ancient texts such as Shreemad Bhagavat Gita, Shivapuran, Skandpuran and Rig Veda. The auspicious site of Somnath is also known for the confluence of three sacred rivers or “Triveni Sangam” namely Kapila, Hiran and Sarasvati.
It is said that the earliest known Somnath temple was built primarily in gold by the moon god Soma, in silver by the sun god Ravi, out of wood by Lord Krishna and further in stone by the Solanki Rajputs in the 11th century. The sanctum sanctorum was repeatedly plundered around 17 times by various invaders such as Ghazni, Khiljis, Turks, Mughals, Portuguese and others. The present structure of this historical and mystical temple was restored by the Government of India in the year 1951 on the recommendation of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and was completed under K.M. Munshi who was the head of the temple trust at that time.
The restoration and reconstruction of present Somnath Temple is based on the Chalukyan style of architecture. It is a perfect specimen of oldest skilled architects and masons of Gujarat who are also known as Sompura Salats. The artistically grand temple consists of sikhara or main spire with a height of 15 metres and features an 8.2 metres tall flag pole at the top. Its magnificent balconied corridor also showcases a mutilated form of Nataraja or the dancing Shiva. Further, the flag present atop the temple tower bear the symbols such as Nandi and Trishul. Although, it is a magnificent symbol of Brahmanical temple but the patches of Jain architecture on the carvings and the overall design is evident clearly.
Perfect time to visit
The ideal time to visit this holy shrine is from October to March.
Other places of Tourist Attractions
Apart from the spiritual blessings of Lord Somnath, the wonderful place is adorned with various temples, beaches, museums and other tourist attractions. Some of these places are listed below:
- Gita Mandir
- Kamnath Mahadev Temple
- Somnath Museum
- Laxminarayan Mandir
- Surya Temple and Mata Hinglaj Gufa
- Balukha Tirtha
- Sarada Math
- Panch Pandava Gufa Temple, etc
How can you reach here?
The Somnath Temple is well connected by rail, road and air from the various main cities of Gujarat.
By road- It is located 79 km away from Junagarh and around 25 km away from Chorwad. One can easily avail the multiple state transport and private luxury buses plying on this route for a trip to Somnath temple.
By rail- Veraval is the nearest railway station to Somnath and is located at a distance of around 6-7 km.
By air- You can head towards this religious site through nearest airport Keshod which is located at a distance of around 55 km.
So, make a religious trip to Somnath Temple and take a spiritual and devotional plunge to this famous Jyotirlinga with your family, friends and other loved ones. Chant “Har Har Mahadeva” and get ready for a life-changing experience.